Why We Do What We Do

Why We Do What We Do

Today I was reminded of why it is we do what we do.  I’m participating in an amazing course sponsored by Goldman Sachs, the 10,000 Small Businesses Program, and I’m one of 27 business owners in the current cohort.  We’re all studying and learning how to improve our businesses and during the process we really “look under the hood” of every aspect from finance to marketing, personnel management and our own personal management style.  We’ve been challenged in many ways to answer why we do what we do and how we do it.

I’ve been a business owner for more than 20 years and when prompted to answer the question What makes you do what you do?  I had to select from a number of options…to make as much money as possible, to mentor others, to have flexible time…the list included about 20 options.  I immediately chose “To do important work” and “To do satisfying work.”  Money wasn’t the driving factor for me.  In fact, having been in another business where money was easier and required less overhead and effort, the personal fulfillment wasn’t the same as being the owner of Photo Nanny.

Every day in this business I have the opportunity to make a difference in a person’s life – more than one personP1080615-300x225 – entire families in many cases.  That “payoff” is honestly what drives me to work the many hours I do – (too many) – without feeling like I’m working.  I LOVE helping people relieve the stress of disorganized memorabilia…taking their hidden treasures and bringing them out in a way that everyone can enjoy and cherish today…on their Ipad or Iphone or computer – or in a creative coffee table book.

Today I had a gentleman come into the office for the first time.  We’d worked with his wife last year getting her lifetime of memories out of shoe boxes and old scrapbooks and into the digital world.  She was a good “student” and spent 3 months of her own time following our initial consultation doing her “homework”…I’d given her suggestions on how to tackle the thousands of photos she had, how to find the “nuggets” of value and tell her family story with less than she had, but without losing the good stuff.  She did her selecting and brought the photos to the office so we could scan them all in the order she’d placed them so that she had a great representation of each child, her spouse, their family over 20 years.

Following our scanning work, we trained her to manage her own files going forward.  We did a few consultations to make sure she was on track, and when she needed a slideshow for her son’s wedding, it was an easy partnership with her making selections, telling us which songs she wanted and then reviewing our work on a big screen in our office before we burned the final disks for the rehearsal dinner.

It’s working with people on projects like this that makes the tedious part of our job worth all the time and effort.  What a fun experience it was to create the slide show with ease because all the organizing and scanning had been done in such a way the client could easily find the pictures she wanted when she wanted them.  TOTAL SUCCESS.

So, today when her husband came into the office with two old family albums he wanted to preserve for his side of the family, he stood in the work room and stared at the nearly 300,000 photos in bins around the room.  He went on a tour of our studio and saw the many projects in process and the clearly labeled boxes containing projects in all states of completion.  And then he gave me my “pay” for today when he said, “I have never seen my wife happier on any purchase she’s made during the 30 years I’ve known her than when she received the finished, organized scans from you.  Total delight – total excitement and thrilled about how she can enjoy it all now after years of having boxes and bins lurking without order.  This business is truly unique and special and I’m so happy to finally come in and see just where the magic happens.”

After he left the office, my graphic artist said, “Wasn’t that neat what he said about his wife’s happiness over our work?”  I said, “That’s exactly why we do what we do, isn’t it?  We do important work and meaningful work and we are lucky every day to have the opportunity to make an impact on so many lives.”

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