Christine Hochkeppel, Salty Broad Studios, LLC, Osterville, MA
Channeling Dissatisfaction into Action
While working as a staff photographer at a mid-sized daily newspaper, Christine Hochkeppel found herself frustrated with the cor
porate structure and lack of growth opportunities. She watched many great colleagues lose their jobs through buyouts and layoffs and wanted to create a better environment for herself.
“I wanted to build a company that strives to deliver quality service, treats clients and employees with respect and holds them in the highest regard,” shared Christine. She became motivated by the dissatisfaction she felt during her 12 years as a community journalist. As she observed shrinking newsroom staffs, thinning newspaper content and hearing readers express their displeasure, Hochkeppel decided to launch her own business and pledged to deliver excellence and value.
Finding a New Side of Me
Christine started Salty Broad Studios, LLC, with an eye toward delivering the same candid, documentary-style pictures she learned to create working for newspapers. She found that it was extremely difficult to venture into this business. The wedding and commercial photography market were full of competition and it was difficult to get noticed as a newcomer.
It was through a great deal of persistence and courage that Christine found her way. She credits organizations like EforAll Southcoast and CWE for her ability to stay in business. The encouragement she received from her cohort and mentors helped her through difficult times when cash flow was at a standstill and she felt uncertain about the future. “I found confidence and faith in the support of my network and learned to reach out for guidance when needed,” said Christine.
The webinars and workshops offered by CWE helped Christine to refine her business plan and lead to her being approved for a $20,000 SEED loan. “This was a game changer for my business, I was able to pay off my credit card debt and make some sorely needed equipment purchases.” Having some working capital allowed her to focus on growing her business and taking on more work with new clients. This lead to successful third quarter earnings.
“I have been invigorated by the feeling of closing sales and receiving glowing feedback from clients. The experience of building my own business truly brought out a new side of me. I am no longer under-challenged and down trodden. I have realized my full potential and continue to challenge myself every day.”
Advice to Others
“Don’t fear the challenge, embrace it. Be prepared for many obstacles and naysayers.”
“Set realistic and actionable goals but don’t be too hard on yourself if you do not hit your mark.”
“Check in with clients early and often and set expectations in writing (on both sides) as much as possible.”
“Be active in your community and networking groups.”
“Be helpful and go out of your way to help connect people and it will come back to you.”
“Utilize the many free resources that are available to small business owners: CWE classes and workshops; EforAll; SCORE mentors; and MSDBC.”
“Stay on top of your financials.”
“Make time for stress relief and self-care – working for yourself is demanding.”