So who is Rach exactly?! I want to share with you a little about who I am and how I got started in this business!
So, Who is Rach?!
HEY! If you don’t already know, I’m Rachel Traxler, a traveling Wedding Photographer turned Creative Business Entrepeneur. As much as I LOVE Photography.. I equally LOVE the digital marketing side of business too and love helping other entrepreneurs create + launch their digital offers… So my hope is that I can bring both of those elements to the table for you!
I wanted to take the time to introduce myself, tell you my story and how I got into this industry, and where I plan to take it moving forward!
How It All Started
I purchased my first DSLR camera when I was 17 with money I made from my summer job because I just loved taking pictures of friends, flowers, landscapes, and anything else I could find. It was very much so a fun hobby for me until I had someone ask me to photograph their wedding in 2013!
I WAS SO EXCITED because it was my first wedding and I got to charge $900 with ZERO experience. I had zero second shooting experience, zero wedding industry experience… nothing. I went in blind into the wedding photography industry!
I had no idea how to prep or educate the couple, and I honestly think I was asking the Bride more questions on how it all worked! BLESS THEIR HEARTS. They were the most laid back and down to earth couple.. So I am forever grateful for them for giving me a chance!
I remember meeting the bride at Panera sitting down with printed out computer paper of Pinterest photos that she liked, and I brought that to the wedding to reference. Honestly, I would even show the wedding party the photo so they knew how to replicate it or what I was trying to get them to do. Oh how I’ve grown!
It’s so fun to think back to the beginning and appreciate how far you’ve come!
How My Business Grew
Surely enough, once I photographed their wedding, I started having people ask me if I’d photograph their wedding or their friends’ wedding, etc. It just slowly started growing!
I doubled in the amount of weddings for the next year, and the next year, and the next… but I always kept it to a minimum because I actually DID NOT want to become a full time photographer! It was something I always wanted to keep as a side hobby just for fun and extra income.
Fast forward to right out of college when I got my first job working in the Cancer Center at the Mayo Clinic. It was always my dream to work in the medical field and I could NOT believe how fortunate I was to land that job. To this day, I am so grateful for it because it taught me so much!
But at the end of day, it didn’t make me happy. In fact it had the exact opposite effect on me and made me realize that I had such a creative heart and was just made for so much more!
What Changed Everything
One day at work shortly after one of my co-workers passed away, I had a panic attack. I had no idea what was happening to me because I’d never had one before. I was on birth control and had just flown, so I ended up in the ER to rule out a pulmonary embolism. That year I spent Valentine’s Day in the ER and I’ll never forget it!
This was such a pivotal moment for me. I couldn’t keep letting my life go by feeling everyday that I wasn’t doing as much as I could be and that the world was passing me by.
So my husband convinced me to quit my job and give this photography thing a go! I dove STRAIGHT in, I got rebranded (basically had someone brand me vs the $15 logo I bought off etsy), I invested in a workshop from a photographer who I admired (shoutout to you Monique Serra) and I started putting myself out there on social media. Once I invested in education and put myself out there, my business blew up from there!
Investing in Education
Education was key to getting my business going! The workshops I signed up for were both on the west coast, which gave me the opportunity to get some content in other areas. Once I put this content out there, people assumed I was a traveling wedding photographer!
Granted, when this happened for me it was A LOT easier to market yourself on social media platforms and be seen in that way than it is now.. So I got lucky in that sense.
But I just started saying… YEAH I GUESS I AM?!?! After that I started getting inquiries from all over the place! I also was blessed to have made so many friendships from the workshops I attended that I received referrals from, and it gave me the opportunity to market myself through connections.
Attending workshops REALLY propelled my business forward in many ways! I was able to network, make new friends in the industry, receive referrals, grow my content, and be seen as a traveling photographer. This also helped me book more weddings and grow my business in ways I couldn’t have without these workshops! When I look back at my journey, investing in education played a big role in my success in propelling forward and kick starting my career.
Failure Wasn’t an Option
I didn’t have a backup plan. I was diving head first into photography and wasn’t going to look back! Because of this I went into it with the mindset that I couldn’t fail, because it wasn’t an option.
This mentality pushed me out of my comfort zone and continues to do so because, well, entrepreneurship!!
There are MANY mistakes that I made along the way, things I wish I would have done sooner or started doing right away, … but with success comes failure and it’s all gotten me to where I am today and I would not change it for anything!
The three main things I focused on right away when starting my business were:
- Branding myself and my business
- Gaining a clientele
- Growing my social media platforms
Once I was able to get these three things down and feel more confident with them, I started to expand my business by elevating my brand and my client experience.
THIS is where I truly saw the shift in my business take place which is why I am so passionate about both of these topics!
But there is SO much that has gone into years of hard work in growing and scaling my business. I will be covering many of these topics on my Gold Biz Podcast!
More About Rach!
As much as I love traveling for my job, my husband and I live in a village of 600 people in a small Wisconsin town. And I actually LOVE it! With all the craziness that’s going on, I actually love coming home to our home. As well as being close to both of our families. I’ve grown to really love it!
We are expecting our very first little baby girl due in February 2021. Our lives are about to change drastically and we couldn’t be more excited or more nervous for all the changes!!!
Given how 2020 was and the fact that we are welcoming our first baby, this has also meant many shifts in my business. I am so excited to experience these shifts with you first hand in real time! You’ll go through these changes in real time with me, which is starting with my podcast!
2020 has been a year of opening new doors to new opportunities within the entrepreneurial world and I AM HERE FOR IT. I think we all have been forced to be more creative this year through the struggles. I’m so excited for what’s to come in my business!
So now I hope you aren’t still wondering, who is Rach?! Thank you SO MUCH for reading about how I got to where I am now. And I can’t wait to share all my tips on how I did it!