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Archive 2013 · How much is word-of-mouth worth in the scheme of advertis...
  
 
BullsEyeGuy
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · How much is word-of-mouth worth in the scheme of advertising/marketing?


Hello everyone,

I am currently in the Army and my wife owns a photography business (www.JennaLeighPhotography.net) that she started a few years ago while we were in Korea. After a year or two there we moved to Central Texas (Fort Hood) and we have been there since. I am still conflicted on whether or not I am going to stay in the Army, and we have been looking at all of our options in regards to this. I know if I stay in to finish out my 20 years we will move from Fort Hood and go somewhere else, and I know that we will lose all of our local connections.

There is no telling where we might go if I stay in, it could be Germany, Lousiana, Colorado, etc, and in some of these places her business might shine, but in others it might die. I really want her business to succeed because she loves it and I don't want her to not be able to do it, but my military pay is nice too.

Now, I have about 3 1/2 years left on my contract and if we stay at Fort Hood and I get out she'll have almost five years worth of business connections. I think with that amount of time and the amount of connections she might have her business might be in a really good spot, but does this sound reasonable?

How important are these connections? I mean, do you think three more years of being in and operating in an area would be worth staying there for?



Aug 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · How much is word-of-mouth worth in the scheme of advertising/marketing?


Welcome to FM!

3 1/2 years isn't long before you reach your 20 years. Calculate out the difference between leaving and staying in the Army over the rest of your life. It may be substantial. I have some friends who were in the Air Force and left shortly before putting in their 20. They all regretted leaving.

Yes word of mouth is important, but your wife seems to be able to build clientele.

Finally, photography is not a stable career. It may be good to generate supplemental income, but I wouldn't sacrifice sure things like Army retirement to continue a photography business in a particular area.



Aug 16, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · How much is word-of-mouth worth in the scheme of advertising/marketing?


Sole proprietors don't earn benefits; indeed,they pay considerably more in taxes than do employees (or members of the military) on the money they do earn. Your salary is essentially guaranteed. Her business revenue will fluctuate even if she builds a considerable business there, and it is a significant challenge to break into six figures even with a successful photography business.

There's no doubt that word of mouth is among the most important -- if not the most important -- factor in the success of many kinds of photography businesses. But part of succeeding in business is identifying a niche that you can target successfully. The link you posted indicates that she has a straightforward wedding and portrait focus. It would be challenging to pick up a run-of-the-mill wedding photography business and move it every few years and keep it alive. But maybe there's a military angle she can pursue that 1) isn't being fully covered, and 2) could allow her to build word of mouth within a more mobile and wider-reaching network.

Of course, if you get out and find a stable job locally, then you're back to two incomes (or, at least, one income and one entrepreneurial venture) and you can rely on your job for benefits.



Aug 16, 2013 at 02:07 PM
BullsEyeGuy
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · How much is word-of-mouth worth in the scheme of advertising/marketing?


I wish I had 3 1/2 years till retirement, but that's just how long I have left on this contract. Right now I am at 10, so I still have 10 to go if I stick it out.

My wife operates out of Fort Hood which is about an hour north of Austin, but the area is saturated with photographers so it makes it hard to break into the market.

If I can get the assignment, we might move to Colorado and be right next to a major city which would make finding clients/vendors easier, as well as lessen the amount of driving she would have to do. With these advantages however, still comes having to rebuild her business there which might take some time.

The job issue for me is also a big one as if I got out in the city we are in now I might have a hard time find one. In Colorado however, I would probably be able to find something soon after, or maybe even before I got out.



Aug 16, 2013 at 02:45 PM





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