I never set out to build an associate team when I first started Kylee Ann Studios. I didn’t even know what an associate team was. After my second baby, Pipe, was born, my business had exploded. I was booking over 20 weddings a year, family pictures, birth stories and starting to host workshops and classes too.
I was so overwhelmed so one day I posted on Instagram that I was hiring. I posted on Instagram and got 50 emails within minutes. Rachel was one of them. You can read here whole story here. But to sum it up…she had invested in me, and proven to me she was willing to do whatever I needed. She offered to watch my kids, clean my house, do photography tasks and more. And I took her up on all of it. She helped me pack my house, painted furniture, took stuff to the post office and more.
After about six months of working for me, she was helping me at a workshop when someone came up to me and asked if I would ever bring on Rachel as a photographer. And that was the beginning of my team. I had never thought of bringing Rachel on as an associate but by the next week, she was already contracted and booking her own clients through Kylee Ann Studios. We don’t do things slow around here when they feel right.
WHAT DOES MY BUSINESS NEED
When I start feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, stressed, I lean into the question, “what does my business need?” Every person on this team was brought on like Rachel. I opened up the opportunity, trusted my gut and found the perfect person to fill in.
When I’m hiring new team members, I am not looking for the best photographer, marketer, assistant, etc. While those things are important, they can be taught. I’m really looking for someone who’s grateful, kind, teachable, willing to learn and excited to learn. They also need to be self-motivated and really on top of things. That’s what my business is built on — kindness and efficiency.
I’m never looking for someone who just wants a great job. I want someone who is here for the whole package – the team, this team, our sisterhood.
MY HIRING PROCESS
When I post about hiring, I try to keep it pretty open ended. A lot of my best hires have been found when I simply say “Email me why you’d be a good fit for our team.” I do this to find those people that are going to put in effort and really sell themselves to me.
I’m a gut girl. I think it drives my husband crazy that every time I hire I toss out the emails that are short or too formal even if their resume is solid and their portfolio is the best. 😂I know they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, but I can’t feel it.
My hiring process is: prayer, acting on faith and trusting in promptings. I know it’s unconventional, but it has worked for me time and time again. I know that I without a doubt have the right people on my team. Women that are kind, grateful, teachable and excited. Not people just looking for an incredible job, but the whole package — sisterhood.
We have four photographers, an editor, one videographer and two assistants! I’ll introduce you to them!
Rachel was the founding member of the Kylee Ann Team. After just a few years she replaced me as the lead wedding photographer. She mainly shoots our weddings but also does family sessions during our busier seasons. She has been with me through all the changes at Kylee Ann Studios!
Katie was our second hire. She is our amazing editor. When Rachel started shooting too, I had four or five weddings a week. Overwhelmed doesn’t even come close to how I was feeling. We had a one-week turnaround. I was editing everything by myself and it was so exhausting. I posted that I needed help and my friend, Katie, responded. She’s been our full-time editor ever since! Katie is so fast — like lightning speed. At first she just edited for Rachel, but now she’s editing for five photographers….while caring for FIVE boys. She’s amazing.
Mandi has been my good friend for years and years before she even started doing photography. She was my neighbor’s sister. A few years after I met her, she started getting into photography and doing more things in the industry so we became close friends. In 2020, her little baby modeled for me all the time. Every time she came to model, she stayed to help — styling flat lays and organizing the studio. When I posted that I was looking for another commercial photographer, she dm’d me to congratulate me — not offer herself for the position! I told her she was at the top of my list, so she filled out the application and the rest is history. I’m so glad she joined the team! Mandi is my right hand girl for commercial work. She’s just one of those consistent friends, a genuinely, kind human being.
At the same time I hired Mandi, I hired Shelby. When she was moving here from California many years ago, she reached out to me and said she wanted to work for me. We weren’t hiring at the time. She actually ended up becoming my nanny for a week then her life got crazy! We lost contact for a few years and disappeared off my radar until she interviewed me for a school project. At the end of 2019 a lot of stuff was going on in my family and she just showed up one day, and just did my laundry. Her service slowly turned into her nannying for me, running all the studio errands and doing my handyman projects with her husband. She was already apart of my team (as a nanny) when I was hiring so it was a smooth easy transition that had her pinching herself everyday. Shelby does weddings and families and is actually moving to California next month! I am so excited for her to go out to California and bring Kylee Ann Studios to the beach because we get so many brands asking for year round sunshine.
Shelby and Mandi were the two people I needed in my life to heal the brokenness that was in my life at the time. They were so kind and supportive and grateful for everything that Kylee Ann Studios is. They were so grateful to be a part of the team and I am so grateful for them. They just bring out the best in me, and all of us. Our team is so strong because of these two girls.
Because Shelby is moving we actually had to hire another amazing person, Alycia. She is our newest photographer. I met her in 2020 at a conference in California. She recently moved out to Cache Valley from Washington but we haven’t seen each other because COVID happened and nothing was really going on in the industry. A few months ago, she volunteered to have her daughter model for a brand shoot one day. I ended up asking her to just do shoot the whole thing because I was booked with shoots. As things tend to go, we got busier and busier. And I was feeling maxed out. I posted that we were hiring and again, Alycia responded to congratulate me like Mandi, I told her that she would be at the top of my list if she was interested. By the next hour we officially had her on the team! (Fast and decisive. Just the way I like it) Alycia is such a good, supportive person. She is kind and authentic and fits in perfectly with the team!
Katelyn is our marketing assistant. We started our lifelong friendship when I shot her senior pictures…then prom pictures. Later she became my nanny for over a year while her boyfriend was on a mission. I shot her engagements, bridals and wedding when her boyfriend came back. She volunteered to help out at our annual Mother’s Day event. After the event I asked her to come be our marketing assistant. I AM SO HAPPY she is on our team – and will keep her on my team in any and all positions as long as I can take her. ;) Every time I ask her to do a big project, she gets it done and she does it so fast. She’s me. I love her.
Julianne is our VA, she is studying PR and helps with the podcast, the editing and the graphics for it. And is just a really great writer. She does a ton of our social media and answers emails too! One of Julianne’s strengths is that she understands things without me having to explain it to her, she is so intuitive and will word things just as I would. Crazy!
And then my brother, Austin, is our videographer! He was actually my very first hire when he was still in high school. He’s always been a Kylee Ann Studios supporter, and super involved. He has been doing amazing videos for our brands to use on social media and their websites. Working alongside my brother is even more fun than you could ever imagine.
When someone joins my team, they go through a virtual training that I’ve created for all my new hires. Each position has different courses. After they take classes on all the different things we do, we do an in-person question and answer. Then. I have them shadow me on shoots. It doesn’t take long before I throw them to the wolves and let them figure it out for themselves. The best way to learn is hands on.
I do have a contract that includes a non-compete, non-disclosure, non-solicitation and intellectual property.
PERKS OF HAVING AN ASSOCIATE TEAM
A lot of people think that a bigger team means more money but that’s not what I see…
My team is my family, my emotional support and cheerleaders. The pinned group chat at the top of my phone for all the things…
➕ABILITY TO SERVE MORE PEOPLE.
I see a group of talented people that can serve and influence more people more efficiently than ever. We have grown bigger, faster, stronger because we work together and work to each team member’s strength.
➕OPPORTUNITIES TO COACH WOMEN.
I find so much joy and fulfillment in helping my girls see their potential, set and crush their goals and provide amazing incomes for their families.
t’s been so motivating for me to help them do that for their families and to prove to their husbands and their friends and all the naysayers in their life that they are successful and crush it as moms.
Hi, I’m Kylee and I’m a business coach for women! I specialize in helping women make money while still balancing their families. Learn more about my courses and coaching options at http://kyleeann.com/education
Kylee started Kylee Ann Photography 9 years ago, and has since grown from a one woman amateur show to a full associate team. We shoot 50-75 weddings a year, and thrive on kindness and service. After a year of teaching Intro to Photography at the local technical college, she discovered that helping other entrepreneurs create thriving businesses is what fires her up! She hosts semi-annual Kylee Ann Sleepovers all over the US, speak at conferences and teach online courses about running a small business and marketing.
May 3, 2021