Hi everyone! As part of my 9-to-5 weekly blog posts, I thought it would be fun to talk to people out there who have transitioned to different careers, offering a bit of inspiration for anyone thinking of doing the same in their own lives. Rita Norton, owner of Photovation, is such a woman, who left the corporate world to follow her creativity into several areas. I met Rita when I hired her to consolidate six or seven ancient VHS tapes from high school to beautiful (and viewable) DVDs, allowing me once again to see the speech I gave on recycling in high school, and the only video I have of my father, and other wonderful memories. Read on to learn about her journey…
What do you do for a living these days?
Well, let me ask you – do you have photos in a shoebox, old VHS tapes, or thousands of images on your computer and/or phone but are not enjoying any of them? Did just reading that make you feel a bit guilty or anxious? Why did you take the photos to begin with? You took them because something prompted you – you wanted to capture the moment to share and preserve it. That is what I do – I help you tell and share the stories of your photos. I coach, offer workshops, and work with clients to design easily accessible, secure, and beautiful photo libraries. The goal of my company, Photovation is to provide my clients with photo motivation!
What career were you in before this?
I worked for 10 years in high tech as a financial analyst and marketing manager. Once kids joined the picture, I created a fabulous online invitation and announcements company, designing birth announcements and baby shower invitations, with my most popular designs being babydmv driver licenses. When the economy took a downturn, so did my business, and we purchased a photography company. So I guess you can say I have had a couple careers and they all have had a creative component. Hey, you can be creative with numbers!
What inspired you to make this transition?
I was taking a lot of photos and I started asking people what they did with their photos. People would be a bit embarrassed and then say there were in a pile in the closet or shoved in a cabinet. And this was their printed photos. Their digital photos were on their memory cards or in a ‘picture’ folder on their hard drive. The message was clear – people did not have time or knowledge to actually enjoy and share their photos.
My big “a-ha” moment was when I put together a photo book of my son’s baseball season. It featured all the players, fans, their tournaments, and their goofy smiles. My intention was to share it and every single parent wanted a copy of it – they were desperate to have these memories captured and so excited to give to their boys as a memento of their baseball season.
What were your biggest challenges in changing careers?
Building a new list, networking, learning to use social media as a way to share my expertise and educating people about what it means to be a photo organizer.
What advice can you share with others thinking about moving into a new line of work?
Be patient – starting over is a long road, your success will not happen overnight. Build your authentic message; be true to your passion and give of your time and service. Be open to learning from others, ask questions, and read.
My #1 piece of advice – surround and align yourself with people who support you and people you want to be like. This will help you create a successful environment.