LaurieL Photography Succeeds With Help From SCORE Mentor
Behind every closed door lies a new opportunity. No one knows this better than Laurie Ludes, owner of LaurieL Photography. After being laid off in May 2002 from Verizon Wireless, where she had worked in marketing and sales, predominately as a graphic designer for 15 years, Laurie was determined to take control of her destiny. “The lay-off forced me to a fork in the road and required me to make a quick decision as to what I was going to do next,” says Laurie.
Laurie was excited by the possibility of turning her photography hobby and graphic design experience into a business. The only catch was that she didn’t have prior business experience.
Today, Laurie’s business—LaurieL Photography—is busy and thriving. The skilled photographer and graphic designer has found a niche in photographing pregnant women and has a number of unique products, including DVD slideshows, customized photography coffee table books, holiday cards and note cards.
Laurie now lives in the Greater Portland Oregon Metropolitan Area and has a regular clientele. She has expanded her business to include Maternity and Newborn photography and photographs children upon request. Laurie still works out of her home and has grown her business to over $100,000 in yearly profits. Laurie continues to do frequent business in Orange County as well as keeping up with her SCORE counselor. She says, “I still stay in touch with my counselor, Joe DiStanislao, who continues to be the most wonderful, caring, and concerned about my success person I have ever met.”
Laurie’s dream of starting a photography and graphic design business took a major step forward when she visited the Orange County SCORE Chapter and met SCORE Mentor Joe DiStanislao, a former marketing executive. “Meeting with Joe that day was one of the most wonderful encounters I’ve made in this endeavor to meet my dream. Talking to someone who had been successful and who knew what it took to make a business thrive gave me confidence that I still draw on today.”
Following her first visit to SCORE, Laurie attended a number of SCORE workshops and returned to meet with Joe several times to discuss start-up plans, marketing, selling and pricing. "Joe helps me stay focused on the important things and encourages me to get to the next level. He really pushes me to succeed," says Laurie.
During the summer of 2002, Laurie immersed herself in research and visited the Orange County Chapter Web site, where she found a treasure trove of small business information. Laurie explains, “I read and read, printing out almost every page on the Web site and reading it again. I found everything I needed to get my business started—everything except someone right there answering my questions in person. Then, I noticed that I could set up an appointment to meet with people who would office advice and mentoring—and there was no charge! I called right away.”
As her business grows, Laurie knows that when she needs future help she can contact SCORE Mentor Joe DiStanislao and other mentors at the Orange County SCORE Chapter. “SCORE is wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about the organization. I am privileged to have such a wonderful group of people who not only stand behind me, but who also guide me on this endeavor.”