Ben Esner Photography’s Story
BEN ESNER/BEN ESNER PHOTOGRAPHY
New York, NY
Years as own boss: 1.5
In his own words: “I knew photography was more than just a hobby, when I realized I was seeing the world differently. I saw the light, people and buildings differently. It was a whole new experience than how I visualized things before.”
From being in front of the camera to behind it, Ben Esner is calling all the shots as founder, CEO and photographer at Ben Esner Photography.
“The idea to start my own business had been percolating for years because I was assisting other people, and one day, I pinched myself and was like ‘wait a minute,’ I can do this too,” said Esner. “Also from my years acting in New York, I’d seen enough headshots, and I knew there was a possibility to step into the arena.”
A little over a year ago, Esner photographed two friends to build a portfolio. Last spring, he booked his first paid client. By summer 2013, he was getting calls for his service. Once he realized he wanted to make a business out of this, he made a checklist.
“I knew I had to take credit cards, set up a Web site, build a Facebook page and get a P.O. box. But accepting credit cards was on top of my list. I gave everybody a choice on how to pay, since you have to pay to book an appointment. Almost everyone chose to pay their deposit with a card. These are actors. They want to get booked, and have no time to mail a check.”
“As a small business owner, it’s very important to get the most bang for your buck. Flint is not just for card payments. I can compile all my transactions and keep track of everything through Flint.”
He started using PayPal, but ran into a couple of problems with clients not having an account, or not wanting to set up an account. Esner found Flint through Google search, and after researching other options, he downloaded the app.
“I love the invoice feature. Most of my business is done on the go, so if somebody calls me while I’m in line in the grocery store, I can look at the calendar on my phone, schedule them in, hang up and send an invoice immediately. There’s also a coupon feature that can become a great referral service.”
On top of the convenience, Esner says the rates are very competitive and he doesn’t have to carry around any extra equipment to use Flint.
“Yes, that was a plus. I didn’t like the idea of carrying around a card reader, I have enough hardware to lug around as a photographer.”