Don't Be Afraid of Change

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Shows Great Photography LLC

     I have debated for several years whether to tell my story on how Shows Great Photography came to be,  but I hope it might be what someone needs to hear that is going through a difficult time and needs a little encouragement. 

     The year was 2007, and the real estate market was changing. Homes were starting to sit on the market longer, and sales slowed after several years of insane sales price increases and growth. As a single mother with two children still at home, Real Estate Sales had been my life for over 25 years when my sales came to a screeching halt. The new home I had just closed on a few months earlier was going into foreclosure, and there was no way to get anyone to answer the phone at the mortgage company. When I finally got through to someone, their answer was to take my $1300 a-month house payment (that I was struggling to make) and turn it into a $ 2500-a-month payment. I was on a sinking ship and going down fast! One morning I went outside to get in my car, and it was gone. Yep... it had been repossessed. My Dad let me borrow his old Lincoln that we lovingly referred to as "Old Money" (another story for another day).  

     As I lost everything I had worked for, I started taking furniture out of my home to stage vacant homes that had been sitting on the market for months. Once I had staged these homes, we needed good photos, so I took my little point-and-shoot camera and photographed the newly staged homes. I created a database of REALTORS in SW and Central Virginia, prepared a web-based flyer with the photos, and sent it out at 6:00 in the morning to my database. Soon REALTORS were reaching out to me to include their listings on the daily eblasts. I would create a web page flyer with their photos and send it out to my database. Shortly after that, I started offering to photograph their homes. There was already another photographer in town that was photographing homes and offering floor plans of those homes. His photos were much better than mine, so I decided I could be the loudest if I could not be the best. I selected a name for my new company, "Shows Great,"  a term we had used for years to describe homes that were in excellent showing condition. I started branding my photos with "Shows Great" in the lower right corner. Soon the market knew who we were, and my little business began to grow. The staging business grew faster than the photography business due to the market conditions at that time. I started getting requests for Staging Proposals and price quotes for getting the homes market ready. Soon Trey and Ananda were working with me full-time, and Tyler was helping on weekends and nights. Martha McGuire joined our team, and later we would add more team members along the way. We worked hard but always managed to have fun. We were doing everything from removing wallpaper, painting, installing light fixtures, and installing new flooring. It was the most demanding work I had ever done. Our goal was to go in and have a home ready to go on the market in 30 days or less. Once the work was complete, we would put furniture in and staged it before it went on the market. In a time when homes were sitting on the market for months and foreclosures were at an all-time high, our newly staged homes were selling in 30 days or less.

     As the market started to recover, we began to have more requests for our photography services. Our staging business grew to the point where we could have up to 18 homes fully staged at a time and had a moving crew and staging crew. In 2017, as the photography business had grown to the point that we could no longer handle the staging end of the business, we decided to sell our staging inventory and concentrate all of our energy on our photography business.     As the real estate market has changed and evolved, we have continuously tried to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry, adding new tools and marketing services. We have now grown to 4 full-time photographers/ 3 D Techs. 

     What was the lowest point in my life turned into a catalyst to move me toward something I would never in my wildest dreams have thought possible. Each day I thank God for allowing me to do the things I love with some of the people I love the most. This has been a wild and scary ride, but what a blessing it has been. I truly believe that God never closes a door without leaving a window open. If you are going through a difficult time or wondering where to go next with your life or career, don't give up. Take a moment, mourn your losses, pick yourself up, look for that open window, and spread your wings... the best is yet to come!  

Comments (24)

Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Wanda, for sharing this story.

Many of us have had to overcome difficult challenges.

Never give up!

Nov 20, 2022 09:28 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you, Roy.

Nov 20, 2022 10:26 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Wanda Richards I am not afraid of change, I just don't like it ...... LOL

Nov 20, 2022 03:01 PM
Wanda Richards

So true :)

Nov 20, 2022 04:40 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Wanda- Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Staging a home is never easy. I love how you never gave up. I love your message...embrace change, don't be afraid of it. 

Nov 20, 2022 07:44 PM
Wanda Richards

thank you :)

 

Nov 21, 2022 01:13 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I love this story! You took a scary situation and turned it into a huge success. You're right, don't be afraid of change - spread your wings and go get your new life!

Nov 26, 2022 05:18 AM
Wanda Richards

thank you :)

Nov 29, 2022 06:35 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Wanda. Kudos to you. Never give up and never look back! It paid dividends for you. Enjoy your day.

Nov 26, 2022 05:23 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you :)

Nov 29, 2022 06:35 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Wanda - thanks for sharing your story.  It is certainly an inspiration to all of us.

Nov 26, 2022 06:50 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you!

Nov 29, 2022 06:35 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Wanda,

I'm so glad you made the decision to tell your story. What a scary time in your life but you didn't let it diminish you ! Its amazing hoe that window left open can take you in a detour you thought possible!

Nov 26, 2022 04:34 PM
Wanda Richards

Thank you!

 

Nov 29, 2022 06:36 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Nov 26, 2022 06:24 PM
Wanda Richards

Thank you!

Nov 29, 2022 06:36 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I am glad that Kathy Streib included your post in her weekly selection.   I have been lucky in my life that I have never encountered the adverse situation that I couldn't get through- and some I certainly wish I had not had the opportunity to endure!  failure is not an option in my mind - but I do recognize that many people have not been as lucky as I have. 

Nov 27, 2022 06:27 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you!

Nov 29, 2022 06:36 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Wanda,

I would never have seen your inspirational post had it not been for Kathy Streib featuring it.  I am so glad I got to hear your story.  My husband is a real estate photographer who helps me with all my media.  He doesn't work with anyone else, so I am very blessed to have him. 

Nov 27, 2022 11:20 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you :)

Nov 29, 2022 06:36 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sometimes just the right amount of tension on the violin strings of life can make you play the music that much better. I heard that from someone somewhere

Nov 27, 2022 11:05 PM
Wanda Richards

I love that!

 

Nov 29, 2022 06:37 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

LOVE your story! I so appreciate how hard you worked to start over in staging and photography.   It's very humbling to have to start over from scratch!  That car is a boat!  I bet you appreciate everything even more :) 

Nov 28, 2022 06:43 PM
Wanda Richards

Yes, I am grateful everyday.

Nov 29, 2022 06:37 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Wanda:

Welcome to ActiveRain and thank you for sharing such an inspiring story Congratulations on your success thus far with more to come!

Jeff

Nov 28, 2022 07:56 PM
Wanda Richards

Thank you!

Nov 29, 2022 06:37 PM
Gwen Fowler SC Lakes & Mountains 864-710-4518
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Walhalla, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

What a great chapter in your life.  You are so inspiring in this changing world we are in.

Nov 29, 2022 04:53 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you :)

Nov 29, 2022 06:38 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

What an incredible story of human ingenuity and perseverance. Thank you so much for sharing.

Nov 29, 2022 04:59 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you!

Nov 29, 2022 06:38 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA
Realtor

Yours is a very inspiring story, to have lost so much and still moved forward in such a powerful way.  Wow! 

Nov 29, 2022 05:36 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you.  Sometimes moving forward is all we can do, by taking little steps and not looking back.

Nov 29, 2022 06:38 PM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Wanda Richards, thank you for sharing your story with us, it will certainly inspire many. 

Nov 29, 2022 06:50 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you:)

Nov 29, 2022 06:39 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

This is a great story--congrats!  My 25 yr old daughter is trying to make a career change and she needs to be motivated just like you--gotta get out there and promote yourself!

Nov 29, 2022 10:34 AM
Wanda Richards

Thank you :)

Nov 29, 2022 06:39 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Change itself is not a good or bad thing. It’s just the passage of time and moment come or at least that’s what they say

Nov 29, 2022 09:38 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Loved your story blog Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! -- persistence pays off!  So glad you never gave up.  You are always such an inspiration!  Have a great weekend.

Dec 03, 2022 03:03 PM