Anna McNaught is a published graphic designer and photographer originally from the east coast and now living in Los Angeles, California. After graduating Ithaca College with a degree in photography and design, Anna Moved to the west coast to pursue a career in the arts. Her photography and design work came together as she began creating surreal-fantasy images in Photoshop. Anna is the founder of The Liked Photo, a blog for photographers and business owners looking to learn photography and grow their brands on Instagram.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I have an artist background from day one. Surrounded by art my whole life, it was only natural for me to become a photographer and graphic designer. I have always had a vivid sense of imagination and I believe that stems from my roots of growing up on 40 acres of land with nothing to do other than get lost in the woods and play make-believe!
What inspired you to start your business?
After growing my photography on Instagram, I wanted to give back to my community. So I started The Liked Photo to teach others what I have learned over the past few years of being a freelance photographer and fulltime graphic designer. I wanted to teach others that they can easily grow a business through Instagram and online and escape the 9-5 if they so desire. I believe that there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored and with the power of online marketing, we can get away from our desks and computers and do the things we've always wanted to do.
Where is your business based?
All over the world! Since it's an online business, I can take it anywhere that I go - but currently, I am located in Los Angeles and so is my business.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I spent a lot of time pre-planning ideas and putting lots of hours into ideas that failed. I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset and when I came up with the idea for The Liked Photo, it just clicked! (no photographer pun intended). The major step I took and continue to take every day was to invest time and money in my education. I've learned more in the past year of starting my business than I did in my 4 years of college!! I also try to test new ideas and concepts and see what works.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Instagram! I try to constantly connect with my audience and offer lots of value. I also sell prints at weekend art fairs and that has been a great way to raise awareness.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenges have always been, self-doubt, imposture syndrome (feeling as though I don't know enough about what I'm teaching), and shiny object syndrome (information overload and signing up for too many courses). I have overcome these by reminding myself that there are different levels to everything. I'm sure there have been countless CEO's that have doubted themselves and their abilities to do what they do but if they didn't push through, we wouldn't have some of the companies that we have all come to know and love. It's a matter of perspective. As for Shiny object syndrome, I still struggle with that!
How do you stay focused?
By making lots of to-do lists!! The best thing for me and my best advice for others is to step away from the project when you're lacking focus. I've found that a quick walk, yoga, or just taking a break will re-center my thoughts and bring me back to the task at hand.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
I try to bring my bubbly personality into The Liked Photo. There are a few other businesses that are teaching photography and Instagram marketing but we are very different. My goal is to great a space that artists and business owners can learn, contribute, and share their ideas.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
Using email opt-ins on my blog posts and offering something of value for free, has been very helpful. I'm able to capture email leads while the reader receives a free checklist, ebook, etc.
I think business/blog owners, forget the importance of growing an email list but to do so, you should offer something to your customer for free.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Spend lots of time learning your skill or craft. Education is so important whether it's through an accredited program or just learning online. I would not be where I am now if it wasn't for how much I read, watch, and absorb. And then, just do it!! take the leap and start your business and test, test, test.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
Favorite app - Instagram of course!
blog- Neil Patel and Melyssa Griffin - They both offer so much value and have been my go-to resources. They are also awesome people, down to earth and easy to talk to.
book - Non-business: 1000 Splendid Suns; Business: 4-hour Workweek - It's a great book to reevaluate how and where we are spending our time. We can get double the amount of work done in half the time if we take out the hours of putzing around. It also talks about how we shouldn't wait until we are 65 to retire and see the world which I fully agree with!
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
There are a lot but I absolutely love ConvertKit for emailing. It's easy to use, clean and simple interface, and makes opt-in forms, automation, and funnels a breeze. I also love ClickFunnels for again, the ease of use, and Squarespace for websites.
Who is your business role model? Why?
Again, there are a lot but off the top of my head, Neil Patel. He's started a whole digital marketing empire and really knows his stuff. He is a genius when it comes to numbers and outsourcing to get the tasks done. I had the pleasure of meeting him last week and listening to his q & a session. He is a down to earth guy who came from nothing and learned all of this on his own.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
I'm planning on launching my first premium course about Instagram for business owners. This will teach businesses how to grow their brand on Instagram and triple their revenue. I also plan on creating more content, increasing revenue, and create a thriving community. Oh... and plan my wedding!!! :)
How can our readers connect with you?