Tag: Sarah Pagano Photography

The 1 Thing Every Company Needs to Be Successful!

My wife is a photographer. Maybe you’ve heard of her; if not, you will or at least should. Her name is Sarah and you can check out her website HERE.

About a year ago she had a picture go viral. This one…

Baby Angel Wings

When I say viral, I mean VIRAL! She posted it on here photography Facebook page on a Saturday night and when we woke up it had over 30,000 likes. Within a week it had reached over 15.13M people, received over 891,000 likes, had over 10,000 people comment on it, was shared over 43,000 times and her FB page fan likes went from 700 to over 10,000. It was amazing.

After that happened, she started getting messages from people telling her that other people and websites were using and posting her picture. Normally we would have welcomed the exposure, except for one thing. See that watermark at the top of the picture; people started cropping it out when they used it.

Every time Sarah received an email from someone telling her that her picture was posted without the watermark, she would contact the person that posted it. Most of those times people were pretty responsive and would either take it down, replace it with the watermarked image or at least post the link and credit my wife.  Even though most people were cooperative when Sarah would contact them, every so often she would encounter a person that was not. Most of the people who would give her a difficult time were private FB users or other medium-sized FB fan pages and in those situations, where they became difficult, she would just contact FB and that would typically resolve the problem.

Of course, she wasn’t able to address every instance; with over 15 million views, that would be impossible. Over the last year, those emails, from fans, have died down, but every once in a while, she’ll get one; which was the case last week.

Last week one of Sarah’s fans contacted her and told her that Inked Magazine had posted her picture, on their FB page, without the watermark. First off, INKED MAGAZINE?! Seriously cool. Second, how are you supposed to contend with a company that size? Their FB page has 6.6 million likes. So, my wife messaged them like she did every other time.

Honestly, when she told me I said, “What if they just brush you off? It isn’t like we can fight them over it and make them pay attention to us.” She didn’t have an answer, but messaged them anyway.

The response from the page moderator was pretty quick, super professional and completely understanding. They willingly replaced the picture, which had thousands of likes and shares, with the watermarked on and included the link to her blog. They also told her that they would rather build relationships with photographers than destroy them.

So what makes Inked Magazine stand out in this circumstance? The level of integrity they displayed in this situation. Undoubtedly they could have completely disregarded us or simply deleted the picture and left it at that. I mean, really, who are we? But instead they chose to showcase a level of integrity that few companies do.

To be clear, this isn’t about a “customer is always right” mentality. The customer isn’t ALWAYS right. Sometimes the customer is unreasonable and difficult and no matter what you do they are going to leave unsatisfied. In this case Inked Magazine decided that integrity in their service and building relationships is more important to them than a few “likes”.

Do you want a successful business? Make integrity a priority.

Bravo Inked Magazine!

What are some attributes that you’ve seen other companies display that made them successful?

The Best Way to Define Success

I realized the other day that, when it comes to our jobs, my wife is far more successful than I am.  It sounds funny to say out loud (or write in this case) because I’ve been doing my job for 18 ½ years and my wife has only been doing hers, professionally, for a year.  That doesn’t mean I’m not good at what I do, I am.  I’ve been doing it for almost two decades and I know it inside and out.  At this point it requires almost no thought.  To be fair, my wife has actually been doing her job for 11ish years, but only a year of that has been professionally.  In addition to my almost 20 years of experience I have a lot of training and education that punctuates the depth of that experience; I mean A LOT.  On the other end of that, my wife has very little “formal” training in her skill.  By in large, her skill is almost completely self-taught.  Yet, the fact remains that she is still far more successful than I.

What makes her more successful?  That depends on your definition of success.  If your definition is the amount of money you make, I might have her beat.  Although, in proportion to the amount of hours she puts in compared to how much she makes versus the amount I do, she probably slays me in that area too.  If your definition of success is based on how far up the promotional/leadership ladder you’ve climbed, then I might get her there.  Although, again, she’s self-employed so the minute she started her business, being that she’s the boss, she started at the top of the ladder.  What took me 15 years to achieve, she achieved by simply deciding to start a business.  Sarah – 2, Bruce – 0.  If either of those are your definition, they aren’t very solid goals to move toward.

There will always be someone that makes more money and always someone in a higher position, thus always someone that is more successful.

I used to look at success like that, but over that last few years that’s changed; largely in part due to my wife and others I’ve seen achieve “success”.  So how do I base success?  On this one question:  Do you love what you do?  So what does my wife do that makes her successful leaps and bounds beyond me?  She’s a photographer; and a stinking good one at that. And it’s not that she’s a photographer that makes her successful, it’s the fact that she LOVES it.

I get to go on photo shoots with my wife often.  When I accompany her, I get to watch as she turns a decade long passion into a job that she absolutely loves. I get to be privy to all her giggles and excited squeals as she clicks away and captures that literal “once in a life time” shot.  I also get to see the aftermath, in the editing portion, and there are equal portions of giggles and squeals. Then I go to my job.  I’m a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force (for those that don’t know, MSgt is a fairly high enlisted rank.  It’s the third of the top three highest enlisted ranks.  It’s essentially the equivalent to upper management).  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the career I’ve had, especially as I draw close to retirement.  Also, I’m so honored to have served my country.  But, I don’t love what I do anymore.

I work in an office, all day, managing people and programs.  I answer emails and go to meetings.  I sign things, assign tasks and coordinate with other agencies.  And I’m good at it, but it’s not what I love doing.  It hasn’t been for a long time.  There are so many other things I would love to do.

Realistically, for me success looks like teaching, speaking and writing.  I love all three.  It’s where I’m comfortable and what excites me.  So my philosophy on success goes like this:  If you can do what you love as your job, then do it. If your passionate hobby can be your dream job, it should be.  That’s success.

So like I said, my wife is a really good photographer.  She has a lot of fans, of which I am the biggest, regardless of what anyone on the internet says.  I’m her husband; I get the “Biggest Fan” title by default.  As her biggest fan I’d be remiss in not telling you to visit her website and FB Page.  Seriously, go there and see how amazing she is.

Seeking Success,


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