Today we’d like to introduce you to Devon Higgins.
Hi Devon, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Coming out of college, I took a job with a logistics company in Chicago. I loved the city but hated the job. After a year, I was ready to make a change. After interviewing with a few different companies, I was left with the decision to join a technology company as a sales rep making similar money to my job in Chicago (something I knew I’d be good at, but didn’t love the idea of selling IT hardware), or join a small marketing consulting company that I was more passionate about, but could only pay me $500/month to start… I chose to follow my passion, joined the marketing company, and moved back in with my parents. It was a risk, to say the least.
After a few years of working with the marketing company, I decided to put on my own and start my own business. Through that process, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and the joys and struggles of being self-employed. I was able to also meet a lot of other young entrepreneurs through a co-working space in Grand Rapids. Two of the guys I met happened to be working on a startup that edited photos for real estate photographers and they had a small team over in the Philippines. The company was called PhotoUp. I knew nothing about real estate or photography, but I really enjoyed the founders and fell in love with their business philosophy, using business as a vehicle for social impact and good in the community. I was hooked.
PhotoUp became one of my clients in early 2014 and I eventually went full time with them in 2015, deciding to shut down my own marketing company in the meantime to focus on the startup. After going full time, I helped the company grow from $300,000 in annual revenue and just 20 employees to over $2.5 million and over 200+ employees in just a few short years. It has been an absolutely wild ride with plenty of highs and lows, but I continue to love what I do and love adding new chapters to my story every year.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely not! Nothing in life is easy, and business is no exception. We’ve been in spots where we didn’t know if we were going to make payroll, had employees steal client information and attempt to start their own business, issues with board members and legal disputes, the Filipino IRS shaking us down for $1,000,000, and the constant threat of hurricanes and typhoons that could wipe out our operations center in the Philippines (and almost did in December 2021).
And that’s not even mentioning COVID… In early 2020, we made the decision to have all of our staff (over 200 employees) move out of our office and work from home. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as easy as it sounds, especially in a place like the Philippines where home the internet is not common or easily accessible for most people. We spent an entire week running around the island of Cebu, gathering all mobile internet routers we could buy and delivering computers, monitors, and mobile routers to all of our employees so we could be ready for an eventual lockdown. No more than 1 week after we moved all of our operations remote, the Filipino government shut down all offices, and employees were either forced to work from home or go on unpaid leave. Turns out, we made the right call.
Fast forward to 2 years later and now the work from home program is still up and running and is one of the biggest successes in the company’s history.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
PhotoUp offers end-to-end business and marketing solutions for real estate professionals. Whether it be photo/video editing, virtual staging, property websites, or business management systems, PhotoUp can help you scale and grow your business by allowing you to focus more on growing your business and less on marketing and operations.
Unlike other real estate service providers, PhotoUp mixes a layer of service and software together. With our operations center located in the Philippines, we are able to provide both cost savings and impact to clients and employees alike.
Start a free trial today to see how PhotoUp can help take your real estate business to the next level: https://www.photoup.net/
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Interested in starting your own business? Want to learn more about making money with real estate photography? Check out our resource center for some great articles on how to get started: https://www.photoup.net/learn
- Starting at $0.75 per image
- Hire a dedicated editor for $1295/month
- Virtual Staging starts at $25/image
- Property Websites start at $9/site
- Hose Portraits start at $49.99
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.photoup.net/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/photoupmarketing/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhotoUpMarketing
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/photoupediting?lang=en
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbDkId9nQqno7rUlQY2KmMw