by Cassandra Wisdo and Sean Myers
Lisa Spangenberg’s photography business,
A Country Mile, is local and nature-focused.
While she does not have a storefront or website, the photographer sells her work at marketplaces throughout the year. She decided to open her business last January at the age of 51 after working as a registered nurse for 19 years, as well as a part-time secretary and treasurer for Ararat Township.
Some of Spangenberg’s other hobbies include hiking, birding and gardening, which are also showcased in her pictures.
Spangenberg’s grown daughter, Chelsey, who lives close by, works with her two days a week as a fellow photographer. She is her best friend and big supporter, and has been with her every step of the way, taking classes, hiking and taking pictures.
A dream come true
Although it was always a dream of hers to have her own business, the idea to start A Country Mile began when Spangenberg’s friends encouraged her to set up a table at local fairs and fundraisers.
She started by contacting Lisa Hall-Zielinski at the Small Business Development Center for advice. Hall-Zielinski suggested attending business courses at The University of Scranton. After completing the courses with her daughter, Spangenberg found she had all the basics for getting started, as well as a support system available anytime she had questions or needed advice.
No place like home
Spangenberg’s work features elements she enjoys, and the business focuses on selling that work. Her inspiration comes from many sources, but in the end, she wants her photography to be something one might hang on a wall at home. She offers various sizes of matted, ready-to-frame prints, as well as pre-framed, ready-to-hang pieces.
That feeling of “home” is a common theme the photographer’s customers enjoy about her work, and it keeps them coming back for more.
Spangenberg also contributes to NEP Telephone’s calendar each year. All the images collected for the calendar are from local photographers.
Do what you enjoy
Spangenberg’s recommendation to other entrepreneurs is “to do something you like.”
“If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be successful,” she said. “Think big but start small and work within your means, and then expand your business as your income grows.
“A business is always a work in progress. Evaluate what is working for you and what is not, and be flexible enough to make those changes.”
On the horizon
Looking to the future, Spangenberg hopes to bring the business online. While she believes doing so will expand her customer base, she also values the human element of selling her photography face-to-face, and believes it’s necessary for people to see her work in person to fully appreciate it.”
For more information about Lisa Spangenberg and her photography, visit the A Country Mile Photography page on Facebook or contact the businesswoman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cassandra Wisdo and Sean Myers are interns with The University of Scranton Women’s Entrepreneurship Center under the supervision of Donna Simpson, Consultant Manager.