Ann Young is a writer-photographer based in NY with 18 years of experience. Since graduating from New York University, she’s worked as a photographer and freelance retoucher. Ann teaches beginning retouchers how to use Adobe software for photo and video post-production. Fix The Photo is the most trusted agency in the online photo retouching business since 2003.
She is the Co-Inventor and CEO of Fix The Photo. Blogger, teacher, leader, digital nomad.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Ann Young: I started learning photography during my college days, even before that I was shooting photos on film with my parents’ camera. Then when I was at NY University I took a few courses in photography and it turned out to be a love for me. I never thought I would be doing this professionally.
The process of starting Fix The Photo was quite long, but the idea came to life pretty quickly. We actually started working on it during my internship after graduation, where I had the opportunity to experience photoshopping. I realized that there’s a huge gap between everyone who does know these skills and those who don’t, so I thought it would be a great idea if we could fill this gap by offering a photo editing service that helps people to easily retouch their photos.
My partner also had the same vision, so we decided to take action and co-founded Fix The Photo. I first started blogging about it with the idea of sharing my experiences with photography and things that inspired me to move in this direction and I turned it into a full-fledged photo editing and retouching service with just a team of just two.
Our vision for Fix The Photo is to offer people a place where they can resolve all their photo problems and get professional help easily. We want to be the company of choice for all of your online image retouching and editing needs. Today we are getting over 1.5M monthly visitors. We have more than 10,000 clients from all over the world and that number is growing rapidly.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Ann Young: I wanted to be a photographer. I took pictures of everything. I was the family photographer. I got my first camera when I was 15. I use to take pictures of anything that interested me—the moon, clouds, snowflakes, flowers, bugs, all kinds of stuff. I then worked as a freelance photo editor for a couple of years and I realized that there was a big market to target. I knew that if I could create a platform, we would be able to reach out to more customers and provide a wider range of services to them. That’s how the idea of Fix The Photo came up.
I worked on it full-time from home for almost two years before I took it to the next level and started investing my own money into the company. The biggest challenge for me has been to find talented people who can help me grow my business. We have been able to expand our team so we can provide exceptional customer service and meet clients’ expectations even better than before.
Today, we are proud to be the leader in the photo editing niche with over 1.5M monthly visitors around the world.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Ann Young: I am a good cook. I don’t do it often but when I do, I do it the best.
I can bake my own cake and cupcakes. I am good at making sandwiches too. Some of my friends were surprised to know that I like cooking. They thought that all CEOs just like to eat in restaurants and don’t like cooking at home. But for me, cooking is not only a way to save money but an opportunity to spend some quality time with family members or friends.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Ann Young: Entrepreneurs are agents of change and see opportunities where others see obstacles. The entrepreneurial mindset can be summed up in two words: “possibility thinking”. They look at problems as challenges and believe that any obstacle can be overcome with sufficient effort. Entrepreneurs are self-aware individuals who possess an unyielding desire for success. They take responsibility for their actions and do not blame others when things go wrong. Taking personal responsibility allows entrepreneurs to place pressure on themselves without suffering from stress or burnout. An entrepreneur typically has a great idea, the drive and ambition to put that idea into action, and the ability to take risks.
I simply define an entrepreneur as “A person who takes the initiative to do something new, especially something that has business potential”.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Ann Young: In a nutshell, a supportive and inclusive culture in the workplace is all about having positive relationships with your employees. A supportive and inclusive environment will help employees to feel valued, motivated, and engaged at work. This is in contrast to an environment where there is little or no support or where employees feel constantly under threat of being punished or rejected. In addition, a supportive and inclusive culture helps to ensure that the overall company culture is positive and productive.
Having a supportive and inclusive culture is crucial for any company. It will help you attract talent, retention rates will be higher, and fewer employees will leave. If your company doesn’t have a strong culture that helps nurture its employees, then it’s time to take a closer look at what you’re doing wrong.
Your employees are the ones who keep the business going day in and day out. If they feel as if they’re not being treated well or as if they don’t enjoy coming to work, then it’s likely that they’ll take their talents elsewhere.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Ann Young: I think leaders can be disruptive in the post-covid world just like ever before. Challenging the status quo and bringing up new ways to do the same things in a better way because I believe disruption is not about how you can reach your customer but how you can reach the consumer’s mindset. How you change their habits and make them consider new things is important.
In order to be disruptive, leaders need to think outside the box. Being disruptive doesn’t mean that you need to be innovative or creative, but you need to be able to see the world from a different perspective.
There are many ways to do this. Here are some tips:
- Take an existing concept and give it a new twist.
- Look at the world from a different perspective.
- Turn something old into something new.
- Ignore the rules and create your own game plan.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Ann Young: Basically what I do is fix old photos that are either damaged, discolored, torn up, or just not clear. If you can send me your old photo I will work on making the picture more clear, visible by cleaning it up so it looks good.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Ann Young: My most useless talent is probably identifying cars. I’ve always had an interest in auto racing and now that I’m older, it’s becoming more of a hobby. When I see a new model pass me on the road, I’m often able to identify it by name and model year, trust me!
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Ann Young: “The Laptop Entrepreneur”
I’ve been very lucky to live in many different countries and cities in my life. I’ve traveled a lot and I’m not someone who has trouble adapting to new cultures and environments. It’s one of the things I like best about myself, I can adapt quickly to anything. So, I think that’s why this title fits me the best. The Laptop Entrepreneur is someone who works from anywhere and also can adapt quickly to any situation. That would be me!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Ann Young for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Ann Young or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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