In the view finder: Putting Your Clients In The Center Of Your Business.

Clients First

Welcome! My name is Ashly McHatton and I am a branding photographer and strategist. I help my clients take bold leaps in their business, and create unique ways for them to standout authentically. If you are a reader or existing client, welcome back!! Now, grab yourself a coffee and dig in!

Why did you start a business? Was it to help others? To do what you love? For freedom? Flexibility? To make money? No matter what your reason, you need clients- paying clients. And to get those clients in the door, there are several ways to do that. But those first relationships are key to your business. It is the difference between getting new clients, and raving fans, or going under months later.

A HUGE bold move that may seem obvious, is putting your clients in the middle, at the core, of your business. 

If you didn't have to worry about money, what choices would you make to better serve them? Would you be more patient? Offer a money-back guarantee? Deliver personal gifts to them? Give an extra hour of your time? 

I am not saying that you should put yourself or your business in financial jeopardy, or not value yourself. On the contrary, I am saying to hold firm boundaries and value what you offer, but be in business for the long-haul. 

Here are 5 ways to put your client in the center of your business

  1. Personal Touch. This can be anything from a handwritten note, custom gift during or at the end of their experience with you, phone call to see how they like the product that they purchased, etc. Making people feel appreciated and seen whether they spend $5 or $5,000 will keep them coming back and get them talking about you and your business.
  2. Refund Policy. Do you believe in the products and services you offer? Offering a refund policy helps take the fear and risk out of buying from you. AND if they do refund (which sucks, but sometimes the service isn't a good fit for where they are right now), they will trust you when they see another product or service that they want from you, they will be happy to buy, knowing they can count on you and your word.
  3. Your Language. It's like that saying, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Speaking in a way that people know that you understand their hopes, fears, and dreams, is SO important. As owners we often forget what it is like as the client. We get lost talking in our jargon fail to realize our clients have checked out of the conversation. We need to speak to them in a way that addresses their needs and lets them know that we have the solution they are looking for.
  4. Listen. Listen to feedback from your clients. Listen for ways to improve yourself and your business. Listen to what your peers won't do, and where you can find and fill a small need or provide extra value. 
  5. Be Humble. You'll make mistakes. You will stumble and fall, and fail. You will make choices for your interests first and your clients' second and you'll forget how you got to where you are. When you mess up, apologize and make it right. You are human and letting your clients see that and make course corrections and communicate that with them, will make them continue to trust and remain loyal to you.

How do you put your clients first? I would love to hear how you and your business put your clients first. 

In the view finder: Creative Maternity Shoot

I love photography. Period. It is my career and my hobby. Doing a variety of projects helps me continue to connect with my clients, challenge my imagination, and learn something new.

Amanda Diaz is a photographer that I admire. She has a fashion and and fine art look to her works and is a master at creating looks with unexpected items.

For this maternity session the goal was to create an ethereal, fairy inspired, photo shoot. We went out to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and with the help of stunning makeup by Audrey Main, we create a fashion and dream-like session for this glowing mother to be. Check out a few of the images and the video below.  

In the view finder: Hampton Painting

Success In Preparation

In life and in business, preparation is 90% of what creates a successful outcome.  Since he was 17-years-old Michael Hampton, owner of Hampton Painting, has been working in the construction field.  With his talent in painting and natural abilities to lead-starting his own business was just a matter of time, for Michael. And one of the biggest keys to being a successful painter is in the preparation.

For clients who have watched their dream homes and spaces come to life while working with Hampton Painting, they too will tell you that most of the time and work is in the meticulous preparation necessary for a superior result.  The do not cut corners, they educate their clients about the different products available- help them choose-and know why selecting better quality products is worth their investment.

Beyond choosing excellent products and getting a client's home meticulously prepped- having the right people on the team is critical. Talent is just one trait Michael looks for in his employees. Integrity and motivation are the essential qualities each member of Hampton Painting must have.

Since he started his business he has never sacrificed quality for profit. It is evident in every area of his business, from the people he hires to his performance on the job.

Even with such high values and standards, running a business has its challenges, but with any obstacles that Michael has faced, his faith, family, and friends have been his rock and provided the encouragement he's needed to keep going.

Outside of work, Michael loves wrestling and playing with his 5-year-old son, traveling, and relaxing. He brings that same fun loving and easy going spirit to work with him, which is evident by the fun, ease and camaraderie he's created among his team.

Everyone at Hampton Painting truly takes pride in their work and is excited to help their clients bring the vision of what they want into reality. Michael is also great at offering suggestions when people are unsure about what they want- but know that what they have- isn't right for them.

To learn more about working with Michael Hampton and his team, please call (530) 355-3247 or visit

In the view finder: Kyle Vowell Insurance

Protecting the Life You Love

Curiosity and freedom. These are the two strongest ingredients in creating and protecting the life you love. Curious about how he ended up with terrible policies from his insurance agent after leaving a corporate job, Kyle Vowell, owner of Kyle Vowell Insurance agency, saw the need for respectable agents and paired that with his extensive customer service and genuine love of helping others, and a heart of an entrepreneur, and decided to open his own insurance office in Redding, CA. "I was solving one problem: Not enough good, respectable agents, willing to educate their clients."

Kyle knew he could solve that problem and help his clients have the right coverage in place to protect all that they have built and are in the process of building in their lives, while creating a life he loves for him and his beautiful bride. He also knew creating this life would allow him to give back more to the people and causes he is passionate about.

It is this deep clarity that has kept him going when he was first starting out and creating the name and incredible reputation of his business; knowing that he can design a life of freedom that revolves around the things he loves: helping others, being outdoors, and spending time with his wife, friends, and family.

He may have the heart of an entrepreneur, but his soul is that of a teacher. He spends his time reviewing his clients' past, present, and their goals for the future to not throw them into a plan, but educate them into policies that best fit their needs and that have the biggest benefits for them. "Many people don't realize what they have whether its material possessions like a house that they could lose without the right protection or the rest of their families well being if something happened to them without the proper protection." 

Kyle's number one tip for working and searching for your insurance agent is, "Spend time with your agent reviewing what your coverages are--ask questions. You wouldn't give your money over to someone to invest without understanding the strategy, but most people let their agents renew their policies year in and year out, never make a change, never ask what has changed. The only time a change is made is to save money. People think of insurance as a commodity. It kind of is when you look at it as a commodity, but if you can't rebuild your house, after a disaster because you didn't review your policy the last 10 years, it's not a commodity any more. If your family has to sell your house or be foreclosed on because you passed away and failed to have a life insurance policy, it's not a commodity anymore.  So I would have to say that my best tip is to educate yourself on insurance or get a good agent who will."

Outside of work, Kyle loves to travel with his wife.  "We are both from small towns in Mississippi and don't have any family here except each other. We do have great friends that have made us feel like family!. My wife and I had never seen country like we have here in Northern California and Southern Oregon. We are just starting life together, as we were married this past November."

Though he is easy going and has a caring nature which is evident when you are working with him, Kyle demands his employees to have a strong work ethic, high morals, professionalism, be self motivated, and add to the team environment while maintaining the drama free atmosphere in the office. "I work hard to make sure my employees want to work for me. I love people and I want people to be happy, including my employees It's not always the best combination when you're a boss. For self-motivated people, I am a great leader. I can help people thrive that want to thrive.

Megan has the best work ethic of any employee I’ve ever had-and I’ve had over 100’s of people that I have managed. I do my best not to take advantage of that. Megan is honest, caring and treats our clients with the utmost respect. Megan has a knack for picking things up quickly and will take on anything I throw her way. Our customers rave about her customer service. Often times I’ll catch Megan listening to long stories from clients, very attentively, like she has nothing else to do. That’s when you know someone cares. Because as soon as the client leaves she is 15 minutes behind on everything, but she always makes it up somehow.


Jacob is a bright, young, charismatic, guy, with lots of love for learning new things. He is going to be a great asset to our team. Jacob also has a knack for marketing and I see him taking our exposure to the next level."

Kyle and everyone at Kyle Vowell Insurance Agency cares about their clients. Truly. This is what sets him apart from his competition. He puts his clients first, not his commission. "One of the reasons I got into this business is because there was a lack of caring in the insurance industry. To name another, it would be educating my clients. I like to inform them as much as possible about what their coverages should be and why. Most of them really appreciate that. Many clients will even say I’ve never had an agent go over my coverages with me."

Being curious about your coverages and asking questions is the best way to be educated on the policies you have and to find out the ones you should have. Kyle has created a life and business around helping those that are curious about their needs, finding the right protections for their lives, giving his clients the freedom and piece of mind so they're protected in case of the worst and set up to continue to grow a strong legacy.

If you are interested in learning more about Kyle's company and if you are in the right policies, please visit for more information, or call him and his team at 530-605-4740.


In the view finder: Roz Ware

Photo by: Harry Ware

Photo by: Harry Ware

The Path To Financial Freedom Is A Gut Feeling

There's the saying that if you have your health, you have everything. You never realize just how true that is until you or someone you know becomes sick or injured. For those of you that have followed my story, you have seen the struggle that it has been for us to find the road back to health for my son who has been battling Crohn's disease. As a parent you try and balance the advice you get from your doctors, the information you find in books and on line, as well as the information you get from other's struggling with the same conditions and obstacles. It is not an exact science, and you reach a point when you realize that you are the one that has to take control of your health and find the way back to wellness.

This is how Roz Ware, creator of, started her journey to health and financial success 5 years ago. Her journey began with a question and curiosity about the large creative businesses in London and an idea for a book. With a publisher lined up and things seemingly in place, there was still no momentum building around this project. During this time she was also battling IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which the effects of it not only left her internally uncomfortable, but the impact of the illness was notably effecting her mindset, productivity, confidence, and compounded the feeling and reality of working long days and making no progress.

Roz sought out the advice of doctors, personal trainers, and nutritionists, but nothing seemed to resonate. So, after much frustration, she took control over her own health and found what it was that her body needed. Soon, she was helping her friends and family that were suffering from the similar digestive issues and soon, it clicked- this is her calling and was born. 

Now Roz passionately communicates her knowledge and mission to help others increase their energy and health using a specific list of soulful foods and supplements. She believes that internal and digestive health no only increases your vibrational energy, but that it also increases her clients' selling power, and allows them to step effortlessly into the mindset of a 6-figure-earner.

When faced with the challenges of running her own business, Roz's unwavering faith and positivity is what keeps her going. And living by example, nourishing her body and mind they way she guides her clients to live, keeps her focused and moving forward. Also, her belief that growth and knowledge is the result of challenges and failures, allows her to more easily welcome setbacks and quickly get past them.

Her number 1 tip if you want to take your business to the next level, and you know you have WAY more inside than what you have been able to share, and getting into the 6-figure-mindset, eating soulful foods is the best way to start. One of the most soulful foods, according to Roz, happens to also be one of the planet's most potent probiotics, Kefir.

To find out more information visit or join her facebook group: to get daily videos and live training.



In the view finder: Julie Bond

Photo Credit:Anna Newman

Photo Credit:Anna Newman

Not A Dog Trainer

Starting her business in 1991 was a natural thing for Julie Bond, certified Animal Behaviorist. With her undergrad in animal psychology and her Master's degree in animal behavior, going into business for herself was the path that made the most sense. She always enjoyed working for herself and creating a schedule that worked for both her and her clients.

When she started a family, having the flexibility not only allowed her to still be there for her clients, but also allowed her to be actively there for her children.

Her 25 years in business has "flown by." She is passionate about what she does and the impact on her clients' lives and the relationships she helps them create with their animals. And it is because of the relationships she fosters, with her clients, their animals, and the other professionals she has worked with, even when there were times when she was struggling, she made the choice to keep at it.

The key for her to make through the struggle sometimes included getting a second job to take the pressure off her business, teaching classes, seminars, writing articles, and simply, keeping my name out there.

"If I can help one client better understand why their animals behave the way they do, help them see that their animals aren't malicious or jealous or any of the other human emotions that people apply to their animals is key. Once people understand why their animals behave the way they do, it's easier for them to understand what I can do to help them and their pet."

To learn more about Julie and what she does or to work with her, please visit: or email her at


Also, please come into the view finder in the Facebook group, "You Are Your Brand."


I look forward to seeing you there!


Ashly McHatton 

Branding Photographer