Goal Power

Dee Airey is a professional photographer and visibility strategist who helps entrepreneurs raise their profile courtesy of high-quality photography and action plans for change and growth. She is also a talented wedding and family portrait photographer and published author with a studio on The Pantiles. Here Dee tells Eileen Leahy why the past year has been such a significant one for her and her business…

I have interviewed Dee Airey on a few occasions but I can honestly say that I have never seen her looking and sounding happier. Her newfound confidence is positively palpable – and the good news is we can all have a slice of it… 
The serial entrepreneur has always been someone whose business acumen I have admired. Dee is a professional photographer, having started out doing weddings and then naturally diversifying. She is also an online coach, a published author and all-round visionary who wants to ensure that everyone she works with – whether that’s a bride, a mum-to-be, an entrepreneur or a fledgling photographer – reaches their potential. But something huge has impacted Dee’s life over the past twelve months and she wants to share her experience with us…
“So much has happened to me and the business since we last talked,” reveals Dee with a broad smile. “I’m just feeling a lot more confident in myself. Although I have coached people for years, the irony was I didn’t want to put myself out there. I always struggled and found it very difficult which, as a result, always held me back. 
“But I worked out what it was that was holding me back and I did something about it. I can honestly say that since I made that change I have never felt better and my business has really benefited.”
The change Dee is referring to is her decision to employ a weight management coach to help regain her self-confidence.
“I unpacked everything and realised that it was my weight that was the issue. So my coach and I talked about my behaviour around food and I suddenly realised that it wasn’t a case of me losing weight before going on holiday. This was a lifetime achievement to future-proof my health and my business. As soon as I realised that everything changed. 
“My motivation is huge now and I feel so liberated. I am putting myself out there again and networking – which is something I always felt uncomfortable doing. But it’s positively impacting my business. I am getting more work because I am now actively connecting with people.”
Fizzing with energy as we chat, Dee tells me that her business has greatly evolved over the last year because of this seismic change.
“I’m doing a lot more branding work which is very exciting. I’m working with the likes of Royal Tunbridge Wells Together and local law firm CooperBurnett and am really loving it. I don’t think I would have got this type of work if I hadn’t gone through my own personal journey. I feel like I am finally putting my authentic self out there.”
Dee says that the beautiful Pantiles studio she opened nearly two years ago has really helped with her branding work as it is a very professional space for people to come to, but importantly they also feel very at ease there.
“I’ve had people in tears in the studio with me,” she reveals, noting that this is usually out of relief more than anything. 
“I do so much more than take people’s headshots. I believe every person has a unique story that deserves to be seen and heard. My mission is to bring these stories to life through powerful, authentic photography. It’s not a case of taking your picture and your money and saying goodbye.
“By doing this type of work, especially the corporate kind, I have met lots of people, especially women, with issues that are holding them back. But by getting on top of those things we can give so much more to our businesses – and to the people we are serving. Don’t let issues stand in the way of you getting what you want.”
Dee tells me that when her clients receive their pictures they also receive a content guide: “I explain what to do with the images once they’re ready. By bringing out the very best of my clients, I aim to help them showcase their online profiles, enabling a deeper, more human connection with their ideal clients.
“I want pictures to be purposeful. Having professional shots done shows that a brand has credibility and that they’ve invested in their business. I think there’s more to all this than just taking a photo. I meet so many people who say to me ‘I hate having my picture taken’ and that is usually down to having underlying issues so eventually what I want to do is host workshops to help people shed these.”
Dee explains that her style of photography – which prides itself on being more natural than posed – has led her to creating her Limitless Woman programme: “This is where I take people through a process where they can identify their sticking point or personal issue and then I give them the tools to remove it. And if they can’t remove it then I help them to live at peace with it.
“Once you do that you will immediately feel like a million dollars. I will then shoot people after they have completed the course because they will feel very, very different. My personal experience has contributed to the creation of this project a huge amount. I really want to help people. Tunbridge Wells is a very enterprising place and I want to be part of the community supporting that.”
Having pivoted into more corporate work, Dee says this means she is doing less weddings but she’s fine with that as she is really enjoying her new work – and she still gets to do her beloved family portraiture.


“It’s fantastic as it means I get to work in my studio and I love seeing all the families. I am currently doing more fun school photos. They are a direct contrast to the stiff traditional ones! I place the children in a mock-up classroom and we have a laugh. Their personality really shines through and results in photos you actually want to buy and display in your -home! I really want to become the go-to photographer in Tunbridge Wells for that.”
And if all the above wasn’t enough to keep Dee very busy, she runs a very successful online coaching sideline, which sees her hosting classes for photographers who want to get to the next level. 
“The vast majority of my coaching comes from mindset work because you can have the best marketing system behind you but if your head isn’t in the game then it’s just not going to work. It’s like a car with no engine.
“I have learned that whatever you feel on the inside will always manifest itself on the outside so I just want to help people, especially women. Of course I don’t want to alienate men but I just think women beat up on themselves so much more. And we’d achieve a lot more if we didn’t do that.”
Dee states that once she dealt with her own issues her approach to business was very different.
“That’s the best part of all this. I am getting more work because I am showing up as my authentic self. I feel good and my confidence is back and that ultimately makes me a much happier person.
“I’m not saying I’ve got it all sewn up and perfect because I haven’t, but it’s been transformative for me and I want to pass that on because that’s what I do naturally. I really want to help.”
Dee adds that in addition to attending networking groups, a lot of her new work has come organically through places like Linkedin.
“Social media has also helped me promote my new self-published book Goal Power. It came about because I’ve always set goals as they help me stay focused. Goal setting is crucial to moving you forward in your career, business and your life and this book will help you achieve that.
“Goal Power is a 12-week goal setting planner for your personal and professional life, helping you to create a way of life that achieves for you on a daily basis, leading you to your ultimate success,” explains Dee before adding that it’s currently doing very well on Amazon.
“It’s great to think people are buying it. I feel so liberated – not just for me – but for anyone who’s about to go on a similar journey. I really wanted to share my story with others because if you do the work on yourself the results won’t just impact you as a person but it will pretty much enhance every area of your life.”
When I look at her Amazon page it transpires that Dee has published many other books – the latest one being on How to Let Your Property as a Holiday Rental (£5.99). What was the inspiration behind that?
“My husband and I went to Lake Maggiore for my birthday and we rented a luxury villa which turned out to be awful. I journal every day so I just started noting things down that were wrong with the place. We found a lovely hotel to stay in nearby and within three days I had a guide on what not to do when renting out a property selling on Amazon!”
So what’s next for Dee? Where does she see herself and her business heading over the next few months?
“I’d like to be running the Limitless Woman workshops at least four times a year and to also create an online version of the course which people can sign up to wherever they are in the world, at a time that’s convenient for them. 
“I also want at least 300 clients coming through my studio’s doors every year. That means I will have to take on another photographer but it would be an amazing achievement and I’m ready for it.
“When you’ve achieved a goal that you know was a struggle to get to for such a long time and suddenly you’re living life the way you want to, it’s an amazing thing. It’s really empowering.”

For more information on Dee’s portrait work visit www.deeairey.com
and for her coaching visit
www.brandphotographybydeeairey.co.uk

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