PHL The Hathaway Group
William Miller | Making Ordinary Moments Extraordinary

In this episode of the Palm Harbor Local Podcast, we dive into the captivating journey of William Miller, a talented photographer who has mastered the art of turning ordinary moments into extraordinary memories. Discover how William kickstarted his career in photography, the various roles entrepreneurs play in their businesses, and his passion for providing exceptional customer satisfaction.

Also, join us as we explore William’s experiences working with corporations, non-profits, and his invaluable time management tips for a successful career in the creative industry.

Tune in now for an inspiring and insightful conversation!

Listen to the podcast episode here!

WIll, Miller, with Miller Photos, Welcome to the podcast. 

Thanks for having me, Donnie.

I’m excited to chat with you. We’ve gone back and forth about, scheduling this podcast for what was it a year or something like that?

I’ve been probably difficult to schedule, and I appreciate your patience. Donnie kept asking me well, what’s going on? Finally, here we are. 

I’m excited. Everything happens for a reason. And we’re here today. And I’m excited to like I said, chat with you and learn more about your story. So let’s start with photography. And like, why photography? How did you get into that?

So I’ve always enjoyed creative outlets, I’ve always owned a camera and had kids eight years ago, I had my first daughter. And there was kind of this combination of hobbies that I could see sort of ending with my time and my commitments and things and then always wanted to run a business. And so I invested in a really nice camera and started taking pictures of my daughter. And then from there started using that as a tool to build a business. And so that’s it’s kind of kind of been a slow path, getting to where we are right now and really trying to make it flourish. But that’s kind of how it got started. It was a need for creativity, for something that has some technical aspect to it that I enjoy. And then also being able to do business and be of service to people that I really enjoy.

 And so you started with just taking photos for your family just for as a hobby and stuff. When did you start? Like making money and, being hired to photography.

So I had, I had been taking photos for family. And then I’d taken some at work, I kind of had a really cool PR job for a corporation. And I was taking photos there. And I had someone approach me and say like, Hey, we really like we’ve been kind of following you like, can you photograph our wedding? And I was like, Oh my gosh, So it was a wedding. Right?

And now I’m obviously the prices are different. I think I’ve made a sweetheart of an offer, as they say, but I said no way. And I felt it gave me that confidence that hey, and then I had another couple that said, hey, we really like your photos. We see them on social media of your family, we want you to take great photos of our family. And I said okay, absolutely. And that is they are one of my longest-running clients who have booked me every single year they come around the fall, that’s when I get a lot of family photos going on.

And they come back every single year. And always give him a great price. Because they’re my oldest and most dear clients, that’s when it started. And that kind of gave me some confidence and then started getting into the marketing piece and doing business and selling. And again, the rest has been it’s been slow to grow. But now we’re having we’re kind of starting to boom a little bit.

And so you just do like family portraits or in like writing but I used to do wedding photography or just kind of family? 

I do weddings, but I’m a little picky about clients. Right? I’m not trying to be the cheapest, but I am trying to give them a great experience and charge a fair amount. So I will take weddings, but I do kind of vet those clients a little bit. Do a lot of families, I do corporate and headshots and things like that. I really enjoy having worked in corporate and understanding branding and marketing, trying to help people, look a certain way and meet that branding guideline. I do enjoy that. And, I’ll take on other gigs and then a little bit of real estate right a lot of people specialize in that and it’s not my not my main focus, but for a friend who needs it done. I’ll take on I don’t like to turn down money when they’re when they’re handing it to me.

So you do families, corporate branding, and a little bit of real estate. Which one do you enjoy the which one do you enjoy the most?

So I really enjoy family sessions for a couple of reasons. Typically, what I’ve learned is that people want family photos. They know they’re supposed to do it like that. They just go we got to update our photos. but they don’t necessarily know what they want to do with them, right?

Some people want just to give me all the digital files, some people go, I think I want to print some. And so that’s where I’ve really enjoyed the service part of the business where someone comes to me and they haven’t we haven’t done family photos in five years. And I go, Well, let’s think about what you want with them. You want to I see you got these great pictures on your wall here, Donnie, we need to put up some let’s let’s make a display of your family so that you can feel happy every time you walk in your house and go, man, I really loved that moment. I love these people. And so trying to turn it into not just a transaction, but a relationship, I’ve really enjoyed doing that.

Weddings are fun, weddings are a big long day of interacting. And I get to build a relationship with a couple there too. But I haven’t quite gotten to where I can provide that level of service to those couples yet, but the family piece right now I build a relationship and then we, we see each other every year we stay in contact and so I really enjoy that right now.

So is that something that just like came naturally to you like the relationship that connection? It seems like you just enjoy people and, and like the creativity side of it. But some I feel like some business owners and some people, it’s it’s more of just like it’s just transaction and move on? And if they come back, right, but if not, no big deal. But what was the relationship? Like? Where did that come from?

So I have always been a very peaceful person, I do enjoy being the life of the party, right? So when I, when I’ve got a family on the beach, and I’m there, look at me, and let’s talk, let’s have fun, I’m kind of directing chaos, I really do enjoy that. And they usually enjoy it too. They walk away, like, that was fun, we kind of thought we were gonna might be a little bit tough, or I didn’t want to smile. But we had fun. And, maybe I brought them closer as a family. And it’s like free therapy. But I don’t charge extra for that.

So that relationship though I really do love relationship building again, had a really cool corporate job, did a lot of presenting and building relationships with clients and the community and volunteer coordination and helping people feel equity in what they were doing. So that they would have a better overall, better overall relationship with a company or with a nonprofit, and I just really loved good vibes, right? So that’s, that’s where I’m at. That’s where it comes from. And then if we can do business in the middle of that, that’s great. And that’s an awesome trade-off for everybody. Everybody wins, then in my opinion.   ,

I like that. I think it’s it’s a big piece of being a business owner and just being able to create that experience. Right? That’s what keeps people coming back. I think. What do you enjoy about the business side of it? Like have you always wanted to be a business owner?

I have. I went to the University of Central Florida, I’ve got my night socks on the day and I always wanted to I kind of went into that going I’m going to start a business right out of college, I’m gonna it was car audio at the time, it was something I was passionate about. It was technical, there was art, and it was loud fun, and attentive. I like attention. I’m not I’m just not gonna lie, it’s something I own and know about myself. The thirst is real.

And it’s okay, you can make that work for yourself, right? Know thyself, as they say. And so I got into college and then took all these courses and was like, oh, man, I don’t know if this is sustainable, right out of college is gonna be a lot of overhead. And so, I had that in the back of my mind that I could be my own boss one day, but then I got a really cool job with this corporate business. I was doing door-to-door sales, I got to travel I had to do all this cool stuff, and grew there.

But always in the back of my mind. I was like, I could make money and you could be your own boss. There are all these different ways to do it. And so again, with this at one time, I wanted to own a paintball field, I really liked paintball and still do, it’s a fun sport. And this field has gone up for sounds like man, we could get a loan, we could go take that over. And it just did not work out. It ended up being there was some deal with the property that it wouldn’t have been a good deal. And so I was like that happened for a reason. That’s okay. Love working on little dirt bikes and things like that, maybe I want to be a mechanic. Maybe that didn’t work out either. And so this is working out right now. Owning my own business, being my own boss, with all of the ups and downs that come with it. What if we don’t work really hard this week, then we’re not gonna make any money this week.

So what did you go to school for?

I got a degree in Business. Business, and at the time there was, it was not a minor, but it was a tract in entrepreneurship at UCF. And so I took some venture capital finance classes and accounting and HR. And those things did serve me well again, in corporate and just in general, the experience for me at UCF becoming more open-minded and understanding other people and where they were coming from is also valuable. And they’re those things I do still carry with me today.

I have a degree in biology, right? So okay, clearly I didn’t use, much of that. But the experience of getting a degree like going through that process.

I’ve learned so much about setting goals and writing them. Clearly. We’re getting there.

What do you enjoy about being your own boss and running your own business?

So there’s the joke, it’s like a meme.  , I didn’t want to work for a big company. So now I work for myself. 24/7 for 100 other people, right? But there’s flexibility there is that sense of pride and accomplishment. When you sign that deal, they shake your hand, they sign the contract, and you’ve given them what they want. Everybody walks away happy, and that’s something I didn’t get at the old job all the time. So that is something that’s very special to me is that that I can be of service, they get what they want, I get paid in the amount, right? The amount can go up and down based on our relationship and our interaction. And sometimes you get it you get a big payday. And it’s like man, I did a really good job. And it relates to the level of service that you provide. And so that feels really good. Just working with people and providing that customer satisfaction.   ,

So always going back to the people. It’s all about the people.

It is for me probably too much. I think I did a Strengths Finders, the Gallup 2.0 Strength Finders, 2.0 Whoo, paw positivity, strategy. Maximizer. It’s all people. And no, I have a hard time getting things done sometimes, again, know yourself. So I have to have my wife who is very like this is let’s get our checklists and our checkpoints and make sure that we’re on time. And I’m like, everything’s gonna be fine. tap dance through it, I’ll be fine. And so that’s where she and I, we match up sometimes. And sometimes she’s like, stop talking to strangers. I’m like, It’s okay. That can be my next client, so that’s me.

William Miller | Making Ordinary Moments Extraordinary

That’s funny. I did a Strength Finders, like my top one. It’s like people pleaser, that’s not the word that they use. But it’s kind of along those lines, right? Like, you’re just flexible and like what other people are wanting to do and are willing to do stuff.  So I think part of that is just being aware of those traits, right? And just working with them.

Yes. And not like none other than bad traits, just who you are. And you have to be able to, be flexible and aware of that to help you accomplish your goals.

For sure. Absolutely. That’s pretty cool. So the community is big for you. As you mentioned before you were you worked for a nonprofit, is that correct?

I worked for a corporation, in their community engagement department. So I interacted externally with the community with a number of nonprofits and local schools. So Pinellas, Hillsborough County, is very heavily there with nonprofits and schools. And then in addition to that, I also have two kids in Pinellas County Schools. And so I got really involved in the PTA Parent Teacher Association at Sutherland Elementary.

So right up here on Belcher, and doing all of that using the photography as a service, right? So they’ve got a social media page, they’ve got all these that we’ve got our website. And so it’s really great to have high-quality photos there so that people can see all the fun things happening. And so I donated a ton of time and effort doing that, in the photo business prior to, again, prior to being full-time doing this, I would just do it. I would do fundraisers where someone was going through some really heavy stuff in life, and a lot of time, the last two fundraisers were people going through childhood leukemia, or a friend of ours had cancer. And so we just did a day where we did photo sessions and just hand them cash at the end of the day. And so like that stuff like that, cool, I really enjoy it again, and everybody kind of is happy because they got to give to a good cause.

And there was a value proposition for those folks who donated. And then again, I got to feel good doing something good. And so people, right, and so so yes, that is where I love the community service piece. Because you’re giving back, you’re getting, positivity, and you’re really growing in that way, in the community.

So, I join the Palm Harbor Chamber, I see that we’ve got some nonprofit interaction there. And so yes, again, with my corporate background piece, I’ve been talking to Dean over there to try and see if we can maybe, maybe expand that a little bit. And I know we’ve we don’t have a huge amount of these nonprofits in Palm Harbor, but maybe creating some sort of network or other ways to be of service to them instead of 40 different people doing 40 different things to try and be a service.

So kind of connecting all these nonprofits, that would be awesome.

We’re connecting the business community even a little bit more, as a vehicle to help them succeed.


I’ve had Jenny with Palm Harbor Cares, and she’s great. 

Speaking of full-time jobs, I think that community service. So the headshot that I submitted to you is kind of it’s just a funny one. But I was awarded the PTA Volunteer of the Year this year for all of Pinellas County. So that was one piece I want to share. With all the donations of time and photos and effort and all the other PTA stuff I did. That was just kind of a fun one. Like, it was a surprise. I had no idea. And, again, just just, it’s fun. I really enjoy it and expect nothing most of the time.   ,

Do you? I was gonna ask you like, what you like and what you enjoy about the community service piece. But, I think it’s the people right? In essence, what it comes down to for you. So for your personality. I think this would be a good question like time management, like running your own business, right? There’s no, there’s not really any structure there. Right? When you’re running your own business, or you have to create your own structure. So is time management. Is that is that a challenging piece for you?

Absolutely is I think I’m probably undiagnosed, ADD, and need to need to probably talk to somebody or get on medicine. I’m just being honest. And so I’ve found that, that I get distracted easily. Time management is tough. So I have the editing, shooting like I love the shooting and selling that’s that is where I thrive, this the interacting, let’s do it. Let’s go shoot. I mean, we have fun, we take the photos, we’re creative, we have all this awesome time, we create all these beautiful images, and I show it to him.

And then, prior to that is marketing, the right marketing, strategizing, and putting together dates and shoots, whether it be like mini sessions, or trying to just get a lead generation. That is all painful for me trying to figure that out. It’s I shake hands, I meet the person then we start texting or emailing. Pretty good.

But getting over that hurdle I think that’s tough for everybody. I think people spend millions of dollars on lead generation but that is one piece. And then, sometimes it’s closing the deal. It’s like we shot the photos, I send you the thing, and I’ll send you the link, and then let’s close the deal and make the sale. Those are two things I’m trying to get better at because they are they do require time and attention and focus. And, I’ve got the two kids and we like to go and play and we got a golf cart in around Palm Harbor all the time and doing   Lottie doll having a ton of fun. And that, then I got to go do work. So those are the challenges for me.

What are some things that have worked for you to kind of help you manage your time?

I think that’s it, I think time management is hard for most people, right, especially now and so many distractions in our cell phones, right pockets, right? I know, for me, it’s the same thing, it’s, there’s especially I think running a business, right, where you’re the sole person, you’re a solopreneur, and you’re doing the marketing, you’re, doing the sales, you’re doing the backend finance and all that kind of stuff. So it’s hard.

So what’s worked for you, like if there’s any, like tips or techniques?

So a couple of things. One is to get using some software, some tools, some, some, I’ve tried some project management stuff, again, but then I lost interest in it. But as far as the selling piece I have, I have started using, some different websites and some different tools there. So that kind of helped me close deals a little bit, it’s less personal, so it doesn’t feel as good sometimes. And then marketing, trying to schedule some social media posts and do some boosted stuff. So I’m not having to do my own CRM.

So those types of things have helped I use, I have to use my calendar. I am a Google user, Gmail sweet. And so I have to it’s gotta be on the calendar, otherwise, it doesn’t exist. And so I use that pretty regularly, probably could get better with like, the checklist, use that. But the calendar is the checklist, I’ll put all blocks off time and put some time in on that. And then, get up to get a snack and hopefully come back and go back to that task. And so, the calendar is really important for that.

That’s key. I’ve messed around with different time management tools, and that sort of before too, but the calendar I think is the one thing that, like it has to be on the calendar, right. And I’ve dabbled in like time blocking, like, every minute of my day. Like every, every 15 minutes.

I spend an hour doing that every Sunday or something like that. And like I don’t want to be on Sundays, right? So now I just time walk like those major things where I have to be somewhere or something like that.


Well, cool. So when you’re not, serving the community or photographing families and that sort of stuff. What do you enjoy doing?

So I love fishing, and I’ve gotten the kids kind of the kids to tolerate that. Especially when the fish are biting. My parents live in town here they moved to town five years ago and they’ve got a neat house on like Tarpan so we’ll take the kids and go boating and they enjoy tubing behind the boat now they’re both brave enough to do it. But at my house we got it we got a golf cart. We just upgraded the golf cart this year and so we’ll load up on that take friends out, go cruise around, go to Pop Stansell, and just kick around a Palm Harbor Ozona, and just enjoy spending that time with the family. But, kite flying.   , no, that’s fun. too. windy enough.   ,

 My daughter, just we just had a kite for my daughter just like one of the cheap kites. But, what is the first kite she was magical.

 Listen, the physics behind it is amazing. It’s so much fun. There’s a whole lot you can learn from it too, right? Everything’s cool when you’re three. Oh my gosh.

 That’s awesome. It was so much fun and then and then golf carting around Palm Harbor.

We love that.   , so we live just not too far from downtown. We can get downtown on it. We can cross over to Arizona. They need it they need to build a crossover so we can get to like didn’t he didn’t that’d be great from Palm Harbor. That’d be fun. We have some friends who I think you interviewed Mangoes and Marley a while back Nina and Graham. So we’d love to get to mangoes and Marley on the golf right in Palm Harbor and go see them more often. But not the car doesn’t work but the golf carts just so much more. We rented a golf cart because we’re like just outside of the zone area locked. But we can cross like tamper road and get there.



Stroll through the laid-back streets of the Palm Harbor community with this informative podcast, proudly brought to you by Donnie Hathaway with The Hathaway Group, your trusted guide and local expert in navigating the diverse and ever-changing property landscape of Palm Harbor.

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