Nott Shots | Founder Story
Written by Chay Nott on
Amazon, one of the world’s largest commerce platforms, was started as an online book store. Yep, that’s right. Every business has a great story behind how it started! My name is Chay, and in this blog I’m going to share my experience with the Orlando Voyager. OV reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to highlight myself and my efforts to bring my story to light. Below is how the interview went:
Today we’d like to introduce you to Chay Nott.
Hi Chay, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Chay, and I’ve been a professional creator for over 4 years now. My Mom has been a photographer for as long as I can remember and, Six years ago, I hated the idea. I found photography so boring! Who knew…
At heart, I’m a musical theatre performer. Song & dance is my passion. However, about 5 years ago, I was introduced to very basic photography work with a company called Iconicgroup. My Mom had worked with that company for numerous years, and brought me on a few jobs that I actually ended up enjoying! Funny enough, I enjoyed it less for the photography, and more for the people I got to interact with. My job was as a graduation photographer. I felt so much joy getting to work with a highly efficient team at a high school/college graduation ceremony where every kid was excited to be walking across the stage, and even more excited to get their photo taken.
Fast forward, I’ve been doing this job for about 2 years, and I’m becoming ever more involved in performing arts. I had made my decision: Start auditioning and try to go pro! Unfortunately, this decision fell in late 2019, right before the pandemic sent the world spinning. But, in the months leading up to the global shutdown, I was trying to find every way to be involved in theatre and film, even if it meant being a production assistant or stagehand. In my search, I found a production assistant position available with a local film company, and while on set I offered to take some photos for them. Of course, they agreed, and I used my crappy kit from Iconicgroup to take some of the worst pictures of my life. But, that started it all.
October-March of 2019-2020, I did nothing but perform and take pictures on film sets. I got 3 opportunities to be on set to take pictures with local film companies, and one all the way in Miami! But then the pandemic hit, and the world completely changed. For about 3-5 weeks, most of my friend group did nothing but sit around and wait for the pandemic to be “over.” This meant video games, TV, and wasting time and spending money. Of course, I did the same. But, after that 3-5 week period, I knew something had to change. I felt like such a waste of space, and the only things I had around me were my hobbies, my tech, and my camera.
For months, all I did was educate myself. I watched hundreds of hours’ worth of video content online, read magazines, and practiced so much photography it could make your eyes bleed. I continued to get better and better, and when the pandemic let up a little bit and I was able to go out and see people again, I started offering my elementary services for free to seniors, businesses, etc to get real experience.
As individuals/businesses continued to accept my offers, and I continued to get better and better at my craft, I started charging for my time/expenses. From there, I continued to increase my prices for months until I was charging a sustainable rate that I could support myself on. Today, I’m working with major franchises and celebrities such as Summit Adventure Park, Herbert Sherbert, Caleb Hearn, Zach Rosen, and so many more.
Outside of my professional life, I’m putting much more time into my personal development through podcasts and implementing the stuff they talk about into my daily life.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
These last 3 years have been anything but smooth. Of course, the pandemic was a lot for all of us. However, not that I wanted to get too personal, but I was also dealing with quite a bit in my personal life. A relationship experience, having theatre stripped from my life almost entirely for a year, and much more that I’m sure many could relate to.
As much as I’d like to say that I faced a ton of business struggles, my only real and big issue is living in a small town that doesn’t have a lot of capital flowing through it. To get great paying clients (more than just a portrait session) I’d have to go to Tampa, Orlando, Naples, etc.
Entrepreneurship is NEVER a smooth road. Whoever said you can get rich quickly didn’t realize the problems with becoming an overnight sensation. There’s ZERO stability in that route. In order to build something stable and truly, deeply rooted in the world, you HAVE to exercise patience and be willing to take risks that make people say you’re crazy.
If people don’t say you’re crazy, you’re not doing it right.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Nott Shots is a business that focuses on photo and video production for individuals and businesses alike.
We do everything from senior portraits to music videos, to social media content creation for businesses/franchises. With over 20 years of experience, Nott Shots was built on the idea that in order to achieve the best results for you, you need to be passionate about what you do.
Fortunately for our clients, we here at Nott Shots are just as passionate about them as they are! Hell, we’re probably going to get more excited than you are at times! We’re obsessed with media almost as much as we are with results.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Frankly, I don’t believe you need “A mentor.” In this ever-growing digital world we live in, SO many people are putting out SO much content into the It’s nearly impossible to NOT find the information that is exactly what you need. Follow successful people, listen to what they have to say, and see if any of it can be applied to your business practices.
As far as networking goes, the BEST type of networking you can do is talking and connecting to people. TRULY connecting with people, without any desire to sell them. When a person feels like they can be your friend FIRST, and your client SECOND, that’s when you’ve won. Also, the relationships that you build are going to be the ones that, when they need you in 2 years, they’ll call you AND recommend you to someone. Obviously, you need your short-term clients. However, spend every day building relationships with people, and you’ll never go hungry.
I keep a very small group of driven, like-minded people around me that are just as (if not more) invested in their own personal & business development. My TOP tip for anybody looking to figure out how to grow as fast as possible is it LOOK AT WHO’S AROUND YOU. Rob Dial says it best in his podcast “Mindset Mentor,” likely, all your friends are about the same weight as you, look similar, and are likely in similar financial brackets as you. Gary Vee says it best in his content, too. Look at the 5 closest people around you, and figure out which “loser friend” you can reduce your time with, and replace with a slightly more successful or driven person. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the unfortunate truth.
If you want to live your dream, you need to keep people around you who are equally or more driven than you, and people that are ready to call out your bullshit. One of my closest friends in my circle is named Evan, and he calls me out on EVERYTHING. It sucks, but every single time, I know I needed to hear it.
Thanks again to the Orlando Voyager for the opportunity to share my story. I hope this inspires you to take the leap that you’ve been waiting to take, or eliminated some of the questions you have in your own journey. If you have any additional comments, the comment thread below this blog is open!