Behind every closed door lies a new opportunity. No one knows this better than Laurie Ludes, owner of LaurieL Photography. She was laid off after 15 years working in marketing and graphic design, but was determined to take control of her circumstances. “The layoff forced me to a fork in the road and required me to make a quick decision as to what I was going to do next,” says Ludes.

Ludes was excited by the possibility of turning her photography hobby and graphic design experience into a business. The only catch was that she didn’t have prior business experience.

But with help from her SCORE mentor, Ludes' business has passed the 10-year mark. She has a healthy client list and specializes in portraiture and maternity photography. She even sells a curated selection of photography costumes and props.

My Successes: 

Ludes still works out of her home, but has grown her business to over $100,000 in yearly profits. Laurie continues to do frequent business in Orange County as well as keeping up with her SCORE counselor. She says, “I still stay in touch with my counselor, Joe Di Stanislao, who continues to be the most wonderful, caring, and concerned about my success person I have ever met.”

How SCORE Helped: 

Ludes' dream of starting a photography and graphic design business took a major step forward when she visited the Orange County SCORE Chapter and met SCORE Mentor Joe Di Stanislao, a former marketing executive. “Meeting with Joe that day was one of the most wonderful encounters I’ve made in this endeavor to meet my dream," Ludes says. "Talking to someone who had been successful and who knew what it took to make a business thrive gave me confidence that I still draw on today.”

Following her first visit to SCORE, Ludes attended a number of SCORE workshops and returned to meet with Di Stanislao several times to discuss startup plans, marketing, selling and pricing. "Joe helps me stay focused on the important things and encourages me to get to the next level. He really pushes me to succeed," says Ludes.