In this week’s interview, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Vanessa Li, Founder and Photographer of Not Just a Headshot.

Vanessa has always dreamed of her documentary photography work to be seen across the world one day. After graduation, she became a flight attendant so that she could document the faces of people worldwide in a cost-effective way to build up her work portfolio and pitch her work to magazines and organisations.

Amid the pandemic, she could no longer travel thus her original plan went sideways, she was let go by airline so she thought about the next step in her career.

She noticed that there aren’t many services that specifically provide bespoke on-location business headshot service, and she carried on her people-centric skills gained from her previous job as well as implemented personal branding elements into her photography business. That’s how Not Just A Headshot was born.

Connect with Vanessa
Let’s start with the timeless 60 seconds ‘elevator pitch’, what’s yours?

Not Just a Headshot is a photography company that provides tailored services, from non-generic headshots, corporate event photos to customized social media posts. Perfect for taking your branding to another level.

We also create natural and bespoke business headshots to help enhance your LinkedIn profile and boost your career potentials. We arrange photoshoots outdoors near your workplace during and beyond business hours to fit your busy schedule.

At one point or another, it is inevitable that challenges will pop up in business. What’s your approach to overcoming challenges?

My biggest challenge is that I pivoted from being a travel and documentary photographer to a business headshot photographer. I had to start all over again, from finding models to shoot sample photos, to setting up a website, to marketing… and targeting an entirely different group of audience, I really was also doubting myself if I could do that when I first started.

So after every single shoot, I take the initiative to ask for feedback from my clients, it helps me understand what they like about my service and what can be done better, and I make improvements bit by bit. The positive feedback and the encouragement from my clients is my biggest motivation to keep on going!

Sales and marketing are two very important, but different, functions within a business. What is your number one sales tip?

Serve every client wholeheartedly, and very importantly always bring a smile at work, no need to be pushy nor salesy, you will leave a good impression on them and they will refer to their friends or come back to you when they need your service!

Vanessa Li, Photographer, Hong Kong
Hong Kong, Not Just a Headshot
What is your favourite business tool or system?

 -Notion: it’s a productivity tool, it is like a digital version of a bullet journal. They allow you to customise your workstation with a lot of useful tools like a built-in calendar, table etc.
-Typeform: I use Typeform to handle all my bookings and take deposits, it is a people-friendly and interactive form that encourages users to answer questions as if they are having a conversation with you.

It is important to celebrate your achievements, particularly during the difficult times. How do you celebrate your achievements?

I celebrate it with my friends and family, usually with a good meal!

Being in business is like an education in itself, what are the three most important lessons you’ve learned in your business?

Lesson 1: Be a good listener and genuinely be interested in their stories, that’s the only way to truly know the needs of your clients

Lesson 2: Be proactive, if you think your clients need something, take the initiative to provide it before they ask

Lesson 3: Be meticulous with details, that’s the way to produce high-quality photos

What business-related book or podcast has inspired you the most?

“Don’t Get a Job…Make a Job: How to make it as a creative graduate” – Gem Barton. I picked up the book in the book store of Tate Modern during my exchange year when I was 21. It has given me the courage and inspired me to pursue an entrepreneurial journey ever since. And here I am after 4 years, still haven’t worked a 9-5 job and always tried to come up with creative ideas to improve the services of my business.

The purpose of such an interview is to promote your business. Please tell us, who is your dream client?

Individuals who care about their online presence and companies that want to take their branding to the next level.

If you are Vanessa’s dream client, please contact her through her website,

Thank you for taking the time to connect with us Vanessa. We are delighted to showcase you on our site.

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Women Business Owners Asia is a passion project to showcase the women, living in Asia, who have taken the plunge and started their own business.

“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.” – Unknown

If you’d like to see a Women Entrepreneur profiled, please ask her to fill out our interview form.