If there was one thing people no longer needed once the pandemic hit, it was photography services. Davis had done shoots in six countries the year before, but with corporate and commercial photography canceled and international travel restricted, his business came to a screeching halt.
So he pivoted to create the nonprofit Sidekick RVA, convening a group of business leaders with a variety of professional backgrounds to help others by offering resume reviews, headshots and coaching to help Richmonders find work during a difficult time. No one would be turned away.
When Davis posted on LinkedIn offering resume building services, it netted over 7,000 views and 25 offers from volunteers, including Capital One.
“Once we launched the site, we got no emails the first or second week and I was feeling discouraged,” Davis recalls. “Then we got our first email from a man saying he hadn’t looked at his resume in 30 years, so he had no idea where to even start.” Bingo.
While resume reviewing and headshots are the backbone of Sidekick RVA, coaching is also offered with a minimum of three sessions. “The only people who know the value of coaching are those who’ve had coaches,” Davis explains. He’d anticipated that it would be people in the service industries who’d seek help, but the reality was mostly young and seasoned professionals. “Yes, we’re helping people in need, but our volunteers say they’re benefiting, too.”
Davis says he’s had a very romantic experience with photography. Self-taught, he began his journey after his girlfriend gifted him a professional camera. Four years ago, while working at Apple, he asked her (now his wife) if he could take two years to try starting a photography business. In six months, he’d replaced his Apple income, doubling it the next year, and tripling it the third.
“My mantra is stay humble and hustle hard,” he says. As for Sidekick RVA, “My challenge is figuring out the next step to make it even greater while sustaining my photography business.”