It’s official I am a Mother of an adult who graduated high school with a little girl soon to follow! Friends, if you don’t know… I was a teen a mom! Yep as if the odds weren’t stacked against me in this ever changing and challenging world at 19, I was blessed with finding out that a baby boy was in my horizon. I had so much support from my family and although my road wasn’t the planned route it was the best route for me, looking back. It became my drive and my “why”.
If you have been following me for a brief period you know I love sharing all the insights on how to grow and sustain your business from content, marketing, and more. I often make it a priority to keep my personal life out of it because I never want preconceived notions to hinder my capabilities and work ethic on my pursuit of success. The facts are I am a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and simply I am a woman in the in-demand industry of marketing. I am not a “boss babe” I’m not a “MOMpreneur”…. I am a Boss and I am an Entrepreneur that is a Mom and Wife. I do not label myself with a trend for cuteness, I am a business owner and I do not intertwine the two even though they often do… Yep, life and business are complicated things, but if you structure your business in a manner of professionalism and what fits your family for success, I cannot promise for balance, as balance is ever changing, but I can promise you will have common ground, a direction, and a better defined line of work life and home life. I truly feel my hard work and the sacrifices that my children have watched my husband and I encounter over the years have added an example of work ethic and understanding that have and will enrich their lives.
How do you get time off or tell a client you can’t because you have kids?
Listen to me closely as this is going to sound gruff…..It’s NO ONE’S BUSINESS HOW I RUN MY BUSINESS. I do my best to never mention to a client that I have to pick up or do for my family. It’s not their business. I just do it. I say I am unavailable, I give them alternate meeting times, but I never use my children or say I am unable to because of my children or my family. This is my business and I will set up my availability accordingly. This does not mean I cannot offer a sufficient service this just means I am unavailable. Often times the client doesn’t care, they just want to do business. This last fall I have suffered one of the hardest losses of my Father due to a tragic accident. My team took care of everything and let clients know that my abrupt unavailability was due to a family emergency, but gave no details, as they weren’t their details to give. Some clients didn’t like the lack of detail, and some client’s respected it. In fact, I even got blocked and unfollowed because the explanation my team gave wasn’t good enough. Truth is I DO NOT CARE. If they respected my business, my office, and me, they would have understood. This is not my ideal client. AND THAT’S OK!! Do not structure your business around how other people get to their success. Structure your business on how you can get to your own success.
Why do I not show my family on my business accounts ?
I do share my children and husband, and of course my dogs in my stories on occasion to show my audience that I am relatable, but I do not think it’s suffice to execute my goal nor is that the reason that I am on the platforms. I am on these platforms to be a resource and to do business. I think it’s important on occasion to highlight them to identify my why (like today’s post) and to encourage others to go for it. I do not, however, think anyone that wants to do a business transaction wants to see those details. Their main goal is to find out if my business aligns with theirs to make them money.
How do you run a business and not work after 5 & on the weekends?
Here is my response to these questions and you can often hear me telling my clients and best of friends. “This is the season I am in.” When I started my career in photography years ago my work hours were insane and seriously 24/7. At that time, I had a 3 year old little girl and an 8 year old little boy. I even would take them with me on photoshoots and gave them snacks, drinks, and all the DVD players and video games so they could play and wait for me. Praise God the client’s didn’t mind and my kids were so well behaved. Of course I began to line out sitters more when my business grew. 5+ Years ago, when I had to leave my daughter with my husband to drive to photograph a wedding on a Saturday rather than be at her games, I knew this season in business had to change for me to truly be happy with my career. From then on, I began to pivot with each opportunity and structure my business where I could be there for my family more. It took a full two years and in fact, in this past year I have began to pivot in business just the same. My associate photographers have been taking on my photography client’s so I can build my marketing firm AD Media Group. In this Season of my life I am able to to work 8-5 MOST of the time. But with different responsibilities arising, I pivot my work hours to meet the goals and responsibilities so any late nights and weekends are spent to reach those. Adding in days that we work on the new office build out typically ends up being on the weekends and my husband and I will take turns on parental duties.
Does your husband support entrepreneurial journey?
ABSOLUTELY! When we met I was already running my business so that’s all he’s ever known BUT it’s not always easy! My husband himself is an Entrepreneur and fantastic at business. He has a degree in accounting so you know how those conversations can most certainly go. He handles all the accounting for our business and I cannot deny it’s not always roses and butterflies but I think that it’s necessary for our alternate opinions to reach the same goal. He keeps me sharp and I keep him in on his toes 😉 I encourage anyone deciding to own a business to have a conversation (no matter how hard it can be) because the roller coaster of Entrepreneurship is trying on a relationship. Jason has done so much from accounting to construction, and emotional support for my businesses and myself that I truly know has assisted in getting our business to the point that it is. He is a pertinent part of the success we claim. We are just as frugal and aware of the state of our business now with this growth, as we were as the day I started. It’s important to not be too laxed. Being an entrepreneur is taking care of business and having the same drive on the 10th year in as you would on the first day you wanted to get it off the ground. My husband and I together have owned and sold a successful Wedding and Event Venue, a franchise known as Smallcakes Cupcakery, and now AD Media Group. We often speak of opening something else and I see something fun in our horizon. He’s my partner in all things and I love it.
What’s the Hardest Thing You Have Experienced As An Entrepreneur?
I think the emotional toll and the financial roller coaster at times. Do not get me wrong, I compare it the idea of working for someone else, and I just do not have the genes to give my time to someone else to control my day. I love my employees and I love everyone who can work for someone else, and to be quite honest, I do work for my clients but I love to have control of how and what I want to build. The financial roller coaster of owning your own business is affected by many expected and unexpected things.
If you weren’t a photographer or own a Marketing Firm what would you do?
I love sports, I would not want to be a coach but I would love to have been a sports agent, worked in sports marketing, or as a sports broadcaster or something that I could be involved in with sports. I love Emily Jones that works with the Texas Rangers. My Daddy used to say he could see me doing something like that before he passed away, and every time I see her or hear her, I smile. In fact as I type this I am in a hotel with my beautiful daughter as she sleeps as we are in OKC for the Women’s College Softball World Series.
The Best Advice You Could Give To Someone Wanting To Start A Business of Their Own?
It’s HARD! Feel the sting of failure, judgement, and the lack of understanding of others (including close family and friends) but put a structure in place and NEVER give up or sway your business on someone else’s ideas. Listen, process, and execute the steps to achieve your goals where you are confident. Do not change your pricing or sacrifice your structure for someone else’s budget. Their budget is not your responsibility. Owning a business is not part time, or half assed, it’s an overtime job that will demand the best from you. You WILL lose a client, You WILL mess up, but one or many losses will not stop you if YOU do not allow it. Learn, grow, and execute from the lesson. I would also recommend connecting with other business owners, not to mirror their business but to relate people. OKAY I am about to say something that will piss someone off but here it goes….. Business Coaches… if they have not owned a business, a store front, or have had employees, or a multitude of business experiences, I would sway you to connect with someone who has. If their only business is being a business coach… I am hesitant.. as the internet is full of online classes I would be very choosy and do the research of the person you are getting coaching from. I would rather you talk to a business owner who has lost everything than an online coach who has not experienced the true world of entrepreneurship.
At the start of the day and at the end of each day always remember your why and that it’s all about and for your family. I truly enjoy my business and am so passionate about my job that it’s easy for my family to support. I can promise it will be a rollercoaster but it’s most definitely worth the ride!
As always the opinions are that of my own. This is post is not sponsored however some links may be monetized. All imagery is owned by Audrie Dollins of Audrie Dollins Media Group LLC
I'm a professional Influencer + Brand Photographer and Marketing Strategist that curates content to elevate your online and social media presence that results in an increase in sales.
I built a reputable career as a photographer and marketing strategist. My favorite conversations are filled with truth bombs that focus on the grit of Entrepreneurship and the realities of marketing in today’s demand.