Rachel launched her photography business to allow her to work flexibly around her small children using a skill she already had.
Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Hi, my name is Rachel. I have been married to Tom for over 11 years now and we became parents to Joe 4 months after getting married. When we discovered we were expecting, we didn’t have the funds to get married despite having been engaged for two years. Our family all pitched in and we had an intimate wedding with just 12 of us. Charlie arrived two years after Joe. They both had the same due date actually, Aprils Fools Day!
What’s your photography business called?
My business is Rachel Bryant Photography.
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Rachel Bryant Photography is a full service portrait and wedding photography business, with an emphasize on displaying your photos as wall art.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I had previously learnt film and darkroom techniques, following up with a course in 1998. After having children, it was hard to find work that would fit in with the boys while they were still so young, they were 4 & 2 at the time. We decided that we should use a skill I already had. After a few years away from the work place, I have to admit that the thought of someone else being my boss didn’t appeal to me. I was too used to doing things my way! I also wanted to be around for the boys while they were growing up. I know how incredibly lucky we are that they have a parent at home for them whenever they need us. I started planning the business in July 2010, but I didn’t have my first paying ‘proper’ client until early 2011. For the first few months I worked in n portfolio building using friends and family.
How did you fund your start up?
Unfortunately my mum passed away, at just 58 years old, a few weeks after my 30th birthday. We used part of our inheritance to fund the start up. It felt good to be doing something with her money that would improve our life and I know she would be happy with our decision.
How do you manage working around your children?
I schedule sessions either at the weekend when my husband is around or during the school hours. It is definitely much more tricky during the school holidays but family help out here and there. To be honest, I don’t book many sessions during the holidays so I can spend time with the boys, which was the whole point of being my own boss. The older they get the more I enjoy the school holidays and I love the freedom that working for myself gives me where the children are concerned. The school holidays are a perfect time to catch up with the admin side of running a business as many of these tasks can be broken down into smaller parts. Grabbing 10 mins here and 15 minutes there can really help when it’s not term time.
The flip side of that is during busy seasons, work can take over. The lead up to Christmas is my busiest time and the kids are also hectic with school events, plays, open afternoons etc. I do occasionally pull a couple of all-nighters to make sure I get all the editing complete for clients, so they can choose their images in time for Christmas.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I prepare lunch boxes the evening before because a) it eases the pressure in the morning and b) neither the boys or I like getting up in the morning! The boys are self-sufficient now other than a little bit of a nag here and there, but it wasn’t always that way. When they were younger it was a lot harder and I wasn’t always so organised. After the school run, I usually take the dogs for a walk. This time helps me wake up and prepare mentally for what I have planned for the day. I work for the bulk of the time the children are in school, I try to keep errands, chores and food shopping to one day a week. That doesn’t always work though! I have to admit to doing the bare minimum when it comes to housework, there are other things I would much rather be doing. My day goes better when I’ve spent 30 mins the evening before making sure the kitchen is clean and everything we need for the following morning is ready.
I’d be lost without my planner notebook, I started bullet journaling last year, which sounds like a fad when you start reading about it but it has really helped me to stay on top of my tasks.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The two challenges I have faced the most is confidence in your ability and pricing. The two go hand in hand. When you work out what you need to be charging to pay bills and run your business, it can be mind-blowing. It’s only since my confidence has grown that I have been able to charge what I need to succeed.
What’s the best thing about being running your photography business?
The freedom and flexibility is definitely the best thing about being a Mumpreneur, it gives you a balance between your family like and work life.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future business-wise are to continuing growing steadily, increasing my client bookings. I also want to source local, ethical product providers for frames and prints etc. Being a ‘green’ business is really important now.
Our family plans are centred around spending as much time as possible outdoors and continuing to give the boys a well-rounded and loving childhood.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t be in a rush to start and make sure you are operating legally. I know it’s tempting to throw yourself into it, but spend time researching the business side of things, such as marketing, finance, pricing and the law. Read as much as you can about running a business, whether via books or blogs. There is so much information readily available. .
My other piece of advice would be to listen to other people’s advice but you don’t have to take it. Remember they may not be your ideal client, you might not even be your ideal client! You know how you want your business to work. Work out who your ideal client is in detail and tailor your business to their needs.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Running your own business is extremely hard. There is no one to take up the slack, or help you make the difficult decisions. Ultimately its success depends solely on you. But you mustn’t let that put you off. Learn from your mistakes, we all make them, and improve your business. Rachel Bryant Photography had gone through a few face lifts before I was truly happy with where I was heading
Rachel Bryant Photography website: www.rachelbryantphotography.co.uk
IG: www.instagram.com/rachbrypho a mix of both personal and business