Top Survival Tips for Mom-tographers | Part II of the Mom Series

In my previous post, I (Jody) shared the adjustment we went through adding our son Jaxon to our family and about my struggle with how business fit in with my new responsibilities as a mom.

For today’s blog I want to share with you practical tips that not only myself, but other moms in the industry have put in place to avoid meltdowns and going crazy. :) I know and respect these women and hope you enjoy learning from the diverse group we have below.

Without any further ado, I first introduce to you…

Leeann Marie
of
Leeann Marie Collective

What you need to know about Leeann:
We first met Leeann when we were a part of a tour back in 2012 and she was a fellow speaker.  She was sharing on studio workflow management and how to get organized and become efficient so you can spend more time doing what you love. Her efficiency blew me away, and when I found out she was having a kid I was SUPER curious to know how she was going to make the adjustments to having a child in her life.

Leeann is sweet and totally fun and generous and has recently started Baby Plus Business – a resource and community to help other moms who walk the fine line of being a mom and business owner. Make sure to follow her and you’ll soon get more information! (Heads up, if you’re going to WPPI, make sure to read below where you can see and learn from her!).

(image by AnnLouisePhotography.com)

How long have you been in business:
6 years

How long have you been a mom:
9 months to my daughter, Joy

The biggest adjustment you had adding “mom” to your title and responsibilities during the day:
I no longer have large dedicated chunks of time to focus on business. I have to work in smaller time periods of time. I also don’t get to work out as much and that makes me sad.

Top Efficiency Tips:
#1. Choose each day to focus your “non-baby” time in a very specific manner. Some days I choose “CLEANING”, other days I choose “EMAILS AND ALBUMS”. If you can break up your days to be more dedicated, you can knock things off of your to-do list easier.

#2. Work quickly & efficiently when you have small periods of time. I keep different lists in my iPhone. One is “Groceries”. One is “Business”. One is “Personal”. If you keep lists and categorize them, each day you’ll know exactly all of the random things you need to knock out!

#3. Try and still maintain family time. It’s easy to work in the evening when the kids are asleep, but don’t forget about how important marriage and relaxation are to your overall family health.

If you could say one thing to other moms/business owners out there, what would you say?
Remember that tomorrow is a new day! Be thankful for each day – good or bad. You love your family, and you love your business and you are blessed to have both!

The best place for people to follow you:
Instagram: @LeeannMarieG & @BabyplusBusiness

See Leeann in Vegas!
Are you going to WPPI??  If so, you will want to attend her masterclass, “Balancing Baby and Business.”
Wednesday, March 4 from 8am-10am
Sign up for Leeann’s class HERE.

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Evin Krehbiel
of
Evin Photography

View More: http://zachplusjody.pass.us/evinphotography

(image by Jody Gray)

 What you need to know about Evin:
Evin and I go way back. And when I say, “Way back” I mean, I knew Evin before Zach and Jody Gray were ever ZachandJody.com. Evin was actually one of those gracious photographers who let us take her out and she opened her business to us and gave us advice and insight on how to start and run a wedding photography business. Over the years, Evin has become a dear friend of mine (she even shot our birth photos!) and it has been really cool to see how she has adjusted her business around each new precious addition she has added to her family. This lady is a gem and if you ever have the chance to hang out with her, you will be uplifted and encouraged.

evinfam

(image by KristineNeeley.com)

How long have you been in business:
9 years, full time – 6 years. The day I found out I was pregnant was the last day of my day job!

How long have you been a mom:
6 years to my son Cohen (6), daughter Kinzie (3.5), and son Leyton (1.5)

The biggest adjustment you had adding “mom” to your title and responsibilities during the day:
It was hard at first trying to balance my “mom brain” and my “work brain”. My biggest adjustment was learning how to separate the two. When they intersect is when I lose patience and become overwhelmed.

Top Efficiency Tips:
#1. Have a very organized online calendar (iCal) shared with your spouse. My husband also works for himself (real estate). We share a calendar and have different categories color-coded (kids are orange, work is purple, spouse is green, blue is personal, etc.). Having a shared calendar helps keep things from overlapping.

#2. Get a studio coordinator. It’s our job to run a business that serves our clients. In order to serve them, my business has to be able to respond quickly. As a mom, I knew I wasn’t always available as much as I wanted to be during work hours so I realized I needed help. My studio coordinator helps with inquiries, wedding albums, disc of images, image back up, getting vendors images, etc. So helpful!

#3. Take advantage of a great management software system (I use ShootQ). This helps keep my tasks and products organized so everyone is on the same page.

#4. Hire a house cleaner. To some, this may seem like a frivolous expense, but believe me, it’s not. Someone comes to our home every other week (it’s less than $100/2 weeks) and it is 100% worth it for my sanity, my marriage and for my family. When I’m done with work, it’s one less thing I have to do and now I’m able to be with my kids and my husband. Shoot an extra photo session here and there to cover the cost! You get a clean home and the photo session is another opportunity to market your business.

#5. I don’t list my phone number on my website, facebook or email. When clients do call me I’m usually in the car with kids or they are in the room being their rambunctious selves. I say in my voicemail, “The best way to reach me is by email or text, so we can keep track of it and get back to you quickly.” That way I can serve my clients in the best way.

If you could say one thing to other moms/business owners out there, what would you say?
Just because no other friend you know has successfully balanced being a mom and a business owner, doesn’t mean you can’t. When I had my third son, Leyton, I was thinking to myself, “I don’t have any other friends who have 3 kids and not just work but own their own business, maybe it can’t be done.” The Lord firmly spoke to me saying, “I have given this to you, it can be done, and I ‘m going to show you how to do it. I have you in this for a reason. I have a purpose and a plan.” You can do it!

The best place for people to follow you:
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/EvinPhotography
INSTAGRAM: @EvinPhotography

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 Ashley Poisella
of
Ashley Therese Photography

AshleyBioPhoto

What you need to know about Ashley:
I cannot even remember how long we have known Ashely and her fabulous, supportive husband Chris. We have known them for quite a few years and they even brought us out to NYC to host our workshops out there. These two are so genuine, it has been a joy to see Ashley’s business take off and how she has become a voice of authority and continues to give back to the photo community. We were so thrilled when we heard that they were adding to their family, and I value Ashley’s heart and insight, which is why she is sharing with you here!

mommy ashley

(image by AliciaSturdy.com)

How long have you been in business:
4 years

How long have you been a mom:
10 months to my son, Greyson

The biggest adjustment you had adding “mom” to your title and responsibilities during the day:
Time management! My days are filled to the brim with a fluctuating baby schedule and work demands, and figuring out a new routine has been a huge change and challenge.

A few months ago someone said I was “Supermom” when I told them I was a full time stay at home mom and a full time business owner. But the truth is I don’t want to be Super Mom. I don’t want to be the kind of super mom that strives for perfection and doing it all, but nothing with intention. I don’t want to be a Super Mom because I have way too many things juggling in the air and I am barely getting by with keeping things going. I don’t want to glorify “busy.”

At the end of the day, I want to be an AWESOME mom, the BEST mom to Greyson I can be. I want to be a GREAT business owner and photographer, but not at the sacrifice of my family or to the level of service to my clients. I want to be present and intentional in whatever I am doing. It has definitely been a big adjustment to find a new normal and daily balance by managing my time more wisely.

Top Efficiency Tips:
#1. Ask for Help | This one was a game changer for me. I thought I could or should be Super Mom – that I could be both a full time stay at home mom and be a full time business owner working from home at the same time. I would work when Greyson napped and put my work aside and just soaked in every second of being with him when he was awake. I would have dinner on the table when my husband got home from work and the house would always be tidy. You know, like June Clever. I would find the perfect balance. Needless to say, I quickly found that on my own, this was impossible. Greyson didn’t and doesn’t sleep for more then an hour at a time which barely gives me time to make a dent in my email inbox let alone actually check things off my to do list. I wanted to do it all but just couldn’t. I felt like I was being pulled 20 different directions in which I couldn’t give 100% to any. So I asked for help. We hired a babysitter to watch Greyson at the house so I can be in my office with the door shut a few mornings a week with no distractions. And boy what a difference it has made. I have been so much more productive when in my office and can truly enjoy down time with Greyson, not think about all I have on my To Do list. It has freed up my schedule more and has provided a new routine that helps me do all I need to. Now I can truly enjoy watching Greyson play with his toes for an extra hour without the distraction of thinking about ALL I have do get done or constantly multi tasking. It has allowed me to be more intentional and present. If you need help, ask for it. It’s not an admission of not being a good mom or being inadequate. It’s recognizing that you are one person and can’t do it all. Whether its asking your in laws to watch the kids for a few hours or asking your husband to pick up something for dinner so you don’t have to cook, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

#2. Outsource More | For me this meant outsourcing more of my business tasks that I didn’t need (or want) to have my hand in (initial editing, album designs, etc). It also meant getting help with some of the household chores I was juggling. Every few weeks Peapod delivers some basic groceries like laundry detergent and paper towels. In addition, we also have someone come clean our house every few weeks. Outsourcing and hiring services has freed me up to focus on running my business more efficiently and spending more quality time with my son. It has allowed me to focus on doing the things I want to do.

#3. Find a New Routine | Finding a new routine has been crucial for me. It’s important for me to go into each day with a general game plan to optimize my time. From waking up an hour before Greyson wakes up each morning to answer emails, to going to the grocery store in conjunction with nap time, to scheduling client calls when Chris gets home from work and can watch the baby. Having set blocks of time to solely focus on working on the photography business (like when babysitter is at the house) to having designated play time with Greyson and to attend play groups has been so helpful. That being said, not every day is going to go as planned. There may be a nap skipped, a babysitter cancellation, a meeting moved, and messy diapers that require a mid day bath.  So I shift things around and adapt to make sure I am still getting things accomplished and spending quality time with Greyson.

#4. Think Proactively | For my business, for my son, for the day. Learning to constantly think proactively helps me optimize my time and be more prepared for the curveballs each day has in store. Simple things from remembering to pack an extra change of clothes for Greyson so I don’t have to drive all the way home if he has an accident to giving myself a little bit of extra time on a project that I think could take me longer then planned because I have a super busy week. Staying two steps ahead of the game when possible has been key as a mom and a business owner.

If you could say one thing to other moms/business owners out there, what would you say?
Know that you are beautiful, strong, and courageous. You are running a business which is beyond challenging. And you are taking care and nurturing a little life which is one of the hardest roles in the world. But you can do it and do it well. You are more amazing then you know and should be proud of yourself! Be patient with yourself as you figure this “mom and business owner” thing out. Make time for pedicures, take walks and continue to take care of yourself. Oh, and did I say be patient with yourself?

Being a mom is THE most important job you will ever have.Being a mom is THE most important job you will ever have. Yes, it needs to be said twice. Because I know when Greyson was first born I needed to remind myself of that. I was so used to my business being my baby, it was a hard shift trying to figure out a new balance and daily priorities. But at the end of the day, Greyson comes first. He will always come first. No accomplishment, shoot, or money will ever be more important or bring me more joy than that little boy. As life picks up pace and you are juggling all that is on your plate, don’t forget what’s truly important. Be an intentional mom who also happens to be a rockstar business owner. And I encourage you to never forget how special and what a blessing your role as “mom” really is.

The best place for people to follow you:
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/AshleyTheresePhotography
INSTAGRAM: @ashlytherese

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Julia Woods
of
Jeffrey & Julia Woods

julia

What you need to know about Julia:
If there’s anyone I aspire to be like when I grow up, it’s this woman here :) Not only has she KILLED it in business (believe me, she’s brilliant) and has run an extremely profitable studio (while raising four kids), but she has a heart of gold. Her love for the Lord is inspiring, and any time she opens her mouth to share her wisdom about business, family, marriage –  I’m all ears… and you should be too :)

J&J 2014 wedding photo

How long have you been in business:
20 years. Began in the Spring of 1994.

How long have you been a mom:
21 years to my daughter Jaelyn 21 (who is now married!), son Josiah (18) and daughters Jozi (15) and Jenavieve (12).

The biggest adjustment you had adding “mom” to your title and responsibilities during the day:
We began the business when our oldest daughter was about 3 months old. It was kind of like having 2 babies at once. I personally choose to home school all of my children as well as have a photography business. The biggest adjustment I had to work through was recognizing that kids constantly change. I would figure out a plan that worked and then something would change and I would have to figure out a new plan. I finally found peace when I took each year one year at a time and decided what worked best for that year (3-6 months when I had a new baby). For many of the years with toddlers it worked to spend my mornings with my kids and help them with schooling and then when lunch was over, I would put them to bed or rest time depending on their age and then a babysitter would arrive about 2 hours later. That allowed me to work each day from about 12:30 – 6 p.m. but they only felt my absence I was busy from about 2:30 – 6 pm. As they got older, I had to have a nanny for the full day so I worked 3 days a week and took 2 off. It was just learning to adjust with them and their needs.

Top Efficiency Tips:
#1. As above – take each year and assess the age/needs of your child and then look at the possibilities for your business from there.

#2. Create a very planned work schedule. If not, it becomes too easy to get into emails or facebook and waste precious time because it is easier than figuring out what is most important to do. My weeks alternate from one week shooting to the next week planning/selling. (I wear one hat when I shoot and another when I sell – it saved me time and energy to not have to bounce back and forth in the same day. I also got to wear much cuter outfits on planning/selling weeks :) I liked that a lot!). I had administration time, marketing meetings, staff meetings, and so on marked as appointments on the schedule. I have to make time for those things or they just don’t happen. I work 3 full days a week and kept no less than half of one of those days for production – working on images, creating marketing materials, ect.

#3. Take a couple weeks to assess every job you do and how much time you invest in each one of those jobs. Then take that list and divide each role into $10 an hour jobs and $50 an hour jobs. Hire or resource out the $10 an hour jobs and you focus your time and energy on the $50 an hour jobs.

#4. I found my life to be much happier and productive when I started by deciding what I wanted my home life to look like and then I made my studio work around that. For example, I wanted a play day with my kids which I made Wednesday’s. I wanted one day a week to clean, plan my meals, get groceries, do laundry ect. which I made Monday’s. I wanted to cook 3 home cooked meals a week, so I worked at the studio Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday. I would cook one meal on the Monday, Wednesday and the weekend, Then I had leftovers ready to heat up on Tuesday, Thursday & Friday after work. I wanted to enjoy the sunset with my husband in the evenings. So, if I needed to take later appointments that was only available 1 night a month except during the busy season, I offered 1 each week for that 3 month time frame. Clients work with my schedule and I am filled up as a person and don’t get burned out.

#5. Get the education you need to be able to charge what you need to charge to work the hours you want to work and make the money you need. Trust me it is possible. For example, it is possible to have an incredible salary working 20 hours a week. Learn what you need to learn to get where you desire to be.

If you could say one thing to other moms/business owners out there, what would you say?
Time FLIES!!!! I know that isn’t anything you don’t know, but don’t think that your marriage and kids will be there tomorrow. Believe it or not your clients will be there tomorrow but your husband and kids may not. If your heart calls you to stop and read a book to one of your kids – do it! If you recognize you need to take a day and just be a mom – do it. Your kids grow up so fast and a marriage can become stale before you know it. It is never a bad decision to put your family first. You will all appreciate it later. Kids spell love – T.I.M.E

If that one is negative, here is another one. You were specifically chosen to be your children’s mother. You have what it takes to grow, nurture, and develop a world changer. There is nothing more important than who you are to your family! They are worth more than money, praise, or success. (Your kids may not pat you on the back each day – but one day you will know how much your sacrifice meant to them!). You don’t have to choose one or the other, you can have both, but if one has to be sacrificed – make sure it isn’t your family.

The best place for people to follow you:
TWITTER: @JefnJul

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 Jody Gray
of
Zach & Jody

Bio Image Jody Gray (2)

How long have you been in business:
Going on 9 years! (6.5 years full time)

How long have you been a mom:
14 months to our son, Jaxon.

2014CmasCard0001b

(image by DavidMolnar.com)

The biggest adjustment you had adding “mom” to your title and responsibilities during the day:
Not being able to plan on non-interrupted, set working hours.

Top Efficiency Tips:
#1. Set designated hours/days to work and hire a nanny to love on your kid while you get ‘er done (when putting feelers out, set expectations that your nanny needs to be up for doing basic housework – folding laundry, cleaning dishes, etc.  It’s a lifesaver!).

#2. Figure out what you HAVE to do… and outsource or in-source the rest. (Do you need to be spending 25 minutes importing photos into a blog? Do you need to be the one Instagramming and Facebooking and tweeting each blog post that goes up? etc.). Whatever does not need your unique voice or thumbprint, you don’t need to be doing it. It’s worth it to hire someone for $10/hour to do that stuff for you so you can spend that time focusing on getting new clients in the door or BE A MOM!

#3. Set small, daily goals. Personally, I like to accomplish the world and get a TON of stuff done each day. Once I had a kid, I wasn’t able to do that as well (who am I kidding, even without a kid, I still didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to every day :).  Each day I write down the things I would like to get done and I put them in priority from most important to least important. I make sure they are bite-sized tasks. Instead of “Get all WPPI logistics taken care of,” and come the end of the day I feel like a failure because I didn’t get it all done, I list out the small individualized tasks “1. Book flights, 2. Book hotel, 3. Check DVD inventory, 4. Finalize presentation,” etc.

#4. Stop the comparison game.  It is so easy to see what everyone else is doing with their businesses and feel like we have to do the exact same thing. We have to book XX many portrait sessions. We have to have be charging tons and making a buttload just like the leading professionals are. We have to be offering X, Y, and Z to our clients. We have to be doing pre-consultations and post-consultations and five sales sessions, etc. etc… You get the point. We hold ourselves to the standard of others, and oftentimes for no reason.

Awhile back, Zach and I did a coaching session for a mom-tographer who wanted us to talk through our sales sessions and look over her pricing so she could book more clients and make more money. After taking her through the Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals exercise, as we often do with those we coach, she realized that she didn’t NEED to be doing all of that. She didn’t need the income (her hubby made enough) and the whole reason she had her photography was so she could simply have a creative outlet. She was pressuring herself to do all this stuff and make her business be this big thing just because that’s what she thought she was supposed to do because everyone else was doing it.  Granted, not all of you reading this have the luxury of not needing to bring in an income, but maybe a solution to help with your workload is my next tip..

#5. Simplify! Think of things that you can do to simplify and cut back on your workload. Maybe for a time, you just need to be a shoot and burn photographer (*Gasp* Did she just say that??). Maybe it’s good enough to upload a few images to facebook of each session to get some word-of-mouth marketing going, and you don’t have to spend 2 hours writing a blog post and prepping and importing images for it. Think of how you can simply the processes that you have to free up time and make the best use of what you do have.

If you could say one thing to other moms/business owners out there, what would you say?
It’s ok not to be superwoman. I wanted to go out and show everyone how being a mom and business woman could be done, all on my own. I couldn’t do it. And you know what? I’m ok with that :) I have realized there are more important things than trying to be superwoman, and it’s being mom to my sweet son….  (Also, a quick side note for all of you first time moms out there who are looking for some tips to help out with the transition of adding a baby to your life – Feel free to check out a post I did awhile back on the Top 10 Lifesavers for New Parents on my personal blog :).

The best place for people to follow you:
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/ZachandJody
INSTAGRAM: @JodyGray
INSTAGRAM: @Itsthegrayfamily (this is where I post all of our kid happenings :)

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Being a mom and running your own business is NOT easy, to say the least. But know that you are not alone!  If you have learned tips along the way, leave them in the comments so we all can learn from each other. Also, don’t forget to follow the newly founded @BabyplusBusiness on Instagram to learn mom & business efficiency tips and to hear what’s next from this ever growing community.

PS. If there is another “mom” topic that you would like covered or have additional questions, also leave those in the comments and maybe there will be a Part III in the Mom series :)

  • Michelle Koechle

    Great tips and thanks for sharing! I’m so nervous about becoming a mom – due any day now! We weren’t trying and actually, we thought we couldn’t have kids so we wrote the mom/dad thing out of our lives two years ago. When I did get pregnant, it was such a shock and even just the pregnancy itself has been a huge adjustment. I’m definitely scared but just hoping to take it day-by-day and pray for the best!

    • http://psalm27creative.com Mary Clark

      You can do it, Michelle!!! It’s definitely not easy, but you are going to do great!

      • http://www.michellekoechle.com/ Michelle Koechle

        Thanks so much, Mary!

    • JodyDGray

      Michelle, oh my word, you are in for a TREAT! Having our son has brought more joy and changed our lives for the better in more ways than I can count. What a blessing you guys are prego and get to experience raising a child. It’s awesome! You’ll adjust and figure it out :) Hang in there!

  • http://psalm27creative.com Mary Clark

    Ladies – thank you SO much for sharing from your wealth of wisdom!!! As a new(ish) mommy, these practical tips are priceless!

    • JodyDGray

      You bet!

  • Kelly M

    One of my best friends once said to me during one of my ‘I’m-going-to-take-over-the-world’ phases, “Kelly, don’t ever trade the long-term goal of a great marriage and well-adapted, productive, Christian children for the short-term thrill of success and achievement that our culture says is ‘correct’.” It has become my personal mantra, and my soul whispers it to me when my priorities get out-of-whack, and I need a nudging to remember what is most important in life. Thanks for the great interviews!

    • AmyK

      Um, wow. Great statement. I’m going to write that one down!

    • JodyDGray

      That IS so good! Thanks for sharing that.

    • http://borisyukphotography.com/ Anastasia Borisyuk

      Love that sentence, it does really put things in perspective and I have to remind this to myself every day – or every month at the least ;)

  • AmyK

    I’m a mom of four. Right in the middle of finally following my dream of being a photographer, my husband lost his job and we decided he needed to go to college before he lost his military college money. I went back to work for the first time in almost 14 years to a day job, so he could pursue school full time. I am still trying to grow my business so that, in six months when he graduates, I can return to photography full time. The hardest part of all of it is the overwhelming “Mommy Guilt”. The crazy thing is, no matter who I talk to, regardless of their career vs parent choices, we moms all have it.
    For me it was 80% mental. I had to lower expectations. I’m still working on that, actually. I just signed up to rent a studio part time, plus work 36 hours a week, plus shoot weddings when I can, plus very involved in our church, plus four kids, a marriage to maintain…I constantly feel like I’m in over my head. But after reading these great posts, my next stop is an outsourcing website. I’m done trying to be it all, all at once.
    Thank you for the push!

    • JodyDGray

      Wow, you do have a lot going on. Yes, outsource, outsource!! Hopefully that clears up your plate a bit!

    • http://borisyukphotography.com/ Anastasia Borisyuk

      Wow Amy, you do sound like you have so much on your plate! I can imagine the fear of financial uncertainties too. I only have two kids, we’re hoping for a third next year (have to time it around booked weddings lol!).

      My husband left his more/less secure full time job with horrible management that would put him down for being an honest person and not wanting to lie for them, he is now self-employed and driving for 3 weeks at a time away from us. Both of us absolutely hate being apart (especially kids missing him terribly), but he does love to drive and he has no degree – it’s about the only thing he can do right now to actually make ends meet. He keeps encouraging me to book enough weddings for him to come home and shoot with me, he happens to be a great second shooter – I taught him to shoot in manual!

      Now the pressure I feel from trying to grow the business into something that can sustain our family is immense. It takes so much effort to consciously get over the guilt of my kids not having my attention 100% a lot of the time. At this point there is no way I can outsource, financially, I have to do it myself. It has really forced me to reevaluate what is most important on a daily basis – lowering expectations as you mentioned. Surprisingly, the kids are very happy – even if that sometimes means playing make-believe while mommy takes care of urgent emails. My business is not full time yet, so that certainly makes it easier. There is no way I could home school full-time and run a business full-time unless my husband is able to finally come home to us.

  • Judy Laing

    I’m bookmarking this post to read again and again! I’m not in the baby stage…..I’ve 3 boys aged from 8 to 14, but they still need ME! Too often my eyes are glued to my computer and not them. So, so many wonderful tips to take on board here. Wise women with great words of wisdom . Thank you!

    • JodyDGray

      Soon they will be old and grown and when you no longer want to look at the computer they won’t be there anymore :( Way to keep your sons first!

  • http://www.taramariephoto.com Tara

    I did this the business+baby thing wrong for three years. My business was my baby for 4 years before my first child came along. I remember feeling aggravated when she started to crawl, because she could no longer stay in one place while I worked. Now my two kids are 2 and 3. My husband is very involved, but I miss out on so much when I work late and work so many weekend dates. Although I love my job, I don’t love it more than my family. In the past year, I’ve set more and more boundaries on when I will work, and my main 2015 goal is to be with my family even more, even if that means sacrificing clients who don’t understand.

    My favorite quote to keep in mind is “work will always be here, but family will not.”
    As someone with a studio, taking her oldest to school every day, the steps that have really helped me are:
    1. Hiring a SHARP part-time studio manager.
    2. Hiring a part-time graphics and editing assistant who helps with general edits and album design.
    3. Setting firm business hours and shoot hours.
    4. Removing my cell phone from all advertising, and switching that duty to the studio manager.
    5. Cutting back to 2 Saturday weddings per month.
    6. Cutting back to 1 late night per week.
    7. Keeping work at work, and home at home. On the drive home, I try to allow my brain to transition from “photographer/business owner” to “wife, husband, and friend.” Sometimes calling a friend on the way home helps with that transition.
    8. On days that I don’t have photo shoots, I try to get out of the studio to go home early.

    I regret the times that I felt like my kids were an annoyance, and regret putting clients who don’t even remember my name before my kids who call me “mommy.” I’m thankful for all these helpful blog tips above, and hope that mine can help someone else not make the same mistake. :) Tara

    • JodyDGray

      This is so good. Thanks for taking the time to share. Here’s to pleasing those who call us “mommy” :)

  • SeaStarArts

    such a blessing to have these Moms and all of your advice! so hard to transition to a mom and after 3 months and learning to take care of my new baby and my business has been tough. Mostly because I haven’t slept since he was born!

    • JodyDGray

      Give yourself a break. It can be hard adjusting to being a mom, ESPECIALLY with lack of sleep. We have all been there and feel ya! Wait until the sleep starts coming (and it will :) and you’ll have a fresh brain to tackle the business. Here’s a link that may help with the sleep – http://itsthegrayfamily.com/2014/02/the-top-10-lifesavers-for-new-parents/ Check #9 :)

  • Allie

    This is awesome. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the game of comparison and “success” from the perspective of how many weddings/bookings we have, how much money we bring in, etc., because these things are so tangible, but there’s so much more to it. My daughter is 13 months old, and I work three days a week on my photography business and a college class that I teach, and I can completely relate to the guilt on both sides, but before she was born, I came across this question, and it’s really helped reboot me when I need it:

    What will I tell my child about success? What will I tell her/him when she/he asks me how to become successful?

    Good food for thought. Every time that I take the time to answer this question, I realize that it’s about so much more than the go-to “success” that so many default to.

    • JodyDGray

      Oooh, those questions are so good!

  • Stephanie Griffioen

    All of this was so, so encouraging to read. Jody thank you for your little bit at the end. I relate 100% to the client from your coaching session, and to hear that it’s okay to not be doing what everyone else is doing lifted the weight off my shoulders. I feel like that’s a piece of advice I’ve never been given. Thank you for this.

    • JodyDGray

      It’s hard not to think you have to keep up with everyone! Let the pressure go :)

  • http://borisyukphotography.com/ Anastasia Borisyuk

    Wonderful post and it is so encouraging to see many other moms doing this and nailing it, amazing how flexible women are! Inspiring to see another homeschooling, business owner mom on the list! That definitely adds an extra level of challenge, but for us personally it is way more important than business or anything else we may do – it also makes my schedule entirely in my command and very flexible, I think the demands of public school leave many kids, families, parents completely burned out. Thank you everyone for all the tips, I still have a lot to learn with my business in it’s infancy and only two kids :)

  • http://www.clippingpathspecialist.com/ Atiqur Sumon

    I love my mom very much she never hard me so thank you SO much for sharing from your wealth of wisdom!!

  • Betsy

    I am so thankful for this post and the previous post about your (Jody) experience in transitioning to being a mom. I had my second baby almost 4 months ago and I feel like I dropping the ball with life in general. Thanks for your vulnerability to share. I think it makes it even harder to be a Christian and try to honor God in all of this and know that you play such an important role in conveying to your kids who God is and how much He loves them. I think this has been a constant struggle for me as I want to grow a business but really desire to be around and the main influence while my kids are small and as we want to add more to our family. I appreciate even what you said advising that one momtographer about not needing to blog. And all the other ideas that were shared here. Really helpful!! Thanks!

  • http://www.offshoreclippingpath.com/ M R Karim

    Greatest flexible women in the world is mom. She never bamboozle in her child. I love my mom very much. Thanks for sharing a good topic.