In today’s episode, my guest is Lindsey Tyler a photographer, wife and mom of three from St. Louis. Her business Lindsey Tyler Photography focuses on baby and brand photography. Lindsey speaks about her experience transitioning from working full-time to taking her photography business full-time in January 2020. Lindsey was also a member of my former membership community, The Purpose Gathering Collective. She also shares her experience being one of my coaching clients.
Can you tell the story from your perspective about how we met?
I actually wasn’t very active on Instagram, which is where we met. I hopped back on there and we started connecting. I had just learned more about the community and your podcast, and we’ve just been chatting from there. We had a connection, it wasn’t forced or anything and we just learned more about each other’s businesses. I love being a part of The Purpose Gathering community!
Give us a quick overview of what life looked like for you before you took your photography business full-time. What encouraged you to finally take that leap?
My background being in the military for about 15 years, my full-time job was in the IT field. I decided to start my photography business in 2015, so going on six years now. When my daughter was born, naturally I fell into newborns and maternity. But my love for photography stems back to early childhood. When my kids were born I was always taking their pictures, and I decided to start a business.
I just learned everything I could, taught myself all the photography stuff that I could. About five years into it, I was really busy working full-time at my day job. Then I’d be shooting sessions and editing late night and on the weekends. I felt too busy, had no time for my family, and I dreaded going to work every day.
I felt if I quit my day job, I could really dedicate the time that I needed to grow my business to its full potential. My husband was super encouraging and supportive of me following my dreams. So in January 2020, I quit my job.
What feelings were going through your mind when you actually quit your job?
When I walked out the door, I felt a sigh of relief. Even though it was a scary step, I did not feel overwhelmed. Giving up stability and an extremely well-paying job is scary. Little did I know, a few months later after I quit my job, that the pandemic would happen.
I think most business owners struggled during this time. For me it was even harder because I just quit my job but my photography business was super slow. I started to really question if I made the right decision. But I decided to just ride the storm out and didn’t give up. I felt where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Pandemic aside, what are some of the other struggles that you have been facing as a photographer?
I feel one of the biggest things for me is my productivity. When you’re raising a family and working at the same time, you have a short window of time to be productive. I really wanted to be more intentional with the time that I had throughout the day. I felt stuck in couple of different areas, thinking about which direction I wanted to take my business and wanting to focus my energy on being more strategic in my efforts of working with the right clients.
Another thing that I really struggled with was “turning off” work. I feel like I’m always working and I didn’t really have a lot of boundaries in place for office hours. I really wanted to work on my mindset shift and be more intentional with my time.
I remember having that conversation with you about just feeling overwhelmed and feeling stressed. What interested you to end up joining The Collective, then actually hire me to do some one-on-one coaching? What has your experience been like since we’ve worked together?
The biggest thing for me was really a commitment to growth. Since I started my business, I’ve invested and poured into learning and really educating myself. I was finally at a place in my business where I felt really confident in my work and in my ability to provide an amazing experience for my clients, but I wanted to go to the next level. What I mean by that is just having help to work through some blind spots that I was missing in my business, to guide me in the right direction.
I really connected with you because I felt we’re on the same page as far as balancing motherhood and business. One of the biggest things that I really liked about the community was the accountability factor. I felt we had a lot in common and then I just could trust you with some of my struggles, personally and in the business. That was one of my reasons really deciding to work with you and doing the coaching. I just needed someone else taking a look at everything that was going on and could help me plan for the next steps and put me in the right path to obtain the growth that I was looking for.
The great thing about working with a business coach and especially someone that’s in the same business as me is having someone to really keep you accountable, work through the goals and aspirations, to really fill in those gaps I felt like I was missing.
I would actually love for you to share the other business that you also have.
When I think about the whole reason why I quit my day job in the first place, I wanted more time to dedicate to my photography business, but I struggled with the stability of income. I wanted to bring in a part-time income, so I took on some virtual assistant work and actually worked with several photographers and helping them grow their business. So that was hourly work every week that I was pouring into a few other photographers.
I just got to a point where I really wanted to take a step back from that work, and so I still do work with one other photographer, very part-time. It’s allowed me to still have plenty of time in the week to dedicate to growing my business as I feel like things have finally picked back up, after the year and a half that we’ve had.
I remember sitting down at your coaching session and really being able to help you unpackage how many hours a week you were spending on your Virtual Assistant clients. Do you remember what that number was?
It was almost 30 hours a week.
I remember doing the math with you and figuring out how much you were getting paid hourly versus if you just replaced that with a couple of photography sessions. How did that realization change things for you?
It really helped me to figure out what I just needed to replace those hours. I could really ramp up on marketing or connecting with other people through different methods, and I could easily replace that income.
Do you feel that because you have fewer Virtual Assistant clients, you’re able to focus more on the growth of your photography business?
Having that time back in my week allows me to really focus. I think it’s great and I really appreciate the clients that I worked with, but at the end of the day, I wanted to focus on where I wanted to be in my own business. It really stems back to my why, I want to be there for my kids, I want to be more present. I know that I just I had to change my mindset, investing in my business to get to where I needed to be or still want to be.
But I felt after working with you, it helped me really focus on what I should be doing with the amount of time that I now have, so that I could see faster growth. Having someone to really personalize a plan for you and work through exactly what you’re going through is definitely necessary.
I would love for you to leave the listeners with some advice, what advice would you give them?
Definitely take time for yourself, invest in your business and don’t give up. If it’s something you’re truly passionate about in life, just don’t give up. If you invest in your business early on, you will be so much happier. Being able to do what you want in life, living out your dreams and living with purpose is not something that everyone is able to do. You just have to have the right mindset and it will take you so far.
My group coaching program is launching August 1st, which is just next week. Lindsey is one of the inspirations for me creating this group coaching program. I want to be able to teach mamas how to take their side hustle photography business to the next level and become the CEO of their business. The program will help mamas step-by-step, figure out where they are, where they want to go and then how to actually level up their business. Head on over to thepurposegathering.com/coaching for more info.
I want you to know mama, as always I am here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.