Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren Dary, Founder of Lauren Dary Photography, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a professional photographer, but, really, I am a storyteller. I photograph people, and I love to capture their raw, honest selves. I also enjoy extending my storytelling to videography, where I hone a more 'documentative' style. It all stems back to the story and telling it in the most REAL way possible.
Tell us about yourself
I am an ever changing and evolving human who is proud to have switched focus, changed my mind, try new careers, etc. many many times in my life. I have been a baker, a certified yoga instructor, an administrator, a vintage reseller, ethical clothing brand owner - but through all of those varying titles, I was always a photographer. Even with my latest venture, starting, running, and selling my own clothing brand, I did all of the photography and considered myself the brand's photographer. Over the years, it varied in degrees from a hobby, side hustle, part-time or full-time, but it was always me. It was what I identified as, career-wise, the most. My family would probably describe me as an entrepreneur, which I am (and proud of it), but still, when people ask, "what do you do?" - the answer is: "I'm a photographer."
Being a creative person can be difficult in a lot of ways. I am so often thinking about new projects and new ways to create - it's kind of like being pulled in a bunch of different directions in my own mind. It's something that I love about being a photographer - that flexibility and opportunity to explore my own creativity. I've been running my photography business for 7 years, and it's given me so much. Not only do I get to meet and photograph amazing people, but I get to do it on my own terms. It's a win-win.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, my biggest accomplishment is that I still get referrals and that clients are still speaking highly of me out in that big, bad world. Being a creative person can be isolating and lonely because it often feels like you're out there swimming upstream - constantly a little fish in a big pond.
There are just so many talented, amazing creative folks out there, and it is a lot of competition. So to be still getting referrals and having clients send their friends to me is the biggest, BEST accomplishment. I don't take that for granted.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Doing my taxes? Ha ha, does that count? But, in all honesty, thank goodness for my husband, who actually does my taxes for me each year. This creative mind has its limits, and some of the actual 'business operating' feels like gibberish to me. Don't misunderstand. I've run a few successful businesses, and I know HOW to do things, but I certainly find them challenging. It takes me longer, and it doesn't spark any kind of joy, so I find those tasks tedious and draining my energy.
Another thing that I used to find difficult, but am learning how to cope with, is the ups and downs. As a photographer, there are busy seasons, and there are slow seasons. This means there are times when I am making more money and then times when I am making a lot less. It's all part of it, and I am learning to let go with faith that the 'up' season will be just around the corner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- My number one tip is literally to just start. I think people sometimes want to have every single duck in a row before they can put themselves out there in the world, and I just think that's untrue. START and do it now. You can work as you go.
- My second tip would be to trust your gut. Always. Full stop. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it - say no. I have learned this the hard way, and it is something you don't ever forget. Listen to your gut and do it the first time.
- My third tip would be to embrace the fear so that it doesn't hold you back. The fear is real, but it doesn't define you, and it shouldn't stop you. Just accept it and go forth - you've got this!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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