This Spring we are delighted to bring you a series of interviews from mums running a variety of businesses, we hope these interviews will inspire you as well answer some questions you may have about what it’s like to be a mum in business.
The first interview in our series is with Kelly Robinson from K. A. Robinson Photography. We thank Kelly for her time and honest replies as well as sharing with us some of her beautiful work.
Tell us a little bit about you and your business. When did you start and what made you decide to start your own business?
I am a photographer that specialises in pregnancy, newborn and young families but also have a huge interest in animal photography. I started my business in April of last year. I was originally a biology technician at a girl’s grammar school and just about to start teacher training when I found out I was pregnant. I was meant to go back to the school but my son was born 10 weeks early and needed a lot of care. Once he was home and well I couldn’t face going back to work. I was using my new DSLR camera to photograph precious moments with my son, after a while I had friends and family ask me to photograph their families. Demand became so high that it made sense to start a business.
Where in the UK are you based?
I am now based in Penygroes, Llanelli, South Wales, having recently moved from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
What did you do before starting your business?
I received a Bsc (Hons) Degree in Environmental Science in 2011, I wanted to teach science at FE level. I then went on to work as a biology technician in a girl’s grammar school where I was meant to later start my teaching training.
How did you feel when you had just launched your business?
I was extremely concerned that people wouldn’t like my work and it would fail.
What were the main challenges or most important things to learn when you first started?
My main challenge is something I still struggle with now and that is looking after my son and running my business around him. My son suffers from severe night terrors so can be up 10-15 times a night. Most evenings I work until 11pm or later so it can become very tiring.
Did you get lots of support from family and friends?
Family and friends have always supported me in my decisions. I am very lucky that I have a supportive partner too. Now we have moved away from family and friends I rely highly on my partner when it comes to looking after our son when I am working.
Once you had started how long did it take for you to feel that it was an established business?
It took around 6 months before I became established as I had to get so many shoots behind me to get more clients interested in my work.
What areas of photography do you cover?
I specialise in pregnancy, newborn and young families. I mainly use natural lighting and also like to turn photographs into art work using silhouettes. I work from home using a home studio set up but also do lots of outside photography using woodlands and beaches.
What are the best things about running your own business?
The job satisfaction is incredibly high and I love every minute of it. I love following a client through pregnancy, to newborn and sometimes beyond that. Also being able to spend lots of time at home with my beautiful boy.
What are the worst?
The worst can be the amount of late hours I spend working and sometimes dealing with awkward clients. I find it hard to say no and try to please everyone, this can become very stressful.
Is there anything you wished you’d known before you started?
I wish I knew how to handle clients more as I can become very upset by the smallest comment. I can get 99 lovely comments and one bad one but that bad one affects me a bit too much.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement is that the business is still here and surviving well. I have never studied photography, I am all self taught so having people book me and compliment my work highly is very rewarding and sometimes overwhelming.
If you weren’t running your own business what do you think you would be doing?
I would probably have gone back to working in science, which I do miss greatly and will still go back to every now and then.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Spending time with my lovely family and sleeping, sleeping is something I don’t get much of so when I do I thoroughly enjoy it!
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about starting up their own business?
I would say research as much as you can into the business, have a notepad where you can write ideas, tips and advice down on. Don’t take everything to heart because you can’t please everyone and to definitely go for it!
What plans do you have for your business in the future?
I have started a series of educational books for children of pre-school age. They contain photographs of things you see in day to day life. I am hoping to get them finished and published later this year.
Where can we find out more about K. A. Robinson photography?
I am currently working on my website but I can be found at: www.facebook.com/karobinsonphotography
Click to see more Interviews on morethanmummies.com
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