I want my planner (real or mental) to be filled with personal joys as much as exciting professional opportunities! - Wendy Zook
If planning goals for your business (and figuring out how the heck to accomplish them!) is a struggle for you, read on about Wendy and how she does it!
Wendy is the loving mom to 3 year old, Addie, and 5-year old, Zack. She owns and manages Wendy Zook Photography, a couples photography business based out of Rochester, NY. Wendy is all about capturing love stories and getting to know her clients so that she can better tell their story.
Now it's time to hear Wendy's story!
Why did you choose to start your business?: At about the time that I realized I had an incredible passion for photography, I was suffering in a managerial position that kept me stressed and away from my family for about 70 hours a week. My husband and I barely saw each other and I was missing too many bedtimes and bathtimes and firsts with my kiddos. I spent several scary months testing the waters with free or super-cheap photo sessions for friends, family and even strangers that had a little trust in me. After tons of practice and an incredible amount of late-night researching and studying, I felt confident that I could do it full-time. So, my husband and I took a leap of faith and I became a stay-at-home-mom, which is the most difficult and most rewarding job I've ever held!
What words would you use to describe your business?: Story-telling / Natural / Authentic / Comfortable / Love Stories / Adventure
Now, tell me about those little ones of yours! Names, ages, personalities!? : My daughter, Addie, is 3-going-on-16. She's got a HUGE personality, tons of wit and spunk and a good amount of sass and attitude. She tests me every day and she makes me laugh every hour.
My son, Zack, is 5. He was diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after birth and although we now laugh about what we would tell the parents of five years ago, it has been a difficult journey at times. We are blessed that he is healthy and, most importantly, a very happy and loving boy with endless belly laughs and slobbery kisses. He has taught me to be an advocate and he has helped me learn what really is important in this crazy world.
Would you do anything different when being a mama and business owner - and if so, what would it be?: I would have found my organization and balance earlier in the game, but for the most part, I've learned to always give myself a little breathing room in both of my "jobs." I know there are some days where my editing and sessions take over and others when school tours and tutors is a priority, and that's OK!
What is one key moment you remember that you struggled to balance being a mom and business owner?: I've had times in photography busy season when my daughter starts crying as I open the closet for my shoes, even if I'm just going to the mailbox or putting something away. Those moments are hard. And not too long ago, I made myself "too" available and too quick and eager to respond to inquiries and messages from clients. I realized that I would feel less regret sticking with the Playdoh party or brushing the princess's hair rather than leaving that to answer an e-mail in five minutes as opposed to two hours.
If you had one key piece of advice for a new momtrepreneur, what would it be?: Set layers of goals. I have a HUGE five-year-plan type of goal at all times. I have a calendar year goal. I have monthly to-do lists that I then break down into weeks and then days. Taking a daunting task or to-do list and splitting it up into more doable levels seems less stressful to me. And I ALWAYS make sure that I have personal goals broken down like that, too. Like field trips with the kids I'd like to take in the winter or a couple of days of playing in the snow and drinking hot chocolate. I want my planner (real or mental) to be filled with personal joys as much as exciting professional opportunities!
Thank you for sharing your story with other mamas, Wendy!
To see all of Wendy's beautiful work (seriously, the photos on her home page are GORGEOUS), visit her website at: http://www.wendyzookphotography.com.
Photo Credit: Nicole Starr Photography, Saratoga Springs, NY http://www.nicolestarrphotography.com
To submit your mompreneur story, reach out to me here and I'd love to feature you!