“I would give myself the grace to be a beginner” this was a quote from Angela Buckner’s interview this week. It struck me SO hard that I had to share it on this preview with you.
How hard is it to be a rookie and allow yourself to FAIL, to make mistakes, to not be perfect? We have these extreme expectations as a business owner to be performing at such a high level when we haven’t done half the things we are expecting ourselves to do!
I know for myself I’ll get an idea and believe it should be happening the next day. I get frustrated that I haven’t mastered SEO (when I learned a small bit about it last week) or that I haven’t nailed editing a podcast (I’ve done ONE episode). It can feel like YEARS that you’re sitting in the mud when in reality, it’s a few days or months that you’re learning the ropes.
So many times we DON’T MOVE FORWARD or stay consistent because we are trying to make decisions like we are a CEO of a Fortune500 company when in reality it’s just us, a computer, 800 ideas, and chump change in our bank accounts.
So here are three reasons why you allow yourself to be a rookie in growing your business:
You aren’t going to nail your offering/service/product the first time around - ok you might but it’s rare for that to happen. So trying different things and receiving feedback can be instrumental as you get started. You’ll also have more time to reflect, tweak, and learn the industry. Just like ANY job or even riding a bike - you had to learn and train before things just came automatically. Why is this any different?
CONSISTENCY IS KEY. This is a big one for me. Anything that I’ve been consistent in I’ve been successful at. When I give up too quickly I didn’t even give it a chance. So what if creating your podcast takes 3 months to create- there are some people not showing up at all.
Mistakes aren’t failures. You’ll learn early that every decision you make won’t kill you- if anything it will lead to the next opportunity. JUST START!!
Angela is the owner of ALB Photography Designs & ALB Art and Designs, and she shares that we can all do this- we can all fight the fear and do it anyway. With no experience at all but passion in her heart Angela started to build a business that she cared deeply about and even wrote her first novel this past year! This reminded me of Raechel Campbell’s feature last week where she reminded us to be creative and live boldly every single day!
Additionally, you may remember a previous feature about Shauna Parisi where she shared that when you stop caring what other people think EVERYTHING opens up for you. This is one of the things Angela shared in our interview. She states that looking back she would work on not comparing herself to others and remind herself that she is enough just as she is!
I felt so honored when Angela reached out and shared that she had recently launched her photography business after years of raising her family and wanted other women to know that they can do both, raise a family and grow a business!
If you are interested in learning more about Angela’s work you can reach her on her Photography Facebook page or her personal page. You can also get in touch with her via instagram or through email email@example.com!
Without further ado, Angela Buckner, everyone!
What is your story!? Tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally!
I am an “almost” empty nester with one son living at home and attending college. I have been married to my awesome husband for 34 years! Whew! That’s a long time, isn’t it? I have 2 handsome sons, 2 beautiful daughters, 1 wonderful daughter-in-law and 2 awesome son-in-laws. I am also the proud Mom to Bentley, my grumpy Shih Tzu. Raising my family has been the center of my heart and life for about 30 years. Whatever they needed came first. As they began to grow up and go their own ways, I started to realize that I wasn’t even sure who I was apart from being a mom and a wife, but there was a burning desire in me to find out.
I started taking pictures with an old camera and teaching myself photoshop and taking some classes. They say, “if you wake up first thing in the morning and that thing you like is on your mind, then you should probably do something with it.”
I dreamed of all the beautiful photos that I could take of families and children with their wonder filled expressions. I started asking friends if I could take pictures of their family for free. I took lots of free pictures! Haha!
After years of practicing, upgrading my camera, and taking thousands of photos that no one ever saw, I decided to launch a business. I was also working full time so it was only a side thing. That business has now grown to afford me the opportunity to do it full time.
I have always been artistic and creative, and I began to think that maybe photography would not be my main business, but maybe only the vehicle that would allow me to grow another business that I loved. I began to craft wooden signs and jewelry, paintings and books. I felt a deep desire and push to try to write a book, so I stepped out this past year and completed my first novel. I fell completely in love with writing!
It may sound like I am in a million different directions, but the process of finding out who you are and how you fit into a new season of your life is not always a quick and easy one. There were many days that I would beat myself up and say that I could never compete with other photographers that were younger or more experienced than me, or why start an Etsy store because there is already a million of them. I realized for me, it was more than making an income, it was about reviving dreams that had never died in my heart since I was a young girl. I always loved to create and to write and those dreams had been dormant so many years, I didn’t even know they were still there. I realized that without breathing life back into those parts of me, that I would never be complete and I would always feel like something was missing.
I am honored to be a part of this series because I believe this is a common thing with women in my age group and for all women really. We all seem to have those loud voices in our heads that continuously tell us we can’t do something.
Owning a business is great and hard, but for me, it is more about embracing who I was meant to be and allowing myself to do the things that I was gifted to do and letting that be more than enough.
How did you get your idea or concept for your business?
I just started out as a hobby and realized that it became such an outlet for me to be creative. It brought joy into my life and I wanted a full time job that made me happy.
Tell us more about your business and what you do!
I have a photography business that leans toward children and families. I have also recently started an Etsy shop with different designs for the home and personal use. Recently I quit my full time job to take the leap and grow my business. So scary and freeing at the same time.
Looking back would you do anything different?
Looking back, I would absolutely do a few different things, but the biggest thing would be that I would not compare myself to others. I would give myself the grace to be a beginner. I still do this at times, but I remind myself that my talents are God given, uniquely to me and I don’t have to be like someone else.
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
My favorite thing is being able to know that I have given my best to my product and that I have blessed other people with something that they can enjoy for years to come.
Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.
In my photography business, I have the opportunity to photograph a family at the hospital with their brand new baby, and then as a one year old, and maybe Christmas. I get to build those relationships that are personal and precious over a long term.
What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?
There are several challenges, but I would say the biggest for me is juggling all the different aspects of a business from taxes to social media, to organizing and then the actual work of the business. Keeping a good attitude about what I am doing even on the hard days is difficult sometimes, but I have realized that this drains my creativity and only slows me down.
What about some of the challenges you face as a female entrepreneur?
This is an important area for me. My generation has been taught to take care of our homes, our families, and manage our households first and although these are wonderful things, there is only 24 hours in a day and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for making dreams come true, so as I said, they get put on the back burner. It seems that men are very encouraged and applauded to go after their dreams, but we don’t see that very often with 54 year old women. I am fortunate to have a very caring husband that helps to push me out of this mindset, but it has been difficult to be okay with putting something I love in first place.
Advice for other other female entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?
You can do it. It won’t be easy every day, but it will be worth it. It may never make you a millionaire but it will let you know that you are strong and that you can DO it. Don’t listen to the doubts and fears, those voices will probably be there even when you’re a huge success. Don’t compare yourself to others to the point that it makes you feel badly about yourself.
What is your favorite quote?
“Every year you close a new chapter in your story. Please, please, please don’t write the same one seventy-five times and call it a life.” –Rachel Hollis
How do you avoid burnout?
I take long walks with my dog. I drive with my top down and play loud music! I visit my daughter who lives at the beach (my happy place) and spend hours just walking or sitting and listening to the waves. I have realized that I flourish when I take the time to have “down time”. So I try to plan into my schedule time to just be alone a little bit each day or so and gather my thoughts.
We know all entrepreneurs work differently. How do you schedule your day?
I am a night person, so my mornings start slow with devotions and coffee. I go over my calendar and my weekly goals to see what is most pressing. I work well with an active list of things that I can mark off as I get them finished, so I update that list for the day and dive in. I force myself to stay on the allotted time frame, if possible. It makes me feel very accomplished at the end of the day.
What are your MUST have tools?! (things like organization, calendars, social media, payment platforms, business development sources...etc.)
I love Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Calendar because it has a place to set goals for myself, my business, and my family each week. Also, I would be lost, without my phone calendar because it is with me all the time. I am also a member of the Business Boutique, which has monthly lessons and sessions that help keep me encouraged and on top of new ideas to work into my businesses.
How do you advertise your brand?
I try to post daily on social media platforms which is not my favorite thing, but it seems to be a necessity to grow a business. I reach out to other business that I feel would be interested in home gifts, such as realtors, and local small businesses.
Is there anything else you'd like for us to know?
I may sound like I regret the time spent devoted to my family, but I don’t. They are the people that now stand behind me and cheer me on. I do regret however, not realizing that I could have both at the same time. I love seeing young women today working hard to do what they love and to love and take care of their family too, but I truly want to see more women my age empowered to believe that it isn’t too late and those dreams that they might have had in college or as a teenager are still in there somewhere waiting to me cultivated.
Thank you for your contribution to the female founder series, Angela! I know that your perspective and story will inspire so many.
Are youInterested in getting involved with the female founder series? Want to share your story? Drop us a comment below!