Vacationing whenever you want, PJs all day, meetings at Starbucks instead of in stuffy board rooms – the life of a creative entrepreneur can sound like paradise to any aspiring small business owner. However, anyone who has stepped into the role, knows these perks come with their own sets of demands.
Spending 13 years as a hair stylist in Central Alberta, Raelene already knew she loved to help people see the beauty in themselves, that she recognized immediately. Building connections with her clients and serving them well, was the best reward for this friendly extrovert. Though she left her career to focus on her family, it wasn't long before she fell-in love with another similar creative career. “I took some time to just be, no pressure, and fell into photography. For real, I assisted someone for an entire day and came home just lit up knowing that this was for me.”
It wasn't long before Raelene had found herself head over heels for her new creative profession. Choosing to specialize in weddings and engagements, she has found inspiration from several industry leaders especially her fellow redhead, Katelyn James. “I love me some KJ! Her Southern accent gets me every time….and her courses have been a great investment for my business!” And now, after four and a half years in the photography industry, Raelene has found creative inspiration is so many different ways. For example, just last year at Showit United, one styled shoot leader, Montana Dennis, gave her advice that has been speaking to her soul since. “He said to treat your clients like human beings. That's all they want, all anyone wants. They deserve to be served to the best of your ability. Serve them well.”
Anyone who has been around Raelene for more than a minute, knows she has a heart to serve. But, even the simple desire to serve, can come with challenges as well.
“Challenges of being a creative….HA! I feel like just being a creative is a challenge in itself!” Raelene has found the ups and downs of owning her own photography business incredibly challenging, as well as rewarding. “Balancing your work is hard…balancing your friends and family and your life while being a creative can be crazy difficult!!”
“I got into this habit of working all the time. Legit, all the time. Because I thought that's what everyone else was doing to be successful, to get to the top. But I realized quickly that that's a dangerous path to travel. I have dedicated working office hours and I *try* to stick to them so I can still enjoy my time with my family and see friends! I don't do any ‘office' work (editing, social posting, gallery delivery, email response, etc) after 4:30 pm. I still shoot engagements and weddings in the evening and on weekends, but you won't find me editing until 3 am.“
While some may find it odd to gain community through an online storefront, Raelene would tell you otherwise.
My business has grown like crazy and I credit a ton of that to having a killer online home! And Showit is seriously a family that just keeps growing and growing and getting better and better.
The Showit team has been so good to me through support chat!
With our first IRL encounter at the Showiteer dinner in Las Vegas at WPPI, many years ago, she has become an integral part of our creative community. Raelene brings joy and fun, everywhere she goes, and to everyone she meets.
I heard about Showit through another photographer while I was at WPPI in Vegas for the first time. She was going to the Showiteer dinner and took me along!
-Becoming a Showiteer was a mental game changer for me! I didn't feel alone anymore – my world grew so much! Attending United…oh my gosh. What an incredible experience for any entrepreneur to have. This will be my third consecutive year attending and this year I get to inspire others and lead a styled shoot!
One piece of advice to a new photographer would be:
Do the work.
It's sounds super simple….and it is…if you do the work.
What I mean by that is to learn things! There's so much educational content for entrepreneurs out there…learn HOW to be a business owner, how to treat your clients well, learn about how to backup your photos safely, learn different editing programs…Put in the hours and do the work. It won't all come together overnight, but it'll come and success will be so much sweeter for you.
When I feel like I just need a Netflix binge because things aren't going my way I give my business bestie a call. We give each other a ton of support and tough love when it's needed! More often then not, those calls lead to something fantastic!
When creating a business, most people focus on what everyone else is doing.
…when it’s more helpful to focus on being yourself and serving your clients the way only you can!
We are so thankful for Raelene, and the example that she sets for new, and old photographers alike! She is constantly learning, constantly trying to better herself and her business – all while encouraging those around her to do the same.
We hope you enjoyed this Showiteer Spotlight!
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