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Featured today on Entrepreneurial #bossmoms we have Yolanda, owner of Blue Star Photography. Yolanda is an uber-talented, self-taught photographer who lives in sunny California.
Tell me about yourself, your business and how you got started!
My name is Yolanda. I live in southern California with my husband and two kids and I love anything that has to do with the beach, the mountains, wine, yarn, beads, and photography. I am Native American, born and raised in Montana on the Ft. Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes Indian Reservation. My Indian name is Blue Star Woman. I have had an interest in photography since I was in elementary school – I had Polaroid cameras, disposable cameras, and little i-zone cameras. Back then, I always printed out everything, unlike today where everything is done digitally. However, it wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that I had the urge to start film photography again. I bought a cheap SLR film camera off of Craigslist, tons of cheap film, and took my kids out on adventures to capture them playing or just being themselves in our backyard. Little did I know that developing film ordering prints is a lot more expensive now than it was back in my junior and senior high school days. The cost definitely caught up with me and by the time Jan/Feb came around, I had spent so much money on prints and developing film that I could have bought my own DSLR camera! In March of 2014, I received my own DSLR camera for my birthday. I started out doing free shoots of families and children for months before I started charging. It took me awhile to come up with my name because I wanted to be original. I finally decided on Blue Star Photography, which is based on my Indian name, Blue Star Woman.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I thrive on routine – it helps me stay sane! My day consists of breakfast, snacks, lunch then more snacks, Target browsing/shopping – (the kids love the dollar toys)… Sometimes we go to the park to let them run wild then I’ll make dinner. After dinner is bath and bedtime for the kiddos, then my husband and I watch a few episodes of our favorite TV show. After that, he usually starts on his homework and then I edit or work on my website.
How do you balance running your business with being a mom?
Between the hours of 9am – 10pm, my main focus is being a mom. After the kids have gone to bed and I’ve taken care of any other tasks that needed to be done, I work on editing photos from my recent sessions.
What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
My biggest challenge so far has been the marketing side of things. I don’t know how to get myself out there! I want everyone to have memories of their family or loved ones – I don’t have any photos of myself as a baby or child, so my mission is to make sure others do.
What advice can you offer to other entrepreneurial moms?
Don’t overwork yourself. Slow down and enjoy the little moments with your growing children and make sure to have date nights with your husband. I’ve spent numerous hours on my computer trying to edit a single photo when I barely knew what I was doing. I can’t get those hours back that I could have spent with my family. My best piece of advice is to make sure you have a good routine that allows your business to fit into your lifestyle.
It has taken me over two years to get where I’m at now. When I started digital photography I didn’t know what jpeg or a tif even meant! It’s difficult starting from the bottom with no formal photography education. I had to learn everything from YouTube and online photography groups, but I’m glad I stuck with it. There were so many times I felt worthless, or not good enough. Sometimes I just couldn’t get my photos to look how I envisioned them, but I stuck with it and now I can proudly say I love my work. I’d describe my work as very similar to film photography – that’s probably why I love it so much!
You can find Yolanda at Blue Star Photography and follow her on Instagram to view her beautiful photography.