Olyvia Works: An Interview With Meg Martino of Meg Martino Photography
It’s with a great deal of admiration and gratitude that I introduce to you a new interview series on my blog: Olyvia Works.
Olyvia Works is a monthly feature column giving exposure to the stories + sharing the wisdom of determined, sophisticated women in the workplace. These women are entrepreneurs, actors, executives, journalists, small business owners, chefs, bloggers, lawyers, models, and others who I believe can inspire and elevate the ambitions of this community.
Today’s inaugural interview is with a courageous woman I am honored to call a dear friend: Meg Martino of Meg Martino Photography.
A photographer in the Charlotte, NC area, Meg launched her own business earlier this year and never ceases to amaze me with her fierce work ethic. (I’m going to bed while she’s loyally plugging away all night editing her photos!)
As a full-time mom of three, this lady is brimming with wisdom. I LOVE what she has to say about pushing past the fear of launching a business while balancing motherhood. For those who worry about whether they can do it, her insight is gold. ❤
1. Meg, tell us the story behind you, your journey into photography, and why it was important to you to have a home-based business.
I started photography back in 2010 when I was going through a separation with my ex-husband. It was a very trying and painful time and I used photography as a therapeutic tool to help see me through. My first camera was my camera phone on a flip phone….but I realized, I had a passion and eye for the art. I was an artist. I never looked back and my art became a source of healing for me in a lot of areas.
It is extremely important for me to have a home-based business because I want to put my children first, always. It is possible to put them first. And I refuse to take me being there for them during all of their school functions, lunches, plays, and dramas, away from them. They mean too much to me.
2. Describe the greatest difficulties you faced in launching your business.
The greatest difficult was finding support from others; even family. No one viewed “an at home” business as a legit business. Even though I pay taxes and keep records just like anyone else. It was also very difficult to find balance in the first month. Going from being a SAHM to a WAHM (work at home mom) was difficult for our family. But now we are reaping the benefits.
3. You’ve had a tremendous amount of growth since launching your website earlier this year. What marketing/networking/pricing strategies do you think contributed to your success?
I first and foremost believe that my website has impacted my business growth the most. Many of my leads come from handing out business cards and than having an easy to navigate website. Many clients have even asked me how I had such a clean and easy website.
As far as financial costs, I keep things very low by doing a lot of face-to-face marketing. I set up booths at local art shows, fairs, etc. I use my website to guide people to pricing, etc. When I do need to spend money on marketing I would almost always spend it first on my website than on things like business cards.
4. You have three children at home and a younger sister in your care. Please share what a typical working day looks like for you.
Working days for me vary. Typically after dropping my children off to their schools/daycare/preschool I do “office work” which includes e-mails, returning clients phone calls, and editing of my photographs. When I have photo shoots I schedule those in around my kids as well - so typically those are done in the evening after 5:30pm. I always have dinner prepped and ready to re-heat.
If we have a particularly busy day with extracurricular activities I stay up late to do edits and domesticated duties like laundry. My spouse travels 90% of the time and is actually doing a temporary transfer out of state so I’ve learned to juggle and handle a lot of these things on my own.
5. Small business owners in the same industry tend to either fiercely compete or generously collaborate with one another. What is your approach?
I very much collaborate with other photographers. I want to learn from them, grow with them, and band with them. We all have our own styles - so even in competition we have to have our own special flare to be hired. If someone comes to me and I am not their style artistically, I can recommend another artist or photographer that is much more their speed. I also find lots of support being a small business owner in the photography/art field by banding with others who are like me.
6. All fears and doubts aside, where do you see your business in 5 years? In 10 years?
In five years I hope to have two full time photographers working alongside of me under my business/me. I would love to start and run artistic photography workshops that help photographers “stuck in the rut” get out and re-discover their artistic side of this art form. I’d also love to be doing more traveling with my work.
In 10 years I will focus solely on capturing events, people, and lifestyle work. I will have full time editors who understand and respect my editing style and who will do all of my editing. I will also be working overseas doing a lot more awareness pieces on third world countries.
7. What encouragement do you have for a woman with children at home who is thinking of starting a business and is feeling guilty, terrified, or completely inadequate?
You cannot base your decisions solely off of emotions; if we did this we would never succeed at life. Think of when you were pregnant; weren’t you scared? Terrified? Felt completely inadequate at times? Did that stop you from labor and delivery? Did that stop you from being a mom? NO. You have to push through those feelings and just…do it.
Surround yourself with those who are WITH YOU. Really with you. Remove those who are flat out rude, mean, or not supportive. Criticism is important but make sure it is from people who are really genuine towards you and want to see you succeed and grow.
And would you let me know what you think of the interview series in the comments? If you’d like to nominate a woman you think would be a delightful addition to the feature (or you’d like to nominate yourself!), I’d love to hear from you. Contact me here.
P.S. Remember, Office Hours are happening on Facebook again this Thursday night at 10:00 PM Eastern/9:00 PM Central. I have a number of excellent questions I’ll be answering; come and ask your own!
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