Having a deep love for weddings and the industry is something that many of us share. We’re truly lucky to do jobs that bring us so much joy and creative satisfaction. But love alone isn’t enough to make a business work, as Chester wedding photographer and HiveTribe member Melissa Booth, discovered when she made the leap and set up ElsieLove Photography. It also takes a cool head, careful planning, and surrounding yourself with lots of support! In this interview, Melissa shares how she went from wedding enthusiast to wedding pro, and how she’s learned to be present in both her business and personal life.
How did you get started in the wedding industry?
I have always loved weddings and always loved taking photos of special moments. When I grew up there was just my dad and I. Because of this we have so many photos of me but just two photos of the two of us together. This spurred me on to want to capture other people’s special moments with dear family and friends. I am completely self-taught and have done a number of online courses through Creative Live. I then second shot for the first year and went on a number of styled shoots to work on my portfolio. I have a huge thanks and so much gratitude for my bestie, who is also an amazing photographer. She has always championed me, and led me on the right path in the early days.
I always had a love for weddings and actually wanted to be a wedding coordinator once upon a time. In fact, I still really love watching the coordinators and planners when I’m at weddings. I feel I am now in the best position as I get to capture all the beautiful details that the planner, the stylists, florists, etc. put together, and I also get to see my picture of grandma sitting on a mantlepiece.
What mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them?
Jumping in feet first without learning how to run a business is the worst mistake. You have to wear so many hats and it has been an eye opener. Having the right group of business entrepreneurs around you really helps also.
What advice would you give someone about to make the leap to being a full-time wedding pro?
It is absolutely worth it and I say go for it! I would also say: invest in a business coach as soon as you can. This is where I wish I had invested first. It allows clarity, lets you know where to put your time, and gives you someone you have to be accountable to.
What support and advice have you discovered, and how has it changed your business?
The best support I have had is from my the HiveTribe group. You can ask any questions in the members group on Facebook and help other members. It’s so important to have like-minded people around you championing you on. The first piece of advice I hear all the time is: know who your ideal client is.
Do you think women can ‘have it all’ when it comes to running a successful business and having a fulfilling personal life?
Absolutely. I believe women to be big dreamers but also go-getters. If we are prepared to work hard we can have anything we want.
How do you find a work/life balance?
I have an extremely supportive husband, which is so important. We always communicate, which is number one on the list. We discuss finances, where the business is going, improvements, investments and if I am not using my time wisely. He is my rock.
It’s super important to be organised. Plan your day out the evening before. It’s also important to make sure you are truly present when you are committed to doing anything. Whether that be watching TV, playing a game, or doing the weekly shop. Just put the phone down and remain present.
What’s your definition of success?
Success to me is not having to check my bank account to see if I can afford a reasonable object. To be able to book a holiday whenever I want. To provide my children with the best that life can offer them.
What’s your number one tip for new wedding pros?
Invest wisely. Don’t get carried away. Do not compare yourself to others or you will lose who you are and stand still.
What’s next for you and your business?
More destination weddings. I would also like to work with planners more.
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