Name: Alyssa Hubner
Business: Candid Clicker Photography
Location: LaPorte, IN
Alyssa Hubner is owner and lead photographer of Candid Clicker Photography. She serves Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area. Alyssa was one of the first business owners to participate in our Stories of Mompreneurs project and she talked with us throughout 2016 and 2017.
The Business Details
Tell us about your mompreneur business: Candid Clicker Photography. We know you’re a photographer, but tell us more.
As you said it, I'm a full-time photographer! I love all aspects of photography, but what I really love is photographing people and their emotions. In all that I photograph (engagements and proposals, weddings, newborns, families, pets, events, etc.) my main goal is to capture the candid moments, which is why I named my business Candid Clicker. I also get the posed moments, but I love capturing the moment just after the first kiss, a mom snuggling on her newborn between takes, grandparents playing with their grandkids, and more. That's what makes my job the best in my eyes. I get to capture these moments that you want to remember, and make it something that you can keep and pass down to future generations. I love having a job that I love to do!
Are you a solo mompreneur or do you employ a team (or do you hire out help on occasion)? Tell me about the business structure.
I'm pretty much solo. I do work with a second shooter for weddings, but I do all of the rest of the photography, editing, email correspondence, social media marketing, etc.
Editing is a huge part of my business. I have to cull through the images to decide which ones to keep and which ones go, and then I lighting, color correct, correct blemishes, whiten teeth, etc. on the keepers. This is a huge job, but at least I can do this at my computer at home while Grayson sleeps and plays with his toys!
What was the impetus for starting this business? Tell me about the on-ramp process for you? How long did it take for you to feel like you were finally “up and running” with Candid Clicker? How long now have you been running this Candid Clicker Photography?
I went to school and studied graphic design and visual communications. I had to take photography courses, but they weren't geared towards doing what I do. By the time that I graduated, I was burnt out on the graphic design road. I had shadowed and interviewed some professional graphic designers in Chicago. They started work in the early morning, got off late in the evening, and then still had “homework” to finish up their projects. I have always wanted a family and that didn't sound like the family lifestyle that I pictured.
I bought a camera towards the end of my college career so I could do some photography simply because I loved it. Soon after that, an acquaintance asked me to photograph her beach wedding. It was the ideal first wedding to shoot: laid back vibe, absolutely gorgeous bride, gorgeous day, perfect sunset lighting, and so much fun! I was sold! I was so nervous that I'd miss a moment that you could've created a flip book from all of the photos that I took, but I didn't miss anything and everything went great! I started looking into it, and decided I was going to start a photography business.
Having the graphic design background helped because I was able to make my logo and do my website and everything else that I needed to get started. I loved the idea of the business, and that I'd be able to be a SAHM with my little ones while doing what I loved! I made my logo, and got started asking around to friends and family members to start building a portfolio. First, shooting for dirt cheap, and then once I built up a small portfolio that I thought was pretty good, I raised my pricing. It took me at least a year until I raised my pricing the first time. I've raised my pricing and restructured many times, but I didn't really feel like I was where I wanted to be with my business until about two years ago. Now looking back at the images from when I first started, I'm glad I didn't charge a lot! I've improved and learned so much in the last six years!
What’s the vision for your business? Where have you been and how does your vision guide where you’re going?
I love what I'm doing and I'd like to continue doing it! I'm working on a new website, improving my branding, and expanding my client list. I think doing all of this will improve what potential clients see and, hopefully, be more enticing to them than what I'm currently putting out there!
So, how’s your business doing? Are you happy with it’s success/progress/state?
Business is good! I'm excited with what this year will bring, and excited to bring on new clients along the way.
How do you approach financial management as an entrepreneur? Do you use specific tools or resources? Do you hire help at tax time?
HoneyBook takes care of my books, which is awesome. I do all of my taxes, but will probably start working with an accountant some time soon to make sure I'm doing everything correctly and not missing out on stuff.
We’ve all seen the memes: real life vs. Pinterest life. What’s one “Pinterest idea” or false impression others have about your work/life/business experience?
Some people think all we (photographers) do is show up and take pictures. They don't realize the countless hours that we spend culling and editing. These are the people that can't fathom how it could possibly take six to eight weeks to finish up their wedding gallery.
The Mom Details
Tell us about mom life.
I'm a 30 year-old mama. I actually gave birth to my son, Grayson, on my 29th birthday, so we share a birthday and I never really aged in my head. Forever 28 sounds good to me! Ha!
How long were you in business for before you had your son?
I had been running my business for five years, almost exactly, before I had Grayson.
How does being a mom impact your business vision?
I now feel more connected to other moms, especially those that are expecting for their first time! I also think I'll be able to network and meet more potential clients as Grayson gets older. I know as he gets older things will be harder for me as a work from home mom. I may have to look into daycare a few times a week, or maybe have my mom come over and entertain him here and there so I can get work done.
How have your work habits changed after you had your son, or how have they changed as he grows?
I'm now not just working to take care of myself, I'm working to take care of him. This makes me even more conscious about growing my business and continually bringing in work and income. I recently got engaged, so I'll be saving up for a wedding, and I'm sure after the wedding we'll start thinking about baby number two! As far as my habits go I've been getting up earlier and trying to get through my emails before Grayson wakes up. I've also had to do a little more work in the evenings and on weekends.
When people ask you, “how do you do it all?” what do you say?
I just say that I do what I have to do to run my business and take care of my baby. Family and friends are number one in my book, but keeping my business going is a close second. I never want to neglect either, and I do my best to keep both going smoothly.
Tell me about your childcare arrangements? How do you balance work and mom life? Who helps you out?
My mom is a life saver! She lives only about 15-20 minutes away and comes over to help out whenever I need her. My future mother-in-law is such a help as well and also visits often to help—despite living over two hour away!
Bringing it All Together
Tell me about a few tools/resources you use to manage your business and mom life? What have you found to be really helpful?
Keeping a list is the only way that I can keep my life in order. I actually use Notes on my phone, linked with my iMac so I can see what I need to get done wherever I am. I use HoneyBook to take payments, sign contracts, and correspond with clients. I highly recommend HoneyBook to anyone running any kind of event-based business. It's amazing and pretty affordable!
If you could go back and talk to yourself the month before you became pregnant with your son, what would you tell yourself about how “things” would turn out?
I'd tell myself that things may be crazy, but to enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast! Everyone told me that it goes by so quick while I was pregnant, but I ignored them and actually got pretty annoyed with them telling me that. Now, I totally get it.
What advice would you give to fellow mompreneurs or moms who are thinking about jumping into entrepreneurial territory?
Make sure you do your research, create a legitimate business, and charge what you need to so that you make a profit.
And don't undercut other business owners! I see a lot of moms starting up businesses (which is great!) but they do these side gigs and undercut other moms along the way. I get that everyone has to start somewhere, but there's no way that you can make enough money to support a family doing photo shoots for $40 a pop. We all need to support each other and build each other’s business up.
How do you recharge and keep your personal energy up when you’re running a business and raising a little one?
I make sure I make time for family and friends. I try to have at least a few weekend dates that I don't book each month, so I can enjoy some me time. I also will go grab lunch with my mom, or ask a friend to join me while grocery shopping during the week just so I can have a little break and have some adult face time.