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Nathalie Amlani is the owner of Pictonat Photography and does family photography and personal branding for small businesses. She helps families capture joyful moments that light up their hearts and she works with women entrepreneurs to help them stand out online with content that connects. In addition, she is a proud mom of two children who are 4 and 6 years old.
In this episode:
- Reach out. The anxiety of making a career change can be alleviated by asking for help and guidance, intentional planning, and setting boundaries.
- Show some love to ALL those images! Easy tips for creating lasting memories from all the photos we take with our smartphones.
- Business is human. Showing up for your audience and sharing your story on social media can ignite your brand and help you to shine online.
Connect with Nathalie:
- Website: https://pictonat.com
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had a wonderful conversation with Nathalie! We talked about how the anxiety of making a career change can be alleviated by asking for help and guidance, intentional planning, and setting boundaries. Nathalie shared easy tips for creating lasting memories from ALL the photos we take with our smartphones. She also discussed how showing up for your audience and sharing your story on social media can ignite your brand and help you to shine online.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Nathalie! She was so honest and open about the struggles and successes she has experienced in her motherhood/work juggle. Nathalie keeps it real and talks about the importance of sharing your story.
Nathalie talks about how you never truly know what you are going to be going though or experiencing until you are in it. She worked as a project manager in the financial service industry for about 15 years and poured her heart and soul into this role. Nathalie worked long hours on multi-million dollar projects. However, when she and her husband became parents, her perspective shifted.
RETURNING TO WORK
Returning to work after maternity leave, Nathalie tried to set a boundary for her work time by starting work earlier and leaving by 4 PM. This worked for the first couple of months. However, she felt like she wasn’t doing as good of a job at work as she was before because she wasn’t staying as late as she used to. Nathalie used to be the one who would stay until 6 or 7 PM.
Nathalie started staying at work later and later. Then, she would rush home to make dinner. Both Nathalie and her husband were very stressed out. Nathalie felt very tired and found that her work environment wasn’t very supportive. Nathalie felt guilty for taking time off work for appointments or if her child was sick and she had to pick him up early from daycare. She found that she was frequently getting sick (often catching the bugs her son had) because she was running on empty.
A PULL FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Nathalie started realizing that she wanted more. There was something missing. Nathalie had always loved photography. She had taken courses and completed a photography certificate program. It was something that she enjoyed doing on the side, documenting her marriage and her children. Nathalie saw this as a way to make an impact on people’s lives. Working for a corporation on large projects, she never felt like she was making the impact herself. Nathalie wanted to become closer to the customer, to be more personal, and to make more of a direct connection.
TAKING SOME STEPS
Nathalie’s daughter was a very relaxed baby who slept a lot. It was almost like a sign that the time was right to start a business! Her husband got her a domain and with her background in technology, Nathalie was able to set up a website on WordPress. Over the holiday season, Nathalie did a trial run with holiday portraits. She invited friends and people in her network. Formal photography appointments were booked and clients were provided with prep guides. Things grew organically. Nathalie had been a part of a few moms groups on her maternity leave. The head of one of these mom groups invited Nathalie to take photos and she became the official photographer for the group.
HIRING A BUSINESS COACH
Unsure of how to charge people for her services, Nathalie hired a business coach through Mamas & Co., an incredible online community for mompreneurs. Her coach helped her to plan and to feel more confident with the sales part of her business. This all happened during her second maternity leave.
Nathalie didn’t want to immediately quit her corporate job because she didn’t know if she would be able to make enough money with her business. She asked her boss if she could come back part-time. Unfortunately, he was unable to accommodate this request. Nathalie tried to go back to work full-time and continue with her photo business. As her photo business grew, she found that she was working around the clock.
ASKING FOR HELP & GUIDANCE
Nathalie reached out for help and guidance for the changes that she was facing and thinking about. She spoke with a counselor about the anxiety she was feeling about bringing a second child into the home and potentially leaving her corporate position to pursue her business full time. The counselor talked about the importance of making a plan. With her business coach, Nathalie planned out what it would like to leave. She set a date and worked backwards.
A CLEAR PLAN
Nathalie outlined when she would leave, when she would resign, what she would say, and who she would resign to. She also budgeted how much money she would save as she knew that there would be a lag in making money. Mapping everything out allowed her to be comfortable with the plan. The result was that she felt more relaxed at work and was more productive. Interestingly, when Nathalie did resign, her company offered her a part-time position.
Originally in starting her photography business, Nathlaie specialized in family photography. She did a lot of newborn photography which could be done during the day on weekdays but family photography sessions were usually on weekends. During the week, her kids were in childcare or school during the day but on weekends, when her kids were off, she was working.
TRYING TO KEEP UP
At first she told herself that she could keep up with this schedule because she wanted to grow her business. Nathalie felt like she had to prove to other people that she could actually make money. Many people were skeptical about her leaving her career to start her own business. So, Nathalie continued taking any appointments she could get. The result was that she missed her family, she felt overwhelmed, and she reached a point of breaking down.
It was one thing to build up her business but learning how to plan her time and set family and work boundaries was challenging. Nathalie wished that she had learned this sooner.
- BATCHING: Nathalie started batching her sessions. She would plan ahead by a month or two and choose one or two weekends each month to do photo shoots. This was such a small step that ended up being a tremendous help! She had been afraid to do that in the beginning because she worried about losing business and clients. However, this was not the case. She paid attention to key dates for her family and kids such as lesson milestones and birthdays. This helped Nathlaie to create balance in her family life.
- SPECIAL TIMES: Nathalie created special times with her kids. She leaned on parenting experts when her son started having tantrums and acting out. Nathalie realized that he would see his mom always busy working on the computer in the main area of their home editing photos. She wasn’t present for them. Now, Nathalie makes a point of being fully present with her children between 5-8 PM.
- SLEEP: Burning the midnight oil, led Nathalie to become a zombie mom! She found herself being impatient and short tempered with her kids. This helped her to realize how much she needed proper sleep to be at her best.
CAPTURING DAILY JOYFUL MOMENTS
We all have smartphones! Nathalie shares how we all pull out our phones to capture ‘the moments’ and then, we do nothing with the photos. She encourages us to take this a step further and show some love to our images. When you are in the moment you live it, but it can be so easy to forget.
- Mark it as a favourite on your phone. This is a simple and easy way to start! Your favourites will already be sorted and you will be one step closer to making an album or gifts. Sorting the photos means that they won’t disappear into the abyss.
- Create a shared album on your phone with your spouse or other family members. You can all add photos to the album and then, create a physical album from these photos. Remember that If you drop or lose your phone, all of those images are gone! (An iCloud backup helps with this too!)
- Use the iMovie app on your phone. You can add music and even do a voice over. Video can be played at normal speed, in slow motion, or even in fast motion!
- Capture the kids’ point of view. Nathlaie’s son sees her taking pictures and so he enjoys taking pictures too. He captures the things that are important to him, for example all the insects he notices outside, and Nathalie creates an album of this!
- Create an online diary. Create an email address for your kids and send them letters. You can also create a Google Doc where you keep track of funny moments or special memories that happen that month. Documenting things in one consolidated place is a great way to look back on special memories.
Along with family photography, Nathalie also started working with many mompreneurs and business owners capturing their story. She is a huge believer in storytelling and sees this as both visual along with the words that you say. By sharing your story and showing it to your audience, you make yourself the face of your brand. People want to know who they are doing business with. Business is human. If you show up, people will love it. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and to open up. This will allow your audience to get to know you and want to do business with you. Nathalie describes this as building up your know, like, and trust factor. It is so much about storytelling and relationships.
SHARING YOUR BRAND STORY
- Get a bank of images. Have a photoshoot to build up a collection of photos of you, the business owner! Photos of yourself get the most engagement on social media.
- Talk about your business in different ways without selling. This can include behind the scenes moments such as an image showing a meeting with a client or putting together a package and what goes into it. If your business is product based you can talk about why you chose specific colours. You can share elements of your life at home if your audience is mainly moms. This results in so much engagement on social media because people feel a connection to you, they can relate to you, and they feel more comfortable with you. Other examples include sharing your why including why you started your business, how you started your business, and who some of the people are who had an impact in your life and business. People love to hear these insights.
- Build your credibility. Showcase your knowledge and tips.
- Differentiate yourself. In every business you have competitors. Show up and be yourself! There is no other duplicate of you. There is only one of you. This makes your brand unique in itself. Introduce yourself on your feed at least once. However, keep in mind that new followers may have missed this message so you can re-introduce yourself periodically. You can also share tidbits about yourself such as three things they might not know about you, your favourite books, and how you spend your Sunday for example.
- Share social proof such as client testimonials and reviews.
- Plan your content in advance and be consistent. This is so key in how you show up and talk about your business 2 or 3 times per week on social media. People will get used to seeing you and this will help with organic growth.
FOR EVERYBODY ELSE
Nathalie felt like she missed out on her daughter’s (her second child) infant and toddler stage because she was working so much. She was growing her business and trying to prove to everybody else that she could do this. Nathalie reminds us that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. She wishes that she had known about setting boundaries sooner. This only happened when she started to ask for help when she was going through cycles of overwhelm, anxiety and burnout. When Nathalie started reaching out, talking to people, and saying that she didn’t know what to do, she found that she got advice about boundaries.
SHOWING UP BETTER
Initially, the idea of boundaries made Nathalie feel like she was trapped in a box. However, she found that by setting boundaries of making time for herself and taking care of herself, she was able to show up better for both her family and her work. It actually made such a huge difference! Nathalie’s previous approach had been doing things in extremes (work time, family time, personal time). During busy times she wouldn’t work out and eat well, which meant that her overall wellness suffered.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Nathalie’s words of wisdom are “Make time to nurture yourself. Take care of yourself. Listen to those nudges.” If you are feeling tired, drained or you are noticing that you are not showing up well, it is probably your mind and body giving you a sign that you need to step back and take care of you. Once you do that, you will show up better for everyone and you will be much happier.
Thanks so much to Nathalie for this wonderful conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!