Looks like I have a lot to learn from Leah. She shares some amazing tips in here, so read it, bookmark it, and read it again.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, let’s see. I live in Seattle, WA. with my husband and our three enchanting kiddos. At 3:30pm every day I transform back into a homework aiding, activity chauffeuring, dinner preparing mama but before their school bell rings, I’m the owner and boss lady of Leah Remillét International Inc. Basically, I’m a success strategist for creative entrepreneurs around the globe. My little team and I work to help big thinking creatives turn their dreams and goals into their reality.
How did you get started in photography?
I saw a blog. And that was it. I knew I had to be a photographer. So I convinced (and begged) my husband to let us sell some of our furniture and his laptop on craigslist so I could buy a camera and give it a try. It’s pretty crazy that he let me do this because at the time we were living as students in this little one bedroom cinderblock apartment with a 3 year old, 2 year old and 3 month old. What can I say? I have impeccable timing. But it was one of those things where you just knew.
How did you juggle your time in the beginning?
In the very beginning there weren’t any paying clients to speak of, just an unquenchable desire to learn everything I could – so I would stay up all night googling and trying to find answers for this crazy journey I’d set out on. Back then it was a lot harder to find the answers I needed so I decided to start a blog called Go4Pro Photos (because I was going for pro) so that I could pass on exciting tidbits when I came across them – I knew I couldn’t be the only one with this crazy dream. As time went, clients did start coming and then I suddenly found myself very busy. Within 18 months of the day I picked up a professional camera for the first time, my business was booming and bringing in over $8K a month but I wasn’t feeling the love like I wanted to be. I kept crazy hours, working once I put my kids in bed at 8pm and often until my head literally hit the keyboard sometime around 5am. Back then none of my kids were in school yet so I had very limited working hours during the day and zero sense on how to balance everything.
How do you manage your time now?
After my own rock bottom moment that landed me in an ambulance, I realized things had to change. So I went at it with the same vigor and determination I had when I’d first started my photography business. I studied companies like McDonalds, Ford and read dozens and dozens of books. I learned to create systems and workflows and most importantly, how to outsource and let go of some of it so I could be more of who I dreamed of. I learned that while I can be everything, I can’t do everything.
Now my work hours are from 9:14am to 3:36pm – while my kids are at school. When they walk in the door, I walk out of my office and am fully present with them and my hubby (once he gets home). I break my workday into sections and block out time based on project priorities. I also end each day by creating my top 5 list. These are the 5 most important things I want to accomplish the next day and they are where I am going to start every morning.
Does running your own business help you be a better parent and if so, why?
I want my kids to understand that it is grit, determination and optimism that makes dreams come true. You don’t have to be the smartest or the most talented, you just have to be ready to push harder than the rest. I hope that as they grow they will see this more and more. I also love teaching my kids about hard work and ingenuity, in fact our two daughters who are 8 and 10 have been building their own Etsy business recently and just got their first sale last week. I believe real confidence comes when we see what we are capable of. By teaching them and showing them what’s possible as little kids, I hope they will realize just how unstoppable they can be when they are aligned with what He intends for their lives.
What changed from how you worked before your kids were born to after?
Everything. I really wasn’t that hard of a worker before my kids. I mean, I tried to do a good job but I didn’t pour my heart and soul into it. I also wasn’t working for my own dreams, I was working for other peoples dreams that I didn’t really understand. Now my outlook is completely different but I am so grateful for each of those jobs because they taught me so much about the kind of business owner I wanted to be and what is possible when you offer a great product with incredible service.
How does having kids influence what you do?
It influences every decision I make. My number one job above all else is to raise happy, productive and faithful humans. I have taken a deep look inside and asked myself what I wouldn’t be able to get over and what I want to be most. I wouldn’t be able to get over my kids not knowing unequivocally that they were loved, adored and treasured and what I want most is to be exactly what the world sees, even when all the doors and drapes are closed. That means that I have to look at every idea, project and proposal and decide if it falls under good, better or best. And most importantly I constantly have to reevaluate and see how I’m doing and if I need to adjust anything. What’s working awesome one month may no longer work at all the next for the balance of our home. As activities, church responsibilities and project goals change, I have to readjust my attack plan to be sure we stay in balance. When you’re balancing something in real life, (think about trying to balance something on your forehead) you always keep moving and steadying and adjusting to keep everything right side up. Family balance is the same way.
Is there anything you would like to promote?
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