Monday, August 16, 2010

MOMtrepreneur Interview: Erin Johnson of Erin Johnson Photography

I am happy to share another great MOMtrepreneur interview with you!  Today's super mom business owner is Erin Johnson of Erin Johnson Photography.  Erin and I go to church together and I have seen a lot of her amazing photos!  Erin and her husband  live in Chanhassen, MN with their two daughters, 6 year old Sara Jo and 4 year old Nora.  I know she is one very busy woman with an overflowing plate and am so honored that she found the time to share her insights with us today!

What did you do before becoming a Work-at-home mom? 
I started my business a few months before Sara Jo {now 7 years old} was born when I was 23 years old.  Before that I was working at a children's photography studio.

What was the final “push” that got you to take the dive into leaving the 9 to 5 behind and run your own business full time?
I worked for a difficult boss so it was time to move on.  Once I left that job I waitress a little and my business just started happening.  I started taking photographs of friends of friends and then people just kept sharing my name with other people.  I then had to work a little backwards to create a good business.

What skills or education from your background do you think help you the most in your success as an entrepreneur?  
I have always been an artist.  I have a natural talent with photography and in visual arts.  I came from a line of entrepreneurs.  My father had his own business and everyone in his family does also.  Being a mom helps me run a business because I have to be the queen or multi tasking!  Being an artist and a business women came naturally for me. 

What new things have you learned since becoming a business owner?
What haven't I learned!  I have learned so many life skills like how to treat people, how to be humble and how to forgive others and more so how to forgive myself.  Running a business like mine where I am documenting people's most valued moments and/or intimate days teaches me how to relate to people and their situations.  I have learned endless office skills and computer skills. 

What’s the most challenging part about being a Mom + business owner for you?
Everything!  It is so hard to balance my life.  I have learned to set hours for my business even when working at home.  Childcare has been one of the best things for both me and my kids.  I figured out that I couldn't be good at either if I was trying to both at the same time.   

How would you define “success” for yourself and/or your business?
Money is a good thing but more than that I bless people.  My business is my ministry.  Not everyone can give the gift of good photography.  I have taken photos of many hurting people and my photos have helped them heal and find peace.  My photos have also reminded people of some of the happiest moments in their amazing that I can help people relive that.  Success to me is giving back and blessing others.

What advice would you give a new mom looking to start a business from home?
Put your family first!  Revolve your business around what you want out of life and don't let your business be your life.  Find balance between the things that matter and your business.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?  
Owning your own business is an amazing adventure but along with all the ups there are many downs.  I think it takes the right kind of person to have what it takes to have a successful business working for yourself.  I think your business should be something you are passionate about and love doing.

THANK YOU so much, Erin, for sharing your experience and insights with us!! Please check out Erin's website, as well as her blog, to see more of her amazing work! Every time I go to her website, I find myself getting sucked into her photo gallery and spending way more time there than originally intended! ;-)

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