Female Entrepreneur Profile
Behind the Lens with Elizabeth Collado
of Elizabeth Collado Photography
If you take a look around my website, you’ll spot photographs of my workspace, my dog (of course), and professional head shots of me! I dreamed of having professional photos like this for my business, and meeting Elizabeth was an answered prayer. Starting a new business is scary, which is why I made it a goal to use this blog partly as a way to profile women entrepreneurs who are running their own businesses. If anyone needs inspiration to get started doing something they love, I hope you will use these future posts as a way to see where your goals can take you one day.
Elizabeth comes well-recommended in the Williamsburg area where I live, and when I first talked to her I knew she would be just as great in person as she was on the phone. She has an adorable little girl and I honestly don’t know how she juggles being a mom and running her own business. Superpowers, I tell you. I asked Elizabeth some questions about how she got started, what made her decide to become a professional photographer, and obstacles she faced along the way. Naturally, as a writer, I am going to summarize her answers rather than do an interview format. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these posts, as I want them to be enjoyable to read, inspiring, and informational. Let’s get started with how SHE got started!
How She Got Her Start
Always having a love for photography as a hobby, Elizabeth was gifted her first DSLR camera on her 30th birthday in 2016 by her husband. Seeing how fast her (adorable) little girl was growing up, this was her way of making sure she captured all the special moments. Once she started posting photos she had taken, people responded. Others began to comment that they loved her photos, and she had her “ah-ha” moment!
Caroline thought: Isn’t that a great moment when you realize you are good at something…as cheesy as that sounds! I sincerely hope everyone has that moment in their life at some point. It doesn’t have to be a business idea, but we all have our talents and it is so important to recognize them. But I digress…
Back to Elizabeth! After her “ah-ha” moment, she began taking classes and practicing on willing friends and family who served as her subjects. She studied photography as an art as well as how to run a business. It gave her a purpose that was her own. I don’t have kids, but something I hear a lot from moms is that they have trouble doing things for themselves. I absolutely respect women who embrace their identity as a mom and simultaneously take on the role of a working mom to support their family.
Perhaps the hardest part about owning a business is the owning the business part…ha! I realize that may be obvious, but hey. Elizabeth said it best – owning a legitimate small business means a lot more time spent doing the “business” part than actually working on your trade of choice. She learned to balance this by taking on passion projects to maintain her love and creativity behind the lens and outsourced some business tasks so she could focus on the trade more. I think this is something that is so important to note.
Caroline thought: It is okay to not do EVERYTHING. While I personally haven’t gotten to the point yet where I can outsource some tasks, it is a goal I have for the future. You know yourself best, and you know what you can bring to your business. Don’t be afraid to admit and realize that you can’t do EVERYTHING – nobody can!
I asked Elizabeth what her advice to aspiring photographers or women who want to own a business would be and I loved her answer. She said to not be afraid of hard work, because that means you’re doing it the right way. She also talked about the importance of finding a tribe that can support you and who you can support as well. I totally echo this sentiment – I can’t imagine life without my “tribe”!
Moving forward, Elizabeth hopes to eventually help others who find their passion also lies in photography, whether this means teaching a class or mentoring. I asked what advice she would give her daughter if she ever wanted to start her own business once day. She said, “I would tell her to dream big and hold your head up.”
**cue the tears**
How sweet is this? I also love that she acknowledged that going after what you want may be met with opposition. Which is true. I had many questions about money, how I would support myself, uncertainty in leaving behind security, etc. While these are valid concerns, they are not everything. I love the advice of believing in what you are doing and how strong you are. This alone is what leads to success – confidence!
I also loved that Elizabeth highlighted the importance of kindness in all you do. It’s free, it’s simple, and it is oh so necessary.
To sum up this post, I wanted to end with this statement. Elizabeth said, “If I am able to help just one other woman as she starts up a photography business to support herself and her family, I would find so much joy knowing I did.”
This right here. I couldn’t end it better myself. If we all just try to support one other person with what we do, think about the kind of world we could create!
What thing do you want to help just one other person in? I’d love to hear about it.
Until next time,