Hi Madelin, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
My interest in photography started when I was a kid. One of my earliest memories took place at a Christmas party. Two sisters were trying to take photos of themselves but were unhappy with how the photos came out. I offered to take their photos, and they were so happy with the photos that they asked me to take more. I remember feeling so happy that I could do that for other people.
In middle school, I took a field trip to Full Sail and fell in love with their photography program. I could imagine myself going to school there. However, as I grew older, I took different paths. I spent a long time trying to find a career or job that worked best for me. But none gave me the feeling photography gives me.
It wasn’t until I was halfway through my Bachelor’s degree that I started thinking about photography more and more. I wondered where I’d be if I took the chance sooner. I told my mom about it and she found two cameras and let me have them. I practiced on a friend and then offered free sessions. From one, I got a real client, which I charged $25 for 30 minutes. I soon realized the camera I had was no good (it was really old), and I told my parents that I wanted to buy myself a camera. My stepdad offered to buy me a camera, and we all went to the store together and chose one. I was ecstatic. I instantly wanted to get out and practice. It was difficult to find time, but when I could I practiced on myself. I would set up my tripod, take photos, and edit them.
Towards the end of my Bachelor’s degree, I took an entrepreneurship course in which I had to create a real or fictitious business. Around that time, I was obsessed with photography. It was the only true interest/hobby I had, so I did the project on it. I had to choose a name for my business, and I knew I wanted something different. I googled different name ideas and found Snaps by… so, I chose Snaps by Madelin. Every week we had new assignments in which I had to create marketing plans, business plans, you name it. I set my start date for March 2022, but I had no intention in actually starting the business. It was wishful thinking and I didn’t think it was possible.
Once I graduated, I wanted to find a career. Something that I would enjoy and that offered great benefits. I applied for dozens of jobs but I didn’t have much luck. I was a little disappointed when I realized how difficult it was to find a job in the field that I graduated in. I eventually found a job and I planned to stay there long-term.
Unfortunately, as the months passed, I grew unhappy. I started to think about photography again and I decided to just finally do it. I set a plan to offer Christmas photos and my husband and I bought decorations. He built an arch, we decorated, and I took photos. I put it on social media and waited for clients to book me. It was a little slow, but I didn’t want to give up. As I waited, my husband and I joked about how awesome it would be if our neighbor let us use his truck for the Christmas photos. He has a really cool vintage truck. My husband talked to him, and he quickly agreed. We decorated it, took photos, and posted the photos on Facebook. The amount of interest I received was beyond what I could have hoped for. We filled several spots. It was truly the happiest I’d been in a while. I hosted the sessions and edited the photos on the weekends while I worked at my full-time job during the week. I also found more photography opportunities and met the most amazing and talented photographers. They believed in me and told me I was good.
As amazing as my weekends were, I still had a job. I became increasingly aware of how different I was at work than I was when I was photographing. I was very stressed and unhappy. I finally reached my breaking point and realized I couldn’t work there any longer. I spend too many days praying for a change. God finally spoke to me one morning and told me to get my LLC. I knew it was God because when I was working on my Bachelor’s degree and created a business plan for Snaps by Madelin, I decided on a sole proprietorship. My teacher even tried to talk me out of it, but I was set on it. Things lined up to where I left my job on good terms, and I decided to start my business. I left in December of 2021 started my business in January 2022. I did as God told me and registered my business as an LLC and I’ve been in business ever since. I owe all the grace and glory to God because I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave my job and start my business without him.