Thanks to CUA who sponsored this post as a supporter of local entrepreneurs and small businesses. We only partner with companies that we believe bring value to Halifax families and, as always, all opinions are our own.
Lyndsay Doyle says she never planned to be a photographer, despite owning a popular photography business now.
“I kind of fell into it by accident,” she laughs.
When she finished high school she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She went from program to program, not finding the right fit, and ended up in a steady government job. She enjoyed taking photos as a hobby, but then a friend asked her to photograph her wedding in 2005 and she was hooked.
Lyndsay began taking more photography jobs on the side and the business began to grow. Every evening and weekend away from her day job was spent building this business. During that time she and her husband also built a house and had their first child in 2007. To say her plate was full would be an understatement.
“I’m a very hard worker and when I want something I definitely go after it,” Lyndsay says. “I’m so motivated to excel at everything that I always believe I can juggle it all.”
Her second child was born in 2011 and her photography business was getting busier so that seemed like the right time to consider becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
“My husband and I started talking about me making a career shift to have the flexibility to be available for things such as sick days and snow days, kids activities, and parent-teacher meetings,” she says, and so, in 2012, she left her day job.
Lyndsay loaded her schedule with photography work, parenting duties and even added a print magazine, Family & Co., where she managed almost every aspect of producing the magazine, including writing stories, taking photos, and securing advertisers.
While she loved what she was doing, it quickly became apparent that there weren’t enough hours in the day. Between the multiple branches of her businesses, and the needs of two young kids, she was feeling pulled in many directions, and eventually, it was time to make some tough choices.
“I was a victim of my own success,” Lyndsay admits, and so she decided it was time to re-prioritize and scale things back to a manageable level. Part of that process was making the difficult decision to stop producing the magazine, despite its success.
“I think when we end things as an entrepreneur it always feels like a failure, and that’s really hard to deal with,” she says about the decision.
Her main focus became photography but, in order to continue to feed her soul and “fuel her creativity,” Lyndsay started doing passion projects about causes she was drawn to put a spotlight on.
As an entrepreneur, and especially as a female entrepreneur, she says she feels a strong call to share her voice and perspective about the world. She has done three series now that focus on female empowerment including Stripped!, Pretty in Pants, and, her current project, #superROLEmodels, where she photographs strong female athletes.
These passion projects had the unexpected bonus of attracting new clients. People she worked with through the projects, or people who saw the results of the projects, started coming to her for more work. She says she has learned that one of the best ways to attract the clients you want, is to do the work you want to do, even if it’s non-paid sometimes.
“You’ve got to show it to get it,” she explains of this philosophy.
Balancing her life as an entrepreneur and a parent has been a challenge, but it’s getting easier as her two boys get older. They are eleven and eight now and understand that their mom needs to work, and, when appropriate, they’ll even come along to help and watch her work.
“It’s important for me that they see me working and know that I work hard,” Lyndsay says. She takes pride in knowing that sometimes they brag to their friends that their mom is her own boss.
Lyndsay is an artist but she also has a strong business side. She was an active member of the Centre for Women in Business for a long time and took a series of business certificates through them. She believes this has helped her grow her business in a conscious and deliberate way and credits careful business and financial planning as being the key to success as an entrepreneur.
“You have to grow bit by bit,” she advises, saying that sometimes eager entrepreneurs jump feet first into something full-time without giving it time to develop properly. “It’s okay to take rests from the business in order to figure out what’s next.”
While Lyndsay is probably most well-known as a photographer she also does content creation and small business branding and consulting. She has discovered that she loves the business side of things and enjoys helping other entrepreneurs get the right start and make good choices.
Lyndsay realizes now that, although her photography career may have appeared to start “by accident”, she believes that she was meant to be an entrepreneur and she couldn’t imagine any other lifestyle.
“This was always the path that I was meant to take.”
Whether you are just starting out or looking to grow your business, CUA has financing options available to help you get where you want to be. With CUA’s Microloan Program, you can borrow $500-$5,000 for working capital, tools and equipment or other business-related expenses.
In addition to start up and equipment costs, business owners have to plan for many different operating expenses. No matter what your business needs, our dedicated team of small business professionals will help to process your application quickly. Explore all of CUA’s financing options at cua.com/business.