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My first year in business – and what a year!

My first year in business – and what a year!

If I were to rewind my life a couple of years, I never would have predicted I’d be where I am right now.

I’m about to celebrate my first business birthday, surrounded by a massively supportive group of fellow business owners, mentors, advisors and friends.

Looking back at where I was two years ago, my life has changed beyond recognition and I’d love to share my story with you in celebration of all the support and fun I’ve had over the past few months.

A little bit more about me

If you’ve met me in person, you’d have noticed immediately that my accent is definitely not a Geordie one. I’m originally from Lancashire but I moved to the North East in 2013 to study Criminology at Northumbria University. I fell in love with the place and its people – there’s nowhere I’d rather be living and working, so I’m here to stay.

My original career plan, once graduated, was to be a probation officer – quite far removed from my current work as a photographer! I had volunteered with probation in a local prison and went on to secure a full-time position in a hostel for homeless males. Unfortunately, the stress of that job took its toll on my mental health after about ten months. I stayed on to complete my year-long commitment, but I’d already decided I needed to get out for my own wellbeing. I set up my business in January 2019 but didn’t take the plunge full time until April 2019, when I gave up my hostel work and concentrated on For You Photography, full-time.

For You Photography

I love photography – I always have. When I got the opportunity to turn my hobby into a career, I jumped at the chance. I now offer corporate, commercial and wedding photography but my favourite aspect of working with other businesses is learning about their services or products and helping them capture their story in the form of images. I love creating branded stock images for use on websites and social media, alongside photographing events and taking headshots.

The most challenging bits

During my first year of business I’ve learned so much. Sometimes it’s been challenging – there is only me in the business, so I’ve had to rely on myself to get things done. I’ve learned skills in the past 12 months that never even crossed my mind before, such as website building, doing my own accounts and the day to day running of a business.

Mistakes happen to everyone and I’ve discovered that the most important thing about making mistakes is learning from them and making sure they don’t happen again. And I’ve overcome challenges such as loneliness and isolation by getting out and networking with like-minded business people.

The best bits

I never dread Mondays anymore. I love working with people and my business enables me to do just that. Helping people is my motivation and I can make a living being creative and doing something I love. My confidence has grown massively over the past few months too, so being self-employed is the best thing ever.

I won the North Tyneside Business Factory’s business of the month back in November 2019 and I’ve been interviewed by the local media to talk about my business and the story behind it. But my biggest and most exciting achievement is winning a contract with a gaming magazine in California.

I’m so proud to be part of an incredible business community in North Tyneside and I can’t wait to work with more local (and global) businesses.

Let’s celebrate

To celebrate my first business birthday, I’m holding a birthday networking and celebrations event on Sunday 2nd February at Evan’s Bistro in Whitley Bay. I’d love you to come along – book a free ticket using the link above and I’ll see you there!

Thank you for all your support,

Lauren

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