After spending just eight months in corporate America after graduation, Kelly Lee knew that she wanted to be her own boss. In the three years since, she has developed and been running a wedding photography business in Virginia Beach and Houston.
People often think photographers have to study photography, Kelly says, but she thinks she made a better decision.
"Business couldn't have been a better choice," Kelly says. "My photography business is based on the art, but 70 – 80% of it is actually running the business."
Understanding business laws, knowing accounting, having the knowledge and ability to do your own marketing, and even the ability to recognize your weaknesses are all important skills for a small business owner, she explains.
"You are your entire business," Kelly said. "Knowing how to market yourself is a very big part."
Self-employment and running your own business come with a lot of challenges, but the first step to solving them comes from taking a closer look at your priorities, Kelly says. Your spiritual life really needs to play an active role in the direction of your business.
Kelly has plenty of experience in leadership: She served as the coordinator of Madonna of the Streets Household during her junior year, president of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) during her senior year, and was a founding member and captain of the Franciscan University volleyball team. Each position, she says, helped shape how she manages her business today.
"Madonna of the Streets had a lot of influence on my spiritual life, my household sisters still call me on to holiness. In SIFE, we all called each other on to be better, more ethical businesspeople. Volleyball really taught me about the call to go out and preach the gospel.
"My time at Franciscan really shaped who I am as a whole."