Entrepreneur Friday: Lauren Callaghan
Happy Friday everyone! We have another awesome Entrepreneur Friday for you today. So grab yourself a drink and let’s hear from Lauren Callaghan of Sol + Co. (P.S. Definitely head over to their blog as they also have some great interviews on their Entrepreneur Empowerment series.)
Tell us a bit about your business
Sol + Co strives to bring unique inspiration into your everyday life. We draw on our key values of connection, empowerment and grand adventure, to create authentic products and services. Our main product and service is Lauren’s branding photography, working alongside other women entrepreneurs who are looking for a unique and intuitive way to capture imagery for their brand.
What inspired you to start it?
I’ve always been quite determined and as soon as I hit the world of full-time work, I began feeling uneasy. Everything was a challenge and I found myself complaining all the time. I would complain about my hours, my lack of a lunch break, my pay, my holiday time! Looking back, they were all signals that I was not happy… Not happy about placing my lifestyle in someone else’s hands. I also had a big problem with the idea of working by butt off (I had very strong work ethic) and having the owners of the company benefit the most financially. I wanted to see the financial reward for all of my hard work. So one day, I decided to take the leap. I had an unwavering belief that ‘everything was going to be ok!’ so why not!?
What is your career background?
I began my career as an Early Childhood Educator with the intention of becoming a Primary School teacher, but then I fell in love with the little ones and I also caught the travel bug. So I worked in this industry on and off for quite some time while I explored the world. Then there came a time where I decided to follow my passion and what I can only consider as a lucky nudge from the universe, I got a job as the trainee photographer for a brand new family portrait studio. This not only opened my eyes to the world of photography, it also introduced me to the world of business. After two years there, I believed I was ready to venture out and I started my own business. My first photography business was called, Lauren Emily Photography and I’ve only recently rebranded into Sol + Co.
What is your vision for your business?
I would like to travel and reach more women entrepreneurs who are willing to up-level their business by investing in imagery that not only showcases their essence but also the essence of their brand. I am also working on a really fun and simple program that challenges and encourages women to create their visual brand and have it be congruent throughout all areas of their business. The question I get asked all the time is; “What should I wear?” So it’s all about how you are visually showing up. I’ve teamed up with an amazing stylist and makeup artist and we are busily creating something really cool!
How do you maintain a good work/life/family balance?
This is something I strive for everyday, and something that I struggled with in the early stages of my business. One of the challenges that every business owner goes through is that there always something to do and that really had my energy system in a spin. So at some point I set myself some ground rules; No work on a Sunday, period! Now I sometimes even have the whole weekend off! I must admit, it’s a lot easier since becoming full time in my business. For the first three years I had a part time job, now with more time working in and on my business, I have more time outside of it. I also make sure to shut off all technology during family time, especially over dinner.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
I’ve learnt that confidence and then success happens when you step out of your comfort zone. The moment I began to attend networking events, my entire business changed. As I began creating relationships, these wonderful people would recommend me to friends and fellow entrepreneurs and the cycle would continue. The main lesson I learnt from this is that people want to connect and invest in whom they know and trust. So if you’ve met in person and developed a connection, they are likely to trust you and therefore invest in you and in your product or service. Also, women love to share. When they find something awesome, they’ll tell all of their friends. So if you offer an amazing service, you can guarantee people will talk about you! It’s a very humbling experience yet one that completely lights me up!
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
I was really surprised at how much I have learnt about myself. I often say, “If you really want to get to know yourself, start your own business.” There’s nowhere to hide! When you rely on yourself to bring in the income and grow the business, you have to really get out of your own way, which means you’ll have to deal with some of your “stuff” and get over it!!
Who and what inspires you?
So many things inspire me. I’m an emotionally driven, visual person. Show me something that evokes emotion and you’ll capture my attention. I love watching people learn and as of recently I have really been inspired when teaching others how to showcase their true essence. What makes me really happy is watching the business of a wonderful entrepreneur flourish after a photo shoot because they now have an image that gives them confidence, one they are proud to stand behind. On another level, my super cute and amazing niece inspires me everyday! Her kindness and curiosity make me strive to be a better human! I definitely feel like my truest self when I’m around her.
Do you have a daily routine or rituals you do?
Another element I continue to strive for. I am consistently inconsistent! Driven by my emotions, I have to really own where I’m at and what I’m feeling. Something I’m getting better at. I can either work for hours with ease or on the other side of the coin; I’ll be distracted at every corner. On those days I’m really grateful to have photographs to edit. I will put a movie on and sit quietly with my computer and edit my photographs. That way I get to chill and feel productive at the same time. Last year I committed to a meditation school and began doing a chakra cleanse daily. My whole life completely changed because of it. My mentor Belinda Davidson who created the course states, “Change your chakras (aka your energy field) and change your life.” Being a person who likes things black and white, I resonated with the idea that you don’t have to focus on what’s holding you back, on what might be keeping you from feeling your best, you just have to keep your chakra’s fit and healthy and that’s it! And man, is she right! I strive to do this each day.
What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started?
It’s ok to ask for help. There is no way you are going to know it all and the best thing I ever did for my business was to join like-minded business schools and groups. Then get out there and meet people. Surround yourself with a support network and reach out when you need help.
What is your favourite quote?
One of my all time favourite quotes is by Roald Dahl – “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
Lauren is Sol and Co’s in house photographer who has worked with many entrepreneurs that aim to pursue and share their story and the story of their brand. Lauren combines her intuition with her unique style, empowering women to feel confident, prepared and excited for their photo shoot. This has proven to achieve stunning results with images that truly stand out.
Lauren connects with women on a level that allows them to feel at ease and therefore let their true essence shine. She loves to empower and bring unique inspiration into everyday life.
Want to be one of our interviewees? Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org with “Entrepreneur Friday” in the subject field to find out more