Kate Williams has her hands full at the moment as she grows her young business Kate Williams Photography, especially now as the summer season has started which means one big thing for photographers, lots and lots of weddings!
Kate is a Wedding and Portraiture specialist who describes her style as a mixture of ‘Fine Art and Reportage’ She says; ‘I am passionate about capturing real moments as they happen, but also love creating those stand out and unique shots that people will remember’ as her fantastic portfolio on her website (kate-williams.co.uk) clearly shows.
As well as running and growing her business, Kate is also a part time Art and Photography teacher at Byrchall High School two days a week, leaving every other day, minute and hour spare to run her business. ‘For the most part of my working career, I’ve been a teacher and my creative energies have been fuelled towards developing that spark and practice in others. This has been incredibly fulfilling, but I reached a point for a variety of reasons where I knew I couldn’t ignore my own creativeness any more,’ This is when Kate made the decision to start exploring the possibilities of running her own business, and delving back into her photography and using this to be able to make a living; ‘It’s weird, but not having that in my life made me feel slightly incomplete, and it took me a while to realise what was missing!’ Kate says that she wanted to have more energy, and to feel more balanced, she needed to make a change.
Rather than jumping head first into this decision as you may expect a typically creative person to do, Kate very much thought through her decision and spent a great amount of time preparing herself and getting the ball rolling. ‘I tried to fully re-immerse myself back into the world of art and photography. Obviously I had never really left it, but I needed to do things to get back in tune.’ Kate did this by attending lots of exhibitions, taking her own photographs and creating her own work.
Next she researched the areas of photography she knew she wanted to specialise in and made sure she brushed up own her own skills that she knew needed improving; ‘I undertook some training to develop in areas that would enhance my skill set, things like working with light in a studio environment and specialist editing techniques’ as well as researching her competition in the local area. Only when she had ticked all of these tasks off of her to-do list did she feel totally ready to make the leap!
After photographing many of her friend’s weddings over that summer, building her own website ‘A massive learning curve!’, and signing up to every Social Media platform that she could, Kate began to get bookings for her business.
To balance starting her own business with still being a part-time teacher has been something of a juggling act for Kate, as she gradually reduces the time spent at school as she gets more and more work. ‘It’s been hard in terms of sharing my time, and I have to be quite disciplined about when I work on the different parts. I still absolutely adore working with young people, and have found that doing both jobs gives me more energy in both areas!’
But for Kate it wasn’t the balancing act that she found most difficult about starting up her own business, it was, in fact, more of a psychological barrier that she faced. As she moved away from her five days a week secure job, and took the risk, it was something that she found quite daunting, as many women who start their own businesses do. ‘I guess it was the fear of failure’, as well as the confidence that she needed to put herself out there, and show her work to others; ‘I think when you work in the creative industry, it feels very personal to share your work, and this can be quite hard to overcome at first. That was a leap of faith and it meant that I really had to try and build up lots of confidence. I was lucky to have the support of an amazing husband and supportive friends.’
As well as having the support of family and friends, Kate also got in touch with The Women’s Organisation and has been working with Senior Business Advisor, Claire Pedersen; ‘Initially being able to talk through my ideas with my advisor was really helpful, and that little bit of reassurance and direction went a long way. More recently Claire has been helping me to organise my ideas and think about the future with planning strategies.’ Kate has also attended our courses on Tax and National Insurance and Bookkeeping which have helped her with the practicalities of business management. ‘The support from The Women’s Organisation has been absolutely fantastic. People are always amazed, as I was, when I first found out that this level of support is there for women who are trying to start their own business. I also just find being at The Women’s Organisation and being around other women who are doing the same thing really inspirational’.
At the moment, Kate says she is loving running her own business, especially the flexibility that it gives her. ‘I have time to think and reflect. But I can also be integral to my own creative intentions and there is a great sense of satisfaction from when I see people’s reactions when I deliver the work!’ Kate already has lots of weddings booked for next year which she is looking forward to, being a self-confessed wedding lover herself! ‘I’m so excited at the thought of working with more amazing couples. I’m a total sucker for a wedding and I always cry during the ceremony! It’s such a joyful and happy experience to be a part of!’
And finally, Kate’s advice to any women out there who are looking to start up their own business! One of our firm favourites; ‘Do it!’ Kate says; ‘I think a lot of women, understandably, feel really nervous about doing something different, or about taking the risk, but I believe it’s all about confidence and there is no reason why women are any less capable – it’s all in our heads! Get involved with The Women’s Organisation and speak to other women who are doing the same things.’
To find out more about Kate and her photography, you can use the contact details below! And if you were inspired by Kate’s story and want to find out more about starting up your own business, please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 0151 706 8111.