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The Wise Photographer Podcast

Work Life Balance| Shay Cochrane Interview| The Wise Photographer Podcast

February 5, 2020

I'm Chelsy, a single mom in a small town, who loves photographing weddings, and helping photographers build their own businesses

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I am so excited for this episode you guys! I am speaking with Shay Cochrane, owner of the SC StockShop and Social Square site! I have followed Shay for years, and when I was thinking about who I wanted to have as a guest on this show, she was at the very top of my list and totally did a little happy dance when she emailed me back agreeing to be a guest. I have been following Shay since November 27th, 2014 and I am definitely fan-girling right now! 

I have so much respect for Shay as an entrepreneur, as a photographer and as a mom and wife. She has been so honest about what her journey has looked like to grow her business, and finding this balance between being a wife and a mom to two beautiful daughters. Today, we are talking about her journey to find this balance, what it’s has looked like and she is also sharing some of her best tips for other photographers to do the same. 

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Who is Shay Cochrane and what does she do? 

“Most small businesses really struggle to create content that best represents their brand online, so I run a stock photo membership called Social Squares, that provides female entrepreneurs with real high-quality on-brand imagery that is going to save them time, help them look professional, help them sell more and help them attract more ideal customers. I have been doing this for eight years in the style stock industries and the second year for Social Square membership.” 

What does your journey look like with balancing being a mom and a business owner?

“ I have run a business as long as I have been a mom. I basically had to learn how to do both in tandem or I was learning how to do both in tandem. I was really just learning as I went. I was also the first out of my friends to have kids. I think at the time in the creative industry, there were not a lot of female entrepreneur business owners that were also mom’s. A lot of the leader’s now in our industry did not have kids. I had kids pretty young, and I was looking around at these women doing amazing big things and I was trying to do the same, but I was also a mom. That for me was a very messy time frame, relating business and motherhood.

When I had my first daughter, I just really tried to do both. I had the mindset that I could do both and run a business with a child on my lap and keep running a business at the same level that it had been at pre-children. I very quickly learned that that wasn’t going to work. As much as I love my daughter and loved being a mom and wanted to be a mom, I found myself in the day to day resenting her instead of my clients. My clients and the work I do make me feel special, valuable and important and that I was contributing to something really impressive to society verse changing diapers, feeding and just keeping up with the home. I saw pretty early on that as much as I loved being a mom and I loved my daughter, that my heart leaned towards resentment of that roll, and I really didn’t want it to. My heart would learn towards a preference for that work that made me feel really good and really impressive. When I noticed this starting to really happen, this was kind of like the light bulb moment, this isn’t good and I really want to prioritize being a mom, I love being a mom and want to flourish being a mom. 

Something was going to have to change in order for me to align my heart and my head. I needed to decide what I wanted to be my priorities, where I wanted my heart to be and the reality of what my propensity was towards. That propelled me into learning about myself and that I needed to keep those two things separate and compartmentalized. 

It has never worked for me to be at home working and the kids playing because when I am in work mode, I am 110% ALL in. I do not answer my phone, I am very very focused, and I want to be the exact same way when I am Mom.  I don’t think about work when I am with my kids, and I can walk away from work and be all in at home, children and in marriage. I function best when those two things are separate.”

Talking about those boundaries, and non-negotiable things with your family that really allow you guys to thrive, can you dig into what those boundaries look like for you guys? 

“My husband and I are both business owners and both entrepreneurs who both work from home, literally in the early days having desks side by side! After I would interrupt him for the hundredth time a day, my husband finally said we need separate offices – she chuckles. We are both in a weird and unique situation. We both have businesses, we are both business owners and both have work that can lead to all-consuming both mentally and time-wise. So we had to decide from very early to put boundaries in place to protect our marriage, to protect our family time and to protect our own emotional health and our joy and our joy of work. 

All of our work takes place between normal business hours 9:00 – 5:00 pm, and neither of us works past 5’oclock, weekends, vacations and neither of us takes work with us any on any of those things. Another boundary that we have, is we don’t have any push notifications to our phones, other than text notifications so that nothing inserts itself into our non-work days.”

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Can you share a little about your post on Instagram in regards to the saying  “mom has to work” you shared this morning? I loved that! 

“I was talking about the words “I can’t, mommy has to work” and how they are the six most guilt related words that moms and mompreneurs probably have to say. No matter how great your boundaries are, no matter how tightly you run the business, there is going to be a day when you have to say that. How do we go from feeling guilty as a result of that to feeling some freedom? I think the extent to that, is how much we bring our kids into the work that we are doing as opposed to hiding it or just choosing not to enter them into what we are doing. That is as simple as when your kids are old enough to have a conversation when something comes up and mom has to sit out of something or can’t play or can’t go on that field trip. In those moments instead of leaving it at that and just walking away with all the guilt, it’s been helpful”. 

Shay has built a business just her in her dark guest bedroom to be in a skyrise office with a team of half a dozen members, still functioning in essentially two days a week of work, 16 hours of work. She believes you can work and your business can flourish within boundaries even seemingly intense, very limiting boundaries. She’s seen it and she’s lived it.

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Need beautiful imagery for your brand? Check out Social Squares  and see why it’s the right choice for your business.

Check out Shay’s work life balance blog!

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