Today, I’m here with an incredible army veteran and new mama, Michelle Delurme.
She is juggling leaving a job, building her photography business and seeing where it all fits in.
You’re not going to want to miss this conversation I had with her.
You have been in my community for several years.
In fact, you’re in a small group.
You call yourself the Ninja Turtles.
Are you still a NinjaTurtle or have you moved around?
The Ninja Turtles are mostly bigger leaders in the community or coaches.
So they are still my go-tos.
I always reach out to them, but I’ve been in a couple different groups now.
I love that we always get to rotate through different groups and have different eyes on my business.
It helps a lot.
Ninja Turtles will always be close to my heart because it was one of the first groups we created in this program.
I have loved watching you grow in this program.
You went from being single, then we watched you get married, you moved, and most recently, you have become a mama.
So take me back to before you were even married, where did you see photography fitting in your life?
I started photography when I was in high school and learned in the darkroom and everything.
Then, I went to West Point and I was the photographic editor for all the cadet publications.
But photography isn’t something that they teach at West Point.
I ended up getting into photography somehow for our units.
After I got hurt, I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, because I was no longer going to be in the army.
Somebody actually reached out to me about doing photos for them and that kind of opened the door.
There was never really a plan of how I wanted photography to fit into my life.
It was something that continued to evolve.
I didn’t know that you could have a career as a photographer when I first started.
And then I learned more about it and now I see that it’s something that I can do that is going to help my family.
So you came into our community and you were building your photography business and then you moved cities, right?
Was that scary for you?
I actually moved twice.
There were definitely days when it was petrifying, but I learned that you have to follow the system.
The biggest thing about following the system is that you actually just have to go do it.
It’s hard to put yourself out there to people that you’ve never met before, but when you do it then it makes it easier.
So you worked for a company as a photographer throughout this transition, correct?
I remember when I was building my career and I was working all the time before I had kids.
You found yourself in the same position?
I was working 80-hour weeks.
It was exhausting.
And the only draw of it was that I was learning at the same time.
When I had a day off, I was able to put some time into my own business.
It was a plus that it gave me an opportunity and I knew I had stuff scheduled and was going to get paid.
And so then you have your baby and it changes your perspective, doesn’t it?
All of a sudden, you can’t go at the same pace as you were before.
So you decided to not go back to the job that was so demanding.
How does your photography business look differently in your life now?
Now my priority is my daughter.
For me, that means that I’m not working all the time.
I have a couple hours a day to do the most important things that are going to generate something for me.
I love that!
I know in our community, we did a challenge last summer where you do activities every day to meet new people and you were the poster child for how to do this.
You just took everything on and did all those activities and they are still paying dividends while you’re now home with your baby.
Talk a little bit about all those little relationships and how they pay off over time.
So the first thing those relationships give you is an opportunity to just support other people in our communities.
When you’re a boutique photographer it is so important to be involved in your community.
If you’re not involved, then people don’t realize who you are or what you have to offer.
Then you see doors open up as you’re at community events and get involved.
You don’t realize how great those little relationships are until you start seeing the doors opening.
How has your perception of marketing changed in these past few years of working with us?
You’re so good at it!
Everything you do turns into another thing, that turns into another thing, that turns into another thing.
Have you seen yourself grow as you’re learning more things?
So I think I was doing some of it, but I wasn’t doing it well.
Doing those little things like writing notes of joy, really makes a difference.
Learning how to do marketing well is important so that you aren’t just going out and talking to people, but you keep the conversations going in the right direction to benefit yourself, but also to serve them.
I think that’s where it’s changed over the years.
Now that you have a baby, you look at everything differently.
What are you excited about and what motivates you to make money in your business?
Eventually I’m going to have a studio.
For right now, it’s about me just getting to do something that I really love, and doing it in a way that benefits my family.
If it’s going to take me away from my daughter, I have to be able to at least make enough to cover the cost of somebody watching her while I’m gone.
Instead of just surviving with the money that my husband makes, I want to be able to make money so that we can do the fun things.
Where I can actually go buy nice clothes, get my nails done if I want to, and eventually take my daughter to Disney World.
Right now it’s only a couple hours a day, but getting it to a point where it is super beneficial to our family.
It absolutely will and that’s what I loved as I grew my business with three babies under three.
I started feeling that pressure coming off because over time I had a little more money to provide our family with.
What do you say to people out there who are maybe putting off having kids because they feel like their business isn’t ready yet?
I would say you’re going to have less time, which is going to make you more productive.
It’s kind of like that deadline.
You’ll be way more productive, but you’ll also do things that have a bigger value because they hold a heavier weight.
They’re going to move your needle further than sitting there for five hours on Facebook.
I’m so glad you’re here and I’m so glad to get to talk to you because there are so many people who want to put their business off and just aren’t open to getting help or doing those hard things.
You can grow a business and a family at the same time.
Michelle, first, thank you for serving our country, we appreciate you keeping us safe.
And thanks for being here.
I’m so proud of the work you’ve done.
It’s been amazing to watch you grow into this amazing mom who’s still running her business and just going to keep growing.
So thanks for sharing your story.