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Integrity Matters: Why being a master of adaptation and chaos is crucial in developing your business

“Mom but I want some more Pirate’s booty”

“Mom she stole my batman toy”

“Honey, the laundry”

Guarantee I already lost the majority of you who opened to read this article.

Why? Either you don’t have kids or you don’t want to be reminded of what is waiting for you when you are done reading this article.

However, in most professional women in business’ lives this is the reality. The “coordinated chaos” if you will.

What happens when you have the kids, the spouse, and whoa wait a second… You want the business too? The sad “life check” is that most people would look at this and think that by not only wanting it all but “signing up for the crazy” (as I always say) you are asking for a lifetime of unbalanced wishes and dreams.

However, let’s have a real moment when I say this is a bunch of BS. The expectation we as female business owners put on ourselves to conquer the “perfect balanced life” is unrealistic and torturous.

What I am going to outline in this premiere post of our #integritymatters campaign is how one of the most powerful business women I know runs her business, her life, and owns her crazy while doing it. She is a master of adaption in not only her business and brand… but also in her life. She has developed key strategies using social media marketing and word of mouth that has catapulted her into becoming an “elite” in her space. She is getting ready to launch one of her largest brand expansions and makes it look easy.

I am a better business owner for having the opportunity to know her both personally and professionally.

Kelsey Shirley calls Arizona home… well today anyway. She is the other half of a marriage (yes they have been dating since they were 14 years old and are adorable) that takes them all over the country. Kelsey is the owner of Kelsey Shirley Photography, a photography business that was originally established in 2013.

In the last few years Kelsey has not only moved several times, but in each location has developed a fan base and a continuing thriving business. Her client base is extensive and her longing to provide them with capturing life moments keeps them coming back.

Her customer service and attention to detail makes her one of the industry’s finest. And that is just what the clients see… what goes on behind the scenes is an entirely different level of service that most clients won’t ever even see. 

They see the end result.

As in most businesses it is what you do when no one is watching that makes you great, and that is entirely why Kelsey Shirley was selected to be our first #integritymatters Powerful Female Business Owner.

At around 9 pm on a weeknight Kelsey and I settled into our normal convo (no there was no wine involved… ok maybe a little on my side) except this time we got to be two passionate business owners instead of the typical Moms covered in the day’s excess food, boogers, and sweaty gym clothes we hadn’t had the chance to change out of that morning.

We were in our after 9 pm zone of business, branding, and ok maybe a little BS. 

What struck me by surprise is when I asked Kelsey what her biggest struggle being a Mom full time and owning a successful photography business was she kind of laughed along side me and said

Yes the balance is hard, obviously, but just sacrificing what I want to make it all fit. This is not the point in my life to not work hard. I chose this and it’s mine.”

Kelsey Get’s It

Nothing refreshes me more than talking with a woman who get’s it. She went on to tell me that she manages early mornings, drop off’s for her two adorable munchkins (Max & Mia) at school, client shoots, edits, and kids events on the daily basis. On top of all of that she is an incredible wife to her husband Nate.

She outlined her day to me and even to this busy mom of 4… she had me beat. On top of that… she never once complained. She explained to me that

I live to be able to see my clients go through incredible life phases. Graduation pictures, engagement pictures, wedding pictures, to my favorite… Newborn Shoots. I enjoy every moment.”

So I had to ask the “tell all” question of how do you do it? How have you moved several times in just the last few years and been able to continue to have a thriving and continuously growing business? Why do your clients keep coming back? Even though I was spurting out the excited questions… she handled them like a true #boss

I use what I have. Social Media Marketing is giant in my industry. It allows me to actually see clients excited about their moments but it also allows other people who know them get excited too.

As simple as this sounds in a world run by social media and what others see of us online what most business owners don’t realize is their use of social media is completely wrong. What Kelsey has mastered is the tool of showcasing her clients. By showcasing her clients on social media it has taken her need to “sell” anything away.

After all, her work speaks for itself

She posts photos of her clients to share online (this is an added free value folks), features them on her blog, and even takes it a step further by comparing old photos with new updated ones to show her customer loyalty actually is present. The key to Kelsey Shirley Photography and their social media presence is they are consistent.

Consistency has been what has helped her maintain a flow of business in her moves as well. She explained to me that wherever they relocated to she made a point to dive into the community. She
would get out of the house with her kids and explore, she would post on social media relevant pictures to the area and dive head first into her largest pool of opportunity. Families. She makes a name for herself everywhere she goes.

So much goes into a photo shoot that most clients will never fully understand the extent on which Kelsey works behind the scenes. Sure, you see her for a few hours for the shoot but what most people don’t realize is that after the hours of shooting it is to the drawing board for more hours of editing.

This is where managing the chaos comes into play. Kelsey dedicates her evenings to the edits that can’t be done or even controlled during the daytime hours. She sacrifices sleep and time so she can stay ahead of the curve. When was the last time you had the option to either sit and watch TV or head back to work for 5 hours?

What would you have chosen? Kelsey makes it a point to not give herself that option. The option is always her clients.

What happens in a photographers world is so much more than the photo shoot, it is what happens when no one is watching”

So what else is happening in your business when no one is watching? 

Are you as a fellow business owner thinking about what is coming next?

Are you growth focused or more retention focused?

What are you doing to differentiate yourself from your competition or even the next batch of up and comers?

Kelsey has chosen to take her newest life adventure by the horns and go all in on her new brand expansion. She was given a challenge of another family move but this time it would take her to a place quite opposite of Arizona.

In the process of organizing current events (she is still upholding her prior booking commitments), booking new ones, and updating her social media platforms daily… Kelsey has decided now is the time to take her company to another level.

She is launching a new division of her brand. KSP babies. In fact this is such a new brand that it is still in the adaption phase and I was allowed the opportunity to even mention it here. By staying ahead of the curve is and will continue to change the Photography world.

Kelsey Shirley, aside from being a incredible person, will also hold a special place in my business because of her role in helping me launch Arizona Wedding Insurance. She has an eye for what her clients are looking for and can create the magic

The keys to being a successful woman in business is not so much to avoid all chaos or stress. It’s to manage it accordingly, acknowledge this is your crazy, and know that all this hard work is for the end game… not for the right now game. Put in the work, be consistent, and as Kelsey always tells me when she speaks of her business

Don’t ever stop learning”

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