This is part of a series of interviews on our Professional Parents Network People profile page so you can learn from other’s experiences of how they balance family and work. Would you like to share your story? Please Contact us
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Introducing Jess Chia from Essence Images who is based in Brisbane, Australia and has been in business since 2006. Jess has two children, Leilani, 10yrs Miyan, 7 years
How did you come to start your own business?
I needed a creative outlet, I wanted a more flexible “job” I didn’t want to go back to teaching – I was taking a crazy amount of photos of my girls – it just naturally evolved…
What was life like “before children”?
Primary School Teacher, I owned a Kombi!!! Footloose and fancy free – I loved travelling…….
How does this compare to life “after children”?
Less footloose less fancy free, but more grounded I guess. Still wanting to travel but we didn’t go far until recently when we took the girls to Europe for 7 weeks!
Approximately how many hours a week do you work?
It totally depends on how much work is on at the time could be anything from as little as 10hours when it’s quiet up to 40 hours when it’s busy
Tips for family work balance?
Have a set time of the day where you don’t work at all eg don’t check computer don’t go into your home workspace. I don’t work from when I get the girls in the afternoon from school until they go to bed. I used to spend heaps of time at night working, but now the girls are in school every day I tend to only work during school hours unless of course my shoots are on weekends or late afternoons.
WHAT ARE ONE OR TWO OF YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCTS (OR SERVICES)? fine art albums, framed prints
Any professional qualifications or training you’d like to mention?
I have a Bachelor of Education and really feel my experience as a teacher helps me when working and photographing children and families. I also spent as much as a university degree in the past few years on my photography education – I’m a firm believer in education!
Do you find these still relevant now you’ve become a parent?
What was one of the most unexpected things about becoming a parent?
How relentless doing housework, cooking dinners, making lunches is – it just never ends!!!! (sounds ungrateful, I know I’m truly blessed and love my peeps, but I’m sure everyone can relate!)
Something unexpected about starting a business?
How many people want something for nothing………
Greatest wish for your children & business?
To be content, thrive and prosper……..
One of the moments you’re most proud of in recent months?
Travelling around Europe with my family and just how resilient they are and how much fun we all had together as a family – we organised a lot of it before we left, and we all found the trip amazing!!
A biggest challenge in the last few months?
Business has had a slow start to the year – I have a big list of things I want to do; create my new studio space as we just moved house, update my website, increase traffic to my website, update my logo, market my business – these things take time and money and research – I’m challenged by this!
Advice to others starting out in business?
In photography business I would say don’t go into business until you know how to use your camera and use it well and ensure you can be a professional, with good gear and some experience. If you have young family enjoy them and don’t work like a crazy thing, enjoy building up your business, have fun with it.
One of your favourite resources?
I’m currently reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin and enjoying it
What kind of work does your partner do?
He’s a Teacher at the school my girls go to
Is your partner supportive of your business?
Yes he is, but not when it takes over my life………..
Describe your office:
A work in progress at the moment….. but it will be light, white, airy and showcase my work….
Describe a typical day:
Get up, make school lunches and perhaps if time make my coffee, get girls ready for school and walk them to school – dependent on the day, I’ll either do some exercise after eating breakfast, then clean the house, I’ll work during the day, do groceries, run errands or meet a friend for coffee – then try and think about what’s for dinner! Pick up the girls from school and organise their after school activities, do a shoot if I have one booked, dinner, girls to bed – hang out with my husband, perhaps work for an hour at night if the mood hits!
What do you love about being in business?
For my business it’s completely flexible, first and foremost I’m a mum at home, second I’m a business woman!
What do you think is a myth about being in business?
It’s easier than going to work! Sometimes I think I should go back to teaching a couple of days a week; I’d have regular pay, regular hours, and be able to “leave work at work”
Do your children go to school/daycare/are looked after by others?
My girls never went to daycare, I’m a firm believer in keeping them at home for a minimum of two years, or having a grandparent mind them – I did one day per week teaching when my oldest was 20 months – my mum looked after her and I was only gone for 6.5 hours as the school day is short and it was all local work. Now they are both at school now Year 5 and Year 2.
Would you like to connect with Jess?
You can do so via www.facebook.com/essenceimages