I am a wife to Jeremy and a Mother to our combined total of (soon to be) 9 children. Other than my blended family, my life's work is her Non-Profit called @hashtagfly_ I feel like my life's purpose is to help women who have lost their way due to abuse. I am the only girl out of 7 kids and was a tomboy until later on in life when I discovered how FUN hair and makeup was to do which lead to me attending hair school. I bought my first camera by saving all of the tip money I made FROM hair school and quickly fell in love with photographing people. When I’m not creating for work I am creating in the kitchen. I love to create gourmet cakes (mainly to take pictures of them because food is so beautiful). My favorite place to be is anywhere with family!
Hey Annie! Besides being an amazing mom, If we were meeting for the first time, how would you describe what it is you do?
I am the CEO of a non-profit that works with women who have experienced trauma. We work to reconnect their brain to their body by offering a makeover and a photoshoot to them as to provide an image of themselves strong, confident, powerful, vulnerable, and beautiful.
Sometimes, trauma can be so severe that there is a disconnect that occurs in the brain that causes women to become unable to recognize themselves in the mirror or connect with pictures of themselves. She works to reconnect their brain to their body by offering makeovers and photoshoots aiming to capture the strongest version of themselves to look towards in their healing process.
How long have you been doing it?
About 6 years! Sheesh. I can’t believe its been THAT long.
What inspired you to start your non-profit?
When I was turning 30 I left an abusive marriage. I was SO broken. SO scared. SO fragile. For my birthday I decided to celebrate by scheduling a makeover and photoshoot for myself. When I got the pictures back, I was taken back by how stunning I was. I was beautiful! I looked strong and confident. I looked like I could take on the world. Around this time my oldest brother, recognizing how “broken” I challenged me with $500 to find myself. It took me a while to figure out how to put to good use that challenge. One of my other brothers ( I have 6) suggested I start doing makeovers and photo shoots on other women who had experienced life in the way that I had. I thought I’d be done when I had spent the $500 but more donations came in, the news spread about what I was doing, and it grew from there!
If you could go back in time, what would be something you’d change from when you were starting out? Or what advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to dream bigger than what I allowed myself. I felt undeserving of a lot of the success that I’ve seen and sometime still do which holds me back from growing in the ways that I need to. I used to think…what do I have to offer? I do hair, and I’m a photographer. How can I make a difference in this world? It is by using the talents and skills that already existed that I’ve been able to help thousands of women and what I have to offer is exactly enough.
What were the hardest aspects of starting your own business & how did you overcome them?
The hardest part of this particular work is staying grounded as to not be triggered or take on other survivor’s pain. You hear a lot. You see a lot. It’s near impossible not to give your heart and soul to these women but I’ve learned boundaries in that way and also made it a priority to do extra self care on the days that we shoot.
What advice would you tell someone who has big dreams but financially cant afford to create their own business?
Not all businesses need money, initially. There are ways you can grow and develop that don’t cost a dime. Start with where you are at, do what you can with what you have (it’s probably more than you think) and start moving forward in the ways that you can rather than focusing on all the things holding you back.
Where do you find support for your dream and how do you keep your creativity alive?
My family are my biggest supporters in this. All of them. Their belief in me has never wavered and it holds me accountable on the days its hard to continue.
If I’m feeling in a rut with my creativity I’ll branch off and do something that inspires me. I’ll plan a specific type of shoot, or challenge myself to only shoot with a specific lens on a shoot that I don’t typically use, or find an inspiration image and trying and replicate it with my own twist. If the creativity is dead…so is the magic.
What is your favorite part of being a female entrepreneur?
I love the flexibility that it gives me with my family. I love being home with my kids but I also LOVE to run my businesses. Its the best of all the dreams I have for myself!
What is one office|business must have? A program or tool that was life changing when you discovered it?
I Love planoly. When I am on the ball its because I’ve taken the time to utilize Planonly!
What advice do you have for women who are still struggling to find their style/niche?
Keep shooting. Keep producing. Keep exploring. Don’t get frustrated…just stay curious!
On your path to your current business, did you ever come across a moment where you doubted yourself? I think it’s human to sometimes lose all faith in ourselves and our ability to create. What would you tell someone who may be in this spot right now?
I run into this often even now I’ll go through phases. I would say to find the core of what is making you doubt. When I doubt its because I’m comparing myself to someone else. Or stating all the flaws that I have that maybe someone else who is successful in the way that I want to be…but I don’t know their struggles and flaws. There is enough success to go around in this giant world!
What is one workshop or conference/expo you’ve attended that inspired you so much, you would attend again?!
I’m more of a one on one hands on type of person. So up until now I’ve invested in myself by doing mentorships with various photographers who’s work I admire.
Have you read any books or listened to a podcast you feel would be beneficial for Female Entrepreneurs that you want to share?
Big Magic is a good one that has shifted my thinking.
What is you go to tool of your trade that you couldn’t live without?
I would have said my 50mm 1.4 but I just invested in a 35mm and I think I may be sold!
Who is your biggest supporter?
My husband is which is still fun to say. I didn’t always have that. But Jeremy believes in me so much and encourages me to continue pursuing my dreams daily.
What is one tip you have for women who are struggling to grow on social media?
Is the stress really necessary? Girl, just post. Just speak to who follows your right now. Make it your own space! I’ve had to make the decision with how busy I am at this phase in my life between actually planning, scheduling, and executing my #Fly sessions, or grow on social media. Some day I’ll figure it out but things are progressing nicely without social media right now…and someday when we have the funds I’ll pay someone to manage that!
What do you feel is the most beneficial tool out there for a female entrepreneurs?
I would say our ability to see our value in ourselves AND those around us. Lets be honest…there are some freakin’ amazing women all over! Beautiful, talented, funny, smart women JUST like you and me EVERYWHERE you look. If we can be solid in knowing our own value we can be unstoppable!
How the heck do you balance Business + Motherhood?
It takes a lot of planning and support from my spouse. He NEVER puts up a fuss when we chat about calendars or days he needs to take on more because I’ve got things scheduled. Planning, planning, planning. Also? Not letting mommy guilt sneak in. I love my work. I love my kids. They both fulfill me in different ways so the craziness is all worth it to me!
When it comes to social Media, is it better, in your opinion, to have one account that you share everything or divide personal + biz?
I’m in this battle right now. I’ve all but neglected my actual personal account. I have 2 business accounts for separate but similar objectives…What I concluded is that I like to follow feeds that stay focused but LOVE when they post personal stuff on their stories etc.
BONUS ROUND! WE’RE TAKING THIS BACK TO COSMO GIRL QUIZ STYLE!
1. IF YOU COULD EAT ONE FOOD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IT WOULD BE:
Toss up between cereal and Ice cream. Right now as I type this I’m 38.5 weeks pregnant and I can actually eat more than just a couple spoonfuls of these before getting full!
2. THE BEST TITLE I HAVE IS:
E. I’ve always thrived doing all the things so just let me have all the titles, K?
b. Makeup Artist
e. All of the Above
3. IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON DEAD OR ALIVE IT WOULD BE:
My husband's Dad. He died when Jeremy was 10 and I would have loved to have him be a part of our life. Everyone I talk to about him says he was so similar to Jeremy in a lot of ways…I would have loved to witness that for myself!
4. MOST LIKELY TO BINGE WATCH:
C. Currently trying to get through Grey’s Anatomy WITH my husband this time.
a. Reality Tv
5. MY DRINK OF CHOICE IS:
I chug water like its going out of style but throw in some BAI with a lime to spruce things up! a. Coffee
7. ON MY DAYS OFF, THE FIRST THING I DO IS:
Hm. Days off look a lot different when I was out of the little kid phase and now I’m knee deep back in it. Not pregnant Annie would Sleep in, Get a workout in, Clean the house!
a. Go to the gym / clean the house
b. Sleep in
c. Bottomless mimosas at brunch
d. Check all social media
e. I try to do them all
7. MY GO-TO OUTFIT IS:
Jeans and a tee although at this point I swear my robe is all that fits me right now.
a. Yoga pants and a hoodie
b. Jeans and a tee
c. A dress & heels
8. SOMEDAY I WANT TO:
Take my kids on a humanitarian trip. I was able to go to Haiti a few years ago and it changed my perspective on so many levels.
9. I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF:
Failing. Ugh. Cliche, yes. But it is paralyzing at times!
a. Public Speaking
10. I LOVE LISTENING TO:
Podcasts. I love me some real people, reals stories, and real advice.
b. Country Music
d. Gangster Rap
E. Other: all of the above