I am super excited to have Shalyn Nelson as this week’s feature! When I first ventured into lifestyle blogging, I stumbled onto to Shay’s blog and said “Yup, this is the EXACT feel I want for my blog.” Shay is optimistic, hard-working, humble and hilarious. She’s always talking about twerking when she’s in a good mood and we share a similar love for Beyonce πŸ™‚

She owns a photography business, Love, The Nelsons, with her husband Drew, whom she affectionately refers to as DDHP (Drew Drew Hot Pants) and they live together in Austin, Texas. I have a special place in my heart for photographers because it really is NO JOKE. I had the pleasure of talking to Shay about her business, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and how she balances her work life with her marriage!

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You’re always talking about blaring Beyonce’ music! What’s your favorite Beyonce song of all time?

Gosh. This is tough! Her latest album is sooo good. I guess I’d say Flawless! #iwokeuplikedissss

You always have such a positive attitude! What do you do when you’re feeling down?

Aw, why thank you! I certainly try to keep things around here positive. I don’t think you should live life any other way!Β  There are always going to be negative distractions in life, but when that happens, I simply just put my blinders on, pray about it and give it to Jesus. I then write down 5 things I’m thankful for right then and there. It helps every single time. A good piece of chocolate cake or good music always helps too! πŸ™‚

Do you have an all-time favorite photoshoot?

Ah! This is such a hard question! I have so many, and each shoot/wedding is so special to me! I guess I don’t have a favorite! But I will say that I recently got some of my first film scans back from a shoot I put together rather quickly that is rockin’ my little world!

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers, or entrepreneurs in general?Β 

There is never the perfect time to just go for it. There will always be things, people and finances that will hold you back. Don’t expect everything to be perfect. Anticipate greatness. Embrace your mistakes (because trust me, they will happen) – Learn from them…appreciate them! They will only make you better. Work harder than hard, and be nice to people. You just have to take that first step, and keep walking forward with Faith. Don’t look back, believe in yourself and know that the journey is never easy. Wait, did that sound cliche? OKAY. Maybe it did. But it’s seriously true. That and remember, BE NICE TO YOURSELF! It will make all the difference.Β Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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We all love your relationship with DDHP. What advice do yo have for balancing a marriage and a business?

My best advice is to establish business hours. Those have helped us balance our marriage and business tremendously. Before our schedules got really crazy this past year (when Drew took a new job), I would shut off my computer at 5 PM. It didn’t matter how much work I had, I shut it off. It would be there the next day. It’s so important to structure business hours or you will constantly be stressed, anxious and working all. the. time. I can’t tell you how many hours I worked when I was just starting this photography journey.Β  Life is too short for that, and you will quickly burn out if you don’t do it! Our schedules are really, really crazy now and don’t see each other much. It’s not ideal for most marriages, but one day we hope this will just be a season for us. BUT, for now, we make the best of the time we have together. Since we don’t get to see each other Sundays-Thursdays, I schedule all my engagements, shoots, meetings, networking, editing, e-mailing Mondays-Thursdays. Thankfully, Drew has Friday’s off, so we now declare Friday’s as our “Saturdays” and our only day off together. We shut off the computer, turn off our e-mails and spend time together on that day because it’s all we get! πŸ™‚ Saturdays we are usually photographing a wedding, or squeezing in family time/obligations on the few weekends we have off a year. We just communicate like crazy, love on each other every second we get, and make it work. Our marriage always comes first.

How was your leap into entrepreneurship? Was it a tough one?

Honestly, YES. It really was. I don’t think there is ever an easy transition into entrepreneurship. Atleast in the industry of creatives. There were a lot of unknowns when it happened, a lot of stress and Drew and I had this “game plan” about when it “could be possible to make the transition one day”… However, sometimes, God has other plans for you. It was the worst timing EVER for us personally, financially, and professionally. BUT it was His timing, and guess what? God knows best. Always. He’s got your back! Lean on Him always and don’t ask any questions. πŸ˜‰

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?

I honestly have NO idea. I’ve always wanted to do voice overs for animated characters in movies (think of Robin Williams job in Mrs. Doubtfire!) πŸ™‚

What is your must-have item when getting into the groove of your work day (besides your camera!)

Sour Patch Kids and Coffee all day erry day! πŸ™‚

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Connect with Shay!

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