#WCW – Natalie Probst

I’m so excited to share a new segment here on the See Song Designs blog called Woman Crush Wednesday! Each week, I’ll be interviewing women entrepreneurs who have followed their dreams and paved their own career paths.

I really wanted to start a weekly post to highlight not only the glamorous side of running your own business but also the challenges and different perspectives of woman entrepreneurs . Each of these women is so unique and empowering, and I hope you feel inspired by their journeys!

Our first #WCW is Natalie Probst from Natalie Probst Photography. I met Natalie a few years ago here in Chicago, and I am constantly in awe of her amazing wedding photography skills. You will see from her photos that she definitely has a talent for capturing love and emotion in her photos.


Name: Natalie Probst
Company: Natalie Probst Photography
Years in Business: 2.5 years since I went full time with my business

When did you know photography was going to be your full-fledged business?

I honestly can’t remember wanting to pursue anything else! I think things clicked back in high school for me, and I knew early on that this is what I wanted to pursue. I was working for a studio photographer who became a great mentor. In my junior year, I began taking photography classes at our local college since photography wasn’t offered through my high school. I realized I had a passion for it and after high school, went on to study photography in college.

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What was the most challenging part of starting your business?

Initially it was just gaining clients. When I moved to Chicago after college, I didn’t have much previous wedding work to show clients even though I had editorial and portrait photography experience. But with every wedding I photographed, I was lucky to have clients who would promote my work and me. A referral is the best compliment you can get! Through referrals and networking with other wedding vendors, my business began to grow.

What’s a typical day for you like?

Every day is different, and I’m lucky to be able to set my own schedule. Some days I’m in my home office editing and emailing, others I’m photographing an engagement session or co-working with other wedding vendors. I do find my clients tend to enjoy a glass of champagne as much as I do, so some evenings you can find me getting to know them over a good glass of bubbly.

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What is the hardest part about running your business now?

I think sometimes the hardest part is balance. When you run your own business, you tend to work 24/7 and you feel as if you need to. I’m going into my third full wedding season and finally starting to give myself a little grace when it comes to that. Trying to shut the office door at a certain time and enjoy some time with my husband. It’s not always easy but it’s important!

What is the most rewarding part?

I’m lucky to be able to say that my job is SO rewarding. I think the most rewarding part is not only when the couple loves the photos, but when their parents and friends and families love them too. After all, they and their families for generations to come will be enjoying these photos!

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Since you’ve seen so many weddings and been a bride yourself, do you have any tips for couples for their big day?

Oh absolutely! Just like finding a mate, finding a photographer for your wedding is an emotional experience. Not only should you connect with their work, but you should connect with them personally as well. It’s important to find that photographer that not only you can see yourself working with for 8-10 hours on your wedding day, but working with for the year leading up to the wedding. This goes for all of your wedding vendors; find people that you connect with!

Who would be your dream client?

My dream client is someone who trusts myself and my vision 100%. When a client understands you, your style, and your work, creating images from their day becomes that much easier! Having their trust is everything.

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How do you unwind, and what do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time you can find me grabbing a cocktail with my husband or cozying up at home. Summer tends to be the busiest time of year for us, so recently we’ve been soaking up our Saturdays with no plans 🙂

What are you obsessed with right now?

I’m pretty obsessed with our new 9-week-old dachshund puppy, Millie. We’ve wanted a dachshund for years so it’s crazy that it finally happened! She’s got quite the personality and keeps me on my toes.

If you want to see more from Natalie, make sure you check out her Instagram @natalieprobst for more of her stunning photography, and of course, her adorable new puppy!


New Year, New Goals

See Song Designs Blog

Starting the New Year with this inspirational journal from The Trendy Sparrow!

It has been quite the year for me personally and professionally, so it’s a little bittersweet to be ending this chapter of 2015 and moving on to the scary yet shiny and new 2016.

I don’t know about you, but I feel that if you write down your goals and share them you’re held a little bit more accountable for if you achieve them or not.

1. Ask for help

I am the worst at asking for help. I’ve always taken great pride in doing things myself, and a little part of me feels like asking for help is a sign of weakness. I full on know that is not true, so I really want to make next year about getting help whether it is in photography, web design, or whatever else.

2. Collaborate more 

I think deep down I am an introvert who just wants to sit at my desk and make jewelry all day long. However, when I am not being a hermit, one of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur is meeting other entrepreneurs and hearing their stories. I love learning from other people, and it’s really rewarding to not only learn from others but to also teach others from my own experiences. I really want to make 2016 about learning from others and collaborating on projects, so if you’re an entrepreneur, blogger, writer, artist or whatever, reach out and let me know if you want to collaborate 🙂

3. Re-Design the Etsy Shop & Website

Another rather large goal on the docket is to revamp the Etsy shop and the website. I want to make both the Etsy shop and the website look more cohesive and not like two totally different stores. I love the community of Etsy, but I also love the autonomy of having a standalone e-commerce site. Running both shops can be difficult since pretty much everything that I need to change needs to be changed twice.

4. Time management

In addition to running SSD, I work full-time. I also just got engaged which means I am now wedding planning too. I think next year will be a bigger challenge with trying to balance everything, but I really want to make it a priority to feel content with the amount of time I am spending on SSD, my job, and my personal life.

I really want to utilize my calendar more and set up specific dates for tasks such as writing blog posts, reconciling the books, designing new pieces, researching new materials, working out, and having date nights.

5. Be mindful of my budget

This should probably be more towards the top, but I feel the fact that I am admitting this needs to be improved upon is quite the feat already, right? I feel like I am always making budgets and just not sticking to them. I think it’s especially hard as an entrepreneur because I can justify every purchase as an investment. Since I work full-time, the lines can also get fuzzy when I lump my salary and small business income together. That is a huge no-no in the small business world, so I am going to try extra hard this year to budget for myself personally but also for SSD. It also helps that I am planning a wedding now which will hopefully force me to save way more than before.

6. Be in the moment

I’m the type of person that’s always looking forward to/dreading what’s coming up. I feel like I’m always looking forward to my next big vacation or dreading an upcoming deadline. I really want to make it a priority this year to really appreciate what’s going on right now. I want to enjoy wedding planning and not see it as a chore and I want to celebrate any little victories I accomplish with my jewelry. Since my twenties are nearing an end, I think it’s more important than ever to really enjoy life with my loved ones in the moment. Maybe I should just call this my YOLO goal?

What are your priorities for the upcoming year? Do you have any tips on how you accomplish your goals? I am all ears and would love to hear what you think. I am wishing you all the best in the new year, and I hope you have a happy and successful 2016!