small business owner

Focus On: Brianne of Beyond the Lynk

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

Our first Focus On is a spotlight on Brianne Lynk, the owner of Beyond the Lynk in Upstate, NY. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

Hey! My name is Brianne Lynk and I am married to my best friend and we have two kids together, Jameson who is just about 4 and Emersyn who is 11 months. We are located in Upstate NY and have always lived here, born and raised. I am the owner of Beyond the Lynk, I started this in July of 2018.

This was supposed to be a hobby of mine to make things for myself and my kids, I love matching them and wanted to be able to create on my own. It quickly turned into a business when I shared a photo of my very first piece. I was 6 months pregnant with our daughter at the time and business picked up rapidly. Looking back, it is kind of crazy how fast it grew and how much I worked while pregnant, with a toddler and then right after giving birth, during the busiest time of the year.

I was a nanny for several years prior and in June I found out I would not be returning in the Fall. My boss was a teacher and the kids were headed to school full time. I was taken aback and really worried about bills and bringing another life into this world in a few short months. I had my machine and materials waiting for me to open then for an ENTIRE year; insane, I know. I needed that boost of losing my nanny job to get me to pull everything out and learn. I also longed to be a stay at home mom, I did not want to rely on my husband or put all the pressure on him to pay our bills, so this was another way for me to bring in something, even if it wasn't going to be a lot, I had a little bit of money that I earned. It made me feel less guilty about shopping for the baby or buying myself lunch when I really needed that Panera salad.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

I would say I spend anywhere from 25-50 hours per week working. The hours vary based on my daughter napping, my son's school and sport schedule, my husband's work schedule, whether or not I have someone to hang with the kids for a little bit or not. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, like any business answering emails, phone calls, messages. Creating invoices, creating new designs, launching those designs. I have a Rep Team and working with them has helped a bit with advertising, I still do a lot, but they help get my name out there as well.

Work life and personal life balance is something I try to work on daily. I have told my son that if I am working and he wants to spend time with me I will stop what I am doing, within reason, and spend some time with him. This also goes for our daughter who can't quite tell me, but she sure shows it. I try to work the 2.5 hours Jameson is in school, as long as Emersyn is napping. I also try to get up a bit before them to work some in the morning and then again at night when they go to bed. The holiday season is really hard, it is so busy then that I struggle with stopping what I am doing to spend time with my family. My husband works a crazy schedule so that is another struggle I have, thankfully, I have my parents close by to help out. I would say on a scale of 0-10, I am at about a 6 or 7.

The biggest challenge in owning my own business is telling people no. I do not like to turn down work, I love what I do and I want to do it all for everyone. I have learned over the past 14 months that sometimes I have to take a step back and say 'no.' Family has to come first, I have to have a life outside of work, breaks are needed-- and with that, taking breaks is my second biggest struggle. I. Need. Vacation.

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society
Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

My proudest moment would be the huge wedding orders I have received. While party packages are my favorite thing to do; who can not love matching family tees, party decor and then seeing everything come together, weddings are a HUGE deal and someone trusting me on their biggest day, makes me feel so lucky. I have also done a few fundraisers, and I really love doing those as well and giving back to a family in need.

The hardest part of this business would be realizing that not everyone is always going to be happy. I took an order, did my proofs, had things approved, sent photos throughout the entire process, was told to keep going just to have spent 30 hours on said project and told "it's not what I wanted," and from there getting a negative review. moments like that make you want to stop, but going through the conversation and contract, I knew I did everything that I could, sometimes, things are not meant to work out and you have to reflect on those moments to learn and grow for the next time.

It is extremely important for me to support other small business owners, especially local ones. I always try to shop small and local first. My children are brand reps for a few of our favorite small shops (Doodle & Jack, Elle Belle Baby, BabyMeBeautiful.USA, Stone & Blush, & Tiny Trends Bowtique) I support local photographers, always, I never go to the corporations for photos, and when a friends or family is looking for something I always try to recommend small over a big box store!

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society
Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society

I would love to open up a store front one day. I would say that is in the 5 year goal range, not only to host my products, but to bring in items from many small shops. I would love to have all of my favorite shops in my store. A shorter term goal would be to have my business offer more items to complete outfits. I am not sure if that will be collaborating with another business, learning something new, or brainstorming with someone else and having them join my team.

I love what I do. Looking back on that day I was told I would no longer have a nanny job I wish I didn't cry the whole way home, I wish I knew I would be doing something knew and exciting. I love being able to create, work from home, have my kids with me and do something I love. Join my Facebook VIP page (Beyond the Lynk- VIPs) for exclusive giveaways, sneak peeks and fun games! Planning a party or family trip? Love graphic tees or home decor? Be sure to contact me for a custom order!

Focus On, Beyone the Lynk, Rising Tide Society


How can people find you?

Website: https://etsy.me/2WmbDUn

VIP group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1058651680987732/?ref=share 

Facebook page: Facebook.com/beyondthelynk

Instagram: instagram.com/beyondthelynk

Email: beyondthelynk@yahoo.com


Focus On: Jamie Redmond, artist and businesswoman from Syracuse, New York

I believe in a world where we cheer one another on and we don’t see any other entrepreneur as a competitor. (It’s why I love the Rising Tide Society so much!) I love when I see other business owners support one another and I can’t possibly count all of the times I’ve been inspired or motivated by another business owner. It can be a lonely world, sitting in a corner of your home, balancing the roles of parenthood, wife, photographer, creative and just overall human with obligations to friends and the house and hobbies and passions. It feels a lot less lonely when you celebrate all the other people who get it.

So, today, we’re introducing our new entrepreneur blog series, Focus On.
Our first Focus On is a spotlight on Jamie Redmond, a Syracuse, New York artist. Enjoy this peek into her business, her balance and her dreams. Be sure to follow her, cheer her on and stay tuned for more entrepreneur spotlights every two weeks.

Photo with Dog by:  Alice Patterson Photography

Photo with Dog by: Alice Patterson Photography

Introduce yourself!

I am Jamie Redmond, the artist and owner behind The Memorable Image. I create a line of greeting cards called the Animal Tales. They bring my images and stories together to hilariously explore all the lessons life has to teach us. I work out of my studio in Syracuse, NY.

When did you start your business? What inspired you to do this?

I started my business in 2013, but it took me about a year to find my footing. When I started out, I thought I would pursue 'serious' photography. But I kept finding myself drawn to creating these little images that were vignettes of daily life using toy animals. And then I'd pair them with these three sentence stories I was writing.

The Animal Tales began as a personal challenge to push me creatively. They were weird and quirky: I didn't think of them as my business. I created them for me. Each card is a little pep-talk commiserating over how amazing or heartbreaking life can be.

When I started the Animal Tales I wasn't in a particularly good place. My parents had died when I was in my 20s. I didn't know how to grieve that type of tragedy. So I threw myself into working for other people and design agencies.

When I started my own business, as busy as I was, it was like I had time to breathe for the first time in six years. And slowly that is when the grief hit me as depression. At the time I couldn't see what was going on, or how bad it had gotten, but during that time I started the Animal Tales because they made me laugh and captured my imagination. They pulled me forward.

Looking back now, I can see how each Tale was a pep-talk to myself and steeped in the legacy of my parents. My earliest memories are of my mom teaching me to read, she was huge proponent of early childhood literacy. My father would spin the most amazing stories every night, all pulled out of thin air based on the limits of my imagination. The Animal Tales became my way of staying in touch with and honoring my memories of them.

After I had been working on them for about a year I started showing them off at different craft and art shows, and they resonated with other people in a way that made the world feel just a bit smaller and more like a community.

The Animal Tales are designed to make people laugh and feel less alone in this bewildering boat of life. I like to think of them as sending hugs or high-fives in the mail.

About how many hours a week would you say you spend on your business? What are some of the behind-the-scenes things that your business requires that people may not realize? 

I spend about 50+ hours a week on my business. It is so much part of my life sometimes it is hard to tell if I am working or relaxing. Ideas come to me when I am just living life, and I have to ride that inspiration or at least record it which pulls me back into work mode.

But I thrive on the seamlessness of it. When I worked for other people I was always bringing the job home with me. Sometimes it was work to do at night, and sometimes it was sleepless nights because my mind couldn't stop running.

If I was going to be working that hard, I wanted to be doing it for myself.

One thing I don't think people realize is that some of the Tales take years to complete. I need to find the right props, the right animals, and sometimes when everything comes together and I have the image I may still struggle for the words.

Many of the Tales have two different stories, one that is light and inspirational and one that is dark and snarky. When I am ready to publish I have to decide which way the Tale is going go and that can be hard. I've had to learn to trust my instincts.

On a scale of 1-10, how balanced would you say you are between your work and family/personal life? How do you try to balance both worlds?

I'd say my work and personal life are balanced somewhere around a 5. I never feel like there is enough time or that I am paying enough attention to either one of them. It is a big struggle. But I am not unhappy with it, I just keep trying new things to see what makes me feel balanced, and learn from the times I feel stressed about it all.

What would you say is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?

FOCUS...Definitely focus. I have the hardest time not being distracted by the interwebs. It's a form of self-sabotage that I am really trying to be more aware of. Knowing what is going on in the world makes me feel like I have some sort of control through knowledge. But it doesn't actually give me control over anything and I'm not maintaining meaningful relationships with friends online. So for me, it is a big waste of time to get sucked into the waterfall of information out there.

What has been your proudest moment/greatest victory as an entrepreneur?

When I finally had the clarity to just focus on the Animal Tales. I moved away from what I was taught I 'should do' from fine art school, to what I wanted to do. It was very inspiring to have that clarity and confidence.

Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image

What is the hardest part of being a business owner?

Time management. Knowing how much time a project will actually take. When I worked for design agencies I was really good at assigning multipliers to different designers: they would say a project would take them x number of hours, and from experience, I knew how to interpret that into actual hours.

I think we all really underestimate how much time any given task will take. I know my multiplier is three (tasks will take me 3 times longer to do that I think they will), but I am really resistant to using that when planning out my time. I convince myself I can do everything I want every day.

How important is it to you to support other entrepreneurs and business owners?

This one is HUGE for me. As a small business, I see directly how spending money with other small businesses affects them. It's like its own little economy. And I love having the stories behind what I purchase.

I actively seek out other handmade artisans, small bakeries (cake forever), farms, and shops because I want to contribute directly to someone else's dreams.

What are some ways that you try to do this?

I visit craft shows, participate in CSAs (for vegetables and flowers), go to farmers markets, seek out local bakeries and mom and pop toy shops for most of my animals.

What are your one-year and five-year goals for your business?

Ah, this is a tough one. In one year I'd like to see the Animal Tales find homes in 100 shops across the US. This year I really started to focus on wholesale in conjunction with my Etsy shop and craft shows.

In five years, I want to have a book published. Storytelling has always been my goal, and I'd really like to complete some of my longer works and combine them with my images.

What else would you like to share? You can share anything here!!!

Don't be afraid to indulge in personal projects and create for yourself. It feels like a ridiculous luxury to do that sometimes, but it is how you discover what really speaks to you. Don't be afraid to explore and pivot, but give yourself time to grow before you share it with others. Then give yourself more time.

Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY
Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image
The Animal Tales are designed to make people laugh and feel less alone in this bewildering boat of life. I like to think of them as sending hugs or high-fives in the mail.
Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image
Jamie Redmond | Focus On: Entrepreneur Highlights by Wendy Zook Photography | Rising Tide Society, Artist, businesswoman, boss lady, community over competition, New York, Syracuse NY, the Memorable Image

Jamie’s Info:

Website: https://www.thememorableimage.com/

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMemorableImage

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thememorableimage/  @TheMemorableImage

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TheMemorableImage

Email: Jamie@TheMemorableImage.com

*****
Note: Photos are by Jamie Redmond unless otherwise noted.

Business Branding and Photography: Empower Fitness & Health of New Market, Maryland

I’ve known about and admired Sarah Moul of Empower Fitness and Health since shortly after my family and I moved to the New Market area of Maryland in 2017. She’s friends with a lot of my friends and through neighborhood events and social media, I’ve watched her take dreams into reality and changed lives through the power of her fitness and nutrition program.

Six months ago, I tested Sarah’s dumbbell program and began to see an immediate lifestyle transformation.

I approached Sarah about becoming my first business branding client and it was such a great match. I love hearing Sarah talk about how she wants Empower Fitness & Health to be relatable, reachable and not intimidating to the busy, the stressed, the overwhelmed. She wants people to see and feel positivity and possibility through her social media and website images, not intimidation and comparison.

Over the course of several meetings and conversations, Sarah and I laid out plans for the vision of her business and how to tell her story through beautiful, consistent images.

When we met near Sarah’s neighborhood, we moved through several poses and moves that could be found in Sarah’s dumbbell, resistance band and other programs while also capturing Sarah’s awesome personality, too. After time outside, we captured Sarah at work inside her home studio, too, for additional images.

It’s not the end of our time together as photographer and business owner -- Sarah and I have plans for at least one session every couple of months to keep her images fresh and up-to-date with her business as she adds new programs and ideas.

I’m so glad that Sarah is excited about these new images and I love seeing them coming across my Instagram and Facebook feeds. Her new clients will be greeted by them on her website as she updates it, too.

You can learn more about Sarah’s online app program here and here.

Wendy’s new business branding photography offering is currently in limited-time introductory prices and is perfect for business owners who want to revamp their visuals for social media and websites and get a fresh start to telling their story. Contact Wendy today for more information on business branding.

Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health
Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health

Inspired to have your own branding session? Pin this image or any from the post above for inspiration!

Wendy Zook Photography | Frederick MD branding photographer, Maryland branding photographer, New Market MD branding photographer, New Market branding photographer, branding session, gym session, health and fitness session, branding portraits, Maryland branding portraits, Empower Fitness & Health

Tuesdays Together & The Rising Tide Society {How a Spontaneous Leadership Role Changed Me and My Photography Business}

When I moved to Rochester, New York, two years ago, I was at a wild crossroads. My identity was all over the place -- not only with new geographic surroundings and a new place to call home, but also with my still-new photography business that had just crossed state lines and plopped down in an entirely different area. Even my role as a mom was being flipped all over the place with my kiddos entering school and all those hours as Momma coming to an end. 

I wanted my wedding and engagement photography business to not just survive, but thrive. But I didn't know what tools I needed, which people I needed to make it happen. Just months before our move, I had started hearing about a group of creatives called The Rising Tide Society -- a national group of small business owners and entrepreneurs who were networking online and meeting in person during monthly get-togethers called Tuesdays Together to discuss a variety of business-related topics like Pricing, Relationships, Social Media and more. I wanted a place like that to be a part of my new identity. 
 

Over the next few weeks, I put myself out there by semi-stalking and reaching out to some local photographers and one day, in a coffee shop in Victor, three of us sat in a corner enjoying some amazing muffins and sharing our dreams and wishlists. We talked about Tuesdays Together and how we wish we had a chapter in the Rochester area. And in what felt like an out-of-body moment, this very-INFJ, super-shy, sweats-in-the-center-of-attention fish out of water said "I don't mind applying for us and leading if you want me to."

I thought the application and approval process would take months, but, in less than a week I was logged in as admin to a local Facebook group and was joining leaders' email lists and planning our first meeting, held less than one month after that first exciting coffee shop date. 

My first meeting went something like this internal dialogue:
6am: I am SO excited! Oh my gosh, why do I have to wait 12 hours?!
7:15am: I'm canceling it. This was a terrible idea. 
12pm: ::checks RSVP list::
12:02pm: This is going to be amazing. Fresh start! Woot!
12:03pm: ::checks RSVP list::
12:30pm: I should skip it. Maybe they won't notice.                                                                           4pm: OH MY GOSH, TWO HOURS. It's 10 minutes away. Should I leave now?
4:05pm: ::checks RSVP list::                                                                                                                5:30pm: OK, let's go. You got this. You're basically Beyonce. You're Eleanor Roosevelt. You got this.                                                                                                                                                      5:45pm: ::sitting in parking lot, lots of sweat::                                                                                  5:55pm: "Hi, I'm Wendy! I'm so excited you're here! Wow, I'm so glad you're here! Are you so excited?" (very high-pitched, very very quick)
6pm: ::Pathetic nervous fake clearing of throat::

I spent the entire meeting freaking out SO much. I was filled with self-doubt, insane nerves and constant thoughts of "These people are so good and SO talented -- why do you think you can lead them?"

It was somewhere around the 4th or 5th meeting that I had a moment. Nothing specific happened, although I had definitely grown more comfortable (I still got nervous in my 18th meeting!); I had made incredible connections; I had received some really sweet comments and expressions of gratitude. Over time, however, I realized it wasn't about me. I had joined this movement for me, but it became about so much more than my selfish need to feel like I belong. It was about a community, a network. It was about the way certain topics REALLY helped our vendor friends that attended -- the way you saw their businesses take off on social media or the pride we all felt when they shared a success with a difficult client or with their new prices. It was about the friendships we started to see forming, the way we all felt like equals. It became about greater things like giving back to the community last November during our Philanthropy month; it was about the way our Facebook group grew to nearly 300 people who had all needed a home; it was the laughs and tears and dreams and worries we shared around coffee shops and gallery couches. 

Photo by:  Lauren Carnes

Photo by: Lauren Carnes

 



No one believes me at meetings when I tell them I'm painfully shy and timid -- and that new-found courage and comfort is because of The Rising Tide Society and my small role in Tuesdays Together. I carry myself differently now. I believe in myself so much more nowadays.

And my business has taken off in so many ways, and so much of that is because of what I've learned in 18 meetings next to other people who just "get it." They get the long days and late nights alone in your home office; they get the commitment and self-motivation it takes for a small victory and the 15 setbacks along the way. They get the family-work balance and the tricky tightrope that can be. They get being "on call" so much of the time. And they give -- they give encouragement, support, positivity and love. 

 



A new chapter is leading our family away from Rochester, New York. We'll be living in and starting over again in the Frederick, Maryland area and I'm so excited to meet new people and photograph couples across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. 

But with every new and exciting start comes the closing of a door. And it's time for me to pass on the Tuesdays Together Rochester baton. I know it's in good hands with Michelle Crawford and Denise Lazu co-leading it to amazing new heights. But part of me is sad to let go of this group, of this "thing" that has brought so much into my world. I hope to remain a part of The Rising Tide Society and can't wait to attend my first meeting in Frederick. 

I believe in #communityovercompetition.
I believe in Natalie Franke Hayes and her commitment to creating a safe haven for entrepreneurs. 
I believe in networking and gathering in person rather than just hiding behind a computer screen. 
I believe in getting out of your comfort zone now and then. 

And now, I believe in myself. And in my dreams.