When I had the idea for this series I made a “dream list” of the women I knew who were doing incredible things that I wanted to profile – Amber was on this list.
I had the privilege of working with Amber a few years back. She is one of those people who leads with her heart. She’s smart, well-spoken and so passionate about her work. Coincidentally we sat down to chat about this profile on International Women’s Day and had the most incredible conversation about the power of supporting women, setting boundaries and dealing with perfectionism (she refers to herself as a “recovering perfectionist”, something I both admire and am striving towards myself).
I have been so inspired by her entrepreneurial #hustle and was thrilled she agreed to be part of this series. I learned so much from the hour we spent laughing, chatting and catching up over coffee. I learned even more when I read the insights she shares below – I know they will inspire you to think about your own journey in a new light (her ultimate career goal had me going 👏🏻). When you’re done reading, check out her beautiful Instagram feed – her ethereal photos will make you want to spend a day in front of her lens, creating light together.
Who are you?
Amber Ellis, of Creating Light Studio.
What do you do?
I’m a photographer that creates personal branding imagery + portraits for women and their businesses, helping them to shine their inner light & brand essence.
How’d you get this job?
I created it for myself!
What are you passionate about in your job? Did you expect that going in?
I created this job out of passion. But it’s so interesting because that passion started as a simple curiosity about connecting with inspiring women and sharing their stories through photography. Little did I know that it would evolve into Creating Light Studio!
I’m passionate about lifting up the women that I work with and helping them to create a visual voice through imagery that really aligns with their brand + business. By doing this, they are able to reach and impact the people that truly need what they have to offer.
I am also passionate about creating space for women (through workshops and my photoshoots) where they are allowed to show up fully as themselves. I see so many successful & confident women shrink as soon as I bring out the camera. I want these women to feel SEEN, confident in their body & presence, and allow them to take up space and step into their power.
Any career ambitions/goals for this year?
Last August I left my job to pursue my photography full-time. My goal is to not only make it a sustainable business, but one that thrives and serves women in a very powerful way.
What’s surprised you the most on your professional journey?
What surprised me most was how right it all feels. I thought once I left my previous career I would spend a lot of time looking back, part of me still desiring what once was. But when you create a business and life that truly aligns and supports your creative desires it elevates you, [it] fulfills you in a way that any other job can’t. It’s the difference between a store bought dress and one that’s custom made. The first one may be beautiful, but the custom one is exactly what you want, and fits in all the right places.
Tell me about a time you took a professional risk – what happened? What did you learn from it?
Last August I made the leap from a very secure, comfortable job into the adventure of entrepreneurship. While making the decision I was faced with so many of my biggest fears and insecurities: would everybody think I was crazy for leaving something safe to pursue my dreams? Would I fail miserably and fall on my face? Would my work not be good enough? Would nobody want to work with me?
But you know what? I did it, and I haven’t looked back. Yes there have been (sometimes huge) challenges, and it hasn’t been easy at times. But there’s something powerful and poignant about being the creator of your own life, the writer of your own story, the designer of your own future.
To move forward, despite all the fears and challenges.
To be able to look back and not have the regret of not trying.
And in the process I’ve learned so much. Especially about myself. Taking this on has been the biggest mirror. It really asks you to grow and get to know yourself on a deep level, and what you’re capable of.
Being your own boss means that you aren’t just a specialist. You need to take care of all areas of your business AND life in order for it to thrive. This has been one of the biggest areas of learning for me. Understanding how to a run a business and all it’s facets. Being the bookkeeper, salesperson, personal assistant, marketer and woman behind the camera, while also taking care of myself in my daily life. That’s a lot of hats. But it has been expansive and illuminating for me in so many ways.
Any advice for someone looking to go into a creative field?
Follow that little nagging in your gut or the whisper in your heart. Even if it isn’t directly related to your area of focus. Because I find it is in the spaces of intersection that life gets interesting!
Also get very clear on what you enjoy doing. I think a lot of dissatisfaction in work comes from taking on jobs just because we’re good at them, or feel as though we must. But ask yourself, is this what I LOVE doing?
There was a time when I was on track for a management position. More money and higher prestige. But when I looked closely at what my day would look like I just knew it wouldn’t make me happy. I love creating. Once I accepted and claimed that about myself, I was able to make decisions about my career that left me much more fulfilled (and relieved!).
Not to say that all moments will be spent doing what you love, but it gives you more say and power over how your time is spent. By doing this you are living out your own definition of happiness.
“How we spend our days…is how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard
What’s your ultimate #careergoal?
My ultimate goal is to spend my life being a conduit for others to shine their light. Shifting the perspectives of women and others to embrace their bodies, imperfections and uniqueness so that they can stand in their power and be fully expressed. If I can continue to serve that way I will be a happy gal. And if I can do it while travelling the world doing photoshoots + retreat experiences in gorgeous locations, that would be an amazing bonus!
Feeling inspired by Amber’s journey? Feel like you gained a little bit of insight into what it’s actually like to be an entrepreneur? (A big heck yes to both for me). Let me know in the comments below! 👇🏻