We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Shaikh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance is something I needed to learn to apply in both my business and personal life. I used to believe that running my own business meant being accessible 24/7 to my clients and their needs. From checking my work email the minute I got up to replying to text messages from clients at midnight, my work had completely consumed my life. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago when I finally realized I needed to find a way to find balance in my life. I began learning more about journaling, meditation and finding time to do prioritize myself and my own mental health. Being able to implement these tasks into my everyday schedule helps me be able to find my own calm among the hustle of running my own business. Finding balance also means taking a break when you are mentally and physically exhausted or if you are in a state of burnout. Being an entrepreneur, it’s easy to fall into the same patterns and get to a point where you need to step away. I used to feel terrible if I took a day off or if I went on a trip knowing that I had deadlines to get to but the biggest thing I needed to learn is that it’s okay to take time away from work to recharge.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business, This Modern Love Photography, is a full service wedding photography and cinematography company that specializes in South Asian weddings. I have been in the photography industry for about 14 years now (which is crazy to say!) and I have learned so much about running a business over the last few years. One of the most crucial things I have learned about running a company is making sure each of our clients have an amazing experience from start to finish. Weddings can get super stressful with planning all of the details so it’s important to me to communicate with our clients and educate them on our years of knowledge in this industry. Earlier this year, I published my first e-book, How To Be A Bride, which is a helpful guide to help newly engaged brides learn what to expect when planning for their big day! I have also learned that it is completely okay to say no sometimes. I started out as a freelancer in the beginning stages of starting my company and at that stage in a career, it’s so easy to get caught up and feel like you need to take every job that comes your way, even if it is a client or job you are hesitant about. It’s important to remember that as much as you can try to please everybody and do a good job, not every client is going to be perfect. I had to learn to take my emotions out of situations and trust my instinct if a client didn’t feel like a good fit. Being able to communicate that effectively was something I had to learn and implement when running my business. When I started my company, I always envisioned it being different from competition. I looked at the wedding photography companies in my area and noticed that their work was good but more on the traditional side. If there was a way that I could make it more natural and be able to modernize the photos and videos, I was going to figure out how to do that. Finding a good balance of getting the traditional shots with more artistic ones is something I think my company does well. At the end of the day, we want to create those timeless memories that our couples and their families can look back on and instantly feel like they are there in those moments.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely recommend checking out some spots in Atlanta including Ponce City Market, Piedmont Park/Beltline areas to see some cool views and experience the heart of Atlanta. One of my new favorite restaurants is Banter and Biddy, a small Southern brunch place right next to Piedmont Park that has amazing food! If you want to get outside of the city and see more nature scenes, I would say to check out Stone Mountain during sunrise or sunset, Roswell Mill, downtown Decatur and Lullwater Park are all fun places to explore.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am lucky to have strong support from my family, friends and clients that continue to encourage me no matter what I do in my life. One person I would like to recognize is Dean Gibson as he always motivates me to continue learning and pushes me to step outside of my comfort zone. It’s so important to have someone like that in your life because it helps you grow and learn more about your capabilities and what you have to offer.
Other: My book, How To Be A Bride, is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Bride-essential-planning-ebook/dp/B0893Q48ZL