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Building businesses and getting divorced, with Paige Walker

Name: Paige Walker

City and State: Ft. Worth, Texas

Occupation: Photographer and Blogger

Paige, you started out as a teacher, then become a stay-at-home mom, and now you are a highly sought after photographer in Ft. Worth. How did you get here?

Brick by brick and following my intuition. I got a camera for Mother's Day and quickly became infatuated with learning the technical aspect of photography, photo editing and the language of light. I didn't realize how badly I needed an outlet, not just for my creative mind, but also to have something for myself outside of breastfeeding and potty training. When you feel so drawn to something and become so obsessed, it's hard to ignore. Listening to that inner voice is what made me take the leap. I worked on my photography skills nonstop until I felt ready to roll out Paige Walker Photography. It was in my early years in business that I saw myself as someone I didn't know that I was: a badass entrepreneur and hustler with the clientele and revenue to back it up.

Many creative entrepreneurs lack the focus or ability to tackle the business end of their venture. You said this was one of the first things you did when you started your business. Why was this piece so important for you?

I hit the ground running with a business plan, my pricing set high enough to make me a little uncomfortable and an entrepreneurial spirit. The photography and creativity is a passion, but bottom line is just as important to surviving in this highly competitive and oversaturated industry. It might not be as fun as creating art, but when you are working with clients, they should be treated like royalty. Answering emails quickly and making sure I was charging enough for the amount of time put in was key.

How has having a strategic mindset vs a "we'll just see" mindset propelled your business?

I knew my target market and I set out to create a boutique brand that they would appreciate. I envisioned a best case scenario and set goals in motion to reach that. Winging it can only work for so long, this industry has a huge burnout and failure rate so thinking long term and strategically can make the difference between making a little extra money and becoming a highly respected, career photographer.

Once you got your photography business off the ground, you said you were ready for another challenge. Tell us about Style Duplicated.

When I got Paige Walker Photography running so smoothly, I started feeling the need for another challenge. There's that little voice again. I couldn't shake the idea that I am every bit as stylish, fun and entertaining as all these other bloggers and influencers that I see killing it. It seemed like another dream job and dang it, I wanted to do it too! In true Paige fashion, when I get an idea, I jump in. This time though, I roped in my gorgeous and fashionable best friend, Jeni. We launched Style Duplicated in October of 2018 as a place for outfit and interior inspiration, beauty hacks, cosmetic procedure reviews and a look into our often messy and hilarious lives.

In the midst of running two successful businesses, you made the decision to get a divorce. How did you come to this tough decision?

If you have been through a divorce, my heart goes out to you. Even the friendliest of divorces are soul crushing. After 15 years of marriage, my ex husband and I decided that being together wasn't the best anymore. There are so many reasons and pieces that go into this kind of life altering decision. We both are at fault for letting the relationship get to the state that it did, but sometimes relationships that were once fulfilling can die a slow death of a million paper cuts. Through therapy, journaling, reading and prayer, it became apparent to me that it was time for us to transition from a romantic relationship that was stressful, to a co-parenting partnership. This new relationship is constantly growing and strengthening and my hope is that one day when the hurts are gone and the dust settles, that we are great friends in a supportive expanded family.

What does life look like right now during the shutdown, right after a divorce, running two businesses with four kiddos?

Most days I have some sort of anxiety symptoms. I mean geez just reading that question makes my head spin! One surprising benefit of the shutdown during a divorce is that the kids' transition was so easy. Everything was different, so going back and forth between houses was just another change thrown in the mix. My ex's business was essential, but photography was not so I had so much more time with the kids than I usually do. My photo business took a huge hit and is just starting to recover which stresses me out about being a single mom and making it work financially. I'd like to think I'm handling it with grace and chill vibes, but even the smiliest, most positive women are crumbling inside from time to time.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to know how a divorce can be done with love?

It's hard but possible, you will still fight and get your feelings hurt. You won't agree on every single thing so you may have to budge and check your ego at the door. Keep the big picture in mind, if you have children you will be seeing this person for the rest of your life off and on. No one wants a toxic relationship with their ex, if nothing else keep it cordial and as drama free as possible for the sake of the kids. Read Conscious Uncoupling and know that it's worth the emotional challenge and exercise in self control to make it through with love and a family mindset.

Anything else you want to share with us?

We have one shot. Do what makes you feel alive. Take risks, listen to your intuition, don't settle into a job or a relationship that doesn't feed your soul. Authenticity is everything and plot twists create growth, so embrace them!

A question we ask everyone...what do you want to be known for?

I want to be known for creating memories for families that make them feel the feels. I want to be known for offering an unforgettable portrait experience for all of those that trust me to. I want to be known for my authentic personality and for sharing both the beautiful and ugly moments of my life with the Style Duplicated readers. I want to be known as someone that was unapologetically myself and connected with countless women on hard subjects.

My favorite quote is...

"You are entirely bonkers. But I will tell you a secret...all the best people are."

Connect with Paige @paigewalkerphotography and @styleduplicated

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