We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly McKinney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Molly, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
In terms of being a parent who runs their own business, I know one of the most important impacts I’ve had on my children is modeling for them that if they are willing to work hard and do hard things, then they can be successful without sacrificing what is most important to them.
My desire, as unpopular as it may seem, has always been to be married, have children, and stay home with my kids. After my husband and I got married and I became pregnant with twins, we realized very quickly how difficult and near impossible that desire would be on a single teacher’s salary. After only a few months after their birth, we had thousands and thousands in medical bills from a high risk pregnancy, maxed out credit cards, and not a lot of options.
I began to babysit on the weekends so I could stay home with my boys during the week with the goal of making enough money to pay for groceries, gas, formula, etc. I happened to take a job working for two incredible wedding photographers who guided me to some online courses after I expressed interest in learning. I immediately fell in love with photography, realized I could actually make a little money on the weekends if I was willing to put in the work to learn, and still maintain my ultimate desire- to be a stay at home mom to my kids.
Now, I am up for hours after my kid’s bedtime working at my computer. I work primarily on the weekend’s when my husband is home doing something I absolutely LOVE and has great meaning to both me and the people I work with. I am continuously learning technique, practicing skills, learning business, and developing meaningful connections with other couples and mom’s. And though 2021 was my first full year in business, with the teamwork between my husband and I, we were able to surpass his teaching income without fully sacrifice what I wanted most for our family.
Through all of this, our children have been impacted in more ways than one through the story of our business. They’ve seen that when you choose to do the hards things where growth can happen, it pays exponentially (which I feel is important because society more often models to take the easy route whenever possible). They’ve seen that mom and dad are on the same team and positive impact of a healthy marriage certainly trickles down directly to them. Lastly, I hope they’ve been impacted by seeing that desires don’t have to be sacrificed to be successful.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Something that I hope sets me apart from others is my intentional decision to create a connection with my clients. I can take great photos but so can a lot of other people. I say it often, but by the end of a session or wedding day, my clients and I walk away feeling like friends. In fact one of my closest friends today is a client I met through a family session!
Most people have heard the quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Though it may be said often, that type of authenticity is what I would like to bring to all of my clients. I want to be approachable, personable, and ultimately serve them well because at the end of the day, I am in a service based industry. It would be easy to be more focused on “me and my art” but the fact is I’m there to make it about the people who have trusted me and liked me enough to hire me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ooh this is an easy one! Being from Phoenix with lot’s of friends and family from the midwest, this is a family scenario.
I enjoy being active, going out, and doing things! So a trip to Phoenix from say my best friend from college would likely look like a morning coffee stop at Black Rock Coffee bar, a hike and lots of photos with the tallest cacti, and some form of tacos for lunch.
A shopping trip is always expected so we generally like to go to Scottsdale and hit the quarter and of course a visit to Culinary Dropout is absolutely a must there.
Being a stay at home mom, some days will for sure look like a coffee and donut stop (always a big hit with three year olds) and a trip to either a park, zoo, or splash pad depending on the weather. If it’s a long week, we will certainly do all three.
Essentially, we just like to be out in the sun being active during the day!
Although I am blessed to work beautiful brides at luxury venues, my day to day life very much resembles that of stay at home mom. There is a lot of normalcy in the day to day routine but with have two littles, these really are the best days in this season of life!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout goes to my husband first and foremost because none of this would be possible without him! We truly are on the same team from juggling schedules together or constant words of encouragement with every new idea (and as an entrepreneur – I have a lot!). I also owe a major thank you to Ben and Joy Clifford. They took me on as a babysitter but inspired me to do so much more that has in turn completely blessed and forever changed the dynamic of my family.