Picture Yourself as Successful: Allyson’s Story

It seems like women are always juggling multiple commitments.

Family life. Working life. Finances. Some may see these obligations as important but separate aspects of being an adult.

Allyson, small business owner and married mother of four kids, sees them as intertwined opportunities to learn and grow and give back.

The connections started to appear when her passion for photography became something more.

“I loved taking pictures of my kids,” she reasoned. “So why not turn it into a business where I’m taking pictures of other people?”

A photography business would allow her to work around a busy family schedule, but Allyson had an additional motivation: She wanted her kids to learn an important life lesson.

“Even though I had a family,” she explains, “It was still important for me to invest in my passion. There were certain goals I wanted to achieve and having a family didn’t need to stop me from achieving them.”

At first, Allyson didn’t know much about running a business, especially financial issues like taxes. So she dug into research and questioned other business owners. Hiring a CPA helped a great deal with tax questions.

It turned out that owning her own business helped in unexpected ways. Her young twin daughters are both autistic. “And that definitely changed our journey. It made the flexibility of me owning my own business even more important,” explains Allyson.

Having children with special needs also gave her an opportunity to give back to the community that had supported her family so much. She realized that there were many other children who had communication needs, so she created a visual sign board that allowed children to express themselves by pointing at prompts and images rather than talking.

“We’re in all the Cedar Falls and Waterloo schools, and now we have more than 100 boards in the community,” she reports.

Over time, her business and life have changed for the good. “I figured out what works for me,” she says. “I took control over my schedule.”

For other women, she recommends getting more involved in their finances.

“It’s important that you know what’s going on in your personal financial life as well as your business financial life to be successful,” she advises. “They’re going to correspond, and you need to have knowledge of both pieces, to do them together.”

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