Meet Dawn Wallace, mother, photographer, and owner of Daybreak Photo Co. Dawn is a free-spirited, adventure-seeker with a unique and extensive resume. Dawn has spent time studying marine biology, driving trucks, and has spent her fair share of time in the sky as a flight attendant. Dawn now resides in sunny Florida where she has launched Daybreak Photo Co. She is living the life of her dreams, photographing love (weddings + engagements) with her husband, second shooter, and business partner, Brad!
You’ve done a little bit of everything, from studying marine biology, becoming a truck driver, a counselor to a flight attendant. What called you to launch Daybreak Photo Co.?
It’s funny because I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I mean, yeah, I started the sticker club when I was 10 but that’s a different story. When you ask about a ‘calling’, it’s such a weighty question because it’s truly something you have to think about and something we spend most of our life trying to figure out. I was called into this by my desire and passion to seek out what I was put on this planet to do. It’s also a means to provide for my family so if I knew I could do that and get to creatively express how I view the world and people…just how lovely they are, then I was moving into that ‘something’ more that I wanted. So it’s more of ‘who’ was calling me into photography than ‘what’:)
What is the biggest lesson you learned in launching your own business?
I learned very quickly that it doesn’t just HAPPEN. It’s not an instant gratification field of work. You have to work for it and you have to learn and network and surround yourself with encouraging people. I didn’t go to school for photography so I definitely was learning from scratch. I thought by picking up a camera and starting a My Space business account, I was a photographer. There’s so much more to it.
What was the best piece of business advice you were ever given?
I’ll tell you the advice and then proceed to tell you that I haven’t followed it well. It’s something that sticks with me often. One of my favorite photographers in Atlanta,GA once told me that she didn’t look at anyone else’s work. I was in shock because I was asking her if she knew certain photographers and their work? It took me back at first but now I get it. I’m sure she didn’t mean she never looks at colleague’s work but it was more of a….I don’t sit there and compare myself to other photographers. It’s such an easy thing to do with other artists. If they don’t inspire you and the wrong thought comes to your head, “Why isn’t my work like theirs? What could I do better?” then don’t follow them and learn to change our mindsets. Learn to appreciate each other’s talents and move on from there. The comparison trap is a real thing and it’s exactly that, a trap.
What are some of your biggest successes you have experienced?
In work: Published in Celebration Society magazine, Old City Life, and Jacksonville Magazine
Traveled for destination weddings(this year we get to go to Italy)
My work has been in several blogs including “Style Me Pretty” and “Martha Stewart Weddings”
I count every family and couple a success.
In life: Married my miracle, birthed 2 more miracles and living in my dream city.
Success to me is more about daily living than awards and tangible rewards.
Along with running Daybreak Photo Co., you’re a wife, and a mother of two! How do you find a healthy balance with a busy schedule?
I always tease and say there is no such thing as ‘balance.’ I do not have it all together so don’t be fooled. I’m all about honesty and raw and real moments and I can say my house is a mess most of the time; I’m wearing yoga pants and t-shirts during the week and you’ll find me dealing with the work life-mom life balance often. It’s a hard one. I DON’T have it all figured out and I want other mompreneurs to know that’s ok. I wish I could say I was such a good planner and had rigid schedules and frozen meals ready for the crockpot. I drink a lot of coffee(especially Kookaburra), work late hours, and try to eat good foods but the struggle is real. I will say having a community of uplifting mom friends and mompreneurs has really helped since we moved to St. Augustine and most importantly, my Jesus who keeps me grounded when I’m seeking peace.
What advice would you give to other women who are pursuing their passions?
Everything is a season. Don’t give up when you have one setback or failure. Also, passions take time…they need nurturing and time to grow. I think one of the most important lessons I learned while working a desk job I despised for 2 years(8-5) was that I needed to learn contentment in that moment because in the ‘transition’ period, in the ‘muck and mire’ is where we usually learn the most and grow our faith so we can pursue and persevere.
Have fun and most importantly, perfection is not what we’re going for. The strive for passion will often leave you flat on your face so strive for passion…strive for your best and that’s all that should matter.
What is your personal or professional motto and how do you apply it to your life?
“Fall seven times; stand up eight.”
“There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear.” I John 4:18
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
These are all things I struggle with so they are daily reminders of where my mind should be in order to experience joy at all levels in my life.