Rachel Vogeleisen is an award winning portrait photographer.
Rachel grew up France and as a child loved looking through glossy fashion magazines. She always liked the idea of creating beauty through photography but ended up following a more conventional career path in the corporate world. It was only as she approached 50 that she decided to quit her job to go back to University to study an MA in Fine Art Photography and in 2015 founded her business – By Rachel V Photography.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I have spent twenty years working in a variety of jobs. I have worked as a waitress, a receptionist, travel agent and account manager. I never stayed longer than 2 years in one job as I got bored very quickly and missed having a creative outlet.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Not really; I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I was keen to learn new things and regularly changing jobs certainly gave me that opportunity.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Photography was always part of my life, I just thought that I could never make a living out of it. After a lot of wandering from job to job, I decided it was time focus. I went back to university to study for a MA in Photography and then established myself as a photographer in 2015.
Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?
Setting up your own business is not an easy path, you can’t shut the door after hours and you’re basically working all the time. You need to learn to switch off, not an easy task when you’re restless to succeed. You have to juggle being the accountant, marketing manager and CEO. I have found it helps to focus on what you’re best at doing and delegate the other tasks.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?
Mentoring is great. I had a mentor helping me to find the right direction for my business. I have been a mentor myself for 3 years with the Cheri Blair Foundation.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
Give them the flexibility to work from home and take as many holidays as they need. If you treat people like adults, you will get more back in return by engaging their responsibility in the success of the company.
Do you have any tips or advice for other budding female entrepreneurs thinking about setting up on their own?
Choose something you’re passionate about, don’t just go into it for the money as passion will keep you going through the difficult times.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Completing a photography project and publishing a book about women who volunteered in the Services during The Second World War
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I am currently starting a new photography project about women who have reinvented themselves after 50. The project will culminate with an exhibition to showcase the portraits and video testimonials. I hope this will help to inspire other women to follow their hearts and show them it is never too late to change direction or start a business.