Mom Boss Interview: Sharon Holck from Sharon Holck Photography & Blog

Alright moms (and dads) -- we've got a treat for you today! 

When you got engaged, married, had a baby, and/or hit any major life milestones, you probably hired a professional photographer to document the big moment, right?

If you are like me, you may have wondered what it takes to become a photographer (aside from gobs of talent and patience, of course) and whether or not it is a lucrative work-from-home position... well, today we are getting all of our questions answered, thanks to the amazing Sharon Holck! 

Sharon is a wife, mommy to a darling little girl, and photographer who lives in Hawaii (#goals), loves Fixer Upper (a girl after my own heart), and can always be found in a pair of mismatched socks :) She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute in New York and is THE person to go to for not only gorgeous photos, but also honest answers to all things business related. 

 Cutest girls (and isn't Sharon's daughter the sweetest? I am dying over the pigtails)! 

Cutest girls (and isn't Sharon's daughter the sweetest? I am dying over the pigtails)! 

Sharon, please tell us a little bit about yourself: we know that you are an extremely talented photographer and busy mommy, but what else do you do in terms of either work or hobbies?

A little less than a year ago, I decided that it was time to get myself into better shape. I joined a local Stroller Strides group to get a chance to socialize with other moms as well as letting my daughter Riley play with kids her age. I know I'm not alone in saying staying at home can get isolating so this has really helped with me personally. We spend usually almost two hours with this group a few times week. I feel like I have this happy medium between stay at home and working mom because I work 3 nights a week at a restaurant being a photo host. They're short shifts that allow me to really only miss 3 of my daughters awake hours while still bringing in that little bit of extra money for bills or for building my photography business.

Have you always been in a creative line of work or is photography the first?

I have always been a creative person. I remember when I was little I was obsessed with making my own books. I would draw like as many zoo or water animals as I could and write little stories to go with my pictures. I also loved painting and drawing. I thought photography kind of came later but I was going through some old pictures and found that I've been kind of playing with cameras since I was maybe 7.

What got you into photography? Have you always had a knack for or interest in it?


My brother actually started me on my photography path. We are 10 years apart and so he was a big role model in my life. I wanted to be just like him. He always carried a camera around and when I was about 13 I told my parents I wanted a camera just like he does and they bought me this dinky little digital camera. I took a lot of pictures of animals and plants and my brother would always give me little lessons or projects for me to try and do. Over time, I started getting a lot of compliments from my family that my pictures were good but I had no idea I could make a living off of it. It was just a hobby. In college, I planned to go to veterinary school but I didn't get in. I didn't know what else to do so I took a photography class along side my other classes and fell in deep. I decided, this is what I wanted to do.

What inspired you to start Sharon Holck Photography? Can you share with us what it takes to start your own photography business?


When I actually started, my dream was to be a landscape and travel photographer for National Geographic. I kind of had this idea that I would shoot portraits for money but inspire to one day work and travel for them. That really changed though once I had my daughter. She was a complete surprise and honestly really scared me, but the idea of photographing her really got me through those first weeks and really helped my connection with her. I changed my focus completely to kid and family photography but my why was still missing. I knew I needed to figure out why my passion for photographing families was so strong in order to make me as a photographer stand out. It wasn't until one day at my restaurant job that I came across a man who I photographed a picture of him and his grandson. He loved the picture and wanted it but his wife didn't want to buy it. I couldn't bear to let him leave without it and printed him a small version of it before he left. I returned to my station knowing one day that little boy is just going to love that picture of him and his grandpa. I thought about my mom who passed away when I was a teenager and how I cherish every picture I have of me and her together and it all clicked. I photograph because I want to create a treasure that will only get sweeter as time goes on for every family.

There is obviously a lot more to being a photographer than just pointing the camera and clicking, so can you share what the process looks like and how much time you devote to most clients?

I think what it takes to start your own photography business is really knowing your why and your goals. It is one thing to love photography because trust me, I stayed there for years. Even when I already knew I wanted to be a photographer, my work still seemed flat until I figured out what drives me. You really need to take time to think about what makes you tick, what makes you special enough to make people want to hire you. You can take good pictures, but if you aren't passionate about the work you are doing, there will be always someone better they could work with.


I'll admit, that I am still in the beginnings of my photography business. So there has been a lot of testing the waters on my exact client experience. So far, I try to first bring all my clients through a small set of questions designed for me to get to know them, searching for at least something in common with them. We talk about locations, reasons for the session, and all that good stuff. While my packages all come with a time limit, I don't actually set a timer for these. My goal in the end is to create the best gallery of pictures possible for my clients. If I can get that done in 20 mins, that's cool. If it takes me an hour and a half then that is awesome too. After that I quickly edit 3-5 pictures as a sneak peek to deliver to them within 24 hours of their session and then depending on how much my daughter naps and sleeps, will depend on how fast I get through their editing. I give myself a 2 week turnaround but most times I'm done in a few days which equals probably between 10-15 hours of editing per job.

How do you market yourself and your business? Is there a certain platform (your website, FB, Instagram, etc.) that you would recommend to other mom bosses?

For the longest time I mostly used a facebook page. My business has had a lot of false starts so the page never did really well. I am really a little over a year of hardcore working on my business every single day to start getting it somewhere. I have been working really hard on my instagram and figuring out how to use instagram stories for people to get to know me. My brother and I are currently working on a full rebrand for my business and will be launching a new website hopefully in the next month or so through

Lastly, I started a blog a little under a year ago and since publishing it and keeping up with it, I have noticed a real build in my client base. I try to keep it pretty casual. On Monday's I try to focus more on mommy life going over what we've been up to as a family, or sharing tips, funny stories and all that jazz. And then on Thursdays I post photography related posts that deal with my photo sessions or thoughts on photography.

And now for my favorite question: Do you have a favorite work memory that you can share (whether it be sweet, funny, etc.)?

I am totally like the most clumsy and ditzy photographer ever I swear. I think in front of almost all my clients I either will have a time where I am about to start photographing and I forget the lens cap is on or I just don't watch where I'm stepping and trip or fall into something. It's a miracle I haven't broken any bones or equipment yet. But perhaps one of my most recent fun photo memories was I recently did an even through Stroller Strides where moms could donate toys to a children's hospital and I would take some Valentine's Day pictures. I had 12 back to back photography sessions in my home cause we got rained out. I had set up a studio in our dining room and set up a play room so kids could play and wait. My daughter (she's 2) has been photographed so much she is becoming my little mini me and it cracks me up. As families would walk in, she would greet the kids and tell them to come. She would bring the to the back drop and tell them where to sit and then to look at me and say "cheese!" Which I don't even know where she got that from cause I don't even tell her to say cheese but just to smile or look at me. At one point, I'm photographing a family and she comes and grabs her play camera and sits next to me and starts calling them and taking her own pictures. I really wish someone would have snapped a picture of it cause it was so darn cute! If any kids were a little scared she would even jump into the photos and hold their hands or pat their back and try to make them see it was okay. I just love how much of a little helper she is becoming and I wonder if one day we might become a family business.

If you want to get in touch with Sharon and/or just enjoy her beautiful work, be sure to visit her website, Facebook, and Instagram

The 15 Very Best Freebies You Can Get On Your Birthday

From the age of 3 (when you begin to realize what is actually happening) to about 22, your birthday is highly anticipated and somewhat magical...

...after 22? It begins to lose its novelty more and more with each passing year.

Should it be like this? NO! It’s your birthday — your time to celebrate you! 

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If you are looking to enjoy your birthday all the more and spoil yourself with all kinds of FREE goodies, check out this list I compiled of the very best birthday incentives, which include:

Applebee's: FREE birthday dessert

Redbox: FREE movie rental

Starbucks: FREE birthday drink

Red Robin: FREE birthday burger

Pinkberry: FREE birthday yogurt

The Melting Pot: FREE chocolate fondue for two

Olive Garden: FREE appetizer or dessert

Krispy Kreme: FREE donut 

Jersey Mike's: FREE sub and drink

Dunkin' Donuts: FREE specialty drink

Denny's: FREE Grand Slam

Cracker Barrel: FREE dessert

Tony Roma's: FREE entree 

Waffle House: FREE waffle

Sonic: FREE dessert

(PSST... do yourself a favor and set up a special birthday email account, so all of the birthday offers -- and other weekly emails -- are not crowding your inbox!)

Do you know of another freebie that everyone should have? Let a mamma know in the comments! 

Hacks for Flying Free, Dining for Less, and Saving More on Vacation

Late last year, I published a survey asking what it is you want to see more of on Side Hustle Mom and what I can do more of to benefit you! 

Much to my surprise, one of the biggest responses was that you didn’t want generic daily remote job listings, but instead more money saving tips that are easy to apply to your every day life.

I heard you loud and clear, which is why I have been trying to share deals that I have run across, as well as brainstorm topics that would be most beneficial to other busy parents! If your family is anything like mine, you LOVE to travel and LOVE to get a good deal, which is why I wanted to share a few of our money saving tips and tricks that nearly anyone can use!

Without further ado, I present to you our Secret Hacks for Flying Free, Dining for Less, and Saving More on Vacation!

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To give you a little background, my husband and I love to travel (it is seriously our love language... which I guess would translate to quality time?), and are always planning our next vacation. With my husband and I both being cheap — err, I mean thrifty — we are always looking for ways to save. 

 A few little snippets from our 3 nights in Vegas.

A few little snippets from our 3 nights in Vegas.

This year, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and went back and forth on where we wanted to go. Since my parents volunteered to watch the boys for 3 nights, we decided to opt for somewhere close by, which is why we decided on Vegas! While we did do a little splurging (we set a couple hundred aside to gamble with, saw a show, ride the open bar High Roller, and my hubby surprised me with a helicopter tour of the city), we also did some serious saving.

Without further ado, here is how we saved on our trip to Vegas (and got both a free flight and hotel!):

1.) Rewards Credit Card: Okay, I am a HUGE follower/fan of Dave Ramsey and I know he hates credit cards and advises against ever having one, but... we have a Visa Sapphire Preferred card, which we charge literally everything on and pay off multiple times a month (it’s linked to our bank account, so we treat it like a debit card and only spend money we actually have). The reason we decided on this card in particular is because your money back can all be applied toward 25% more in travel redemption, so we were able to get both a free Southwest flight (to and from) and a free 3-night stay at Planet Hollywood with lots of points left over to go toward our trip to Disney later this year! Now, I know that method isn’t for everyone, but if you are good about paying off your card each month (which can be easier said than done, I know), we highly recommend looking into the Visa Sapphire Preferred.

2.) BYOB: I’m not necessarily proud of this one, but I am going to share it anyway, as we saved a lot by bringing booze in our checked bag. As you probably know/figured, alcohol in Vegas is EXPENSIVE (but totally worth it, as where else can you carry an open can of beer down the street?), especially in restaurants or from vendors who sell the colorful mixed drinks in souvenir cups. While buying your drink of choice from one of the Strip CVS’ or Walgreens will save you a buck or two, hitting up your hometown discount liquor store before the trip (and then packing it securely in your checked bag) will literally cut your bill down by at least one-third. 

We brought a few bottles to make mixed drinks with, made the drinks in our room, and then took them with us  down the Strip.

Trashy/sketchy/ridiculous? Totally.

Worth it? You betcha.

3.) Groupon: Does anyone else go a little crazy with the Groupons whenever they go on vacation?? One of our favorite ways to use the discount site -- whether we are at home or on the road -- is on food, so be sure to check out any available deals before you go! (Tip: ALWAYS read the fine print before you buy, as some deals may only apply on certain days.) For our last two Vegas trips, we have taken advantage of the 1/2 off Pampas Churrascaria Brazilian Grille (inside Planet Hollywood) Groupon, which comes with not only an all-you-can-eat spread brought right to your table, but also bottomless mimosas, beer, and/or sangria. Cheers! 

4.) Opt for the free memberships: Free is good... especially when it comes with something beneficial! It seems like every casino has a special member's club they want you to join, boasting free play, drinks, buffets, etc., so be sure to sign up! (It really wasn't much of a hassle; we simply went up to the pay-out counters to sign up... it took maybe 3 minutes and we got free table play.)

Obviously, some of these hacks apply more so toward Vegas than anywhere else, but I will plan to make another post in the future with any other tricks I pick up along the way! In the meantime, what do you do to save on vacation? 

Mom Boss Interview: Lisa Peek from Babierge

Last month, we introduced you to an epic work-from-home opportunity that is Babierge; a "platform business that helps you rent out baby equipment that you deliver and setup for traveling families and local grandparents hosting grandchildren." 

While the theory of renting out the baby gear you already have at a daily rate sounds super lucrative (and maybe even a little too good to be true), is it? To find out, we reached out to a REAL Babierge Trusted Partner, who runs her business out of San Antonio and was super gracious in allowing us to interview her. 

Mammas: Meet Babierge Trusted Partner Lisa Peek! 


Tell us a little bit about yourself, Lisa. I read that you are a Texas girl with two boys, but what is your professional background?

Well I need to update my profile because I actually have THREE boys now!! But I’m from Michigan originally, moved to San Antonio about 12 years ago with my full time employer - AT&T. I’ve worked for them for about 16 years starting in Michigan. I started in retail and moved to training which is what I do now, mostly virtual training now which is super great for a new mom like me - easy to do from home. I have a bachelors degree in PR/Marketing as well! 

Before becoming a Babierge Trusted Provider, did you try any other side hustles (and if so, is it something you still do in addition to Babierge)?

Before becoming a Trusted Partner with Babierge, I had tried a few self employment side gigs - social media management, dog walking, blogging - but none really seemed to jive with me. I still have my blog up, but I don’t contribute to it as regularly as I’d like. 

Tell us a little bit more about working for Babierge: What exactly is a Trusted Provider and how do you become one?

A Trusted Partner for Babierge is an independent contractor position. You are your own business, but through the Babierge network - which gives you access to a nationwide name and network and affiliations that you may not have otherwise. You can easily start a business with Babierge by joining via their website - and then one of the leaders will reach out to you. Tell them you heard about it from me! And anyone who may be interested can feel free to reach out to me as well and I can help. 

Is the equipment you rent out baby gear that you already own or did you have to purchase new items?

The great thing about this business is it’s relatively low cost to start up. They advise you purchase a full size folding crib to start, because those are hard to get quickly if you need one. However the rest of the gear they encourage you to buy as you need because most is easy to get quickly from Target or Amazon with Prime. And it’s actually advised to not buy too much at first because every market is different so it’s hard to say what your most rented items will be. 

Do you choose the pricing for your items or are they pre-set by Babierge?

We choose our pricing and delivery fees! We just pay a small portion of our per day rate to Babierge as a service fee. 

Finally, do you have a favorite memory from working with Babierge (whether it be a specific client, scenario, etc.)?

My favorite memory working Babierge is definitely a customer I had. His wife and daughter were flying in to visit for 4th of July, he’s stationed here with the military. He got a bunch of items - car seat, stroller and crib. He chose the Bob for his stroller. After I dropped the items off to him he messaged me to inquire about a tray for the Bob. I don’t have one but I told him I could get one if needed. He said I didn’t need to get it, but it was just that his daughter is blind and doesn’t like to be restrained and they use it at home to keep her in. I said say no more please let me get it for you, so I ordered it Amazon 2 day just in time for the weekend in which they would be out and about and need it most. I just like being able to do things like that that make parents lives easier because I’m a parent myself and travel and know how traveling can be stressful with kids and the more comfortable and like home you can make it, the better! 


Super fun, right?! To get started with Babierge, please visit their website (and be sure to tell them that Lisa referred you!).