Alicia Watson is a Maryland-based cinematographer and photographer. She has degrees in Communication & Media Studies and Sociology from University of Michigan. A passionate storyteller, she started as an actor and playwright and evolved into owning and operating Ali Watson Media, a boutique digital media company focused on helping small business and entrepreneurs brand visually and authentically.
Through being a writer, filmmaker, playwright, speaker, and now author, Alicia draws on her gifts of empathy and optimism to connect visionary, purpose-seeking believers to the truth we have in Christ. Alicia is married to her husband, Raymond Jr., and has two children—Raymond III and Reagan. She spends her downtime traveling, decorating her home, creating with her husband, and managing her children’s social and activity calendars.
When Alicia was around 25, she heard a message from God that she would not be working for anyone by the time she was 33. At the time, Alicia didn’t think anything of it. She didn’t have a desire to have a business or be an entrepreneur. But as time passed and she pursued spreading messages of hope and inspiration through theatre and other artistic endeavors, it became apparent to her that she loved storytelling and found that video was a way to get the messages out into the world faster and further. She started Ali Watson Media to continue to make an impact, to effect change and to provide hope through film and video. Over time it evolved into additionally helping people brand and market their businesses so that they could make an impact and connect with the people they needed.
Ali Watson Media serves passionate and creative Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs by helping them make their visions both more visual and visible. They tell their story and connect them to their audience. She offers commercials, brand films, promos, course creation, branding photography, and product photography. Alicia says “my goal is always to create cohesive & effective brand imagery that reaches further, faster and is full of authenticity and personality.
Like most mothers, when starting a business, Alicia was faced with challenges. “One challenge that I encountered early on was that I was spending so much time building my business and serving my clients, that my family started to feel neglected and less important. When my kids would say things like “You’re always working!” or “I don’t like your business”, I began to see that I needed to check my priorities. Was I willing to lose my family (even emotionally, if not physically) for this business? The answer was an emphatic no. So I resolved to, first, build in boundaries for myself and my clients. I set office hours, I got on a schedule, and I stopped working when I said I would. Secondly, I got honest about the fact that making certain decisions to put my family first would mean that my business would likely grow more slowly than others who were in my industry. It also meant I needed to look at my business model and offerings. and compare it to the time I actually had. While others worked 15 hour days, I could possibly get five straight hours. Between cooking, cleaning, carpool line, extracurricular activities, ceremonies, spending quality time, and more, there was really no way I could grind it out like that and be healthy (because I’m important, too).” Alicia also express that being content with slow growth while planning and executing around it has brought her so much more peace.
Creating a schedule is one of many tasks that can help mompreneurs give both family and business the attention that is needed. This is what Alicia says about creating hers. “I work from a shared Google calendar for our family and a to do list system. I do a brain dump and create a long list of all the things that need to be done for that week or month. Each day I create another list by pulling the most important or most logical work, home and personal items from the long list to get done for the day. Then, I cross them off of both lists. I also teach my children to do small tasks like making their own lunches or doing their own chores. Delegation is an area of opportunity for me (and a lot of women). I am learning to ask for help more often and to lean into my village.”
As Ali Watson Media continues to grow at a pace that is comfortable for Alicia, she’s still accomplishing many of her goals. However, her best accomplishment yet is not quitting. “It can get very challenging and there were many times that I considered going back to one job, with one boss, one set of responsibilities, etc. But I’m so very proud of the woman I have become over these last five years by sticking out with Ali Watson Media. All of the growth I’ve experienced internally would not have happened had I sought out comfort. Through the challenges I was able to grow in faith, grow in confidence, understand who I am and what that means, to get clarity and define success for myself. My favorite quote from Ava Duvernay is “Let your work move you forward.” and continuing to do this work has taken me to places I hadn’t seen or imagined. I’m thankful for the journey and excited for the future.”
Interested in starting a photography and/or videography business? Here are the steps that Alicia recommends that you take:
1. Build your confidence and skill set. Practice, practice, practice with friends and family.
2. Determine what success means for you. What does it look like? How will it feel? What doesn’t it include? Chasing after someone else’s definition of success may not fit your lifestyle or personality. For example, I don’t desire to manage people or have the responsibility of having a staff. Instead, I contract and outsource as necessary on a by project basis.
3. Build your business around your definition of success (i.e. business plan, business model, pricing, structure, hours you can dedicate to it, etc.) Eventually, it will evolve but establish it based off of your lifestyle with family time in mind, responsibilities at home.
4. Register for an EIN number, open business account, establish business entity.
5. Hire those outside of your skillset (determine where you need the most assistance, i.e. bookkeeper, attorney, web designer, etc…) This way, you can focus most on operating and gaining more business.
6. Establish your niche (businesses, weddings, parties, etc…).
For information about Ali Watson Media, visit: http://Aliwatsonmedia.com
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