Mary Margaret: Artist

Name: Mary Margaret Schley Monsees

Age: 28

City: Savannah, Georgia

Real Job: Working on that…

Side Hustle: Artist

How did you get started: I am literally just starting! They say there is magic in beginnings but right now it just feels scary. After working for creatives in corporate environments for five years, I’m longing to take control and be the creative myself. I’ve painted my entire life and am inspired by all the young women I know personally and those I watch from afar succeeding in the art world.

When/where: I am currently renting a small studio in an art center here in Savannah.

Greatest supporter: My husband, Sanders. He believes in me more than I believe in myself.

Greatest source of inspiration: “What could I accomplish if my desire to succeed was greater than my fear of failure?”

Side Hustle Dreams: In my dreams, I am able to sell my art and paint full-time. I would also be collaborating with other creatives (interior designers, potters, graphic designers, chefs, you name it …) to make beautiful things.

Check out Mary Margaret’s art by following her on Instagram, or reach out via email to connect or collaborate!

Riley Frances: Photographer, Watercolor Artist

Name: Riley Frances Boone

Age: 28

City: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Main Hustle: Operations Manager at Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

Side Hustle: Real Estate Photography. Fine Art Photography. Portrait Photography.

How did you get started?: My dad is a photographer, so I grew up around it. I was always fascinated with finding a way to make something ordinary look more interesting through a camera. But I also just admire the hell out of my dad and grew a love for photography through him. Real estate photography happened by accident. My friend is a real estate agent who needed some good photos but didn’t want to pay a fortune. He knew I was into photography and asked if I’d be interested. I had never photographed a home before. You know that phrase, “Fake it ’til you make it.”?

When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: For real estate photography, it’s intermittent based on how the market is doing and when new housing goes up for sale. There’s a healthy combination of both busy and slow times. For fine art, it’s an ongoing process at a much more consistent pace. I rotate in workplaces from the kitchen table to coffee shops to the library. I like a change of scenery; I feel like it keeps the creativity flowing that’s required for good photo editing.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Challenges show up in a variety of different ways, shapes, and sizes. Time is a constant challenge. If I have too much of it, my best work doesn’t show up. If I don’t have enough of it, my best work doesn’t show up. Time management and I have a love/hate relationship.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: The biggest reward is feeling proud of something I’ve created. Knowing that I captured a place in time that anyone can enjoy whether they saw it live or not.

I’ve always viewed photographs as stories. They’re snapshots of time, but only the photographer knows what happened immediately before and after. Every photograph is a serious playground for the imagination.

The same applies to real estate photography. The goal is to take such a gorgeous photo that people start to imagine their life happening in that photo, in that home featured in the photograph.

Who is your greatest supporter?: Dad continuously offers free and honest advice, being a photographer himself. Mom is constant in her support and encouragement to go after a dream. My friends. My boyfriend, John Harris, is a great supporter. He’s always pushing me to take a camera everywhere I go.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: Literally everything is an inspiration. Words all of my friends have heard more times than they’d like to admit: “Look at that lighting,” “Gah, that would be an awesome photo,” and “Hang on!” (Insert me laying on the ground getting the perfect angle for a nature shot while on a hike.)

Have you received recognition for your work?: The Jackson Hole Daily Newspaper has a full page of real estate ads on the back page of every paper. It’s always exciting to go straight to that page and see two or three of my images printed for the day. I was recognized by Real Simple Magazine and Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, which was absurdly flattering.

I think it’s important to be your own best cheerleader.

A pat on the back isn’t what I’m seeking out when taking photos, but I’d be lying if outside recognition didn’t bring a smile to my face and make we walk a little taller.

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: To do art, photography, full time. I did a photoshoot for a family last year and captured a photo of a three-year-old boy intently watching a butterfly. A month later the mother of the three-year-old boy said she had never gotten a photo of him still and slowed down since he’d been able to crawl. He’s always on the move, like I imagine most three-year-old little boys are. She was so unbelievably grateful. That joy, and being able to gift it to others through photography, that is my dream.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

Self-doubt is the killer of creativity. Chances are it won’t go away, but that’s okay. We need a little bit of self-doubt to act as a catalyst—an emotion to conquer and overcome, if you will. That’s what I’ve experienced at least. But it’s how we deal with it that’s most important. It’s healthy to feel it, recognize it, and let it go. But the letting it go part, that part is vital to forward movement.

Check out Riley Frances as a featured artist here, follow her photography on Instagram, or reach out to her via email for more info!

Featured Image: Riley Frances Photography