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28th Oct 2015

Meet the mumpreneur: Mum-of-one Nessa Robinson

Sharyn Hayden

Nessa Robinson is based in Dublin with her partner Eoghan and daughter Fia, and owns a newborn photography business. She hopes to be known as the ‘go-to newborn photographer in Dublin’ and judging by her photographs below, we don’t think she’ll have any trouble on that front!


When did you open your business and how did you get started?

Officially I launched in October 2014 – so exactly one year ago! Photography is something I’ve always been interested in. I took some classes as part of my university degree and after college I went on to complete an accredited photography course. It’s something I’ve always been drawn to, but it was when I had my own daughter that I really found my focus: capturing those precious family moments and taking beautiful newborn images that people can cherish for the rest of their lives.

What makes your offering different?

Everything I do is tailor-made for my clients. Each session has a pre-consultation over the phone where we discuss the kinds of images the client is after. My sessions also take place in the comfort of my clients’ home which means that I travel to you. You don’t have to worry about packing up the baby gear and getting your newborn into a car so you can visit me in a studio space. This is an incredibly delicate time in your life and I do everything I can to make sure that both my clients and their babies are completely comfortable every step of the way.

How did your business evolve from those early stages?

When I first started out I was marketing myself as a photographer in general but I lacked the family and newborn focus. Once I realised where my true passion (and talent!) lay, I was able to switch gears and get stuck in. I found it much easier to build a brand that I was totally behind than one that I was constantly experimenting with. I’ve also become more selective in terms of the workload I take on. At the start, I would do anything that came my way just for the experience but I soon found the workload was too much. Now that I’m able to choose my work a bit more carefully, I feel I’m getting much more out of what I’m putting in.

What was the tipping point, the moment when you knew your business was going to be a success?

The day I delivered the finished framed photos to my first client and she cried. Success is a relative term – as long as I have happy clients and I still love what I do, then I know I will be successful.


What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before opening your business?

Let things evolve naturally! You can start out with an idea of how you’re going to do something or where you want to go, but you have to realise that things will change as your business unfolds. Everything is trial and error when you first get started so it’s finding how to stay true to your brand all while being flexible and adaptable. Sometimes it’s not how you pictured it was going to be – and that’s ok!

What are the supports and/or resources you’d recommend to another entrepreneur?

You need to find likeminded people for support! Whether it’s joining a community online (like Carrie Green’s Female Entrepreneur Association) or a group on Facebook – you’ll want to connect with people who are going through the same things you are so you can share your experiences and ask questions. There is only so much impartial advice your friends and family can offer you. You also need to read, read, read! I’ve immersed myself in so many books from creative living to plain old business books just to try to get ideas and inspiration. If you can find someone in your industry that you look up to and is willing to act as a mentor – that would be the ideal situation. I’m also a huge fan of Podcasts – you can find lots of inspiring interviews that will motivate you while you run your errands or are stuck in the car in traffic. Every second counts!

What, in your view, are the benefits of working for yourself?

You don’t have to do anything unless you want to. You have complete control over the work you put out, so overall it’s a much more enjoyable experience. I’ve also loved how much working for myself has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I kind of have to be a jack of all trades, so I’m constantly learning as I go because I’m taking care of every aspect of the business. I’m responsible for things I never thought I’d be doing.

How do you manage childcare?

This has been tricky. At the start, I relied on my partner being home on the weekends to watch our daughter while I went out to work – but soon I realised we were having very little family time because his time off was when I was out and about working, so it’s been a balancing act. I’ve had family offer to mind her a few days where they can as well. Mostly I try to get as much done while she’s napping or in the evenings when she goes down to bed.

What are the drawbacks of working for yourself?

Nothing will get done unless you do it. You literally are the driving force behind the business and if you don’t do something today, it just won’t get done. I also miss having someone around for general chats and brainstorms on a daily basis, but I do have some creative friends that I call on when I’m looking for an opinion or some inspiration.

Would you encourage your own kids to be entrepreneurs?

Definitely. I think the world is changing so much from what it was even 10 years ago. These days you kind of have to be your brand and I think there’s a lot to be said for taking charge of your own career and following what makes you happy. If Fia has something she really enjoys doing, I would encourage her to go out there and create her own opportunities.

What advice would you give to a wannabe entrepreneur?

There is no such thing as failure – everything is a lesson. I have tried many, many things that didn’t work, but they all taught me something that helped me out further down the line. There’s no harm in trying something either. Trust your gut. If you’re unsure about starting your own business, start something in your spare time and see if it gathers steam for you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’d be surprised at how much people are willing to help you – whether it’s from turning up and supporting you at events or offering to do graphics etc. for free. You’ll never know unless you ask.

What’s next for you and your business?

Big things, I hope! I’m currently working on a 5-year plan to help me position myself better for the long-term. There are some great workshops and conventions coming up next year that I’m working on including in my budget because I want to continue to develop professionally and expand my network. I want to become the go-to newborn photographer in Dublin, so I’ve got to keep my head down and stay focused!

If you would like to get in touch with Nessa to discuss a newborn photography session, visit her website at