Meet Alyssa Hennessy

women in business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Y’all I am just so happy to introduce to Alyssa Hennessy. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She saves a seat for me whenever I drive the hour to Monday Motivations in Fayetteville, just so I won’t be sitting alone. She has also spoken to the mastermind I created. When I was creating this series, I knew I wanted her story to be one of the ones told. I hope you have enjoyed meeting all the women featured here.

Meet Alyssa Hennessy in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Tell me a little bit about you

Hi, I am Alyssa Hennessy. I am a seasoned military spouse (this is our 8th duty station) and mother of three living in North Carolina. I have been in content creation and media for over 20 years – 14 of those years were as a photojournalist. I made the move from media to fiction about a year and a half ago. I love everything 1990s grunge but prefer to wear my cowboy boots. I’m happiest somewhere in the sunshine with whatever animal happens to be around. I wish I owned a zoo. 

Tell me about your business. 

I started Storyteller in 2018. The goal of storyteller is to unify my various areas of expertise  – writing, preaching, dream interpretation, marketing, photography – to help those around me. All of us have a story and knowing how to tell that story is vital for success.

What struggles have you faced in your business

Defining how to transfer my skills to the marketplace. I don’t see myself as a subject matter expert. I just feel like a friend who offers advice and encouragement to those around me. I like to tell my own stories to cheer people up. I like helping others sort through their own stories so they can move forward. I like helping small businesses find stories for the purpose of marketing. It’s fun! It doesn’t feel like work to me. 

How have you overcome those struggles?

My husband pointed out that Storyteller is really consulting firm. But I haven’t quite figured out how to leverage that. 

Who were your mentors growing up?

I had some really amazing bosses when I was first getting started as a photojournalist. I learned so much from them about my own self-worth and talents. My mom and dad have always been big advocates in entrepreneurship. My mom is a risk-taker and writer. She encourages me so much. My dad is super supportive and just wants to see me happy. 

If you were to give advice to a woman going into the field you are in what would it be?

Be honest. No one else has YOUR story. I see it so many young women coming into the marketplace and trying to brand themselves into a box. Don’t do that. It has its place in marketing, but ultimately people don’t care about your brand colors or whatever – they want to connect with YOU. So just be honest and true about your own story. Be YOU.  Also, don’t undersell yourself. When I was first getting started as a wedding photographer I had very very low prices… not because I wasn’t good, but because I didn’t know how the industry worked. Everyone around me could see that I was professional and talented – but again, it didn’t feel like work to me, so I felt bad charging people for my services. Kind of like – I’m going to come to your wedding anyway and I’m going to bring my camera anyway… how about I just go ahead and do the photography? That was my sales pitch for the first few months. I liked photography and I was good at it – so what? One day I went into a coffee shop and two of my college photography teachers were sitting there. They called me over and started asking me about my photography business. After three years I still didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. By that time I was booked almost every other weekend and was shooting all the time! And I was exhausted. These two guys were The Bosses of photography in Southern California – like literally Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers. Little did I know that they’d been keeping tabs on me from afar and wanted to help me out. I ended up meeting them a few times over the coming months and they showed me how to do photography business the right way. One of the best things they ever helped me with was my pricing. One of the guys, John, said, “Alyssa, do you want to be known as the cheapest photographer in town or the best in town?” I said I wanted to be the best. They helped me rebuild my packages to focus on one event at a time, provide better customer service, and make more money.  DON’T UNDERSELL YOURSELF. No matter how much you love something, some days it WILL feel like work. Set your prices for those days. 

Have you found that being a woman in your field is harder or easier? Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman. 

The field of media is a lot different than it was when I started 20 years ago. It was definitely a man’s world in the late 90s. I remember when I was working as a producer at NBC being asked to make coffee more than once, yet non of the male junior producers were ever asked to make coffee. Eventually, I just stopped making the coffee because I had work to do. It’s still hard to find a niche as a lady preacher even though I’ve worked in ministry for 20 years and have a bachelor’s in theology. But I am comfortable with who I am and how things are moving forward. I know my worth and hope to impact those around me.  Ultimately, I would tell women – whatever field they’re in – quit making coffee. You have work to do.  

Have you ever have to overcome a hostile work environment?

 I think every profession has its ups and downs. I’ve faced hostile coworkers. Photography has always been a cutthroat industry, but I’ve found its better to just do your own job really really well and don’t worry too much about what other people are doing. 

What made you decide on your chosen field? 

I’ve been a storyteller my whole life, it’s as much a part of me as the color of my skin and set of my smile, I don’t think I even had a choice. 

Anything else you would care to share

BIO – Alyssa Hennessy describes herself as a professional encourager and heartfelt storyteller. With over 20 years of experience, she dedicates her time to helping others discover power and purpose in their own stories. She is currently working on her debut novel, loosely based on her personal experience as a cancer survivor. With contagious peace and a kind heart, Alyssa uses the power of encouragement and laughter to bind up lies and dig out the truth. You can usually find her sipping coffee on her deck, sipping wine on her couch, or sipping tea at her desk . . . generally, she likes to be somewhere hydrating.

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