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The Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind Alumni Business Feature | Margot McKelvie – Squeaky Dog Studios

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What is the Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind?

The Elena S Blair photography mastermind is a long-term group coaching program. Your group will be carefully curated—I will only accept members that I believe to be at a similar level in art and business, but who share a collective goal of seeing massive personal and professional growth.

Over the course of 5 months, photographers who choose to be apart of the Elena S Blair Photography Mastermind will transform their business and themselves. Although every experience is different we have seen so many talented photographers grow in ways that sometimes even surprise themselves.

Over the last 5 Cohorts students have made huge strides in their personal lives and businesses. Some of those have been:

  • Quit their day job while a mastermind member because their business became reliable and profitable

  • Doubled or tripled their income

  • Got systems in place so their business ran like a well oiled machine

  • Developed an effective and meaningful marketing strategy

  • Became part of a supportive community of like minded artists

  • Built a SEO optimized website

  • Learned how to build a profitable and professional portfolio

  • Scaled their businesses with a new offer like schools, weddings, branding, etc

One of those Alumni who have had great success from after completing the Mastermind program, is Margot McKelvie. Margot had an idea to start her own studio but not for people… for dogs! And her unique take on pet portraits is quite incredible. Read on to learn more about her journey and her studio Squeaky Dog Studios!

What cohort were you a part of? I was apart of Level 1 – Cohort 4.

Margot McKelvie

What are some changes or improvements that you have seen in your business since completing the mastermind?

Wow so many! I opened a new branch of my business, Squeaky Dog Studios in April 2023. With this, I have doubled my income of 2022! I have been non-stop busy since the opening of Squeaky Dog which has been a blast. I feel like I have really found my niche and it has been so wonderful to meet so many pups in the Seattle area. I am taking my business on the road in 2024, which has always been something I’ve wanted to do!

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the next Cohort? What would do you feel like they should know?

Overall the mastermind gave me two things, community and confidence. Our Cohort was particularly close and I am still in touch with a lot of people. My accountability partner, Kate Cagle, is now in charge of my email list and does my editing for Squeaky Dog Studios! So we are in touch daily. We have a group text with 5 people and had a video call this week to check in to see how everyone is doing this fall. We also have a Seattle group text and people talk about photo locations, we have meet ups and give other tips. As a solo business owner, it can get really lonely. It’s been such a wonderful change to have people to lean on. We are such a supportive group. The retreat really solidified this for me. I wasn’t involved in anything in the industry before the mastermind and showed me that I don’t have to do this alone. The mastermind also pushed me to think critically about my business. During the months of the mastermind I was so focused weekly about how I could improve everything I was doing. It was challenging but really fun to think critically about what drives me and my clients. Ultimately, it pushed me to open Squeaky Dog Studios and gave me the resources to open it successfully.

What other accomplishments have you achieved since the mastermind? Publications, new business ventures and accolades!

Squeaky Dog Studios! As mentioned, I opened in April of 2023. That month was my highest revenue month ever, besides this October. It was amazing to see how excited people were.


What are you working on right now? What is something that you are excited about in your life and biz?

This fall, I had 6 pop ups at various businesses around the Seattle area. During each pop up, I photograph anywhere from 15-20 dogs in a one afternoon. Each dog will get their own time in the spotlight. I’m also planning on opening the studio to cats and other animals in November! In 2024, I’m taking my business on the road! This is something I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t been able to figure out how to do it. I’m doing pop ups in Portland, Spokane, Moab Utah, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland and Nantucket. Probably some other places as well.

What was your favorite part of being a mastermind member?

The community. I was really lonely as a solo business owner. I knew a few photographers but the mastermind gave me a community that was more aligned with what I am doing and where I was at with my business.

Tell us a little bit about why you are a photographer. What lights you up?

I’ve always loved being behind the camera and creating. It took me awhile to figure out my niche and the mastermind really pushed me into thinking critically about that. Years ago, I was a food photographer. Then I became a family photographer, then a dog and family photographer and now I’m primarily a studio dog photographer. I do still photograph families but not nearly as often as I was in the past. I love photographing families but to be honest my heart is really with Squeaky Dog. I’m not ready to give up families yet though. I’ve really fell in love with the studio dog photography. Every session is different but has the same flow. I love figuring out what gets the dogs excited and comfortable with me and the camera. I also volunteer with a dog rescue in Seattle and photograph dogs that have had a hard time finding homes. It’s been really fun to combine my two passions. Dogs are family members and deserve to be in the spotlight. I love giving families photographs that they can print and have for generations.

If you had one quote or one piece of advice that you would give to a new photographer, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to push yourself and dream big. The biggest thing that was holding me back was myself. I couldn’t do this for xyz, there was always an excuse. The mastermind pushed me to figure out how to do it and make it work, no matter how hard it is.

You can view more work by Margot McKelvie at her website www.margotmckelvie.com and on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

If you are a photographer who is looking to level up and transform your business and mindset to achieve your goals, you are invited to apply to be in the next Cohort of the Elena S Blair Mastermind. You can join the waitlist to be notified when applications are live and being accepted. Don’t miss this opportunity to create life long community, the business of your dreams and the confidence to be authentically you.

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