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Laylee Emadi: How to build Confidence as a Female Entrepreneur

APPLE PODCASTS | SPOTIFY | STITCHER Preview: While money may be a hurdle most entrepreneurs have to overcome when growing a business, confidence ranks right up there with it. In the midst of learning to understand profit & loss statements and price for profit, it feels a little unfair to also battle the mental hurdles of confidence, […]





While money may be a hurdle most entrepreneurs have to overcome when growing a business, confidence ranks right up there with it. In the midst of learning to understand profit & loss statements and price for profit, it feels a little unfair to also battle the mental hurdles of confidence, self-doubt, and talking truth to our own inner critic.

From helping high school students feel comfortable and confident dancing on stage to helping educators know their worth and overcome imposter syndrome, Laylee Emadi is passionate about helping others find confidence, seeing themselves as capable and amazing.

We dive deep in today’s interview, unpacking money mindsets, cultural influences, confidence, insecurities, and becoming comfortable in your own skin.

A Career She didn’t See Coming

Laylee Emadi has done it all.

From starting her career in publishing to researching liens and foreclosures in the home industry to teaching dance and eventually teaching high school, Laylee’s path to speaker, host, coach, podcaster, and founder of the Creative Educator Academy wasn’t a straight line by any means. 

“I worked about four different careers after college before I landed here. By the time I got into teaching, I really thought I was done. I had no intention of leaving; I thought that was it for me.”  

 But life had plans even Laylee didn’t see coming. 

“Photography was a hobby for me. I started getting asked to photograph friends and family. Eventually, my students and dancers were asking me to shoot their senior pictures. I sort of just became a photographer just like that.”

From Side Gig to Main Hustle

What was meant to be a side gig quickly grew into more. 

 “I was definitely burning the candle at both ends. I was working a ton of hours as an educator during the week, and then on my nights and weekends, I was doing photography. I was running myself into the ground.”

So, after a decade in education, Laylee made the difficult decision to retire from teaching and give photography her all 

“It was terrifying. In my mind I thought I’d give it a year. If I could surpass my teaching salary in a year, I’d stick with it. And if not, I’d go back to education.”

Laylee gave it her all that year, attending as many workshops, conferences, and networking events as she could. She learned from others and showed up wherever she could to meet others working in her field.

“I struggled a lot in that first year, but not in the way I thought I would. I was doing well getting clients and making money, but mentally, I was under a lot of pressure. I didn’t know how to manage my time, I wasn’t sure how to structure my days, and I had no idea how to organize the business. I had to learn a new way of working right away in order to serve the clients I had.”

She set about giving herself some structure and routine, scheduling her days during work hours like she had as a teacher. Soon, things fell into place and the business took off. Just like that, Laylee hit her financial goal that year.

“Things really evolved naturally after that. I was mostly a senior and dance photographer, but I did grow into shooting families. Eventually, the education side of things grew out of that.”

Full Circle Moment

Soon, Laylee wasn’t just the go-to for photography; she was the go-to for teaching others about photography. With parents gifting their kids cameras and turning to Laylee for help in teaching them how to use it, she saw an opportunity to do more with her business than she expected. 

“It started as just teaching a few students how to use their cameras, and then it became doing workshops on a larger scale. Soon, it was like photography was there, but the demand was more for education. The business became about teaching other people not just how to shoot great images, but more, how to run a business that would be successful from that.”

Now, she runs the Creative Educator Academy, an online program that teaches entrepreneurs how to teach effectively and make the income they need. Through this endeavor, she’s hosting retreats, putting on conferences, offering online resources, and one-on-one coaching for creative entrepreneurs looking to branch into education.

So, Here’s the Thing…

For Laylee, it’s the perfect pairing of her experience and her gifting.

 “I love working with women and helping them feel competent and confident in their work. It’s been my constant as a business strategist and coach. It’s the thing I keep coming back to when I make a decision for my business. If it’s going to help women see themselves as capable, amazing, and successful, then I want to do it.”

The desire to make an impact is the main motivator for Laylee, both in life and in business. 

“There’s something about getting a front row seat to someone else’s success that’s really incredible. I get to cheer them on, help them learn from my own mistakes and experiences, and celebrate with them when they win. That’s making an impact, and that’s what really matters to me now.”

Press Play to hear the full interview or download the full transcript.



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Laylee Emadi

Laylee Emadi is an educator, speaker, and conference host with a heart for serving clients and fellow creatives; through her coaching work, as the host of the So, Here’s the Thing Podcast, and as founder of The Creative Educator Academy.  She believes in serving the creative industry with heartfelt encouragement, honest advice, and a shared pursuit of the ever-elusive “balance.” Laylee is passionate about her goal to help you feel confident in your ability to make a difference, create impact, and to build a life doing what you love.


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October 27, 2022

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