I always questioned the worthiness of my work.

Is there an artist who can’t relate to that thought?

Not one that we know.

Meet Brianna Mills of Visuals by Bri, a photographer who inspires creatives to travel and make their own money (we like that).

When you look at Bri’s work, you’ll see that her images are nothing short of stunning! Yet, like artists before and after her, she didn’t immediately see the value in her work.

Something we love about Bri’s story is the way she talked herself into accepting money for her work. It’s easy—too easy—to tell yourself a million reasons why you’re not good enough to get paid for what you do.

It’s hard to be your own cheerleader. Bri did it anyway.

We won’t expose the whole story. Instead, we’ll let Bri tell you how she got started, through her…lens.

So, without further ado…

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Meet Bri.

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Brianna Mills, Founder and photographer of Visuals by Bri.

Visuals by Bri (Brianna Mills) - Side Hustle Business School

What is your side hustle?
I’m the Founder and photographer of Visuals by Bri. While my main service provides travel and portrait sessions for clients, the company serves to inspire creatives to travel, photograph, and run a successful side hustle.

When did you get interested in this particular craft?
Growing up, I always found myself in the back of my mom’s closet digging through her old photo boxes. I’ve always felt documenting special moments in life is so important when thinking about our legacy. As a visual artist, photography gives me the permission to share and document my stories across generations.

Tell us the story of how you made your first dollar?
After doing a senior photoshoot for my friends and posting them on Facebook, a classmate reached out asking how much I’d charge for a similar photoshoot. At that point in time, I was still using my Sony Cybershot digital camera – not like the professional-grade DSLRs out now – but we still came away with some quality shots.

At the time, did you feel “qualified” to start charging for your services?
Not at all, but I’ve always been a firm believer of getting compensated for your work and services. I’ve always been told I have a good eye for photos, so I reminded myself of that even though that was only my second photoshoot ever.

Looking back, do you feel like you were qualified?
When it came to setting and sticking to prices for my services, especially as my clientele has grown, I always questioned the worthiness of my work. How could I charge hundreds of dollars with no formal education and just a couple standard lenses? It required a lot of reflection, dedication, and honesty with myself to silence that doubtfulness to finally see that I was/am qualified to do this work.

What made you take the leap?
I had a growing portfolio and knew my work and skills needed to be shared on a larger scale. Building my website was the first step. Getting to see all of my work in one place in a way that was representative of my brand gave me the momentum to keep dedicating time to the business.

Where would you say you are in your business growth now (Hobby, side hustle, small business, large business)?
I’d say I’m somewhere between a side hustle and small business. After 9-10 hours at my full-time job, I spend the remainder of the day focused on my business. I filed as a sole proprietorship last year, so that makes the company feel even more official.

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You got that glow ✨ Shooters Union NYC

A post shared by Bri • Visuals by Bri 📸 (@visuals.by.bri) on

What stage would you like Visuals by Bri to get to and when?
I envision the company growing to a small business/startup within the next couple of years. My next goal will focus on building out the education pillar of my brand to provide my audience with the necessary resources to become a travel photographer and build confidence when it comes to this side hustle lifestyle.

Would you do anything differently?
I definitely would have taken more photography classes in high school and college. Taking the time to teach myself the technical side of photography, outside of my full-time role, has been a challenge when it comes to time. I think learning in a more formal setting would have solidified my skill set earlier on.

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If you could go back in time to the day before you made your first hustle dollar and tell yourself anything, what would it be?
Keep believing in yourself. Keep pushing. Keep learning. All things I still tell myself to this day.

What’s one song that keeps you motivated and why?
Django Jane by Janelle Monae. It’s the Black Girl Magic anthem! Black women are really out here shifting the landscape in so many industries and have been doing so for centuries. Whenever I need a reminder of my accomplishments, this track gives me that boost of confidence and reassurance I need to keep moving forward.


Thanks so much to Bri for sharing her side hustle story with us! Make sure to follow Bri on Instagram and check out her amazing shots!

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Posted by Side Hustle Business School Team

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