We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Dixon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, do you have a budget? How do you make lifestyle and spending decisions?
By day I’m a Financial Manager & by “night” I’m a Freelance Photographer so I ABSOLUTELY have a budget! Creatives can still be organized and money savvy! “Budget” doesn’t have to be a dirty word, I believe your budget should work FOR you and personal finances are personal!

When it comes to my personal finances I have a spreadsheet for everything because if I don’t I will let so many things fall through the cracks. Since I’m married I’ve had to work with my husband in regards to our lifestyle & spending decisions & thankfully we’re pretty good teammates! Currently we are investing (retirement & stocks), saving (hopefully for a house soon!) and spending (I love a good Target run). I think it’s important to find a health balance of investing, saving & spending. As for my business, I’m focusing mostly on investing all of my profits back into my business, especially since I have multiple income sources, with the goal to grow my business into something even better in the future. Better gear, more training, there’s always something!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a “creative” person. Art was always my favorite subject in school, I could spend hours in the art room but we all had to go to other classes too. Once I got to high school I discovered that I am also really organized and great at math. Then I took a marketing class & my life was changed! I loved how marketing intertwined my left & right brain. When I went off to college I majored in Business and ended up landing a finance job with the Navy after graduation. Who knew I’d be at that job 10 years later, even after moving across the country! From this job opportunity I learned that I LOVE money talk, budgets & Excel. Even though I enjoyed managing budgets I knew that I needed a creative outlet. For years I tried different things but I always came back to taking photos. Once I received my first DSLR camera that was it, I was sold! My experience with money, finance & business have helped tremendously with creating my own business. The biggest hurdle I’ve had to jump has been believing in myself. The cure for that is to surround yourself with great people that have your best interest in mind and continue to support you day in and day out. I would say that mentoring, formal & informal, has been one of the most important factors to my success today!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is obviously pre/post-pandemic haha! Friday: Arrive in San Diego, we’d go to Wonderland in OB for either drinks and/or dinner to watch the sunset and keep it pretty chill that night.

Saturday: Breakfast at Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla (the bacon waffle is to DIE for!), visit the sea lions & seals at La Jolla Cove, go take some cute photos at the hidden swing & then head over to UTC mall to grab some lunch at Tender Greens and then afterwards we’d pop into Raised By Wolves for an afternoon cocktail (or two). For the evening we would go to dinner at Barbusa in Little Italy for dinner. Then we’d take some scooters to Coin-Op until it was time to head to Trailer Park After Dark, its my all time favorite bar in San Diego.

Sunday: Head to Balboa Park to grab a coffee at Daniel’s Coffee Cart in the Spanish Village Art Center and stroll around the park to get some blood pumping after our exciting Saturday. After we’ve worked up an appetite we’d go to Hash Hash A Go Go (where there won’t be a wait, at all) for brunch. From there we’d continue to be tourists and take some photos at the Greetings From San Diego mural in North Park & grab a beer at Belching Beaver before saying our goodbyes! If we had time I’d go to Liberty Station to watch airplanes take off from the airport and finish the night at Stone before taking them to the airport.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a HUGE shoutout to my husband, Cory. He is my biggest cheerleader & support when it comes to just about anything but especially my photography. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have picked up a camera and started my photography business, especially since he was the one that bought me my first “big girl” camera as a complete surprise! He could see my passion and believed in me before I believed in myself. As a military spouse I think he knew it was important for me to find my own hobbies & interests so I could keep myself busy while he’s away and photography has definitely kept me busy! His love & support has encouraged me to believe in myself & continue to grow in all of my professional endeavours (including my finance work) and for that I am forever grateful!

Website: https://melissadixonphoto.mypixieset.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissadixonphoto/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissa-dixon-28887418/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissadixonphotography

Image Credits
Lovers of Love (@loversoflove) took the photo of us by the cactus in Balboa Park.

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