Networking and Love with Chelsea Francis

This week’s guest is photographer Chelsea Francis. You might know her from her glorious Instagram feed and her monthly ATX Connection Mixers.

Although Chelsea just moved to Austin a few years ago, it feels like she pretty much knows everybody in town. That’s due to her extroverted nature and asking people on Instagram to have coffee with her. She’s an expert at making connections, so we grilled her about that.

Chelsea, a native of North Carolina (the homeland of Nicholas Sparks), moved to Austin from Virginia. She settled on Austin after researching Top Cities lists with her husband, and within 2 or 3 minutes of being in the city, she knew she would love it. Since moving here, she’s become a full-time photographer, working with clients to shoot editorial projects, commercial/brand projects, headshots, and the occasional wedding. Before moving she was doing social media management and working retail, and had no expectations of taking her photography this far so soon. She says having no expectations has worked wonders for her in terms of gaining success.

We ask her about getting married relatively young — at 21 years old. (We go on a long tangent to talk about potato chips and AOL Instant Messenger, RIP.) The best piece of marriage advice she has is that you have different marriage ever year, so you should marry someone you can change with. Kimya likes the advice that psychotherapist and relationship expert Esther Perel gives on Dear Sugar that you shouldn’t expect one person to be everything to you. You should also be able to deal with yourself growing and changing, and talking through those things with your partner.

When it comes to her connection mixers, Chelsea didn’t want people walking away from an event with a lot of business cards and no meaningful connections. While she does make sure everybody at least says “hi” to each other, she doesn’t want the vibe to be stressful or for folks to feel like they need to find employment or get rich. Two gals who met at one of the mixers ended up going to an aerial acrobatics class together the next day — it’s that type of connection that keeps her organizing these events. So if you just want to meet some cool people, be sure sign up to learn how to attend.

You can learn more about Chelsea, her work, and the mixers on her official website.

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