Can I be transparent? I've been thinking a lot about my business these past few weeks... January 1st is right around the corner...and I usually try and think deep thoughts regarding where I want my business to go, comparing last year with this year and so forth, yes deep thoughts. ;p
But I was thinking about the fear...oh, and yes, its still there. But the fear of failure in particular in the beginning. I was so passionate, I still am but I remember the drive to take every kind of photo I could. Calling up my friends and setting up sessions...shooting landscapes. I even posted info about my business on Craigslist. Yes, you read that right, I offered shoots on craigslist. And my first ever client is still with me from those days. Lets just say I got lucky...
A long the way, I had lots of different advise. "You should work for free until you have the experience" or "it probably won't turn into anything" or "are you sure you should attempt something so big "(my first wedding) yes, people said this and I'm still not sure how its advise. Protection maybe, for maybe they also fear failure. You know, for me though...it was kind of like a challenge. Yes, I'm very competitive. I wanted to prove to myself and to anyone giving me that kind of advise that I could.
But can I just say, that overall, I've had overwhelming amounts of encouragement. One of the biggest acts of encouragement from a client is a referral. Yes, when a new client calls me up and tells me they LOVED their friends photos and would love to set something up with me...it tells me I'm doing something right. Not only that, but I feel like I'm starting with a client on a familiar basis. The reason my business is where it is today is because of you. And the YOU being all of my clients, friends and family who have loved their photos and told their friends and family about it. Facebook, pictures on your wall...conversations...whatever or however it was done put me in business. I don't advertise for that reason. And that has been what is on my mind...yes, seeing clients every year come back. Makes me smile and want to hug them...because so many of them have become my friends and their friends are becoming my clients. So it kind of feels like one big happy family. Okay, so that was cheesy but its true. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratefulness to all of you. Being a small business owner and a woman, you've allowed me to make a small niche in the world. And I'm so thankful for that. Because photography brings me so much joy.
Opposing sides of advise, it made me one second full of confidence and the next full of insecurities. SO many conversations with my sounding board team...okay, so I don't really call them that. But the people I turn to, I know without a doubt are going to challenge me, love me and pick me back up and tell me to try again.
This is where my family and close friends come in...yes, I am one loved girl. I grew up in a family where my parents made us feel like rock stars. Literally, YOU CAN DO IT was a motto my parents instilled in my brain. I'm talking dreaming big dreams and putting a plan in place and it will happen. Sort of like that movie, "if you build it they will come" So makes me laugh and I have to whisper it every time I say it.
But work hard and the results will show. Because of that its also in my sisters and my brother. When I first started out, they helped set me up with a camera and the most beautiful lens ever. They believed in me and wanted to show that. The sweetest words of encouragement from each and everyone of them...and they continue to do so. I'm talking if I'm having a bad day they are on the phone in 2 seconds to figure out how to fix it. I guess its the little sister syndrome...even though I'm older than my brother too he secretly thinks of me as his little sister. ;p I can be crying, hiccuping with sobs or laughing hysterically or angry and ready to change the world and they all take it and shape it into something a little more reasonable. And my sweet precious girlfriends, my soul friend and the support and love. I take what I do pretty seriously. And without that foundation of support, the challenge to be better not just in photography but in life in general, well, I definitely would not be where I am right now without them. So sounding board...yes, I think it fits.
Encouragement and support is something you have to mentally choose to do for someone. Yes, I'm not sure it comes naturally to most. Because there is that fear of being over the top, of not having your encouragement being appreciated or just being afraid you look cheesy. Yes, I sound like I know what I'm talking about...because I do. Have those fears I mean. But the most precious moments for me are when someone took those steps to go out of their way and say sweet and strong words of support to me. I value it...cherish it and feel inclined to do that for others because of that. So this is my over the top, make you cringe letter of thankfulness. Know that I'm thinking of you, feeling super thankful for how you have effected my life. Many of you will probably say, oh its just photography. But to me, its a business...my business, its a dream to do what I do and I don't take lightly any measure of success that I've had so far.
So thank you...and I'm so hoping this season, brings you closer to your friends and family. Merry Christmas sweet friends, clients and family.