Eight years ago, almost to the date, I began the process of starting my own business. I had just graduated high school and had been photographing “professionally” for about 3 years at that point. I knew from that moment that I wanted to be a photographer and nothing else. I was set to go to University of Northern Colorado in the fall and begin the adventures to get my degree in photography and graphic design. Now fast forward 8 years and here I am; living my dream.
July 1, 2016 will always hold a spot near and dear to my heart. That was my first day as a full time, self-employed photographer. I had been doing photography on the side for years and in July of 2015 I cut my hours at my “real” job and built my business part time. July 1st 2016 was the first day I got to make my own schedule and control what I did. Along with the freedom came the lack of benefits, the inconsistency of paychecks, and many MANY stressful days and sleepless nights. I knew those would come, but there are a few things I wish people would have warned me (or maybe, things I should have let sink in a little more) before I took the jump..
1) You’re going to cry. A LOT. Probably more than you’ve cried over any boy in the past 15 years. And eventually you’ll just get used to it.
2) As one of my mentors, Jay, says, “You’re not going to win them all, and that’s OK. There are plenty of clients to go around, you just have to find the ones that are right for you.” (except he probably says it with a few more tasteful words)
3) Giving up coffee during your first 6 months is NOT the best idea…
4) Sometimes things aren’t going to go the way you’d like and you have to accept that and change your plan to keep things rolling.
5) No matter what happens, you will always have your family and friends there to support you. Sometimes that means more than any “bottom line” ever could.
I could NEVER be where I am without the support of my family, friends, and faithful clients. It has been a long, scary, and stressful year, but if I could talk to the 18 year old writing a business plan for the 4-H project, I would tell her to never give up on her dreams, because even though it’s been tough, it’s been worth every one of the 31,536,000 seconds.
So here is a thank you to you, whether you have supported me as a client, a family member encouraging me to follow my dreams, or a friend listening to my struggles or, sometimes, still loving me even in my silence as I think of what I’m going to do next.
I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days bring for me and my business and I hope you stick with me through the journey!