I want to first start this blog post off with admitting that for YEARS I considered owning and running my own photography business full time a far-off DREAM. Like it was absolutely ridiculous to think about and the chances of it happening were slim to none. (And I’m 99.9% of the time an optimistic person, but it just didn’t seem realistic to me.)
Well, needless to say, I’m so thankful that the Lord had other plans! Yesterday marked one full year since I walked out of my Communications job for the last time and started pursuing my photography business full time. I still can’t believe it most days! After reflecting on all the good, hard, and crazy moments of the last 365 days, there’s about a million lessons I’ve learned. For the sake of not writing a novel, and in case any of you following along with me on this journey are in the same place I was a few years ago, I narrowed it down to those that are, from my perspective, the most important. So without further ado, here’s the three main lessons I’ve learned in the past year:
1. God alone gives talents, opportunities and provision
Since I first realized my “knack” for photography my junior year in High School, it is beyond OBVIOUS that the Lord has directed each step and opened (and closed) doors over the past 8 years to lead me to where I am today. (Seriously, it’s amazing! If you want to know more about the whole story, ask me – I’ll be happy to tell you!) Over the past year, I’ve learned to trust in His promise to provide for me and also trust that He is the one who gives me the talents and opportunities to run a business doing what I love. I recognize that not everyone is at the point that I am, and I feel so fortunate and blessed that He has provided the opportunities for me to pursue my photography business and do what I love for a living. All of that to say: The credit belongs to Him.
2. How to give myself grace
Disclaimer: This one is TOTALLY a (sometimes daily) work-in-progress. And confession: I am my own harshest critic. I constantly have thoughts of: “I could be working more / harder / better….”, “Oh man. Why didn’t I do ____ instead? That would have turned out way better!”, “These pictures are awful – what was I thinking?!” And then I go back and look at them a day later and am like “Why in the world was I beating myself up over this? There’s nothing wrong with these!” Ridiculous… I know. But it happens.
The truth is that a wedding day or portrait session could go 100% perfectly – the timeline, weather, location, everything – and I would STILL have plenty of room to improve. And there will always be days I won’t get all the work done because family, friends, time off (or sleep) takes priority, and that’s okay. There will also be days that I work crazy hours. There is a balance for that and there will always be room for me to grow, make mistakes, and both fail and succeed at things in my business – and life. I’m just learning how to give myself more grace in this area instead of being so quick to criticize.
3. Grow slow and grow WELL
This has been a struggle, but I’ve recently learned to actually love this lesson. Over the past three years of my life and growing my business, and past year of doing it full-time, there were days were I felt like everything was moving SO SLOWLY, and I hated it. But in hindsight, a year is not a long time, and thankfully, my business is miles from where I was starting this time last year. But it takes time to get there, and to see that clearly.
I have such high expectations for myself and where I want my business to be that I often have to remind myself how far I’ve come so I can enjoy where I currently am. And thankfully, I have family and friends who are quick to remind me as well! Growing slower allows me to take time to grow well. And I’d rather take twice as long or more to get from “Point A” to “Point B” and be doing it WELL, than fast-track it and do an awful job. I’m learning to enjoy the journey and to celebrate milestones instead of constantly reaching for the next goal.
Well, there you have it. I know absolutely NONE of that was related to specifics of running a business or the technicalities of taking photographs… but from my experience, you can’t run a business well if you don’t run your life well. These life lessons directly impact my business, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
Also, if you made it all the way through this post, and if you’re somewhere in the running-a-photography-business world, I’d love to hear what you have learned or are currently learning! If you just want to say “hi!”, I’d love that too!! Just drop me a comment below. 🙂