I have an adventurous soul. I am passionate about exploring new places and capturing breathtaking images that display raw emotion. I am in love with avocados, in n out fries with extra sauce and peanut butter frozen yogurt. In my free time you can find me attempting to climb a mountain, planning my next trip or taking an amazing long nap
For this years anniversary post I want to be super real with you all and share with you everything I have struggled with over the past four years and why I almost quit.
Being this real is legit scary for me since it means really putting my weaknesses out there for you all to see. However, I think it is important for everyone to know something. Starting a business and pursuing your dreams is scary and super hard.
There is no easy part to starting your own business. You work more hours than you would a normal job, you get emotional since your heart is invested in it and you often miss out on having a social life for the first year or two of business usually. That being said going after what you are most passionate about is something thats worth all the blood, sweat and tears.
Let’s talk why I almost quit already!
I almost quit about one year and a half into my business (about 2 and half years later and I am finally opening up about it. Guess it takes time to be vulnerable). I told my husband probably every couple nights I cannot do this and he kept saying yes you can. My dad and mom have also always encouraged me often to push forward to my goals.
Thankfully I took their advice, but I would be lying if I did not tell you that I cried often during that time, wanted to hide under the blankets and stay in bed all day as well as shout from the top of my lungs I give up and go back to a easy 9 to 5 job where I can come home and have no other responsibilities as well as those amazing sick days. However, I stuck it out and I am so glad I did. Here are 7 reasons why I almost quit.
Time Commitment: From the moment I get up to the moment I get into bed at night work is always there. From emails to invoices to culling to editing to Face-time meetings to weddings to sessions to you name it. Everything is on me so I have to be on top of it all 24-7. While I have this down pat now, my first year of business into my beginning of my second year of business I was just overwhelmed by it all and felt like a 9 to 5 job would be so much easier and so much less work. When people tell me they would love to make their own schedules and have my flexibility I have to laugh a little bit inside because truly even though I try to have a set schedule things always come up and even on vacations I often end up working. (Yes, I looking into an assistant for 2020 but this one last year I am doing it on my own).
“Competition”: I hate the word competition, truly I do. I understand it from a business perspective, but I believe the more we encourage others and build up this industry as whole the better we all we will be as artists and humans. In the beginning it was hard realizing that this industry can be not the friendliest and I often felt scared to even reach out to other photographers due to this. However, thankfully years later Elise and I started reaching out to photographers around the Bay Area and have been putting on some fun dinners for photographers to meet each others and start up some amazing friendships.
Felt Lonely: I felt so lonely that first year and half. I edited alone while Eli was at work, went to shoots alone and had to figure this whole thing out by myself. Yes, my business degree helped a ton and with that side of it I was doing great but I was longing for other creatives to talk about the creative side of it with. Years later and I am so happy to say I have so many amazing photographer friends to share life with. Advice to you do not be afraid to reach out to others and maybe buy them a little treat too. We are all this together!
Lack of Thick Skin (my first two years): This topic is the scariest one for me to talk about by far. My first year and half I made a lot of mistakes. Big ones, little ones and everything in between. (I still make them just not often at all now thankfully.) I forgot my camera to a shoot one time and cried the whole way home. (Gave her the session totally on me and offered to give her a dress of mine too). I gave clients low res images when I meant to give them high res images, lost my flash at a wedding and so on. However, the biggest mistake was not having a backbone. I want to go over and beyond for my clients always but I have learned you have to stick to your contract and be firm or else people will walk all over you. I have learned how to have thick skin, take their concerns with a grain of salt and fix their needs immediately as long as it does not go against my contract. The first year I had people cuss me out over email and call me terrible names for little things that were actually out of my control and it tore me down.(weather, charging sales tax…etc). I really had no idea people could be that mean over such things. It was at my lowest dealing with one of these situations that I took a mini couple week break from photography to assess if I had what it took to stay in this.
Lack of Profit my First Year. Everyones first year usually is a year of putting money back into your business. It is how it should be as you enter a new market you can not charge a high amount as you are building up your portfolio, trust with your clients and learning your style as an artist. That being said I still made a profit my first year which was amazing but all that work for little profit taught me fast to price for profit and look at the cost to stay in business + your living costs and price accordingly.
Not feeling good enough- comparing myself to others. Instagram, Facebook. Pinterest. Enough said am I right? I would compare myself daily to those who have been doing it a long time like my photography masters I look up to Phil C., Ben Sasso and India. Best thing I did was let that fuel me to grow more, educate myself, experiment and hustle hard until I was proud of my work. I also learned to look at everyone’s art journey as just that a journey.
Mastering being so creative all the time seemed dang impossible when sometimes I just felt so drained. I am not creative by nature. I am business minded so letting the creativeness drain me happens a lot. I did not know back in the day what refuels me but now I know and do it often. For me its prayer walks, smoothies, naps, alone time and time with friends/family laughing and eating good food.
Why I chose to stay!
I NEED PHOTOGRAPHY just like I need to breathe. It’s apart of me, like another limb. It teaches me to express my emotions, communicate a story through pictures and helps put smiles on others faces. It is a beautiful community of people that I almost never became apart of until I took a chance and started to reach out to some amazing photographers (they also reached out to me as well).
I also get to meet a lot of rad couples from across the US (and globe at times) that usually become my friends. What other job does that? While this job may take up a lot of time and come with some stress it is worth every second of it to get to do what I love and create art for others.
Life is short so be sure to fill it with adventure after adventure. Make sure to take pictures and make memories that will last a lifetime. Do not be afraid to set goals that seem impossible to reach for if you persevere you will succeed. Do scary things. Get out of your comfort zone and learn to thrive there. Always be willing to serve and look for ways to serve in your community and around the world. The best thing we can do in this world is to reach out and love one another.