It took me SEVEN whole years to start my business.
For years I was stuck.
And not just a couple of years. I’m talking, 7 whole years. 7 years I sat back and naiively thought clients would come to me if my work was good enough.
So I sat.
Do you think enough came? I’ll answer that.
I let my confidence diminish because of it. I wondered why most wouldn’t even pay the $100 I was charging. At one point I actually considered dropping my prices to $50! Yes, you read that right. $50! I had enough people tell me $100 was too much that I considered going down that low.
Here’s what I’ve realized since. For starters, my time and talent is worth a whole heck of a lot more than fifty dollars a session. And, I was in the completely wrong network of people. Also, for the record, you don’t have to be making a lot of money to afford great photography. You just have to value it enough to make it a prioritized expense. And these images we receive are worth more than anything else we will ever purchase. They aren’t a trend that changes over time or a piece of clothing you will outgrow. They are memories you are purchasing. Memories that have the incredible ability to bring us back to a specific time and place and feeling where it’s otherwise a little fuzzy.
I also learned that I needed others to help me start my business because I couldn’t do it on my own. I can’t do it on my own. Let alone possibly know how to do it all. LLC? Sounded foreign. Taxes? No thanks. Bookkeeping? Where do I even begin? Marketing? Sales? Accounting? Customer Service? That’s how many different degrees right there? Insert, an overwhelmed creative.
The art of creating was in my bones, not the art of running a business. Can I even do it?
I actually worked in the restaurant industry for 11 years. I knew it well and knew I could get a job really wherever I wanted. It was flexible. Easy. Comfortable. Diverse.
So I stayed.
But when I got pregnant with Natalie, I knew it was time to say goodbye to restaurant forever, never look back, and finally put an effort into starting this business. Somehow…
I remember calling my dad around the time I was ready (abut a year and a half after Natalie’s birth) and telling him how I longed to start this business, but that I needed the tools and drive of others. The tools I didn’t have on my own. I needed accountability. But mostly I needed help and support. After that phone call I sat down and prayed for it. I prayed for guidance on how to get started, for the strength and drive, and for someone that I could get connected with who could teach me.
A week later, Megan (a friend of mine I had met at church) messaged me.
She said she was leading a mastermind and thought of me. I had no idea what that even was before she told me about it, but when she explained it I couldn’t have felt more grateful that what I had just prayed for was just placed in my lap.
I wanted to take the time to share this with you because I think it’s important to see we’re all on our own path. There will always be people who move a little faster towards their dreams than us. There will always be others who will make more than us. And there will always be more for us to learn and ways we can improve.
Take a look at where you are right now. Be grateful for what you have accomplished thus far.
If you are feeling stuck too and needing some direction, just like I was, take out a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle. On the left side write down all the things you are proud of yourself for. The things you are doing right. The qualities that makes you YOU. A few of your values and dreams. On the right side write down a few goals that will help you get there. What’s holding you back? What tools do YOU need to move forward? What could you use help with? What’s the number you need to be making to support your family?
Seeing this all visually, especially as an artist, really can help in redirecting your focus onto you and your business and not on how others are finding success.
I still have a long ways to go myself. Business does not come naturally to me, but one thing that IS true is I am driven and I won’t ever give up. I am passionate about what I have to offer others and will continue to run towards that, even when I fail along the way. I know you are too! YOU are worth it. You can do hard things. You are capable. You will succeed. Will you keep running towards that with me?