It’s been a heck of a long time since I shared anything personal here. Maybe I’ve been too busy to take the time to share anything about me… but truthfully I’ve known what I
want need to say and I’ve been to afraid to say it. I wrote the words below to give as a talk at a women’s event this spring… but, I wasn’t able to deliver then, so i’m sharing now!
You know, social media can really make being an entrepreneur look like unicorns and rainbows when most of the time it’s actually ramen noodles, day old yoga pants, credit card debt, and a messy house while you sit in front of a computer screen for hours.
It’s DIFFICULT to be an entrepreneur in a creative field.
There’s a reason everyone want’s to be a photographer. It’s FUN TO CREATE pretty pictures but building a business is not always wonderful. Competition is tough, especially for photographers and it seemed like every time I turned on my phone there was a new photographer with better work, more followers, and a better life to compete with.
When I first started, every time someone said no to a project, or didn’t hire me, I took it personal. If you think about it, no one cares about their mechanic’s sense of humor, or if their dentist is a fun person to be around. But because of the nature of social media, taking peoples pictures and the vulnerability of being in front of a camera, each no felt like they were saying no to ME and that I personally wasn’t good enough.
It took me a while to be okay with that – and now I actually search for it. I don’t want to be everyone’s photographer, because not everyone can appreciate what makes me worth what I charge. Luckily, It’s also that attitude that has allowed me to build amazing friendships with other local photographers.
Something that people don’t tell you about starting a business in a creative field… and no one ever talks about… you have to be prepared not to get paid for a while. And I mean a long LONG while. Maybe it’s just me, Maybe I did it wrong, but the entire first year was a whole-lotta-work for a whole-lotta-nadda. Every time I’d get hired I’d throw that money right back into the business. Which if you ever watch shark tank, they say things like “if you aren’t profitable after the first year then you’re a cockroach or you shouldn’t be in business.” Maybe I’m alone, or MAYBE NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT!
Today, I’m grateful to be paid for the time I devote to my couples and my business, to have those credit cards paid off, and no longer attach my self worth to the number of likes on an instagram post, but It took me a long time to get here.
So, If it’s so hard and it takes forever to get a paycheck, then why do it?
For me, I just started doing it without a clear vision of why. I knew I had to be doing something creative and I had to be my own boss. (I couldn’t go back to working for a company that passed me up for promotions because i’m different or because i’m a woman.. NOT KIDDING!! That happened!) I couldn’t put my life into stressing over building someone else dream anymore. The why, the real why, came later.
And here it is. It’s really magic, magic is real and unicorns do exist guys.
If you take a moment to think about it, life is short. Too short. And in the end, all that really matters is the connections we make with other people. The love that we share with our family and our friends, all the good we put into loving other people is what makes life worth living and its the true legacy we will leave behind.
I was recently at a conference and, Ash Parsons (I still ugly-cry every time I watch the video on her homepage) a woman I greatly admire, talked about watching her dad die. He had battled cancer for years and at the end, she was there and witnessed her mom holding her dad as he died. She said “tears fell down her face as she sang, “you’ll always be my husband, I’ll love you forever.”
That’s what life is about. We all know that it’s going to end but we very seldom take the time to think about that reality because it’s dark and its scary. It’s so much easier to pick up our phones, or get busy with daily life, and be distracted than to think about what really matters and that we need to savor every moment.
And that’s what weddings are about. Not about the flowers or the dress or the signature cocktails. It’s about promising to one another that you’ll be the one holding them as they leave the earth, or vice versa. It’s giving your life, your only true possession, to another person. It’s about taking one day to devote to love, to the promise of forever, through all of life’s struggles, no matter what the future holds.
I want my photos to be a reminder of the truth behind those moments…the meaning of life itself.
Creating a work of art that shows the emotion beauty of the moment, imperfect and wonderful; the true magic and longevity in couple’s love for each other: That’s a fucking unicorn. For me, that makes it all worth it.
Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts, if you’ve had similar experiences please do comment and let me know, i’d love to hear from you!
If you’re currently struggling to build a business doing something you love… dont give up! I know there’s a Unicorn out there for you!
Love and appreciation,