I’ve decided to start writing about my experience as a freelance wedding photographer because the experience of being a business owner has completely changed my life. I know I keep saying how much this thing called photography has changed me, but it’s had such a profound impact on me- like the way people talk when they’ve been reborn, that I feel compelled to spread the gospel, if you will. I now totally understand the Jehovah Witnesses.
This journey hasn’t been without it’s challenges however. I got serious about my business at the same time that I went through an epic heartbreak. But you know the craziest thing? I’ve made the most money I’ve ever made in my adult life. So I guess the thing that broke me is also the thing that built me up.
So by now, you’re probably like “Alright already Cassie, just tell us about your biggest challenge!”, well my dear, I’d have to say it’s been staying on course even when the pain felt unbearable.
But you know what? It doesn’t even have to be that dramatic. Staying on course is hard even when everything is going right in your life. In fact, the times when everything was perfect in my life, were probably the times when I got the least done. Maybe it’s just me though.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’ve been wanting to start something just start it. Whether everything is going great, or things are falling apart. Start. If you’ve started but stopped for some reason, don’t beat yourself up. Do like Aaliyah, and dust yourself off and try again. If you’ve failed but really want to give it another go. Start over. I’ve learned that there will never be a perfect time. I started this when I was completely in love- got distracted and let it go (by let go I mean even though my business was “there”, it wasn’t a priority). Then I started it again when my life was in shambles, got distracted and let it go. Finally I tried again after deciding that photography was too important to me to try half-ass and I can’t see myself slowing down now. Three times baby, same project. And it’s finally paying off.
Here’s what I’ve done to stay focused. Hopefully these tips can help you get started or continue on your project:
The last time I decided that I wanted to be a serious business owner, I decided to do only a single task per day. The thought of doing everything at once was way too overwhelming and it did nothing but keep me paralyzed. So, I decided, 1 task per day. That was it. The rest of the day, I could watch Suits, or sleep, or parent. Well guess what? Obviously, I’m not a loser, so I was totally successful at doing one thing per day. Yay! Over time, I gained momentum and as I got small wins, increasing the amount of tasks that I did per day came naturally. Maybe you’re in a better place than I was and you can do more than one thing per day, well great! This is not the post for you. I’m joking! However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, lazy, discouraged, confused, etc., try to do a single thing per day. One thing that moves you in the direction of your business goal. I promise you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll accomplish over the next month.
Build a compelling vision
Imagining how great my life would be with a successful wedding photography business really helped me as well. And by imagining, I mean really imagining. I thought about the car I would drive, how my apartment would look, how I would dress, the places I would visit with Amoni, the friends I would have, every major thing that I could think of. These things really motivated me to change my life. I just felt like there was no reason I couldn’t get what I wanted, particularly if my little business could give them to me.
I decided to say “fuck it” more often. In the past, I would not do anything or not put out anything unless it was perfect. Take for example, the production on my cooking channel, which was just a past-time. It got so intense that it was taking up all of my time and I had to take a small break (Amoni and I are coming back though!). The same thing went for my photography business, I wanted a perfect website, perfect photos, perfect styled shoots, perfect everything. Everything changed when I just accepted that my business wasn’t perfect but that I do one thing per week to upgrade it. And now, the best part is, my business just keeps getting better and better.
Be your own parent
As a mom, if Amoni decided that he didn’t want to do something because it was too hard, I wouldn’t let him get away with it. And if he quit something simply because he got discouraged, I would encourage him to keep trying. Yet, to myself, I can be very hard and judgemental. I’ve had to learn to relax and talk to myself the way I talk to Amoni. I’ve had to learn to admire myself and give myself props the same way I do to Amoni. I mean, I give this boy props for doing regular ass stuff like remembering to put on lotion, or putting away his laundry in a timely manner, but I’m hard on myself for not making millions of dollars this year:).
I must say that being really nice to myself has gone a long way. It’s probably been the biggest factor in helping me stay focused because if ever I got off course, I just got back to work and gave myself props for it.
These last 18 months have been a bitch. But they’ve also been quite amazing. I have grown so much spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The craziest thing to me is that through an epic heart break, my business has been more successful than it’s ever been. I immersed myself deeply in my passion and I’ve been rewarded by
money growth. Hopefully these tips can help you get started on the path you are meant to take. Here’s to your success!