February 19, 2020
Nine years ago this month, I was a broke 20 year old college graduate living with my parents again. Back in my childhood bedroom, working three retail and coffee shop jobs trying to pay student loans with no idea how I would use my photography degree. I had sent resumés and letters to hundreds of photographers asking to be their assistant, their intern, anything to get my foot in the door. But every time I was met with, “Not right now,” “No thanks,” or (my favorite) “Don’t you think the photography world is already saturated enough? We don’t need more photographers.”
If no one was going to give me a job, I was going to make my own.
I never started photography because I wanted to run my own business. It was out of a necessity. My love for photography wasn’t going away because I was told the word “No.” So at my old childhood vanity set that I had turned into my makeshift desk, I created an LLC and never looked back.
For the next three years, I built my business. I worked 14-16 hour days at my jobs then dedicated all my free time to learning more about my craft and about business. I’m not going to say it was easy. There were many sleepless nights, a LOT of doubt, and endless of hours of praying to be able to go full-time with my business. In December of 2014, all that hard work finally paid off.
Five years later, my business is still here and thriving. It continues to grow and evolve with me. Yes, it has it’s challenges but I’ll never forget where I started from. I shot my first wedding for only $400 and I thought I was OVER charging. When I made $5k my first year in business, I was elated! I celebrated those moments because I couldn’t believe someone was paying me to do what I love.
I’ve learned a lot in my nine years as a business owner. Some lessons learned the HARD way – like charging what you’re worth, following through when you give your word, and always having a signed contract. But one big lesson will always stick with me, from all the way back then until now.
If you love what you do, there is no stopping you.
Do you have a dream? A love? A passion that you cannot ignore? What are you waiting for? Go after it! Put in the time, the money, the work to learn everything you can about it. Start creating and making things happen. Start DOING! Doing what? Anything! Anything that gets you closer to your dream. There is no perfect plan. Just start. Make mistakes, learn from them, try again. Keep building. Keep striving. Because one day, you’re going to look back on the entire process and be SO thankful for where you are today. But you have to begin someday.
You should make today your someday.
Cheers to nine beautiful years in business! Nine years of serving wonderful clients, working with amazing vendors, and making so many new friends along the way. I cannot believe this is my life. So grateful for every moment of it.