Energy ~ Growth ~ Simplicity
As I come up to 5 years in business this March – I seem to have spent a lot of time reflecting, considering how my business has changed, the Why I’m a Photographer and where the future is. What I have found is that my business tends to follow my lifestyle and what I’m looking for in my own personal life. Looking back, I recognise now that they have gone hand in hand and as a result my approach to being in business and therefore the style in my photographs have changed and developed over time too.
Years 1 – 2
I was combining the start of my business at this time with my day job. During Year 1, I continued to work full time as a Probation Officer in the day job and then as I moved into Year 2 and the business grew, I reduced my hours in the day job to part time. I knew when I started this, that everything would be full on and I would need to approach the Photography business with everything I had. My husband and I talked about putting my energies into it for 2 years to really give it the time to grow and get it off the ground knowing that time with the family and for social events would be decreased as I needed to maintain the day job until the business has grown enough.
Somehow and from somewhere deep inside me, I was high on energy, everything was new and exciting, there was so much fun and I was overly, overly enthusiastic. It is like I could taste this new found freedom around the corner. You know when you see those photographers constantly express ‘I love my job’, ‘I’m so lucky’, ‘love, love, love this’ – Ha! That was me!! However, I want to just add that when you see this, none of it is fake or made up – you really feel like this, or at least I did. It was like an emotional roller coaster – with a shoot being the best ever and you would come home with a sparkle in your eyes and then bore the pants of your partner telling them every detail! As a result, of all this energy, looking back all of my photographs had so much energy in them. I didn’t realise it at the time but seriously this is a great time where you achieve such highs!
Years 3 – 4
This was the point, my business had grown enough and I was able to leave my day job. These years were focused on growth … I had given up an amazing job as a Probation Officer (a service and career I still feel immensely proud of) and now I placed a huge pressure on myself that this needed to be a professional business. Alongside studying and training photography, I soaked up books and training on business – I was hungry for it! I had never been self employed before and I found this drive and determination that gave me strength to stride ahead and work so incredibly hard.
I am not 100% sure who I was trying to prove things to – possibly myself, possibly to thank my family for so much support during years 1 and 2, possibly thanking the couples and clients who had believed in me – none-the-less, I had a huge focus on growth, perfectionism and the whole thought of ‘more’. While I was unable to maintain that high energy that was there in the first 2 years, it became replaced with drive, passion and a determination to succeed.
This approach is very reflective of my personal life at the time too – it was a time when I needed to find lots of strength to support my son following an exclusion from mainstream school, home schooling whilst we waited for a statement and then supporting him into Special Needs Education. Managing his challenging behaviours and the whole process of selling a house which resulted in loosing 2 sales, loosing 2 purchases, having to rent temporarily and finally at the end of last year moving into our home. There was drive and determination in all aspects of my life. As a result, I pushed myself with my photography, I pushed myself to take on more, I took on a Studio to ensure the business had professionalism and I worked incredibly hard.
Next month is my 5th birthday and it feels like another change is coming in, not only to my business but also my personal life. This is currently a transformation period and I know I need to walk through it to see what comes out the other side. It feels as though I am on a path to slow down now, be more considered, find some balance and some simplicity – a realisation that sometimes less is more. I feel more at peace now we can settle into our cottage in the country, my son is settled and has received his place in his Special Needs High School, my daughter who has left home is settled and the business has grown and matured and I have confidence and faith in both the business and myself.
I am beginning to notice a shift in my photography style with portraiture – a connection to nature – using it as a feature in my images, incorporating some stillness and being more considered. Slowing down and really looking, really seeing and then having a connection with what is in front of me. I am excited to see where this leads this year …
Does your business have a story?
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