There's this line of keeping up appearances and having it all together and just admitting that I don't have it all together. But if my potential client is reading... wouldn't that make her close the window and run away? As you can see, I struggle with this question. A LOT.
I feel like for the last year, I've been blogging on my photography blog, no longer for myself, but for the reader in mind. And with that, I think that I have lost my voice in the process. There's just something that has changed. Like my blogging voice has become more business-y and I don't know how to get back to just being me.
Earlier this year, I rebranded and worked with a talented group of women who came up with my three words that I should always be keeping in mind - bright, authentic, and inspired. Part of me feels conflicted in trying to stay authentic, without revealing what a hot mess I really am. How do you reconcile this?
One of my favorite and inspiring people in the world is Lara Casey, and I feel privileged to call her a friend as well. She blogged about Goal Setting + Making Things Happen in 2013 and I'm sharing my journey here.
STEP ONE: Let's take a look back at what worked in 2012. Make your list of things you made happen in 2012 and things you are grateful for.
- I'm so thankful for my husband. He is my rock and the logical one when I get stressed out. He always finds the silver lining when I don't. He talks me off the ledge and encourages me like no one else. I'm so thankful for our marriage and trusting the Lord through it all.
- This year, we adopted Kevin, a black and tan dachshund who is just a wonderful addition to our family. I was so hesitant to adopt a dog; I didn't think I wanted the responsibility. But his picture came up on a local Dachshund rescue board, and I was in love. I applied and we were able to adopt him! I wouldn't trade him for the world, even if he makes a mistake in the house.
- I'm super grateful for the last year on my faith journey. This year has shown me undoubtedly that I am where I'm supposed to be. I can see how God orchestrated my life to come to Texas so that I could have a relationship with Him. A real relationship. One that includes time in the Word, attending a great church, serving, having a great Home Team (small group), and real prayer. I didn't really realize all of this until this year, and I am so thankful for all of His blessings. I am thankful for a relationship with the Lord and the ability to talk to God when I need to. I'm so thankful for His grace. Life would not be the same. And for me to even talk about it is huge. I am often hesitant to speak on my faith, especially growing up in California where it's taboo to offend anyone about anything. I'm still getting comfortable talking about my story, but I'm getting there. I LOVE our Home Team - it has been such a blessing to be a part of this group and I'm looking forward to growing in fellowship with them in 2013.
- I'm also thankful to be able to serve through my talents with the photography ministry at church. It's great to be able to help when I can. I'm also thankful that I started to serve with The Mix, the student ministry at church. The students have an inspiring energy to learn and know Jesus...something I wish I had at that age. I also completed a 365 day devotional that finished today... while I didn't read every day - I did read every weekday and spent time in the Word with God and just giving it all to Him. So thankful.
- I'm thankful for my business. It hasn't been easy building a business from the ground up. I try to remind myself of that all the time. Sometimes I hope and I wish that there was such a thing as overnight success, but I know that is just a pipe dream, and that's okay. I know that doing the hard work is worth it. I know that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I choose to do it because I love it. This year, I dove into the genre of high school senior portraiture for girls and I've loved it! While the clientele is still slowly building, I did have my first full paying client and I'm excited to see where this goes.
- I also dabbled in some glamour photography a la Sue Bryce (a brilliant New Zealand/Australian portrait photographer!) It was so fun. I'm not quite ready to launch that side, but I believe that it will be done in 2013.
- I rebranded this year! Finally. I was sitting on a brand...well, a logo really, and it just wasn't working for me anymore. I worked with some wonderful women to really define my identity and I'm thrilled with the results. I love that the words that they came up with as my branding words are "bright, inspired, and authentic" things that I strive to be in business and my life. This has been something I've been wanting to get done for almost two year. Check and mark.
- I love education, especially in the photography industry and I'm so thankful for being able to help and attend The Fix, go to WPPI in Las Vegas, and attend Making Things Happen in Austin. The Fix and WPPI were photography related and MTH Austin was life related and just what I needed to fire me up.
- I took on a goal of mine - to host a workshop - which I did with a friend, Elisa - called Lookbook Lab. I love the name of it. It was something I dreamed of and I'm stoked we made it happen. I also did two styled shoots, one was my idea - a 4th of July inspired shoot and one I photographed for a designer - a glamping shoot. Both took lots of hard work and determination to make them happen and I'm so happy they came together.
- I photographed one wedding this year and had the opportunity to second shoot several times this year. I also photographed details for a few clients, which I love! It's quick and the work is always beautiful AND it's something that the client needs because usually the photographer that's there, doesn't care about the details - their work!
- I finally put some elbow grease into make my office a real office after living in this house for three years. I finally got some cubby shelving and painted the office. I still have another wall to paint, which I will get done this year. The office will be completed this year!
- I was stoked that the casting calls I did for high school senior girls went great. I was looking for a handful of girls and actually had 16! I had so many that I broke it up into 3 different shoots.
- I also went back to California to serve my loyal family session clients. While I don't take on family session work, I will totally fly to California for them!
- I'm grateful that we were able to spend the holidays with family. Thanksgiving with my family in California and Christmas with his family in Georgia. I wish that we could have stayed with my family for longer, but alas, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
- I went to the dentist. FINALLY.
- Making a dream come true: booking a wedding for a dear friend in...FRANCE!! Yahoo!
STEP TWO: What didn't work? In business and life, what didn't work well to help you live your best life this year and what needs improvement?
- Overall office organization TOTALLY needs work. I admit that I'm a piler, not a filer. And I get comfortable in the mess as well. If a neat freak saw my desk right now, they probably would fall down dead. I really want to get better in the organization department this year. I know that it will take baby steps, but I need to be more organized. I want to attack office clutter with a vengeance and stop it before it becomes clutter. Clutter is crazy and then I get to the point where I'm just complacent with it and just let it sit.
- I'm terrible about money sometimes. I'm either really good or really horrible. I just avoid it. But I know that it no way to live. ESPECIALLY having a business. I need to know where I am and where I want to go. So at the end of the year, I got really serious and busted out the Excel and made spreadsheets and started organizing myself. Things I should have done since January.
- Okay, this is a hard one for me because this is something that I've been wanting to make work for 2.5 years and it's still a struggle. It makes me question if I should even continue to pursue it anymore: weddings. I was really hoping that after my first wedding in Texas that it would create some referrals and that would start to grow, but if I'm being really honest, it hasn't. Weddings hasn't worked for me. And I get really bummed out because I start to compare myself to other people and their tons of bookings and I start to wonder what's wrong with me. But on the other hand, maybe this is God's way of telling me to focus on the other genres? I pray all the time for this clarity, and I'm just looking for the discernment to follow what He wants me to do.
- I had the stint of Glamour portfolio building and I gave referral cards to each client, but it did not generate the referrals that I thought it would. This is something I'm working on in 2013.
- While I did have something published, I had a couple of projects that I was not able to get published. And bear with me this is going to be a moment of "woe-is-me" but there are some styled shoots out there where I wonder why didn't they ask me to shoot it... I know, it's terrible. It makes me question my work. It's crazy, but it's the honest truth. It makes me think that there's something wrong with my work....like I'm not hipster or artsy enough...alas.
- Facebook promos offering sales - this didn't work. And I'm okay with it. I would much rather have a qualified client over someone looking for a deal. I just thought that "everyone else is doing it..." Yeah, I shouldn't have thought that.
- So earlier this year I found out that I may have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which could cause infertility. My doctor told me that the number one way to help is to lose some weight and lessen the amount of carbs consumed. THOSE EVIL CARBS! So I researched and learned about eating Paleo - basically meat, vegetables, and fruits. Eating like a caveman. I found it kind of hard and after a few weeks gave up. I felt great after I started, but I lacked the discipline to keep going. Will restart in 2013.
- Exercising - I started 2012 pretty well. Then, after we got the dog, I fell off the bandwagon and made excuses not to exercise. Exercise will go hand in hand with getting in shape especially if we want to start a family in 2013.
- I think that I may have been kind of depressed part of the year in 2012. About my business. So I allowed myself to get complacent and be lazy. I would wake up and after I read my Bible and prayed, I would watch episodes of Criminal Minds and Gilmore Girls..and before I knew it, it was 11am, and I hadn't done any work. I would waste most of the day because I didn't know what I should be doing and I was bored and depressed. I still battle it at times, especially when I see what other people are doing and I compare myself and wish for what they had. I know, it's terrible, but it's honest.
- So I have this dry erase calendar on the wall that I used in January. And NEVER ERASED for the next month. In fact, I only erased it in December to start over for 2013. I plan to do better.
- I really wanted to thrill my client and give them gifts for booking and the like. My follow up and follow through has been less than stellar. The customer service has been good with email and such, but the client experience has't been all that I want it to be. Same goes for packaging. I think that because I didn't have a huge client base or wasn't busy all the time, I let the idea of packaging slide. So when I finally had a client to serve, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to figure out what to do for packaging. That, and my rebrand and it being up in the air for a while.
- In addition to overall organization, I lacked a real set workflow. The workflow I had after the photos were edited was kind of crazy and didn't work. I've been wanting to refine my workflow forever and this year it needs to happen. I need to set myself up for success.
STEP THREE: What fires you up?
dachshunds - Kevin
spending time in the Word
vacation, time off, time away
making babies happen
getting healthy - for good
making someone feel important/beautiful
sharing helping others
faith & tithing
interracial, interfaith, intercultural weddings, marriages, children
Making Things Happen in 2013: my Pinterest board of what fires me up!
What fires you up?