When you are on the verge of going full time as a wedding photographer, the question you always seek others opinion on is “when is the right time to quit”, and the response is almost always the same. Wait until you are so busy you can afford to quit the corporate world. Of course, that is very sound advice, especially if you have bills to pay. So, when the time came for me to quit, the first day on “the new job” wasn’t like any other first day. The work was there, piled up and WAITING. There was no adjustment period. No time for training or getting ramped up. It was time to hustle and I was determined to slay that mile long to do list, revamp this and rebrand that. “I’ve got this!”, I thought.
I knew that it would take time to figure out a rhythm, but here I am 3 months later, and the to do list is still just as long, crossing off 1 tasks to only add 3 more. Before you dismiss what I am saying or think that I sound unappreciative for being busy, that is not at all the case. The truth is, I thought after 3 little months, I would be a pro at this work from home, running a business with a toddler in tow bit. That I somehow would make it “look easy”. When in reality, I’m still working from the time I wake up and long after everyone else has gone to bed, passing out on the sofa with the laptop still in hand. I’m glued to my phone in fear I will miss a clients’ email/call/text/FaceBook message and living with a constant angst that I’m just not working hard enough, smart enough or fast enough. I have become my own worst critic, not giving credit where credit is due. Ugh. Here I should be cheering myself on for how much I have accomplished thus far, but this overwhelming feeling of not being enough sometimes outweighs everything else.
The other night, I sat on the deck, sipping my coffee, fighting back the urge to give into a “good cry” and instead mustered up the strength to tell myself this is a good problem to have. The pyramids weren’t built overnight (or however that saying goes), but what I do know is that I want this business, this legacy I am creating for my family and my clients, to be amazing. These long days and nights of working my a$$ off and giving 110% percent, really are paying off and I am talented. I. Can. Do. This. I AM doing this.
I loaded my gear into my car and drove off to photograph a wedding for a sweet, fun Maryland couple. Let’s just say that not everything went as planned for their special day (for reasons outside of my control). Guess what, at the end of the night, they thanked ME for helping pull things together. I am the photographer. I am the one “just taking pictures”, but my clients know better. They hired for my talent and love me for my heart. When push comes to shove and someone needs to think quick on their feet, I can be that person for my couples. Not because it’s my job (it could be something totally outside of photography), but I love my couples and their day is just as important to me, as it is to them.
The next morning, the tears started rolling down my face, just out of nowhere, and my husband mocked me asking, “why the hell are you crying?”. He’s a sensitive one right there. (Love you, babe!) It was a big reminder that I am good at what I do. My clients appreciate all that I am giving, and it’s okay to give myself a little credit and sometimes even a day off.
For all you small business owners, work-from-home moms, and creatives, give yourself the credit deserved. You are enough. When the things you read and see on social media, make you believe that being a full time ______ (insert dream job) is going to magically make everything better, give yourself a slap in the face with reality. It’s NOT going to be easy. If you want it enough, if you work at it hard enough, you will create an experience for your clients that sets YOU apart. It’ll be what makes those clients hire YOU.
So, as the really inappropriate lyrics from Fifth Harmony go:
You don’t gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work
But you gotta put in the work, work, work, work, work, work, work
Hugs and margaritas!