NOTE: This post written by Bryan was originally supposed to be used for December, 24th. But since I was on vacation out of town, it didn’t make it on the site until I got back to work in the studio (today). So thank you, Bryan, for your patience and for being an amazing reporter. Enjoy!
Fighting vs. Surviving
I believe that there comes a time when every dreamer must decide: am going to do this or not?
For the past year and a half I have been working to build up a side photography business. I would spend many weekends snapping family photos or with an engaged couple preparing for their big day. The more that I worked with clients the more that I knew that this is what I supposed to be doing; the more that I knew that I had purpose in photographing others. My excitement would grow with new client inquiries, and I would often talk about how I couldn’t wait to be doing this full time.
But that is just the thing. I was talking and dreaming rather than doing and achieving. Although I alluded to taking this adventure full time, I didn’t follow through in the manner in which I worked. I was full of dreams and tales of what it would be like to fill my days capturing images, yet I treated everything about the business as a side job. And so it remained that way. I would celebrate each booked shoot, but would later grow frustrated because I wasn’t booked every weekend. I never saw substantial growth because I wasn’t putting in the work that was required to grow the business I dreamt of working.
The idea of being a photographer is somewhat romanticized. Often characterized in movies as a reckless artist spending their day walking through urban streets and snapping away. While I have always known this role to be fabricated, I was not acting far from this ideal or at all like an effective business owner. I was embracing the joy of the creative, and procrastinating on the reality of business. As Kendi wrote in our last post, I didn’t know who my customer was, what I could offer them, or even who I was as a photographer. So I began to ask questions in this direction. And Kendi was there to help me answer.
Me reaching out and asking for help was the first step in the right direction.Â I needed to begin fighting to create the business I wanted, rather than survive in the business I was in. Together, we were able to talk through many of the specifics and truly discover who we are, and what we could be. Each of our ideas built on the other’s, and to our surprise, we both loved the collaboration. You see, as much as we love each other, and even after almost 3 years of marriage, we always assumed working together was out of the question. Kendi is organized and works best with a schedule and a task list. I, on the other hand, am much more likely to be distracted by my own thoughts and prioritize by stacking things. And let’s face it — we’ve got enough dirt on each other, that a simple business disagreement could easily turn into a spousal argument.
Luckily for us though, we have found that we are a well matched pair, and our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other’s. We have both regained a focus and have been able to understand more about intentionally building a business, rather than allowing the business to navigate itself. We know that it will always be a fight. It is a fight to come home after putting in 8 hours at my day job, and put in another 4-6 on our business. It is a fight to not spend weekends lounging, watching movies, or eating out, but instead using the uninterrupted time for research, reading, and building theÂ specifics of our business. I am not naive enough to think that this is a fight that will end with the launch, but after a year of simply surviving in a side business, I welcome the fight of the full time.