One of the biggest turning points in business (and quite frankly, in my life) was realizing that I can’t be all things to all people. Not every client is meant for me. And I’m not meant for every client.
When I reflect back on our business in the earlier days, I was saying yes to a lot of people and a lot of things that I shouldn’t have.
Since before our kids were born, we have generated 100% of our income from photography so not saying yes to a job felt like taking food out of our kids mouths. It was something I felt I could not do.
Less time with family. Less time for ourselves. Less time to work on our business instead of in our business. Acting like hourly employees not the owners.
As freelance photographers you know as well as I do, nothing is certain, no weekly paychecks, no guaranteed annual salary. My fear was real. [Oddly, fearful and freeing all at the same time.]
Even though our business continued to grow each year, it seemed that our business was happening to us. And realizing this was a turning point.
It was time to become the business owners we wanted to be. Time to treat our business like the business it could be, not the one it was.
Deep down I knew that the change had to happen from the inside. I was being fearful. I was coming from a place of scarcity. How was I thinking? Who was I being? How was I showing up? I knew I needed to be open to new ideas, new perspectives and how to apply that to our business + personal goals.
I remember like it was yesterday. We came off a hectic holiday season and I said to Keith something like “we need to take a month off every summer and spend quality time with the kids somewhere new every year”. We were
sacrificing too many weekends, too many weeknights, too much time without a real day off. We were missing out on our kids’ childhood. And the best part, we weren’t paying ourselves nearly what we were worth.
And being the awesome husband and incredible dad that he is, he agreed.
But you have to understand what a big stretch this was for us at the time. It seemed like one of those impossible dreams that we had no right thinking was ever going to come true.
We didn’t have the extra money lying around for this summer trip. But we knew that making such a massive decision like this would be transformative. Build it and they will come became our motto. It was one of those moments that changed the trajectory for both our business and our personal lives.
My heart flutters thinking back on that summer. We spent a month in Paris. How freeing it was to let go of the story that our business couldn’t make more money. We stopped comparing ourselves to others. We had the revelation that it was ok to not be all things to all people. (That took way too long to figure out!) And we realized that there was no easy fix, having the photography business of our dreams required us to create the success from within.
Changing the way we thought made this transformation possible.
About the photo
PS The photo above is one of my favorite travel photos I’ve taken. We were leaving the island of Lembongan, to head back to mainland Bali after a week in this tiny little paradise. Keith is carrying 2 laptop bags, cameras + of course Gabby. Who back in those days always had ankles that ‘hurt’ when we needed to do any heavy walking or anything out of the ordinary that she didn’t want to try. Apparently walking through water to get onto a boat was one of those times her ankles were hurting on this trip.
Happily – we are past that stage! 😜
Want to see more travel photos: head over to Keith’s personal blog. Lots of his amazing street photography!