First of all, let me just acknowledge the fact that I am a TERRIBLE blogger! Wow! How desperately my poor little site is in need of an update! I did want to post a message here today though as it’s bound to be a bit wordy (and who really wants that clogging up their facebook timeline, am I right?) So here we are, hanging out in the blogosphere together for a minute. Thanks for clicking over!
So, to jump in with both feet – don’t worry – I’m not announcing any dramatic bad news! However, as my title up there implies, 2015 is going to mean a bit of refocusing for me, both personally and as a business owner. I learned the hard way this year that having a little boy in kindergarten did NOT translate to having oodles of time to carry out twice as many business-related tasks as I had the previous year! To say it bluntly – I bit off more than I could chew. I figured this was the time for me to take my business to that next level and book more sessions than I’ve been able to take on before. As Dr. Phil would ask – “How’s that working for ya?” Well, Dr. Phil – not so good. Failures happened, lessons were learned and unfortunately not only did my clients suffer but my family did too. Greatly. There are so many things that are clearer after the fact – like that booking nearly every available evening and weekend might be hard on a little boy who barely sees his Mom all week. Or the fact that no amount of planning ahead can help you when that one week you had slated to catch up on mountains of editing was spent nursing a sick child …and then getting sick…and then getting everyone else around you sick too. And of course surprise computer malfunctions when you least need or can afford them! It took really stepping back from things over this last week for it to fully dawn on me – I am just not happy with how this is going, and I have a feeling some of you aren’t either. When I started my business nearly four years ago, my goal was to book 2-3 sessions a month, every month. I felt that was a pretty happy little number that would keep me occupied without burying myself in editing. Now, while that goal has obviously changed in recent years as my costs of doing business (and available time) have increased, I never truly planned on taking on the number of sessions I eventually did. How many is too many? Well, I lost track in there somewhere for sure, but at one point I counted my sessions from August through November and there were over 50. FIFTY. In three months. I hate to say it, but that’s just not me. I am that person that likes to take their time with each client and with each session. I like to be nit-picky while processing my images – watching them come to life and knowing that I’m delivering a product I’m really and truly proud of. I don’t like rushing edits out the door or forgetting to respond to emails and having to remind myself who I’m shooting that day. That’s not at all why I got into this business! Worst of all – I don’t like the stressed out person I became, who I had to subject my nearest and dearest to every single day. Photography became more than a full time job, it became a 24/7 job. I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a book…or just sat down on the couch without a laptop in my lap trying to multi-task and get something accomplished! Or the saddest yet, how many times my little boy gave up on me because I was glued to a computer and couldn’t play. This is me laying my heart out on the line to you in saying all this – but I’m human, and I’m admittedly failing at this pace. Something just has to give and with the new year upon us, now is the time to make changes and promise myself, my family and YOU that I am going to do better. This means taking on less…focusing more on each client experience and each session so that I can deliver an amazing product while still carving out some much needed time for myself and the important people in my life. At the end of the day, I never want to regret having gone into business for myself. I want it to continue to be a joy to me, and for that to happen, I need to scale back just a bit and give myself a bit more breathing room.
So, if you made it this far (or skipped the last paragraph – ha!) You might be asking what this means for YOU. Well, this isn’t about quitting. It’s about acknowledging that I’m not that photographer who can handle hundreds of sessions a year (at least not right now) and being okay with that. It means giving myself stronger limits and sticking to them. My session numbers per month will be set and will fill on a first-come-first-serve basis which makes it even MORE vital to get in touch with me to plan your session with at least 3-4 weeks advance notice. Some months may book up much quicker than before and I may not be able to accommodate as many (or any) last-minute bookings. SO, if you know you have a milestone coming up – let me know as soon as you can and we’ll look at dates! If you are expecting, please be sure to contact me as early into your pregnancy as possible as it’s even more vital to get newborns on my calendar with plenty of time to plan. If you love getting your family portraits done in the fall – plan on contacting me in June or July to book those dates as that is by far the busiest time of year for us family photographers and with limited weekends available this year, they will definitely book quickly. Despite feeling like I may be forever behind on editing, I am absolutely thrilled to be planning sessions already for 2015! I can’t wait to continue to grow my business and my craft and continue serving such amazing clients as I’ve been fortunate to work with over these last few years. A big huge thank you to all my 2014 clients – especially those still patiently waiting on the rest of their images. I’ve said it before, but I will again – you are angels and you’ve put up with a lot of chaos this year while I went through my growing pains. Thanks for sticking with me and I will hopefully see many of you again in the new year!
Here’s to a much calmer and happier 2015 for all of us! Keep smiling!