Today is the day! A year ago, I had no idea what this day would look like a year from then. Now, here I sit, a year later, and this day is everything and more than I hoped for!!
You see....365 days ago, at this exact moment, I was sitting in a gray cubicle, at a day job that had served me fairly well for almost 7 consistent years. And there I was, on the cusp of my last few minutes as an employee there, and on the brink of something new and exciting, and also terrifying.
I was so ecstatic. So relieved. And also so nervous. It's a big dang deal to take a leap like entrepreneurship. A biggggg dang deal. It had taken me what felt like an eternity to get to that point - I had been "doing" photography off and on for well over a decade. A "side job", a "hobby", a "I work for another photographer" type of thing. So that made it feel much longer. But in all actuality - at that time, I had only been pursuing photography as my own, self-built, full-time career for just under 2 years.
Things grew so much faster than I thought imaginable.. kind of a snowball effect, it was. And by October of 2015, I was struggling hardcore to keep up with a growing business and a full-time day job. When the hubby and I made the decision that I'd walk away from the consistent paycheck - it was a move of necessity. I couldn't maintain the growth of ELP and still spend 40 hours a week working for someone else. So, off I went!
The initial goal was to just survive the remainder of 2015 - all the rest of my bookings and weddings, get through the holiday craze after that, and then see where things go. If they worked, great. If they didn't, hustle harder. It was scary you guys! Which makes the fact that I can look back now, and know that not only did it work - it sky rocketed even bigger, SUCH a gratifying thought.
And now here I am - mind blown, humbled, consistently busy, overwhelmed at times, but ohh sooo thankful!
This past year has been especially special to me - While busting my hump to grow and succeed and "stay afloat".. I've had the most wonderful people come into my life in the form of clients. Brides, who still to this day cheer me and my ever-growing business on. Mama's who spread my name like wildfire. Vendor friends who recommend me over and over. And grooms who, despite the fact that they don't enjoy having their photo taken, still tell their friends that I made it a "Pretty fun process" for them. I wouldn't be where I am without any of these people, and I count them all as blessings!
Aside from the best clients this side of the Midwest, I also have to point out the always-constant support of my husband, and my family+friends. You guys. Youuuu guyyyyyssssss. What would I even do without you all?
Working for myself is QUITE.A.BIT. different than working for anyone else, in a lot of ways, but I thought it would be fun to share a few "then vs now" comparisons!
Then: Whyyyyyy Sunday night. Whyyyyyy.
Now: Sunday night! Tomorrow's Monday, WHOOHOO!
Then: How the heck is it ONLY 2pm. How.
Now: OMGOSH it's already 2pm!??!?
Then: YAY WEEKEND
Now: YAY WEEKEND..oh wait, I work both days..
Then: Whyyy are there SO many hours in the work week!?
Now: Whyyy are there not ENOUGH hours in the work week!?
Then: *slumped, depressed slouch in office chair*
Now: *daily dance parties in office chair*
Other points worth mentioning are things like the fact that the bond between myself and dry shampoo has hit a whole new level.
I've become way more of an animal than I ever was before - mostly with shower refusals. Why shower when I'm just gonna be in yoga pants and a comfy sweatshirt, sitting in my own office all day long? My husband disagrees on this point, but it's like I explain to him - I'm pretty sure the mark of a true artist is filth.
I'm also fairly certain the total number of mosquito bites I've had for just 2016 are either
A: equal to
B: pretty dang close to the total number of mosquito bites I've had throughout my entire life.
Oh and OAK MITE BITES!?!? Come on Midwest!!
I've learned that my legs - mostly knees and shins, are almost always speckled with bruises. It's interesting. I do a lot of kneeling for the best angle when I'm shooting, and evidently I bruise, very, very easily.
I've learned that an employer, who handles all your tax-related legal crap is uh-mazing, and that doing it all on your own is like rolling around on the edge of the crazy canyon. Yeah that's right State of Missouri. I'm looking at you.
I've become even more of an emotional sap...If that's even possible. I won't even go into the specifics.. but just know, emotional gal over here.
I've learned that I will GLADLY and HAPPILY work 80 hours a week just to avoid a 40 hour work week. Working never actually feels like such when you're doing something you love. I used to hear that all the time, and now I can fully agree to the truth of it.
The below is a quote I heard forever ago - I can't even recall when exactly, and it might have very well been before I made the jump. Nonetheless, this quote is amazing in my opinion, and its 100% the real truth of what entrepreneurship looks like!
Here's to year #2!!