Have you ever imagined that you would someday own your own business? That you would be responsible for everything from marketing, finances, taxes, in addition to the actual product or service you were selling? To be honest, I never thought that was me. I wasn’t an entrepreneur or manager. And while I absolutely loved photography and would dream of being a photographer, I never thought about the business side of photography.
At least, I had not thought about it much until this past year. Somehow during my husband’s unemployment and my maternity leave over two years ago, my dream of being a photographer turned into an actual pursuit. Something happened around that time that kept moving me closer and closer to following my dream and making it reality. I knew it would take time, but even as I began the steps to officially form my business, the dream still seemed so far away. But just 1 ½ years after officially submitting the paperwork, I walked away from my full-time job ready to be a full-time family photographer. And now I am in the midst of learning what owning your own business is really all about.
I’ve made great strides in this time, but I’ve also made mistakes, and I just know that this business could consume me if I don’t get everything organized. So, when CreativeLIVE and Tamara Lackey announced the September class for Taking Care of Business – I blocked my calendar. After submitting a video for last year’s class, I knew I would re-submit and try again this year, and even if I wasn’t accepted – I knew I would be watching and glued to my seat. And as it turns out, I was “glued” to my seat on the couch of the CreativeLIVE studio set in Seattle with a microphone attached to my shirt.
To start off, if you haven’t heard of CreativeLIVE, they are a live classroom offering free online classes and workshops in photography, video, web and graphic design, app development and a wide array of other creative topics. And if you can’t participate or watch during the live recording, you can purchase the videos to watch in your own time, and these can be incredibly valuable. But even more valuable, is the invitation to become a part of their live audience. For many of the workshops, they’ll bring in just 6 photographers to be there in person. You pay your own way, but the workshop and content is free. And being there live is an incredible experience. It’s educational, networking and fun all rolled into one.
From the moment we started our course, Tamara Lackey informed us that we were going to “bring hotness to business”. If you have ever met or seen Tamara speak, you know that her energy, enthusiasm and general sweetness is completely disarming. Somehow I was mostly able to forget that we had about 3 or 4 video cameras recording every whisper, movement, giggle or sniffle.
So, what did I take away?
- – I can’t do it all, and shouldn’t keep trying. I’m already working on the list of what I can assign to another person, and what makes sense to keep as my tasks.
- – Single-tasking – Getting the same things done at one time can help you be more efficient and maximize your time. Close all other windows and just focus on one task at a time until complete. Blog writing days will now be on Fridays.
- – Know who I am – succinctly. And what am I drawn to? For me, these were answered with just a few words – Family, Warmth, Giggles, Closeness, Hugs, and Sunshine. This is me. This is what I love. This is what I’m drawn to time and time again. I was happy during this section, as I do feel that brand is beginning to carry all of those sentiments.
- – Just start and just start somewhere. This alone has inspired me this week. Some tasks have been on my list for a while, but things are starting to roll as I head into my busy Fall season.
- – Shoot what you love. Do what you love. Doing something for yourself always leads to something bigger. (Interview with Matthew Jordan Smith)
- – Rekanize that energy is contagious! 🙂 Bring positive and happy energy into everything you do, and make sure to take time to recharge and rejuvenate to keep your energy high.
- – Change your mindset, change experiences in your life, and this will change your outcome.
- – Be easy to do business with – in so many ways. At my previous company, this was one of our core values, and it translates so well to any business.
I have a notebook full of specific business tips to focus on in the upcoming months, and things are already moving forward.
I want to personally thank CreativeLIVE for everything they do. They put so much of themselves into these classes, and the energy and excitement from everyone I met is really contagious.
As for Tamara Lackey, she should be the star of the new movie “How Does She Do It?” (I say that strictly based on the title, as I haven’t seen it yet). I have seen Tamara speak 5 times in just about 1 year, which is not something I would typically recommend, but her content is always new and fresh and I just continue to learn and learn and learn from all of her knowledge and experience. And amazingly, she just continues to share more incredible information. She is an extremely positive person and I’m lucky just to have been given the chance to get to know her. After just one conversation with her, you might just walk away feeling better about yourself, because she’s that positive, that energetic and that amazing. Thank you to Tamara Lackey for everything you continue to do for this industry.
For my incredible colleagues in the live audience – Jesse, Donovan, Kellianna, Erika and Courtney – you guys were amazing. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and everyone else watching around the world. Thank you for helping to make me laugh, and for listening to me when I was stressed. You are all so very talented and it was a privilege to be there with you for the two days in Seattle. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you and hearing about your careers as you each grow your businesses. I have no doubt that you will all succeed, and I look forward to sharing things we have learned and continue to learn as we grow.