So… this is not a typical “Hello, Friday” installment. Of course there will be nail polish (and for the occasion, I could’ve picked something more festive, but I was feeling content and not too razzle-dazzle-y, so pale dusty pink is the way to go, apparently) but really this post is a big THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my Dreams post, who emailed me, who “liked” it, who wrote something on Facebook about all this… it’s been amazing, being wrapped up in your goodwill.
A little lump in my throat goes to a few of my wonderful clients, who wrote such lovely things to me… I hope they don’t mind if I post a few of their quotes here.
Liz: …I respect you more knowing you had to work that job and produce such amazing photography and hone your skills. I feel like I’m under-working at pursuing my dream now, b/c you did amazing, Elissa. Truly amazing.
Emily: I am so proud of you and we’re so lucky that you documented our wedding : ) Honestly, I didn’t have any idea that you were balancing a cruddy day job with your stellar photography; you were just that awesome at customer service and fantasticness! We think you’re the best!
Rachelle: …I don’t even know what would have happened if we hadn’t switched to you, but I don’t think it would have turned out well, so you basically saved our wedding, plus now we are friends. Everyone wins!
Not to discount where I am now, because it’s definitely further along than where I have been… but it’s a bit amusing that people are telling me, “You made it!” Hmm, I don’t think I’ve really made it. I mean, my husband made it possible for me to quit my current job to pursue what I want to do. Yes, I worked really hard to get my business to where it is right at the moment, but “making it” would actually entail that I swapped one full-time job that paid for our bills for another one that paid them just the same. And that is not the case. I worked that day job knowing the reality of the situation: if Walt’s job search was going to continue to hit a brick wall, it was up to me to make the money, and that meant Making This Business WORK, or staying on at my job until his job search was fruitful. It just so happens that his job search was fruitful before my business got to the point where it WORKed enough to take over our income.
The truth is that I’m lucky. You know, we’ve been leaning on each other this entire time. I was the primary breadwinner while Walt went through school and then tried to find a job in his new field, while I cried all over his shirt when I felt like I was going nowhere. Now, while I continue to build my business, Walt can focus on his career while covering us with his paycheck, and I have the time to do things like network, edit, actually receive phone calls, and — oh yeah — sleep.
And my next point: there’s no “making it” in this business. From what I’ve learned from some of the industry’s biggest, brightest, and most prolific, this is actually a fickle business to be in. Times change; technology changes; marketing changes; styles change… If I can’t keep up with these changes, my business may not get very far without limping.
Wedding photography is difficult. You don’t get repeat customers, because people don’t usually have multiple weddings. You have to rely on a web of networks, happy clients passing your information on, and other marketing tactics to propel your business forward. It’s not really a business where you peak and then rest on your laurels while continuing to rake in cash. It’s hard work, fueled by passion and determination. Or maybe I’m doing it wrong ;)
Anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be a tangent into preachiness! It was just an acknowledgment that Walt is amazing and I’m so lucky to have him by my side throughout all this, and that I know I’m nowhere near close to where I want my business to be… It’s going to take a lot more time and shooting and new experiences for me to feel a little more secure about all this. But I appreciate all of you readers and commenters so much :)
And as promised, this week’s nails: “Steady As She Rose” from the Pirates collection by OPI; sad to say that the totally awesome color on my ring finger is “The One That Got Away” from the Katy Perry collection by OPI.
Happy Friday, everyone!