So yesterday I almost quit.
Well to be honest, I say that I am going to quit a lot more than once a year.
Why? Because running a business is not a piece of cake. What most see is the gorgeous studio (I’ll be honest that studio is pretty damn amazing—it is my sanctuary). They see the images of beautiful women, they see me smiling every time they come in. They see me in the gym or the store and tell me running a business cannot be that hard if I have time to go workout.
But what nobody sees is the time in my editing room, lonely (ok that is an exaggeration—Charlie the dog is always here:) and the 4 pots of coffee to get me through the day.
They don’t see the massive computer issues that go along with it and in turn making sure damage control is kept like I work at Disney and no one will know the difference.
No one knows about the amount of men that think they are the first to ask to be my assistant or hold a light stand during a shoot (sorry fellas- you are not original).
They don’t see the pain in my clients eyes when they open up during a session about relationships, illness and sexual issues.
They don’t see me watching tutorials on master photographers for editing, or even coping mechanisms I can help my clients throughout their session.
They don’t see the tears, they don’t see the sweat and they definitely do not see the pain.
So once in awhile I question why am I doing this if it is so complicated. Why am I getting up at 530 am just to get some work done so I have even 30 min to run the the gym in order to keep me from becoming (as my daughter calls it) a noodle (you are welcome for that visual).
Why is it I am up most nights worried about a client and her relationships more than I am worried about my own? Why do I spend as much as I do on backups for my computer, or software to make sure your images are never stolen?
Well, it is because this was never about me.
I started this business while I was working as a scientist. It was just a part time thing. I wanted to give women (and men) a reason to feel good. I am not the greatest at many things; I'm not the best in sports, Ive never been good at remembering a birthday or names even. I can cook well, if only I remember I am cooking (I get distracted a LOT).
But I knew I could give back to people where I excelled at. That was reminding them how incredible they not only look, but the worth that belonged to only them. I knew if I could show them visually how the rest of the world really saw them, they would believe me. I knew I could do this because I truly believed it myself.
So I started photographing them. It became not only therapeutic for them but for me as well. Over time the business end came into play, and it changed everything. From hard drive failures, to learning business taxes, to hiring employees. It brought on a different ballgame to the reason I got into what I do.
So last night I was thinking, while I was working on a 15 hour work through of a computer issue- why am I doing this to myself if these business parts of the job make it so unbearable. I never remember yelling at my computer this much in my old jobs?
Simple. It was never about me. It was never about if I could get through the day, it was about getting my clients through theirs. Computers, paperwork and all that no so fun stuff can go away at the end of the day. But knowing my clients see themselves as they truly are lasts me a lifetime. In the past month I have had more clients writing testimonials on my page. They open up about everything and I know what I am doing is not just some job. It is an experience.
So if you ever see me around town looking like a disheveled bag lady talking to herself this is why. Because the business part is not glamorous.
But you ladies—oh my heavens you are! You shine when you leave the studio. You grow every session you shoot. You are my reason that I would do all the not so fun work just to know you are happy. I will not stop until my clients are happy. I will not let anyone down if it is anyway possible.
Because the start of this company was never about me. It was always about you.