I remember the day a few years ago, I woke up and realised the business was causing more angst than joy. I’d fallen out of love. Not with the taking photographs side of it, but the stresses of running a small business were keeping me awake at night. I felt I’d let it down, that I’d ignored some niggles I’d had. I was trying to do too much, and trying to be too much to too many people. Something had to give.
We’ve talked about it before on our blog, about our business being our first baby before Olive. I don’t want that to sound overly dramatic, but it can really feel like that as a small business owner can’t it? These businesses we’ve grown and nurtured over the years. Those all consuming first few months. You might hit the terrible twos, I know I did when I was running the business by myself before Suzi joined, and I really wasn’t sure what direction to take. I know for us, that we’ve taken a few ‘wrong’ parental decisions along the way, but it’s a learning curve. And a few years ago we had to make a difficult decision about not doing weddings anymore, but we knew we wanted to grow the family photography, retreats and the working with brands side to Sarah Mason Photography. We looked at what we could/should be doing to feed this little business, and it can be quite a scary proposition going it alone, believing in it, and doing what’s right for you. They need nurturing, care, and good old TLC. I still have the odd broken night’s sleep worrying about the first baby. It had been pulling me in so many different directions. But when I woke up the other morning, I realised that, over a period of time, I had fallen back in love.
There have been a few things that have been helping. I’ve realised I need quite a lot of structure to my days (as much as I may have fought this feeling).
Monthly, weekly , and daily planning in my Ponderlily Planner (I love the layout).
Making space for cooking good food, and actually building it into my planner.
Trying not to fall into the comparison trap, which can be hard I know!
Doing projects and creating something daily (I’m going to write a blog about this over the next couple of weeks with some ideas you might like to try).
I feel like I’m feeding this baby again, and giving it some heart and soul food!
I guess it’s all stuff I already knew, but it’s been about allowing myself to do them. Even my Frazzle intake is down (my go to stress crisp!)
This year, our word to work towards is CLARITY. Clarity in what we’re offering as a business. 2019 is all about building on our Filmmaking and our Family Photography work, and growing our Retreats and community. And leaving space for experimenting, project work, and writing our book! But more importantly, above all this, is making time for adventures with Olive.
It’s good to talk business. It can sometimes feel lonely out there, but having fellow small business owners to chat to can really help. I know it’s helped us. Just the other day we were sat running some photography retreat ideas by our friend Hannah as we had a cup of tea. We chatted about her business. She said something that really resonated with me ‘I look after it, and it looks after me’.
So we’ve had an idea brewing for a while, and in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to launch a new retreat - The Business Of Photography - which we’ll run in autumn. We’ll take you through what we’ve learnt over these last ten years, how to find, and then work with your ideal clients. Finding clarity in where you are right now, where you’d like to be, and how to get there. The 3 P’s - Portfolios, Pricing, Products. This is for you if you’re just on the cusp, or thinking about setting up your portrait photography business. Or maybe you’ve been running your business for a while, but feel you need to give it some of your attention, a warm hug, so you can fall back in love.
Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? We’ll be posting details over the next couple of weeks. We’d love to hear your thoughts. You can email us here if you want any more information before we launch the retreat. And if you think anyone could benefit from this, please do feel free to share the post.