I have come to a bit of a crossroads recently. A few months ago I was tackling a couple weddings at the beginning of wedding season, feeling like I was working 24/7 as a photographer/editor/blogger/etc. At the end of the day, there was no room for anything else. No time for the house, not for Ezra, not for my dogs, not for my hubby, and not for myself. Now, I understand this job comes with ups and downs. When it rains, it pours, and when I have a dry spell, it hangs around for a while. I get it.
With that being said, I still need some sort of balance, although it is getting better as I go along. I was talking with my hubby about maybe putting down the camera and stepping back a bit to focus on what I care for most in my life, that being my family. It’s difficult sometimes, being a photographer, or anyone for that matter! My job is certainly nothing to gripe at. I mean to say that I spend so much of my time working behind the lens or editing at my computer, seeing other people live in the photographs I take of them, feeling like I have to sacrifice my life at times to do so. However, at the same time, I love taking photos! If I wasn’t working at my photography business, I would still take photos! So it’s a weird spot to be in.
I wonder what it takes to “make it” as a photographer and owning a business. I still don’t know, not entirely at least, other than hard work and time. There is no “tried and true” way to make things work for everyone. I do know what it takes to be a photographer though, and that is passion. Obviously it takes a lot of things on the technical side, but what keeps me going at the end of the day is the love of photography. This ties me into my motivation tips. I have to remind myself of these three things when I come to a crossroads or I get overwhelmed or down in the dumps:
Comparing yourself to others will rob you of happiness. Everyone knows you shouldn’t do it, but we still do. I often look to others for inspiration or guidance when I need help, and end up with eyes of envy. “Wow, look at all those FB, Twitter, Instagram followers…” or “That person is so accomplished, I will never get there!” Etc. Etc.
Instead, compare yourself to yourself. Look at your own progress, and your perspective will change. YOU know all the hard work you have put into, well, whatever it is that you do. For me, I look at my style of photography and how much I have grown over the course of the years. I can’t say “look at X photographer, they started their business 4 years ago, and are already published, and successful, and…” so on and so forth. Instead, I remind myself that, hey, I started my business two years ago, found and established clients (whom I love), established all my social media pages, have grown exponentially, have improved my photography skills, etc. It feels so much better to think this way.
This is a bit counter-intuitive, considering how I feel swamped with work sometimes, but in my experience, side projects have made me more productive. When you start a side project, you get that zeal for something new, and find that passion that keeps you going again. You realize what is important, for your work and for your new project, and shred away anything else. “I don’t have time for A, B, and C, I need to work on X, Y, and Z today.” This is what Google picked up on when they started the 80/20 rule. 80% of employees time is spent doing work, and 20% is spent doing a productive side project. People are happier, feel more creative, and are more productive in their work time.
For me, I have been wanting to start blogging again, which takes a lot of work. However, I want to merge it with Rememory Photography, so I can manage one brand. I have been working behind the scenes with getting a new webspace, where I can write about photography and lifestyle related stuff. This has helped me be more productive all around, since I don’t have time to get distracted. I also plan better to handle work accordingly, and free up space for me and my family.
Take time off, and make it worth it. For example, don’t be like me this past weekend and waste away all of Saturday by sitting on the couch. Sure, I got to hang with my family, but we didn’t have any real quality time together. I didn’t feel rejuvenated, instead, I felt lazy. So make it count. And stay away from your phone! *note to self*
The best thing I do when I am taking time away from work, is travel with my husband. By travel I mean, packing up, getting into my car with my hubs/family, and leave town. Even if we only leave for Austin, (1 hour away from me), I still feel that “getaway” that I always need. Find what makes you rejuvenate, and make time for it. When you come back to reality, you will be better off than you were before.
These three things, for me, revive my passion for what I do every day, and that is, working at making my photography business successful, and keeping it that way.
I know I can’t be the only one who has ups and downs. What little tips work for you? I would love your input in the comments!