Being a small business owner comes with many challenges. For starters, taxes. Now, I don’t know who wrote German Tax Laws, but I feel like sometimes they just threw a dart at a bunch of stuff and said “Sure, ok… let’s go with that… for NOW… muahahahahaha!”… it’s a conspiracy. And last year was FILLED with trying to adapt and overcome to things like Tax Laws, language barriers, rules, regulations and enough red tape to wrap the sun up. The truth? I let it stress me out. A LOT. And it showed. I was irritable, moody (I’m sure most of you noticed a rapid decline in the positivity of my interactions…) and to be blunt, a bitch. And not just to others. But to myself. I put myself in a consistent state of stress, which took me back to the end of my days working retail… And I didn’t want that to signal (or lead to) the end of my days taking photos.
So I looked deep within. YES, I have a business to run, but ya know what? I can’t do that efficiently and positively if I can’t even run MYSELF. As such, 2011 ended with the realization that I need to get my $h!t together and stop letting my business run me. I need to make more time for the things I LOVE in life, like my husband, yes, but more specifically… my photography. Not my CLIENTS photography. But MY photography. I love photographing people because I love people. And I like to pretend I’m fairly decent at it. But what do I LOVE to shoot? What makes me all giddy and wide eyed when I head out to shoot it? That’s what I need to make time for.
I know a lot of us are in this place, and if you’re not yet, chances are good you MIGHT be soon. So here is how I plan to put 2011 behind me and start with fresh, new eyes for 2012. How I’m going to run a business, but meet my personal objectives as well.
1. Limited Appointments
I said this last year, but I’d always get the last minute “ooooh can you fit me in??”. And I’d cave. Every time. This year, no caving. I pulled up good ol’ Publisher and made myself a 2012 calendar. Then, I want through and filled days I know I won’t be available to do ANYTHING in red (ie: Birthdays, anniversary…. etc). Next, I filled in 2 (yes, TWO) days a week in green. These are my “working days”. Each “working day” needs an “admin day” for editing and follow up and uploading and what have you, so the day after the green day is filled in blue (for admin day). The rest of the days? Well, those are my days.
2. Made a goal
This year, I want to shoot for fun 2 days a week. One day will be a full blown photo outing, even if it’s just driving to a nearby village and walking around it. And one day will be a learning day. To hone my skills and become even more awesome than I already am. I know, I am pretty fantastic already but no matter how amazing you are or how big your ego… there is always room to improve. So each week, I’m going to leave my comfort zone and learn something new. Or stay in my comfort zone and PERFECT something I already know. But I’m going to get better and grow. These are written on my calendar, too. It’s easier to stick to something if you are looking at it all the time.
3. $$ Does not make a photographer
I need a new camera. I need a macro lens. I need a 24-105L. I need, I need I need…. to start taking more photos with what I HAVE vs. talking about why I can’t and need to buy something new. Photography is one of those things where it’s normal to keep wanting stuff. But if it’s not broken, don’t replace it. If you don’t need to, don’t upgrade it. I get a lot of flack for shooting with standard vs L lenses. But you know… to hell with them! Let them obsess about money and gear. I’ll be focused on taking the actual photos.
4. And the most important thing…
I will find the fun in everything I shoot. Nothing is going to drag me down, wear me out or make me bored. I will have fun whether I’m taking corporate headshots or product photos for a catalog. FUN WILL BE HAD. I refuse to start to loathe seeing my camera. She deserves better.
Do you find yourself in the same situation? What are you doing to remedy it?