My husband and I often joke these days that over the last half year I’ve gone from running a legitimate business to now having a non-business. And while that’s not completely accurate (my business is legitimate still), the changes that I’ve made in my thinking about business are, in fact, so dramatic that it can seem that way.
If you saw my blog post from last week then you already know that in the last year I’ve gone from wanting to close down my business to deciding to reopen it . . . with some changes in the way I do things. In that post I told you about the need to have time for my family again and what I was doing to make sure that continues to happen. So far these changes have worked wonderfully for our family and I’m thankful! The most significant change (that I skimmed over in that particular blog post) is the mental and emotional switch in me. It’s so dramatic to my family’s well-being that I didn’t want to tell you about it because I didn’t want to be sucked back into thinking too much about it.
So let me start with a confession that is beyond embarrassing for me to admit! These past few years of learning business, most things I did or bought or said were put through an internal filter of ‘how can this help grow my business’. Social media posts (even on my personal page), blog posts, conversations with strangers, clothes for my daughter . . . you name it, I likely thought about its’ affects on this business. I found myself trying to bring every discussion back around to photography in some way and would be disgusted at my actions day after day. It became the exception when my husband and I would have a day not discussing pricing or marketing or ideas for sessions or how I could serve my clients better (or some other business related thing).
I love learning new things – and learning about business is no acception. I have definitely learned a ton both from actually owning a business and from outside sources. I don’t expect that to stop, I hope to always be learning (I love Donald Miller’s Storybrand Podcast). However, it was unhealthy for it to consume all of my life like it did in the past.
I’m not sure why I find it surprising that it got to this point. After all, I’m an all-or-nothing girl in every other area of my life. Example: I hate to diet, but Whole30 I can get completely on board with, despite it’s extreme commitment. So, it also shouldn’t surprise me to realize that I had to swing all the way to closing the business before deciding I could continue on in a healthier way. Truthfully, the first couple of months after putting the camera down I didn’t miss photography AT ALL! I’ve already confessed that I didn’t even pick up my camera to take photos of my own children – it collected dust hidden away in storage.
Then I found what I did miss, and it has nothing to do with running a business. I love to create beautiful pictures. It’s that simple and that is what I want to do! I want to capture families and newborns and seniors and sisters and friends . . . the subject in the photos doesn’t really matter so much. What matters to me is that you love the pictures! I want you to love them so much that the only thing you want to do all day long is stare at them. I want you to love them so much that you want them to hang on your walls to enjoy every day. I want you to love them so much that the people closest to you get sick of you sharing and talking about them. If that’s what you want too, then it sounds like we’ll get along in this non-business business of mine.
So now in the Byler home our discussions revolve around our kids, our faith, what we’re reading, what our schedule looks like this week, and occasionally, how a session might have gone or what I may be planning for an upcoming photo shoot. No more all-consuming obsession with making money (because, really, isn’t that what an all-consuming obsession with business really is?), just prayers that I can share more beauty in the world with my non-business loving peeps.