Start a business. Make some extra cash. Treat yourself and save money.
That all sounds fine and dandy, but it's not as easy as all that. Before I go any farther, let me say that I truly do love running both my businesses. I love building my brand, being my own boss, and making all the decisions behind each and every project. I love my clients and the people I meet along the way, I love perfecting my craft each time I pick up my camera, and I love knowing that my words and advice are helping others to live their best life. All that to say, I love the whole process of being an entrepreneur... but that doesn't make it easy.
I'm excited to share the three biggest lessons I've learned throughout this venture, and I hope it speaks to you, whether you're a budding entrepreneur, a seasoned business owner, or a college student trying to get through the year.
1. People will choose not to work with you
And that's okay, it really, really is. In any industry, but especially the creative industry, people have different styles and ways of doing things. Your style isn't going to mesh with everybody you know just because you know them. It took me a couple months to get this in my head, but once I did I felt like a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. It's not fair to expect friends and family to book sessions with you just because they know you-- especially if your style isn't suitable to them. Don't get offended (the world needs a whole lot less of that) instead keep on keeping on and find clients that truly love your work.
2. Never stop learning
I'm completely aware of how corny and cliché that sounds, but it's so ridiculously true. At the four month mark of Olivia Leigh Photography, I wrote a goal on a piece of paper, and that goal was to read one book a month; books that would influence my business for the better. Some of those books were for encouragement, some helped developed skills behind the camera, and some taught the tricks to marketing on social media. The best part: library cards don't cost anything, which means that all this knowledge can come literally for free!
3. Get the greatest support system
Guys, owning a business is hard and emotionally exhausting. It's up and down and farther down and skyrocketing through the ceiling before plummeting back to the bottom. All of that is hard on your self esteem and even harder on your heart. You have to learn to speak out and confide in somebody, but I personally hate confiding in people-- even the best, most understanding people (like my fabulous mother). Within 30 seconds of visiting this blog, I'm sure it was very obvious how much I love my horses and sweet pup, and those animals in my life have been the secret to keeping myself sane throughout owning this business. Whether talking to my ponies while riding through the fields, or silently crying while snuggled with my pup on my bed, I can honestly say I don't think I would still be in business without that constant support system. If you're not an animal lover like myself, find somebody who brings that same comfort and security and embrace their presence through the hardest times.
I want to end this post by saying do not quit just because it's hard. Don't. Because I promise that something is coming for you, call it an "ahh" moment if you will. It's going to make your heart stop for a split second before it explodes into happiness that makes everybody around you (humans and animals alike) think you're nuts. And you know what that's called? Success. Success from something that you built with your own hands, and cultivated with hours of work and dedication and passion, and it's all finally clicking into place. And that my friends, is worth it.