One thing I’ve learned about growing the business continually over the past five years is that things changes and priorities shift. Especially in an industry that changes as fast as this one! In the somewhat short amount of time I’ve been a wedding photographer, I’ve already seen things in the industry shift and several trends come and go. It’s important to keep learning to adapt if you want to survive, and part of that is realizing that your priorities will have to change too.
It’s funny that I learned that this year…because this was a year when I really saw my focus shift. In years past I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about things that aren’t important (like how many instagram followers I had, or how many people were reading my blog). But this year, I decided that the only things that were important to me were my clients and my friends and family. If it wasn’t something directly related to being able to grow my business and provide for my family OR related to taking care of our clients, I did NOT make it a priority.
This meant not submitting to magazines this year and not going to many networking events. It meant spending evenings doing things like going to free outdoor concerts and having pizza with friends rather than staying up late blogging all night because I “have to”. Living my life more intentionally made me a better business owner than getting featured would because it made me happier and more relaxed. It made me more excited to create and more motivated to bring my clients an even better experience. Most importantly, being happier and more relaxed made me ready to invest in what is really important in my business, and that’s people! If you find yourself getting frustrated or burnt out, I highly suggest taking time out and refocusing a bit.
With all that being said, you’ll see that some of the things on my to do list were a bust. And you know what? That is really okay with me, because like I said before, sometimes we discover that our priorities are just different, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
- Meet booking goal – I’m happy to say that we exceeded our goal this year! And we are more than half way to our 2017 goal, too! Yay!
- Be consistent with submissions – I let this one slip off of my to do list at some point because I realized that submissions are not as important to me as they once were.
- Professional branded headshots – Fail. John had surgery this year and then spent quite a few months recovering, so this one was not at the top of our list! It’s definitely going back on next year’s!
- Collaborate more with fellow wedding vendors – This is a win and a fail. I did get to collaborate with some new folks this year (like my good friend Brandi on her headshots AND our Safari themed styled shoot) but I’d like to do a couple more projects next year.
- Secret project – I keep telling myself I want to do this project, but I haven’t yet! I swear I’m going to do it next year…cross my heart and hope to die!!
- Re-examine each part of our wedding day shooting flow and see what we can do better. I’d say this one was a win! After having a bit more time this year to focus on things like this since John was home with me for five months recovering from his surgery (and able to help with a lot of small tasks I had) I was able to sit down and come up with some strategies for how to handle some common wedding day challenges. Maybe I will blog about this soon!
- Education of some kind – Besides listening to a few new podcasts, this one was also a bust. I’m still looking for a great workshop for advanced business owners, so if you know of one, let me know!
- Read a business book a month and blog about it. I read three books and then didn’t keep up with this project. I’d like to try again next year though!
- Cut out unnecessary business spending. I think this one is a win! We spent less on frivolous items like fancy bags and cool camera straps, and I ended up being able to have a little bit more in savings this year, which meant we could go to Hawaii! Double win!
Personal Goal Progress
- Do a strict pull up. I am SO CLOSE to being able to do this!! Come on shoulders and lats!! Let me do it already!!! It’s been a long time goal to do a strict pull up. I can do them flailing my body around and using momentum, but I think that’s cheating and want to be able to do a strict one next year!
- Pay off our car. We did not do that this year. Instead we (John) had his surgery and we used some of our savings to go back to my favorite place…Hawaii!
- Get a second tattoo. I finally got the tattoo I’d been wanting since 2013! It’s a small tattoo of roman numerals XXVI.II for the marathon I ran that year.
- Take two trips. I went to California to visit my good friend Jen and we took a road trip together to Las Vegas! I also went to the mountains in North Carolina with her in the fall, and to Florida by myself to meet my nephew, who was born just after I left! I also went to Charleston with my friend Sarah, and John and I went to HAWAII for the second time this past December! We’ll round out the year with another trip to Florida after Christmas to see friends and finally meet my baby nephew!
- Shoot one roll of film a month. This definitely didn’t happen (for like the third year in a row!) but I did shoot a lot more film than I ever have, so I consider that progress!
Overall, we had another great year! We had so many kind and wonderful clients and witnessed another year’s worth of marriages beginning. I am so appreciative to all of the people we got to work with and I am just so thankful to get to do this another year!