A Studio Update + What's Next
As I sit down to write this post, there is some fear sitting in the back of my mind. It's not easy because I'm sharing something today that is really difficult, but also easy all at the same time about my business. Here we go... sometimes making tough decisions for your business is really challenging. Can I just be honest that being a small business owner in itself is SO hard! It's the most rewarding work I've ever experienced but comes with its own set of challenges.
To call yourself an entrepreneur, all you really need is an idea and the right attitude to turn that idea into a reality.
Have you ever tried selling anything? Maybe it was lemonade on the side of the street, Pokemon cards, action figures, or even cupcakes? If yes, then at one point in your life, you were an entrepreneur. It's risky. You don't really ever know what is going to happen. And if it's anything like my journey has been there is a lot of trial and error. There's a lot of moments that take you by the reins and tell you that THIS is exactly what you're meant to be focusing on or something rocks you and makes you question yourself in every single way. Welcome to the entrepreneur rollercoaster.
It takes serious commitment because running a business is honestly like raising a child. If you want to see it grow and thrive, you have to give it your all. It requires your time, hard work, and passion. When I think about being a mom, all those things hold true.
Being an entrepreneur is having the courage to take a shot at that crazy ambition or dream you have. I have not once regretted my decision to run with the entrepreneur lifestyle because it has changed my life in more ways than I could ever imagine - including helping me discover my true talents and passions.
My world is set on fire when I have a camera in my hand, or when I'm in front of a group of photographers teaching them the things I love and know about photography, or when I'm building gorgeous websites to help creative people stand out online. All of it fuels me and has given me the opportunity to be a stay at home mama while chasing her dreams and setting a foundation for the future. None of this is changing, but I do have some big news.
I'm closing my downtown studio in South Bend at the end of August.
When I first stepped into this space, all I saw was potential. I saw my dream right before my very eyes... which was to have my own space to take pictures. It quickly became my reality when I signed the lease and started making plans to turn it into a workable space for me.
Slowly but surely my vision came to life when all the clutter was cleared and I hired some guys to paint it white for me. This building has its flaws, I knew that the moment I walked in, but I was drawn to the roughness and imperfect. I loved the natural light, high ceilings, concrete floors, random boards o the walls, and the big stage up front. There have been more than a few "bumps" with the space along the way, even some serious frustrations haha BUT it truly has been a blessing in our lives.
When I signed my lease for the studio last year, I had 14 weddings on the calendar. Things were busy, money was not an issue and at that time I did not see myself slowing down anytime soon. If you caught this post however, you know some of that changed as 2018 rolled on in. Since I wrote that post, even more has changed for me as I've been on a journey to change my lifestyle and be healthy. In December of 2017 I weighed 202 and was just under the threshold of obesity. Today I'm 35 pounds lighter and finally feel alive again. I am still on this journey and excited to continue making it my priority. [[More on that over here.]] With these changes, I've cut back on many things, including weddings. I only have five on the calendar this year and a few for 2019. This has been a very intentional decision. I'm BEYOND excited about my couples this year and cannot wait for them to get here! My calendar is full of website design projects which I'm totally stoked about, too! I typically stop offering website design in the spring but excited to keep those services open all year long to clients.
If I'm being super transparent and honest, my studio has become more of a personal play space.
We not only workout in my studio almost every day, we have parties, bunko nights with the family, yoga flows with friends and movie nights. It has been AMAZING. I find myself going in there to just hang out with Riley because we just love the space so much. It's become our second living room, lol. I especially love being right in town and keeping up with the community in that way. There have also been stretches I'm not in my studio for 1-2 weeks at a time. It's totally random and the reason I don't have office hours posted on my door.
My rent is pretty steep for our area (which I've been told). When I got the space I was able to justify the cost with the weddings I was booking but since making the choice to only book 5-6 weddings a year I simply cannot justify the cost, especially when I'm not taking many pictures in the space on a regular basis. I can pay my rent, that's really not the issue BUT Shaun and I have had to sit down and hash out some things lately about our future.
Right now we live in the most adorable little house right next to the schools. It's perfect for this stage of our lives. However, our conversations are getting more and more real about what we want for our future now that we truly know this is where we are meant to be, and where we WANT to be. Ultimately, we want to be on the ranch. What that looks like just yet I'm not sure but we are making plans in our heads on our next big move to our forever. We have no idea what that really looks like just yet but we have ideas.
I will have my dream studio on our property... someday. Shaun knows that this is one of the big must haves on our list. My studio will be everything I've dreamed it to be on Rose Ranch and I cannot wait for that stage when the time is right. To give you an idea of my vision for my space, I created this board on Pinterest:
with that being said, Sometimes when chasing THE big dreams, smaller ones have to be put on pause.
So I'm saying goodbye to my beautiful downtown space in August because it's time to start thinking long term and saving toward that big dream with Shaun. I'm hosting my second annual Dream Chasers Workshop at the end of July/early August which will be my last big event in this space. It will be bittersweet, that's for sure BUT it will also be really special all at the same time as we make way for some even bigger plans and dreams.
In the mean time, I hope to book as MUCH as I possibly can in my studio until I turn over the keys. If you've wanted pictures with me in my space, now is the time to book!
I live in a small town so I know the rumors will be flying about my business and that I just "couldn't make it", but that honestly couldn't be further from the truth. Over the past several months, I've made a very CONSCIOUS decision to slow things down but stay busy with a more manageable workload. My health and wellness journey has been the most incredible experience and it is also one of my primary focuses right now. I realized that in order to be the best business owner and human being in general, I had to focus on myself and begin the journey to love my self better. I don't ever plan on NOT being a photographer but I also know that I have to trust the timing of my life and the wake up calls I've had to focus on other areas of my life. My business is NOT CLOSED. I am still a wedding and portrait photographer. I am still in business! I am still taking clients! I'm just not going to have the studio after August... but you better believe when it's time... my forever spot on Rose Ranch will be absolutely amazing for my office, pictures, and gatherings.