Even though I have been shooting for sometime longer, I would really consider this last year as my first in the "professional" realm. I cannot even begin to tell you all of the amazing experiences I have had working in this industry thus far. I have had some crazy highs, and crippling lows. I have had months where I could, by myself, pay for all of my families bills for the month, and months where I have checked my change jar every day to see if I could buy a granola bar or a couple dollars worth of gas. Owning your own business definitely isn't for everyone, I will say that. One of the most important things that I have learned in this last year is that you have to LOVE what you do every second of every single day. If you only half way love what you do, or you only love the money, or you think you are done learning, I will tell you right now that running your own business is not for you. That love and passion is what is going to get you through those lower months back up to the better times ahead. You simply cannot gain success without trudging through some mud along the way. I'm not trying to sit here and pretend to be successful or have accomplished something amazing within one year, but I have learned lessons like this, that allow me to keep my head up, and to keep pushing.
This year has also been my first year as a father, so that has added a whole new level to trying to operate my own business. Trying to raise these two separate things, both in their first year, both of which require my full attention in order to grow. Wow, I actually never thought of it like that until now, but I like that.
I remember showing up to my first wedding in October, and being so unbelievably nervous that I was going to mess something up. I'm so fortunate for the faith I received from that very first couple allowing me to shoot their wedding, even though it was my very first. That was what catapulted me headfirst into this and made me realize how much I really wanted to shoot weddings.
My first wedding of the coming season is in two weeks, and I am so incredibly excited to be at this for a whole new year, with a whole brand new amount of knowledge from this previous year.
If I can give any advice to anyone who is trying to get into this, and you are trying to build up your business over the first year or so, and you find yourself struggling, KEEP GOING. Don't give up. Love what you do. Keep shooting.
Here's to a brand new year.