In a few minutes, March will tick into April, marking one month of running my own business. Jon is fast asleep and I’m sitting here at my desk, wondering how to put this into words. I had no idea how this month would go. I planned for the worst and hoped for the best. Within hours of launching my website, emails started arriving. Within days, I had bookings!
But for every win, there was a trip here and a stumble there. We jumped up and down when I received my first signed contract. And then I felt my heart break when I realised I’d messed up some shots. I couldn’t sleep with excitement after learning how to “drag” lights around the lounge. And then I sobbed into Jon’s chest when I couldn’t nail my shots when the sky turned black. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you guys this.
Maybe I should act like I’ve got it all together but the truth is, I’m thirty-three and starting an entirely new career. It’s fun and freeing and exciting and nerve-wracking! This is going to be a journey. Hopefully, in a year from now, I’ll be blogging all sorts of tips and techniques but for now, I’m all about learning as much as I can. The steady confidence will come.
In my early days of advertising, I had to write a series of radio ads. I threw myself into these ads but I just couldn’t crack them. Every day, I’d find the scripts on my desk, scrawled with red pen. De-feat-ed. After three days of rewrites, I drove home in tears, feeling like a fraud who was about to be sacked. My then-boss (who still happens to be my mentor) sat me down the following day and told me that there was no use in moping around all forlorn. If I were to survive in the ad business, I would have to grow a thick skin and get on with it. Well, I cried even more! Because now I didn’t know how to be tough.
But day by day, it happened. Two steps forward, one step back. Three approvals, one big rewrite. Five silly questions, one epic campaign. And suddenly, I was the head writer for one of South Africa’s biggest brands. Without realising it, the confidence had seeped into my spirit. Sure, I still had off days but writing no longer terrified me. In fact, I was all, “You need a ten page report scribbled in a hot minute? Bring it on!” But that came with practise. It came with grit. With edits. With failures. With late nights. With research. With word after word after word. And I have to trust that the same will happen with photography.
Like I did as a young copywriter, I will put my heart and soul into every shoot. I will learn from the negatives and focus on the positives. I will practise the technical and prioritise the emotional. If things go wrong, I will do my best to put them right. And as soon as I can, I will help other new photographers. I will speak faith into them like so many have done for me. If you’re about to start a new venture, know that I’m rooting for you! If you feel like giving up, send me an email and we’ll go for a cuppa. If it feels risky, it’ll probably be rewarding! Do what feels right for you. There are no perfect pictures. There are no perfect businesses. We’ve all got to do what feels right for us. Be yourself and you’ll attract kindred spirits!
If this is starting to sound like a high school graduation speech, that’s probably because I watched a lot of them today on Youtube! Oh, we haven’t even talked about the sleep-ins and the fact that I got to snuggle my dogs on a Tuesday afternoon! But I’ll save the pros of running your own biz (hello, Netflix!) for another post because I have to thank these humans. Jon, my folks, Bridget, Micaela, Jon’s family, my friends, my internet buddies, the incredible photographers who have reached out to me and of course, my clients! You made this a month to remember and I’m forever grateful for your support. x