They say that "opposites attract" and that particular saying has never been observed more than in Braden and I.
The thing about Braden is, he has a very left-brain, while I have a very right-brain. This usually creates a nice balance to our lives, and as whole keeps me "in-check" when I start to live in my dream world. He keeps me grounded, and focused on the present when I could spend all my time dreaming about all the things I want to do in the future. The problem with this is, it's very hard for him to appreciate the things that are important to me because they don't compute in his mind as important.
We do have 6 children to raise, which is no small financial feat, and as he is currently the main income producer of the family, he has a lot of stress and pressure to deal with on a daily basis. My main goal for my photography business is to alleviate most of, if not all of this stress and support our family of eight on a thriving business. Now, neither of us have business degrees so it is very hard to see eye to eye on how my business is being run, how it's being marketed, and how to gauge it's success. Where it is of my opinion that any successful business takes a few years to become profitable, Braden sees it as a more black and white, "you do a job and you're paid for it" issue and cannot understand why it should take me even a year to gain a profit from photography. He sees me putting in so much time and effort and passion into photography and to him, since it's not paying the bills yet it's not successful. I know he's not trying to be a dream crusher, and he just wants what's best for our family and he's worried about providing for all of us to have a comfortable life; but sometimes it is hard when the person you are sharing your life with doesn't believe that you are successful. So, when he told me yesterday I should "go back to school and get a degree in something and get a job when the kids are all in school because being self employed doesn't seem to be working out" it pretty much ruined my day. Again, I know he's coming from a place of concern for our family but nothing makes someone feel like an utter failure more than a lack of confidence from the person you love the most.
There are so many things I've tried to explain to Braden- like it takes most business a few years to turn a profit, photography is a unique business where there can be million different business models and you have to find the one that fits you best and that can be a process that takes time, that Groupon is not a marketing tool for all business and I don't feel like it is right for my brand, that I want to offer something different than other photographers in my area by becoming a full-service studio instead of the "shoot and burn" model I had used in years before... the list of things go on and on. Unfortunately these things are mostly lost on Braden and he sees things only in dollars and cents; and to him, since he is still the main income producer for the family and is burdened with the stress that ensues, I have not accomplished my goals as a photographer and a business owner.
I was so frustrated after yesterday's conversation that I began questioning everything I was doing. My marketing plan for 2013, my portfolio, my website, my pricing struture, the photographs themselves. Maybe Braden is right. Maybe I'm just not cut out for business ownership, and I should think about getting a job. Maybe it's not fair for me to think that I can be lucky enough to have six healthy children and support them with mere photography. Maybe that's the great trade-off. You get blessed with a wonderful family or a wonderful job- not both. Maybe everything I've worked for and dreamed about will always be just out of reach and our lives will just be filled with stress and worry. Maybe.
But then, as I was waiting to pick up Olivia from school, I watched this video from Sue Bryce. One of my chief inspirations, she is THE end all, be all in contemporary portraiture and glamour. I first discovered her on creativeLIVE and have ravenously devoured her marketing and photography education as fast as I could. This video brought me quite literally to tears seeing one woman achieve such incredible things with no more tools than I have. Hard hard work, dedication, perseverance, and probably a little bit of insanity have made her one of the front-runners of photography, and man I may not know everything about running a business but I know about those things. I know that talent will never get you as far as ambition, and that is something I have never been short of. So, I sat in the parking lot of Olivia's school with tears streaming down my face as I watched this video showing Sue Bryce do what she does best, and I saw with conviction what I want for my own life.
Sue is coming back to creativeLIVE tomorrow to teach a video marketing class with the video's creator, Hailey Bartholomew and I can honestly say I will be MIA for the next three days and glues to my computer soaking in every bit of knowledge I can fit into this brain of mine. Because although it may take a little more doubt from the people I love, I'm gonna run right up this hill.
Listen to Mindy Gledhill's song "Whole Wide World" whenever you need a swift kick in the butt and little more courage to follow your dreams.