I have been meaning to write out some goals for this new business year (wohoo! It's 2015!!!) for quite a few weeks already and life has just kept me busy. I have had some goals floating around in my mind but haven't had the discipline to sit down for a few minutes and write them down. Today feels like a good night to ponder them out. So here it goes...
I ended the year in business with a sad and disappointed state of mind. While I kept these feelings mostly to myself and only just recently shared them with my close family and friends, I figured they are definitely important to how some of the goals for this year are shaped. Without going into much detail at the present moment, I realized a multitude of things as the year progressed and business entered the autumn/early winter season. I pride myself in what I do and the relationships I build with the people I work. For so many years I have always felt a little out of place in my area and with the clientele who often inquired about my services. For some reason, I simply do not intake a large volume of wedding work and, while I certainly like the way it keeps me busy just enough, I also feel like I am sometimes, quite often actually, overruled with anxiety by the lack of volume intake. I'm not quite sure you'll understand what I mean with the aforementioned sentence but I suppose I can try to explain.
Over the years, I feel like some clients have taken advantage of my generosity and just in the latter part of 2014, I felt like some people really mistook my kindness and love of my craft for sheer naiveness. Alas, perhaps I am naive, however, I am quite content with the work that I have and figured that I needed to really focus on further creating my very own niche in the general and overall wedding industry. In simpler terms, some of the people I worked with this past year helped guide me towards the direction in which I am aiming to take my craft in. Most importantly, the birth of my second child has really shifted my focus and priority on the importance of being a parent, and, simultaneously, an entrepreneur.
Thus, it is with great joy that I have decided a few things about my photography, the business, and the direction I am headed in.
First, I have decided to no longer focus on photographing weddings in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as my primary source of work. I think I am more interested in happily being a mother to my children and running my business from my home. I am interested in running a business that takes me around the world from the comfort of my own home. I don't want to stress over maintaining an office and pouring my all for potential clients with who's style and budget I simply don't fit. Which reminds me, I have since the beginning of 2015, I have implemented a new pricing for all new wedding inquiries. You can find more information on the website and by emailing me. I have significantly increased my prices closer to where I was priced at a few years ago. I did so because after lowering them, I felt like I needed to work my way back up to a pricing range I felt comfortable at. Furthermore, I feel like a price increase will make it easier to weed out any unfulfilled inquiries from potential clients who may not place a higher value on photography in their wedding planning - which, by the way, is completely okay! I simply no longer want to stress myself out over winning the client simply to be hired. I don't want to compete for a wedding if someone simply is not interested in the photography what I view is its value. This is something I have always struggled with. I will be happy to accept any weddings in the Rio Grande Valley area if I am hired, but if I don't book any it is okay. Simply stated, my focus is no longer in this area.
Second, I am no longer accepting any new mini session commissions. Mini Sessions are no longer a viable source of photography income for my business. It has been a complete struggle to compete with much less expensive fees from various other studios who put out mini sessions for every occasion. Actually, I feel like "mini sessions" are no longer that; they simply are just sessions at a very competitive price. In 2014 I, too, shared a few specials but failed to book a single spot. Zilch. Nada! Thus, it has been my experience, that my portrait commissions, while few and far in between, are much more profitable in every essence of the word, both artistically and financially, than a mere mini session. Personally, I think the age of the Mini Session is over. It is for me.
Third, I am a photographer. I photograph because I love the art and craft. I am not merely a wedding photographer. This is an amazing career that keeps me constantly learning. I love learning about the old ways and learning about the new ways to create photographs. If I don't ever photograph a single wedding ever again it does not mean I cease to be a photographer. In fact, I am very excited to dive into personal projects and photograph, once again, because I love to. I will forever be a photographer, paid or not. I think what I am trying to convey is that if no one hires me for a wedding, I will be okay. I really will!
Okay - now for some business goals. I think I will write out ten goals and work on achieving them. Ten seems like a feasible number and I really, really, want to come back at the end of the year and tell you about how I accomplished each one.
- Participate in a Central or North Texas Wedding Show
- Advertise somewhere (magazine/blog/?)
- Submit weddings and engagements for blog publication
- Get a wedding published in a wedding blog
- Meet (at least) one new wedding vendor and build a good relationship
- Book (at least) one wedding outside my local area
- Organize my hard drive (yikes!!!)
- Begin a photography project
- Organize and photograph a styled shoot
- Have a professional headshot taken
Ten goals I aim to accomplish. Ten tasks I will work to complete. If you have kept up with the blog recently, you'll notice I have already accomplished one of them! In fact, I may have accomplished a few of them already so I hope it is a step in the right direction.
Finally, I want to thank you my faithful reader. If you exist, some of you are new and some of you have read my words since I first began blogging so many years ago. While I write much less now, I feel like there is a renewed passion for my career. This past year showed me a lot of my strengths and a lot of my flaws. This blog continues to serve its primary purpose: to remind me of where I have been, where I dream of going, and where I go. I look forward to looking back on this post someday, too, and smiling.
Cheers to a great 2015!