An ugly title, I admit. The mama bear that I am, I protect my BRP Couples the same way I do my family and friends.
I’m a little (okay, a lot) nervous publishing this post. There’s a vulnerability in showing anyone anything about your business. Remember when everyone was doing the personality test a few months back? Fittingly, the quote on top of my personality description stuck with me:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.”
– Oriah Mountain Dreamer
(Thanks to Megan Durst Photography for the family photo from last fall!)
Before the New Year rang in for 2017, I had made hard decisions to slowly grow my business over the years. After educating myself on wise business strategies, plans, and growth, I took a look at my business and knew that in order to promote healthy growth, not neglect my kids, and sustain this business for the long haul, changes needed to happen.
One of the hardest things to do as a small business owner and photographer is to receive an inquiry from a potential bride or client and say, “No.” Let’s be super realistic here – we, creatives, create our businesses to financially support our families (this doesn’t take away the fact that as creatives we LOVE what we do!) Walking away from another job means walking away from money and possibly more clients if you make that one happy. After all, our best advertising is done through word of mouth. If you’re a former bride or current family of mine, your referral to another friend or family member is true gold!
Why would I walk away from another job unless I was already booked on that date? Trust me, like all small business owners, I want that job! In late 2016, however, I made the decision to work for my clients and say ‘no’.
That seems backwards. Stay with me.
Brittany Renee Photography is a fine art portrait and wedding service. The purpose and mission of BRP is not to churn out weddings and sessions like a machine. BRP’s purpose is to serve, as Christ would, each story with all your heart.
I’ve shot weddings 2-3 times in one weekend. I’ve hand edited these weddings myself and delivered them, eyes blood shot, children crying at my ankles for my attention, and my chest collapsing from the anxiety. Maybe other people are made of better stuff than me, but I did not feel I was giving every client my absolute best because I was too busy thinking about the next wedding; the next bride. And honestly, the next break. (Burn out is REAL!)
I don’t want that for my clients, whether it’s my brides or my families, so I decided to introduce the word “No,” for 2017 into my e-mails. I’ve turned down more jobs this year than I want to admit, but I have brides counting on me and each time I meet them in person to discuss their wedding I am fully present and I love it. I love walking away knowing I am fully involved in their wedding. My couples and families come to me because they want more than just someone taking a good photo. They want the experience. The expertise of someone who has shot weddings gone wrong, or kids who don’t listen at family sessions. They want someone who is organized and fully committed to their experience and memory.
Not every photography business needs to make this choice, but it is a choice right for my business and my family. I wanted to choose to be present this year for my children, my husband, myself; I wanted to show up in my relationship with God and I wanted each relationship I make with my clients to be real. I was tired of running my business in the hustle, taking any work that came my way, and not doing things the way I felt I was called to handle them. The best business decision I made was in December 2016 when I stepped back, took a breath, and stepped away from the trend of “hustle”.
It is a choice for slow growth, but BRP is in business for the long haul with many big, daring dreams being weaved by the wise choices made in the earliest years. I want to pass onto my children my belief that spontaneous trips to the beach are necessary; that working is not more important than them; that serving others as Christ does is a leading foundation for their life… and that when you do work, you serve those people with all your heart.