Year Three — Running a Business

I wanted to write a sweet little post about what I’ve learned in three years of doing this full time. But then I realized, I don’t know how it’s been three years! It feels like it was just a year ago I was waking up on the first day I didn’t have a day job and working in my jammies in the living room of our apartment in Seattle. It feels like just a couple months ago that H got the job offer here in Spokane and we moved over here. How was that over two years ago? And wasn’t it just last week that we bought our house?

Three years is a big deal. Not only do many businesses fail in their first year, many more don’t make it past three years. So being here, now, feels like a huge accomplishment. I was going to do some silly stats, like number of photos taken, but I realized that that isn’t important. What is important is saying thank you.

This wouldn’t be possible without you. So thank you. Thank you to all the couples who’ve booked me, all the friends and past clients who’ve referred me. Thank you to those same people who have gone for coffee or drinks with me on good days and bad days. Who’ve helped me through the good times and bad. The truth is, it has taken me these three years to find my footing. I’m finally feeling more confident as a business owner, as a person. Maybe that is something that has come with age, and not with the time as a business owner. Either way, I’m finally at the point where I feel like I’m not in a state of panic at all times.

In the past three years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned to get dressed, so I do better work. I’ve learned to take the day off – or walk away from a project – when it’s just not flowing. I’ve learned to show myself grace, because no matter how much I look like superwoman on the outside, I know that I’m not perfect (no one is)!

I’ve learned that my greatest fan is, always has been, and always will be, the man I married. He has been here in the good times and the bad. He has wiped my tears and told me it’s not a failure if I want to move on from this. He has celebrated every booking with me. Given me pep talks and cake. He has been there to wish me good luck before almost every wedding, and helped me carry my gear back in when I’m exhausted at the end of the day. He has made me dinner on the days where I’ve had to work until the wee hours of the night, and for this – and so much more – I know he’ll always be there for me.

I’ve learned that failure is the best way to find out what works well. I’ve learned that you have to take risks in order to reap rewards. I’ve learned to ask for the sale, but I’ve also learned that sometimes you have to tell a client when they’d be happier with someone else. I’ve learned that money isn’t everything, time is more important.

I’ve learned that this is exactly where I’m meant to be right now. And that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of you. Even though I pretend my mom (hi mom!) is the only person who reads my blog, the numbers tell me otherwise. So thank you all. After three years of this, my advice is to always take chances. You never know where life might lead, so take a chance and jump for what you’re dreaming of.

Anchorage Alaska // Emily Wenzel Photography

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