I recently read an article from the Rising Tide Society and it couldn’t have better timing. You see I had already written on my calendar to blog this, you know the typical goals for a new year of business, and I had a full list of new things I was going to do and try but then I read this article written by Lara Casey, the woman behind Southern Weddings. The article was titled “Setting Goals with Lara Casey” and it was exactly what I needed to fuel me and this post. Basically she gets into how we need to spend our time more purposefully and that the things we say yes to or commit to should have a purpose. They should answer the big “Why” question meaningfully so that we can walk into our days ready and willing to tackle these goals.
For me, my goals for 2016 are pretty basic, to grow and simplify. Sometimes I feel that if I say yes to things and if I have a lot on my plate that this in some way equals success, ambition and quality. When in reality this quantity of stuff (all of which are things I’m mega passionate about) is reducing my quality. I’m not feeling enough, I’m not feeling fulfilled and considering how full my life is with love and passions, it’s sad that I’m not enjoying it because I’m so overwhelmed and have so much on my to do list. Truth moment, this past year has been a year of incredible growth (can we say 32 sessions one more time because holy cow!?) but it’s also been a year when I’ve felt kind of lost. Like I’m growing but I don’t know in what direction or how to grow holistically. I would feel guilty about dreaming because I was afraid of leaving something behind. I was stressed because with growth came putting things on the sidelines and not doing as well in other aspects of my life. I felt/feel split, like a tree that is growing new branches from the trunk that are pushing further and further apart. I need to find a way to make it all work together, life, photography, teaching, hobbies. 2016 is going to be a year when I can grow holistically but also in a way that I can enjoy and dream again.
So here are my goals for 2016, all centered around finding my focus and purpose while pulling everything in to be successful, efficient and keeping my life manageable. Make sure to read the “big why” below each goal, thanks Lara Casey for the tip!
Goal 1: Take Back My Time.
I had a busy November/December. Don’t get me wrong, it was fabulous and I love everyone I worked with but it was at times overwhelming. My busiest season kicked up right at the end of a marking period and then again right around interims when grades are due. Ask any teacher and they will probably tell you that the time before grades are due is pretty stressful. Now add in editing, on editing, on editing. This is my fault. I need to plan ahead. I need to carve out time for photography that will allow me to do a great job for my families but also let me do my job as a teacher.
How: Pre-Designated Session Dates
I’ve decided to try (just try for now) to do pre-determined session dates for each season. By looking at my calendar I’m going to plan which weekends work the best to schedule my sessions. I’m going to announce them all at once for a season and people can inquire and book from these dates in advance.
I need to take control of my time. I need this so I can do a better job for you. I can’t promise image delivery in the time frame I want if I’ve booked a session right before a huge due date or life event. If I have designated dates for sessions each month, I know I can dedicate to you and it won’t be something else on my to do list, but something I can plan ahead for, dream up and make it the best it possible can be. Why am I nervous? Well this means I’m limiting the number of people I work with. But, I need to keep telling myself, quality over quantity. I want to deliver a quality experience instead of a mediocre experience to a ton of people.
Goal 2: Show More Gratitude
How: A new referral incentive for families I work with.
I have people that I’ve worked with who I absolutely love. They come back time and again and they are everything I want from sessions; trust, freedom, and quality time. All of these connect to allow for a session that delivers images that I consider art versus just a portrait.
Why: I want to show these people my gratitude when they go out and bring in other families like them. When they share my blog posts and help me grow, I want to and need to thank them, be there for them and show that the I’m their biggest fan too! I want to grow but I want to grow with the people that have loved this business and been there from the beginning.
Goal 3: Diversify My Portfolio
You all know that I love the sparkle eye images, they make me giddy and squeel like Rachel when Emma laughed for the first time while she sang Sir Mix Alot (Friends fans, you know). BUT, it’s not enough for me right now, I want to expand my range and try to step out of my comfort zone.
How: Step back, focus and take my time.
Sometimes I get to a shoot and I get nervous so I start to do what I usually do… ramble. Yeah, I’m a talker. (Obviously, good lord have you noticed how long this post is??). But also I get nervous that if I have to take a second to think or mold the image that that thinking time shows weakness. As a result I tend to fall back on things I know work instead of pushing myself to get something creative, different and potentially amazing. So I want to get to a session and be okay with the thinking time.
Why: Because we both want images that are new and exciting and set you apart. I don’t want to get stuck in a rut and I definitely don’t want to only be capable of one type of image. I want to create art instead of just portraits. (Not that there is anything wrong with portraits, you all know how much I love me some sparkle eyes). The problem is, I know that I love the sparkle eye images and so I’ve been using it as a crutch instead of a plus. So my goal is to take a step back, take my time and think outside the box. I want to zoom out and capture surroundings, action and life this year.
Wish me luck, I’m hoping to build a better business but also a better more holistic well rounded year.