As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my conversations over the last six months were heavy with the dissatisfaction of my day job. Why? Well, what I realize is that it came down to lack of purpose and passion. While I have enjoyed the social media management element of my job, the industry itself is very much outside of my interest zone and as the years have gone on I've felt more and more detached from it. After six months (at least) of waiting for things to feel more aligned, I've finally acknowledged that shift isn't going to happen. About a month and a half ago was when this really started to settle into my mind and I've spent the time since brainstorming my options. I could stay, continuing to feel uncomfortable and unsatisfied. I could go back to school for psychology. I could switch jobs. Or... I could create my dream job. All options terrify me.
Meanwhile I've been moving through a personal development and manifestation course with my at-a-distance mentor, Kathrin Zenkina, working each day to recognize and rewire limiting beliefs. Needless to say I've been noticing different elements of life that aren't serving me. I've been becoming more and more aware of how fear has held me back. In the most recent module of my course we explored the Laws of the Universe and while many of them struck my heartstrings the one that flipped a switch in my heart was the Law of Purpose (or Dharma), which states that by following our talents, abilities and gifts - doing what comes easily, naturally and joyfully to us - we are rewarded for it with abundance. Now, whether you believe it or not is besides the point. When I was learning this in class things made sense suddenly.
So here we are.
On Friday I put in my two week notice of resignation to my employers. I am officially giving my photography
career the chance I always should have. I spent a couple weeks stressed and scared and questioning my upcoming decision but after this weekend considering the massive possibility and abundance this new path creates for me I can't help but feel free and excited. Since I first picked up a camera my loved ones would say, "You could do this. What you're creating is amazing!". Out of modesty or self-doubt I never let those compliments sink in. I let them roll off and lived in my modesty or self-doubt instead. Alongside those who believed in me and saw the potential of what my photography could become were also those who urged me away from it. I would hear people using the "starving artist" motif and all the advice to stay on track with traditional career paths. Their fear coupled with my self-doubt never let me really give this a try.
"But what about that one time?". Okay! You caught me. Yes, about three years ago I left a 9-5 job to see if I could pursue my Beachbody Coaching gig and Photography. All things considered it was a bit of a failure. That's part of what makes this time even more scary. However, after sitting in reflection I now acknowledge that I didn't have a few key ingredients at that point in my life. First of all, my environment didn't inspire me. Second, I was a bit naive. I thought the work would come to me because I had a relatively large Instagram following. I wasn't providing much value to my clients. Third, I was split-focused. I wasn't just focusing on my coaching or just focusing on my photography-- shit if we're being honest I'm not sure I was focusing on either fully! I was just focused on hustle and panic (neither of which are going to be tolerated this time around). Fourth, I was heavily invested in comparing myself to others in my field. I didn't have any sense of community. I was a know-it-all and didn't think I needed to grow or share ideas or learn from others. Other photographers were my competition. Fifth, I wasn't going to invest in myself or my business. Pinching pennies was key. Living on little. Not asking for help. Again -- know-it-all! So at the end of the day I learned a lot from that failed attempt at entrepreneurship.
Here's the Big One
More than any of those elements, though, what kept me from truly succeeding was that I did not believe in myself. I liked to talk a big game like I believed in myself, but I don't think I actually had faith in my talent. Remember, I was living from my limiting beliefs that if I pursued this career I'd be broke + hungry, that it was a hobby only, so on and so forth. Today we are on a different level - which isn't to say I know what the hell I'm doing! However, We're recognizing and rewiring our belief system over here. Here is what I am choosing to believe as I step into this wildly exciting and terrifying new path:
The more excited I am about what I do and the more fun I have doing it, the more income and ideal clients I will attract.
I have earned my seat in the photography community and I am excited to learn and grow with my peers.
There are enough clients for everyone and we will all connect with our ideal clients.
I am safe exploring this path, I have support and belief from myself and those who love me.
I can't wait to give my heart to this talent I have and see what's possible. I'm so grateful to the opportunities that have come my way and continue to come my way in support of this dream becoming a reality. One step at a time we'll see how far we can go!
How you can help!
Near, far, wherever you are you can take small steps that are a huge help as I start on the path in front of me. So even if you're in a different state or city these small steps aren't a waste. Here are some quick little actions that altogether take about five minutes of your time.
Share my Facebook posts from my Facebook Business Page! So far a lot of my newer clients have connected with me this way - a friend of a friend shared my work or one of my posts with a quick comment stating, "Jess is a photographer in Flagstaff, AZ! Check her work out!". I'm surprised at how much this has helped and believe it might just be the key to getting my momentum really kicking!
Follow Along on my Instagram! I've been trying to integrate more of my personal life and personality into my photography Instagram account. I'm exploring some of the new features like Instagram Reels and think it's going to continue being a fun place to connect, share my work and build my brand. What makes a really big difference right now to make sure Instagram posts reach more people is "saving" them. So when you're viewing a post, tap the small flag on the bottom righthand side of the photo to save it + help the Instagram algorithm do its thing.
Leave me a review on my Google Listing or on my Yelp Page. This helps people get a better idea of what kind of services offer and who they can expect to work with. Not to mention, more reviews help improve my ranking on these search consoles, which makes it easier for new clients to find me when they are looking for a photographer to help with their family photos, engagement photos, wedding photos, event photos and more.
Take some time now and then to browse my website! This is another way that Google recognizes my website as a legitimate and active page, again, making it easier for new clients to find me and connect with me!
Tell your friends + keep an ear out! Last but not least, name drop me if you happen to be in a conversation about photography or small business owners. It might always work out with what someone's looking for but you never know!
Thank you all in advance for helping me get to this point, for believing in me before I believed in myself and for every little think you do to celebrate my skillset.