Becky Rui is the daughter of an old school friend of mine. She is just 20 years old, a talented photographer and a savvy young lady. I asked her to write a guest blog for me, you’ll see why. Read her inspiring story below…
Being self-employed is wonderful for anyone who is doing what they love for a living. I am a twenty year old portrait and wedding photographer based in Bucks, and have passionately been building my business for a year and a half. It is so fulfilling to be doing a job that I enjoy, it takes a lot of determination and self belief but I am grateful to be in a position to be doing this work.
I realised that it was vital for me to set exciting goals for my business and get clear on how I want it to run and what I wanted to achieve. This helped me to become more confident in my brand, dealing with new inquiries, understanding my own values and boundaries. It made me appreciate and respect myself, my time and my skills a lot more – therefore clients did too.
As 2012 came to an end, I reflected on what I had achieved in the past 12 months and how I had grown. Aside from the development of my business on a day to day level and photographing my first weddings this summer (which was an exciting move forward!), I also took a big step in my personal & business growth…
In October, one of my favourite US based photographers announced that he is running two business workshops in 2013, the first being held in on Oahu, Hawaii in February. When I read about it, I obviously thought it would be amazing to do… I was excited by the idea as I’d been wanting some guidance from a successful photographer, but did not consider this trip as a possibility in any way. It would be a huge investment. And um… go all the way to Hawaii??!
I considered it cautiously for a few weeks, knowing that the 12 places were being snapped up. When I imagined a reality where I had just paid the deposit, the thought of attending this workshop inspired me with an attitude that said, “Okay… WOW. You’ve ACTUALLY committed to this, you’re GOING to be a part of the workshop. Now you’ve got to raise the money. Let’s make it happen!”. My mind began to fill with ideas and opportunities I could create to get some more work.
If I decided I wasn’t going, and carry on with things how they were, I felt another part of me say, “Don’t bother dreaming so big, you won’t be able to afford it. Phew… Isn’t that a relief now you don’t have to try so hard?!”. I’d stay with the same attitude, probably not look at my pricing or most vitally not have inspired thoughts about how to get more work.
I was completely unsure how I was going to pay for the whole thing, but I realised that the concept of NOT committing to this workshop would probably be much worse for me, my personal growth and my business financially than actually making the investment! The decision took me days to make, I knew it would be met my mixed reactions from the people closest to me and I felt even more torn. But in a moment of clarity I thought to myself… What would I do if it didn’t matter what anyone thought?
So I did it! And it took all my strength to click ‘Pay’. It was a real test of my self worth and value in my business. The next part of the journey was funding the trip. With the help of my wonderful mum, I brainstormed ideas to make money and get more work. I contacted old clients, blogged my work more consistently and tried to start raising my profile. I got more enquiries and then more bookings did begin to come in. I started to see that the trip was becoming affordable!
It sounds like a terrible thing to admit, but even as I booked my flights and accommodations late one night at the beginning of January, I was wondering where the rest of the money would come from. I still had about a third of the investment to raise… I was excited to be booking all this stuff, but would I be able to raise enough money to actually pay for the workshop fee?
Despite the nerves around this, the very next morning, a client of mine put in a big photo order of images from her portrait session, and I was booked for a big shoot which was I was able to invoice for immediately which basically covered the outstanding payment! I was so grateful and relieved.
Making this decision has been a big learning to me… to know that I am capable of achieving things that seem so far away, that it is possible for me to build a successful business and to remember the importance of setting goals. I read a great quote on twitter last week from writer Lynda Louise Mangoro, which I felt so drawn to… “anything is possible until we decide otherwise”. I know that sometimes it can be hard to believe that some of our wildest dreams and goals could be possible, but after making this decision I have seen it for myself. Everything will begin to fall into place when you commit to that goal, and take the first step!