I think it’s safe to say that we’re all glad 2020 is over. But I’m not naive enough to think just because the calendar flipped back on January 1 that everything is magically different. In fact, there is still much spilling over from 2020 into 2021. At least the election business is officially behind us now. But there’s still a raging pandemic and all of the fallout from that.
Even though 2020 sucked it’s still good to review the year for wins to celebrate and losses to reflect upon, both personally and professionally. So here are some of mine.
While I had way less photoshoots than I normally would have, the ones I did have were simply AMAZING! I started the year with a day of Lifestyle Headshots at the incredibly inspiring Rowan Tree co-working space. It was seriously a catapult on multiple levels leading to new relationships with other business owners. And led to a second Lifestyle Headshots day there in September, this time done with all the Covid precautions.
The idea behind these Lifestyle Headshot events is that it’s more than just a headshot but not a full on branding session. Some people aren’t ready for full on branding sessions or they just need some updated photos for their website or social media content. And here’s the thing … we do some pre-planning so our time together is efficient and yields more images than you may think. Look for more of those coming up this year! If you’re not on my email list, you should sign up because I share all that in emails. As well as on Instagram and Facebook.
Also in January, I had a repeat client for a family shoot! And later in the year for a portrait session to celebrate a milestone birthday. This client has been a wedding client, a branding client, a family client (twice) and portrait client! If there’s one thing I can tell biz owners it’s to build and nurture those relationships!
More yoga with Mind the Mat in February. This was my last shoot before everything shutdown.
Fortunately, I’m also a long-time Marketing Graphic Designer with a number of freelance clients and I was working part-time at the Workhouse Arts Center. So while photography was basically on hold, graphic design work exploded. Art exhibits and in-person events needed to go online, freelance clients needed website upgrades, other people came to me starting a new business needing branding identity, logos, websites, etc… I was BUSY AF! And I was resentful that I didn’t have time to chill out in the lockdown and make bread and art. Just kidding, a little. What happened was some serious burnout. But I’m certainly grateful for the income and eventually addressed the burnout.
It also led to the realization that trying to step away from design work was not in my best interest. Clearly people needed my services. Clearly virtual and online are not going away but are increasing. What I needed was to step away from depending on another organization (the part-time gig) and just do it all on my own — combine my branding design and branding photography business into one. And that happened. And with that I was able to get the burnout under control. Check out then newly launched Tenth House Creative! I’ll still be offering branding photography here as well because SEO is already working and I definitely don’t want to mess with that!
Then Summer rolled around and photography clients started coming back. I had a number of headshot sessions (thanks to google and referrals!), a couple of branding sessions including two with the FABULOUS Seward Realty Group, my adorable annual family sessions, a high school grad session and captured a wooded wander.
I closed out the year with an amazing session with a previous client, Marni Sclaroff, for new branding and content. I started doing a new ritual with this session and will be doing it in every single one from here on out. Basically we take a moment to get grounded and establish the creative container and energy for the session. It was unbelievably powerful.
So, in spite of it all not a bad year. I’m hoping to catch up on blog posts about many of these sessions because all of them have special meaning to me!
Things I learned include:
I need to be better at setting boundaries. Work days need hard and fast hours not only to get things done but to allow for time off and away from the computer, tech, screens, thinking, etc…
It’s all going to work out. It always does. I mean who quits a good job (albeit part-time) in the middle of a pandemic? I did because I knew I would be ok.
Relationships are the key to building a great business. I finally learned just how important that piece is. Nearly all of my work last year came from previous clients or people I had built a relationship with one way or another over the years or a referral from an established relationship. They’re also great for killer collaborations!
Give yourself some grace. There were so many blog posts I wanted to write, newsletters I wanted to send, images I wanted to post to social media. But for the better part of the year I was just either too overwhelmed or exhausted. I beat myself up about it and I also offered myself some grace about it. Grace was the better way to go!
So what’s happening in 2021?
I’m partnering with Marni Sclaroff (that last client of the year!) to offer a 4 week course called Practical Magic for Entrepreneurs. We’re gonna help yoga teachers, spiritual mentors, life coaches and other Entrepreneurial Empaths go deep and get clear on their branding and DIY on getting great visuals. Look for the details on that within the next week. Or sign up for my Tenth House Creative emails! We’ve got some cool giveaways along with it too!
I’m going to be offering Virtual Photo Shoots. What?!?! That’s even a thing? How is that even possible? It’s possible and definitely aligned with our virtual tech society. I’m getting all the details, tech, etc … nailed down now but did run a test a couple of weeks ago. What I thought was impossible or ridiculous is looking very possible and not ridiculous at all. I just posted a few tests on Instagram.
And I’m going to be offering Branding PhotoShoot Subscriptions for the entrepreneurs that need timely, fresh content on a regular basis. There’ll be several options. Look for this in February with a special introductory offer!
That’s it in a nutshell! 2021 looks promising on multiple fronts. And if turns out not to be, well, we just offer ourselves some grace and learn from it all.