Lookie here. 2 posts published shorter than 3 years apart. #win
Today, I want to talk about my business. I think that’s honestly the hardest place to start, so maybe we can just rip off the bandaid – though I have a sneaking suspicion it will be a multi-post series. Let’s just get started.
For so long, my identity has been a photographer and being a business owner. Who would I even be without that?
Before Covid, I never understood how people could let their business go. How could they put so much hard work into it, and then not go the last 5% to make it work? It did not compute.
But the last few years have been humbling. They’ve honestly been a bit of my rock bottom. Or at least my business’s rock bottom. It’s overwhelming, you know? Where do I go from here? What is going to “fix” the business? What’s going to make it whole again – me whole again? Because, of course, you can’t just separate yourself from your business. It’s your blood, sweat, and tears.
How can you separate yourself from it when you’ve woken up everyday (weekends included) for YEARS responding to emails, working through every vacation, thinking about new marketing strategies, creating content, researching new techniques, rewriting your offerings, hustling at networking events…HOW do you detach yourself from that?
So, when the business is just not going where you want, you keep fighting and fighting and throwing shit at the wall…
Until you Just. Get. Tired.
AKA – burnout. I’ve talked about this before, but this time, it hit a little different. Possibly because I didn’t have the income to support my burnout. Possibly because paired with the burnout was a newcomer to the party: resentment.
Pretty soon, the content creation gets simpler. The marketing strategies become lighter. The responding to emails becomes a little slower. Until, eventually, you find yourself looking for a corporate job because you can’t figure out how to make the business work again and you’re just tired of feeling like a failure…of the business MAKING you feel like a failure.
The last 3 years of my life have been hard, and in a lot of ways, harder than when my dad, business partner, and best friend passed away. When he died, I had this passion to continue in his craft. I had this passion to live life to its fullest knowing just how short life *really* is. And I had the confidence watching the thing we built together succeed, knowing he would live on, in at least a small kind of way.
The last 3 years have brought on something more personal that consisted of me feeling like a loser, like I failed the business …and my dad, and like I didn’t have any more cards to play. When I was going through my divorce, I had the business to hold me at night, to entertain my brain, and to pay my bills. Now that my business was a disaster, I leaned on my second husband for all of those things. Of course, I’m grateful for it and for him, but it doesn’t exactly help in the confidence/independent/badass bitch/femstrong part that I care so much about.
But as JK Rowling said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
Today, I am FINALLY in a place that I can write about this. I can see a little clearer. Think a little easier. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If this time has taught me anything at all, it’s that being femstrong is not a hard and fast state of being. Not every choice is going to feel femstrong. And that’s ok. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Which is where I leave you for today…knowing that there’s more to come. And I promise it won’t be as much of a bummer as what you just read.
Just stick with me and remember, there’s value in the suck.
Till next time.
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