Since I graduated in December of 2008, January of 2009 was spent looking for a “real job.” Honestly, I LOVE this part of my story. It was scary, and at the time I cried a lot of tears. Looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the season where the Lord gave me this business by literally closing all other doors.
The best prospect of a job for me was to become a nanny. Boone is a very small town, and I was still shooting about 10 weddings a year. A nanny job seemed like the perfect fit! I found a family who needed a nanny, I went through several interviews, and I thought I had it in the bag! My plan was set. Work part time shooting weddings and be a full time nanny.
It was a cold afternoon, when I got the phone call. Will was sound asleep in our expertly blacked-out room because he was working the nightshift at the time. I was so excited to see her number appear on my phone, excited to take the new job!
When she told me she chose someone else for the nanny position, I was crushed.
I hung up the phone and immediately started crying. All of my plans had failed! I loved being busy in school – taking 18 hours a semester was normal for me. I was involved in student ministries, Bible studies, and I studied hard. Now, I was a college graduate! I had nothing to do, no “real job,” and the one nanny lead that I had found just turned me down. The economy had just taken a major turn downward, and I felt really hopeless.
I ran into our bedroom and woke up Will. (What a wonderful, sweet husband. For him it was the middle of the night!) I cried and cried, and he hugged me and said we would figure everything out. I finally let him go back to sleep, and I prayed long and hard about what to do.
Over the next few weeks, I spent all day every day in front of my computer, learning all that I could about wedding photography. (I literally had nothing else to do. It was 20 degrees outside, and I’m not the type to watch TV. Heck, we didn’t even have cable!) I would read blogs, ask questions on forums, research business books, learn all about equipment, and do all that I possibly could from that small guest bedroom in our apartment. I would go out and take pictures in the park, then write a blogpost about it. I would drive all over NC shooting weddings and sessions for almost nothing, because I was so hungry for experience.
And just like that, a closed door paved the way for me to grow my own photography business into my dream job. All credit to the Lord, who knows I wouldn’t have done it this way unless He closed that door!
Below: My view from our kitchen window in Boone during the winter months.
We moved to Raleigh!
Just after Christmas, we made the big move to Raleigh. We purchased our townhouse, and Will started his current job at Celebration Church as the Youth Ministry Director. After months of prayer, he decided to accept the position at Celebration and we moved back home.
Below: This is me VERY concerned about the amount of stuff we had. We were having a hard time fitting it all into the moving truck! Thankfully, it all fit. Will worked on Christmas day, which was his last day at Walgreens. Then we began our adventure to Raleigh!
I painted and set up my home photography studio. Talk about luxury! After having worked out of a small guest bedroom, having my own workspace was a dream come true. It took 6 months or so to get set up to the point where I could host brides, but it finally became my office and studio. I am still grateful to walk down the stairs every day to go to work!
On a practical note, this is the year that I actually started making an income in my business. It was a small income… no where close to a salary, but it was something! Yes, it took all of 2008 and 2009 to get to the point where I was taking home any money. We never went into debt for this business, but all the cash we made in 2008 and 2009, we simply reinvested into equipment, marketing, supplies, software, etc. It was an exciting turning point!
I also began doing bridal shows in the triangle, now that I was a “local.” Here is my with my fantastic first logo and my super short hair!
Slowly and steadily, I continued to book weddings and grow my business. The move to Raleigh was a wonderful move for my business. I began to meet vendors, get familiar with venues, and I would serve my brides the best way I knew how. I was thrilled to be back in a big city, but I definitely missed the calm schedule of our lives in the mountains.
To be transparent – the first year in Raleigh was tough for us. Between youth ministry and a growing business, we had no idea how to set boundaries in our personal lives. It really took a toll on our marriage, on our relationships. We were leading the youth group, shooting weddings and sessions, teaching an FPU class, leading small groups, hosting seasonal events, doing bridal shows, and taking every opportunity that was thrown at us. I’ll never forget the month of October 2010. We didn’t have 1 evening at home! Not even kidding. There was something booked for us every night, whether it be church or photography. Will and I looked at each other and promised we’d never do that again. Learning to run a business and run the youth ministry has been the hardest, most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. We’re still learning, but we have gained much more of a sense of balance now. Looking back, I’m so thankful for all the hard and good lessons we’ve learned along the way. I’m confident we will use those lessons through the rest of our lives.
Stay tuned for Part 3 & 4 coming soon!
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