So I can’t believe it’s been a year since I threw my head up and handed in my notice. I threw caution to the wind and made the biggest jump of my life. With two young kids, it was the ultimate risk. A year on though, I can safely say it was the best decision I could have ever made.
There has been so much good in the past year. Much more than I ever thought possible. If you’d told me a year ago that I would achieve what I have, I would have laughed in your face. I’m going to list a few of the things, not to brag, but more to show what is possible in a year:
- won some crystal as I was named Pathfinder Runner Up at the Learning to Fly Irish Wedding Awards. ( A moment I will never forget because I was in a category with the most incredible photographers, many of whom I adore on a personal level.)
- featured on LooksLikeFilm more than once! (This requires hundreds of my peers all around the world to like my images).
- featured on DirtyBootsAndMessyHair, Photobug Community, One Fab Day, The Promise and more.
- went from having 7 bookings in total to being fully booked for 2019 and nearly fully booked for 2020.
- doubled my price to make my work sustainable.
- booked weddings at incredible venues all across Ireland.
- organised and shot 3 styled shoots, all of which were recognised across the industry.
- held my own workshops.
- spoke at events about photography.
- captured other photographers and visitors from across the world.
I think that’s it of the official ‘business’ stuff, but to be honest, none of that even scratches the surface for what I have really achieved in meeting and connecting with the most amazing people through my work.
I’ve made incredible friends, who I know will be in my life forever. Some of these are other photographers, others are women I’ve met through instagram and the Assembly and so many are clients. I can honestly say I absolutely adore my couples, and I feel so invested in their futures. I keep in touch with them and I’m so excited to learn of what’s happening in their lives. I feel like that’s the most amazing gift. For someone who always struggled to fit in, or find their place in the world, this job and doing it full time, has given me that. Every time I get asked to go for coffee I’m like ‘Wait, what?! Someone wants to go for coffee with ME?!’ So you can imagine the happy dance I do each and every time I get invited (booked) to someone’s wedding.
Whilst it’s been amazing, there is no way that you can do all of what I’ve talked about above without some seriously tough times, both mentally and physically.
When I handed in my notice I had nightmares and anxiety for two months. It was so tough. The fear was real. I really had to hold my nerve. And truthfully, I’ve had to hold my nerve continuously ever since. I’m still holding it daily.
Growing, improving, pushing the boundaries in an industry, it all takes confidence. And believe it or not, I am one of the least confident people you will ever meet. I’ve always been one to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. But that’s tough in this industry. Every time I head off to a wedding or send off a gallery or get up to speak, I am so so nervous. It takes it out of you. So I’ve really had to work on that and so many other things personally.
Luckily I’ve surrounded myself with the best people to do that and really invested in myself and my training.
At first I went to photography workshops. I’ve said it a lot, but Heart and Soul was definitely the trigger for the jump into handing in my notice. After that I went to Burn, where I met the incredible Nadia Meli, Jennifer Moher, and the ying to my yang, the greatest friend I could wish for in this game, Christin. These ladies have been massive game changers in my thought processes, especially around being unapologetically myself and working with clients that really get me. But being surrounded by greatness everywhere can really feed imposter syndrome and the feeling of inadequacy that comes pretty naturally to me. These are things I’m working on still with a coach/mentor/amazing person.
The hardest part though has definitely been figuring out how not to work myself to the ground and making sure I make time for everything. I love my work. I love my kids. I’ve got engaged myself and we’re planning our wedding, which I really want to enjoy. All of it takes work and time. Something I’m trying to get the hang of is managing work and time better to make sure I don’t burn out.
Whilst trying to figure out how to manage my time has been tough, being self employed has meant that I’ve been able to be there for my kids when they’ve needed me. I get to pick my kids up from school. Isla and I get Monday together. I get to take Tyler to surf lessons. During the school holidays I can work from home when Tyler plays around. We’re heading to Spain in the summer with my mum where I can work in the evenings whilst the kids are in bed. These are gifts I never would have had if it wasn’t for this job. My last job I was beholden to a boss who decided everything. Flexible working wasn’t an option, as it isn’t for so many women in this world (SHAMEFULLY MIGHT I ADD), so it was really tough to be there when my kids needed me. Now I might be working more than I did before, but the mostly I can be there for a lot of what they need.
The benefits just aren’t for me as a mum though. For me as a person, I have never been better. I’ve learned and grown so much in this past year. I put myself out there without the same fear, instead I’m so proud of myself. I recently turned 30, and made a pretty big deal of it, because I’m so happy about where I am in life at this milestone. That has a lot to do with photography. The power of my camera. The power of what I do. It’s helped me grow and find out who I am and what I have to offer.
All roads have lead here and I still struggle to grasp that this is only the beginning. This is only a year in. I can’t wait to see where we are this time next year. Lx