It all started pretty harmlessly...“I’m a photographer” I replied...
sitting on the floor at a neighbor’s house during a community dinner. The smell of delicious Italian food filled the air along with screeches and screams of wild children who were enjoying each other’s company.
“I’m a photographer.” What a simple, yet stunning reply. We were meeting some new neighbors over a community dinner our street had put together. I had asked the newbie what it was she did for a living. “Nursing” she replied. “What do you do” she asked?
What should have been a simple reply took me back a moment. Years of corporate life had me trained to reply “Marketing” but this time, as I began to reply “photographer” came barreling out of my mouth.
At first it tasted strange, coming off the tongue...
I think she could sense my nerves. “Oh, okay” she replied and left it at that. None of the standard follow up questions followed – but I’m pretty sure the bewildered look on my face gave me away as uncomfortable with my own reply.
The feelings were mixed. I was dumbfounded at what I had said. I was proud, weirded-out and a little sad all at the same time. For some many years the response had been the same. “I’m in Marketing” I’d reply. Then a flood of questions would ultimately follow as to where I was working and what a job like Marketing actually involves. “Like Advertising? Or sales?” they would inevitable ask to which my standard reply would be, “Anything and everything customer facing goes through my desk.
Advertising, graphic design, white sheets, website, sales support, I do it all.” I’d reply. Knowing full well they had been hoping for a more dramatic, Mad Men, style story.
But this time… “photographer” had rolled off my tongue.
How much work had I put into this business the past few months. Leaving my corporate job in October 2019 to pursue what had been a side hustle for many years as a new full-time endeavor.
Photographer I had replied. It slipped out so easily that my brain was stunned as the word left my mouth – my brain was simultaneously fighting to reconcile this answer to see if it were true. It was in fact true.
Ultimately the short, slightly awkward (on my part) conversation was interrupted as a thundering herd of toddlers & preschoolers came galloping into the room, cutting us off from each other as they stammered around. The tail end was brought up by newly walking sprouts who wanted to follow the big kids around and finally the crawlers.
Not “small business owner?” I thought to myself...
as the sticky, loud herd galloped by. Some how I was surprised not only by my answer but I was also left wondering if it was the right one. And then that little voice creeped in. “Stop it! Your inner voice is kind, not critical” it chanted. An affirmation I’ve been writing down daily (thanks Hollis, girl) as I embrace the new uncertainties and challenges that come with pursing a full time small business.
Photographer was fine. But next time, next time it’d be “small business owner” and we’d see if that fit better. Either way thought, it was true. All of it. What was a dream I decided to go “all in” on in October 2019 had actually arrived.
So now, dearest friends, I share this story. This inner monologue that so frequently circles my head. But today, I share it with you, not to toot my own horn or to even talk about me really, but to encourage you.
One tiny step after another got me to this point.
Yes, I was shocked by my own answer but when I think about all the work I’ve done to get here, it makes total sense. I am a photographer. I am a small business owner. I broke from a traditional path of corporate climbing and that’s alright. It’s been everything I had hoped for and I’m still SO hungry for the dream.
So if you , like me, are chasing something – anything. Just know you’re not alone. Even those of us who have been at it for a while (hello 4 years), are still surprise ourselves from time to time. We blurt things out at parties, we work through back end processes and fixate over launches. We drive our selves crazy and second guess our decisions from time to time, but ultimately, we keep our eye on the ball and just look forward to the next right thing.
Anything can be learned. Everything is possible...
Even getting comfortable with a new reality that a long withstanding goal has actually been achieved and that the adventure has only just began.
So go chase it Sis. Whatever “it” is.
I’m rooting for you.
Hey You... Let's Be Friends, K?!
Hey there - I'm Chelsea! A coffee worshiping Hoosier native, just trying to raise a kiddo and capture vivid memories in central IN for my families & brides. To see more of our work, make sure to FOLLOW us on Facebook and Instagram & sign up for our VIP club to get first dibs on open session date! Curious about me? Dive into my story of how I flushed my comfortable Fortune 500 Marketing Career to take on the life of a SMB owner at HashTag Memories Photography!
Or maybe the idea of photos is stress you out? Check out this blog post where I get REAL about how shooting a session of my own kiddo taught me how to help YOU mitigate Mommy Session Stress - or this one where we share basic planning tips & FAQs to help set you up for success on your next shoot.