It’s been a wild year here at KDP, rather two and a half years. Let’s rewind real quick and take it from the beginning.
March 2011: I officially launched Kody Diane Photography, after learning the ropes of my new DSLR camera. I shot one senior session in that period and knew that was it for me. I had a career I was never sure I wanted or needed. For the next 9.5 years, I grew, expanded, and thrived in that career. At least on the outside. On the inside, I was always stressed, busy became a personality trait, and overwhelmed was my constant state of being. You see I didn’t create the career that worked for me and my family. I chased what I thought this business was supposed to look like. I did what the big names did, and I was incredibly successful at it. But I was also a slave to my business. At one point when my son was in pre-school his teachers did an assignment asking him “what is Mommy’s favorite thing to do,” his answer… “Work.” Just go ahead and insert a knife right into my heart. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my career. I loved my clients and loved getting to sit back and see what we’d accomplished. But being a one-woman show of a six-figure business took its toll emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. But I was bought in and committed to the hustle culture and put my head down and kept on with what had been working.
March 2020: Do I even have to say what happened here? Like so many others, my business was completely shut down. Working with a stylist who legally has to up here to health department codes, meant we couldn’t go back to work when we deemed it safe. We had to wait for the official ok. Which came 3 weeks before all our clients were to graduate. All 17 of them had been postponed due to the pandemic. The business model I had been operating, requiring 3 multi-hour appointments per client, was about to implode on me. I had 3 months of appointments to fit into 3 weeks. Take all those feelings I’d felt the last 9 years and smash them into a full-on sprint at the finish line.
May 2020: I made the shortsighted decision to leave photography. Rather than use the business owner brain I had, and think of ways to update my business model to work for me. Brainstorm additional revenue streams that would alleviate some pressure or even just flat out pivot. I decided that was it, I’m leaving and going to be an employee for someone else. That will take away my problems. I started wrapping up my clients, selling out my studio, and forming my exit plan. By September I was on to a new career, handing over the lease to my studio and moving on.
Summer 2021: Once the new and novelty of my new career wore off, I saw through the sparkle and realized I had made a huge mistake. My photography business spoke to my soul, made me feel purpose like I made an impact on people, and even with the management mistakes I had made in the past I missed it terribly. I knew I’d made a mistake and had to come back, but different this time. I once again started wrapping up a career, and this time put together a plan for a sustainable business. One that lit up my soul, left a positive impact on others, but wouldn’t consume every ounce of my life.
Ok, so that was a long story around to get to the point I know. But here it comes, WHY am I adding virtual services when I’ve been a senior photographer for the last 10 years?
- I know I’m not the only mom, wife, or business owner who has felt this way. I know there are more of you out there who feel have felt like you couldn’t put your kids to bed at night because there is editing to do. Or couldn’t enjoy a quiet weekend with your husband because you needed to make a new reel or post to your stories or come up with another Instagram caption. I’ve lived that life, I’ve let it steal my joy, and I genuinely don’t want that for you.
- I am an unapologetic and enthusiastic supporter of small businesses. I want them to succeed as much as I want my kids to succeed. If you have the moxie to branch out and try to make a living and life all on your own, I want to have your back. You are courageous and strong and shouldn’t have to decide between working to pay for daycare because it’s the safe choice or working 24/7 but feeling like an island out at sea.
- Piggybacking off #2, I know the feeling of being an island, I generally operate my life that way. I’m the last person to ask for help, so I can relate more than you know. But you don’t have to do this alone, learn from my mistakes, that’s why I’ve laid them out here. Ask for help, look for those that have walked in your shoes, and accept help when it’s given.
So this has been a very long account of my why…
Basically, I don’t want you to feel like I did. I don’t want you to feel like the best option is to walk away. I don’t want you to feel like there’s no solution, and that feeling is just what entrepreneurship feels like because it’s not. Help is out there.