I have this phrase framed in my office, and it's a huge motivator for me.
I've always been one who loves setting goals, challenging myself, and staying busy. I wanted to dedicate a blog post to this topic because it's a huge part of how I ended up becoming a Wedding Photographer.
I have enjoyed working multiple jobs at the same time ever since high school. I remember working the late closing shifts at Starbucks, then waking up early for class, then racing off to my brother's house to go do sales calls in his office for his painting company at the time. He would have a list of calls for me to make, as well as some admin tasks to get my hours clocked in. I attribute a lot of my hard working lifestyle to watching him run his own business while I was deciding which career path to take.
Starting a small business is by far the most challenging thing I've done, but also the most personal growth I've experienced. I knew about certain aspects of having a business, from research and watching my brother run his home service business, but what a steep learning curve there was to overcome!
I knew that it would not be wise or make sense to quit all my jobs and jump 100% into running a business with 0 revenue YET. I knew that this was an expensive and competitive industry to be diving into at the age of 18. But I had a dream and wasn't about to let anything get in the way of it! I calculated all the costs of starting up, took several online and in person workshops, had coffee with several Wedding Photographers who I looked up to. I asked them about starting up and picked their brains with soooo many of my questions. I came to the realization that this was costing a lot of money, and I was aware that I was pouring 100% of my heart into this. One evening while I was excitedly typing out all the things I wanted to tackle with my new idea of starting up a photography business, it suddenly dawned on me that if this does not take off, I'll not only be out thousands and thousands of dollars, but I'll definitely have a broken heart. I knew how I already held this so closely to my heart, and if it goes no where I'll be broken. I could feel these thoughts weighing on my heart, so I prayed that the Lord would give me guidance and wisdom with this new journey. In the morning, I felt at ease and ready to jump in to this exciting new chapter!
While I was reviewing my list of costs to run a business, buy camera gear, and all the other expenses, I knew I needed some more income sources to make this happen. I decided to work 60-70 hour weeks between multiple jobs. I started a separate savings account dedicated to Esther Moerman Photo (EMP). After my living expenses and tithing, I would put the remainder in my EMP savings account. I worked as a Sales Rep for Elite Trade Painting, a barista for Starbucks, a gardener, and a babysitter. Living this lifestyle of constantly working helped me learn what it's like to put your mind to something. I didn't know it at the time, but this was also preparing me for what it's like to run your own business!
I remember sitting down with my brother and he asked me where I see my photography business in the next 3 years. I said hopefully I'll be shooting a few weddings in the summer and some lifestyle shoots during the year. He replied, "Think BIGGER!" and I think this stayed with me because it is always in the back of my head to continue to challenge myself, put myself out there, and just simply "DO what I love!"
Let's fast forward 5 years later, I'm sitting in my home office writing a blog post reflecting on the hustle that it took to start up EMP, and the hustle it takes to run it right now with the most amazing clients! I am so beyond thankful for everyone who has trusted EMP to capture your big life milestones! Special shoutout to all the EMP Brides out there!!! I always have a special place in my heart for each and every one of you! I am so excited to see where I'm at in another 5 years.
I've posted a few of my favourite photos from this past summer below (couldn't possibly share ALL of my favourites from this packed summer). Enjoy and don’t forget to “think BIGGER!”