Day 2 of the Feel Good Blogging Challenge is all about: ‘How it all started’
Soon after graduating from school, I was lucky enough to find employment with a large Mining Company, without a Tertiary Education. I enrolled for part time studies during full time employment, married and started a family. My career was doing well. I worked hard, after hours and weekends. I neglected my marriage and my children (this I know now), but I had an obligation, a responsibility, at my work place. Very soon my marriage suffered the consequences, and I became a single parent, struggling to make ends meet, so I worked even harder for each next promotion. In a few years I was able to comfortably provide for my children. I managed to maintain my career, single parenthood, and solely running the household, for a number of years. I enjoyed my hobbies, painting, making music, scrapbooking, reading! Through the art of management and delegation, I even managed to cut my working hours down to normal working hours! I loved scrapbooking as one of my hobbies, and would take my children on outings in order for me to have pictures to scrap. I soon realized that I needed better pictures, which is something that I never considered before. I decided to buy a fancy camera, even though I had no idea what a fancy camera would be at that time.
I bought a Canon 500D and my world changed! I had this amazing tool in my hands and couldn’t stop photographing everything I saw, joined social clubs and took part in challenges. It was a magical time of my life! The more learned, the more I wanted to learn and experience. I photographed our pets, my children, my big toe…flowers in the garden, everything. I have to admit though, that I had a teacher, who became my inspiration and my best friend. Together we went on photography trips, sitting hours photographing a little stream in the middle of nowhere, taking picture of star trails and painting with light with oncoming traffic off bridges on the outscurts of town. I couldn’t get enough. Soon enough I started photographing friends, and friends of friends…and before I knew it, I was actively a part time photographer. I officially launched my business in 2009 and enjoyed every moment! Still being a single parent with a full time occupation, the strain off doing just TOO MUCH soon became just TOO MUCH and I sold my photography business. I was miserable…I was empty…the joy was gone!
Within 2 months I couldn’t bear it anymore, and I bought myself another camera, but for recreational use only …I told myself. They say, if you do what love, then business will come….and soon enough I was booking clients again. After 4 years of trying to keep up, I decided to take the leap into full time photography. With 15 years’ employment with the same company and a steady generous monthly paycheck, the decisions was a scary one, but I believed! I moved to a new town, and the requests for photos stopped. I had left my whole network behind! My clients were mostly friends, and referrals from friends. I left it all behind. What was I thinking!?
In all my studies during my career, I had very little exposure to marketing, and I found myself between a rock and a hard place. I had to market myself or I would go down fast! I started my website and my blog, I started a facebook page of which most of the followers was friends. I was doing something wrong! I gave out free vouchers of which not all of the clients made their bookings. I started browsing the internet for tips, read blogs of other photographers and entrepreneurs, expanded my business to include art and even photo props (which is still in it’s infancy stage), but the clients did not come. I soon realized that I needed to build a network, I needed get off my chair and physically go out and talk to people, to other vendors and business owners, and create my own new network. This is probably the biggest lesson I have learnt: ‘never underestimate the power of human relations’.
This is where I am now. Creating my network and hustling my way back into a healthy client base. I can not allow myself to give up! I have to do this!
I didn’t meen to write a whole novel, but if you have made it to this last line, I thank you!
If you would like to follow my journey, please pop by my blog again or follow me on Facebook!