Motivational speaker Brendon Burchard recently posted this quote:
You are not lazy. You are tired.
I could’ve cried.
It hit me that this perpetual exhaustion gig is the soul of the problems many mom photographers (myself included) are having both in creativity and in business.
It is impossible to be a mom that loves her kids, keeps them alive, and helps them grow while being a lazy person. By nature, moms’ lives are centered on the “me last” mentality, but we often forget or overlook how much we actually do every day.
Recently, I had become critical of the business model that I adopted during my “survival mode years” after I heard a well-known photographer call all shoot-and-burn photographers lazy for not finishing the job. When I read this Burchard quote, I wanted to shout “NO!”
I’ve never been lazy; I was just lacking real direction. I had lost sight of my end goal – to sustain a profitable business doing what I love! I needed to write down specific and concrete goals, and I mean, I put pen to paper with a calculator and some spreadsheets nearby.
Are you, dear mama, struggling with your business? Do you feel like you are constantly trying to play catch up and no one (not your clients, nor your family) is getting all they need from you? Did you end the year feeling totally exhausted and possibly a bit burned out?
Honestly, I had to say yes to all of the above! So, I asked myself:
- What tasks am I doing that are wearing me out?
- Am I taking too many clients?
- Am I charging enough to be profitable?
- Am I serving my clients the way they really need to be served?
- Do I miss my evenings without a laptop in front of me? (um, duh!)
So, here is my simple answer, friends… take a long, hard look at what you need to do to restore and elevate yourself, and this will ultimately create a balance between you, your family and your business.
Find rest. I know this is hard to do, especially if you have littles in the house that never leave your side (and I do mean, NEVER). But, friends, this is so important to your health!
Whether this is at your local place of worship, at the gym, going unplugged from social media, getting away with your person or just going to Target alone for a few hours… whatever you need to do to recharge, do it! And do it regularly. This may mean you need to trade babysitting with another mom or hire a housekeeper to free you up for a couple hours. But, whatever it takes, you need this.
Find your quiet place or moment, and then, start writing things down. This is one truly beautiful thing about being a creative; once you block out other things, there are an infinite amount of ideas out there!
Where do you want to be financially in 5 years? 10 years? If you had a dream client, who is this person? What would you be photographing? How would you serve this client? Of course, there are a million other questions you could ask yourself, so don’t limit yourself here!
Once you’ve put your goals in writing, it is essential to connect with other people who are on the same journey. Find your tribe!
Click Away last year was such a crucial turning point for me in my career. The last time I had gone to a photography conference, it was 2007. There were very few women and even fewer photographers who worked in my style.
But, when I stepped into the Westin in Seattle this past October, every woman I saw seemed like she could be my next best friend. This was my tribe. These women understood my perpetual exhaustion. And, these women inspired me to move past my excuses and be better at my craft and my business.
No matter where you are right now if you are reading this, I assure you that you are NOT a lazy person. You are up all night culling. You are answering emails while you wait in the carpool line. You are editing images (or reading this article!) while your children nap. You are shuttling kids all over town, possibly feeling guilty for not living up to the impossible mom standard, and meanwhile trying to run a business.
None of this is easy!
Henry Ford famously said,
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.
I would go further to say that the limits you are placing on your business and the excuses you are using for not succeeding are holding you back from moving forward. Invest time in yourself, away from the noise, and rest, revive the goals you have for your business, and then, connect with others heading the same direction.
Because, mama, there is nothing lazy about you. You have survived childbirth (or the adoption process!) and possibly even potty training. There is nothing that can stop you now!