As this year comes to an end, I sit back and reflect on my first year as a full time photographer. I was so nervous and scared to start my own business. I had just got married and we had just bought our first home. I was still learning to be a wife and I can remember thinking to myself, you must be crazy to think you can change everything in your life and be successful at all of them. I was terrified that I would fail at my dreams and for the longest time that fear held me back. 

I am so excited to say, I have been official successful at everything I set out to accomplish this year with my business and personal life. I would love to share a few tips I have learned this past year.  

1.   Facebook ads are your friend. For the longest time I was so reluctant to use the Facebook ad feature. I’m not sure why really. Maybe I thought I was buying follower and likes? But really what Facebook ads allow you to do is local target marketing to the clients you are looking to work with. Best of all you can do it at a cheaper price than I could find anywhere else. I remember spending hours trying to find the best place to market myself at a lower budget and I could never find one that I could afford or where I wanted my brand to be apart of. When I used Facebook ads I was able to spend as little or as much money as I wanted which was very helpful on a limited budget. Most importantly they work!! I always notice more likes, website clicks and inquires when I posted a Facebook ad, which is fantastic. 

2.   Put together styled shoots. I’m sure I'm like every other photographer out there and absolutely love styled shoots. I think they are a fantastic way to gain new skills, work with other vendors and best of all have beautiful photos for your portfolio. This year I did 4 styled shoots and loved every stressful minute of them. I also gained new friends along the way that I love working with. I feel the more vendors you work with the more clients you will get from them. Vendors recommend other vendors all the time. If you work well with them they will recommend you to other clients. At a minimum, you will learn a lot about the industry and what works and what doesn't when it comes to putting together a success shoot.

3.   Get Published. When you start a new career its always nice to get a little recognition and encouragement from other people in your field. To me that’s how it feels to get published in Magazines or blogs. It’s a way to kind of give yourself a pat on the back and reassure yourself that what your doing is actually good. I started using Two Bright Light to submit my work to magazines and blogs and it is so easy!! All you do is upload your images, tag your vendors, write a little bit about your session and then submit it to whoever you want. This year I'm so happy to announce I was published 5 times!!! I was floored that people actually liked my work!! I always thought my mom and husband were just telling me I was good to make me feel better... lol. As it turns out, other people like my work too, which is an amazing feeling. 

4. Join a TuesdaysTogether in your area. Being apart of an amazing community like TuesdaysTogether really helped me mentally. I went from being in a office and talking to a hundred people a day to only talking to my dog all day long. It's really awesome to be apart of  a fantastic group of like-minded people that just get together to hang out, share experiences and talk about what exciting adventures are on the horizon. The people at TuesdaysTogether are kinda like your coworkers, while you may only meet up with them once a month, you have the support of a community that you can talk to and bounce ideas off of daily via Instagram and Facebook. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful. 

5. Establish a routine for you day. Establishing a daily routine was probably the most important thing I did. When I first started my own business I didn't have a routine. I woke up whenever I wanted to, I would edit all day long, or clean my house or a lot of other unproductive activities. After a while you start feeling like you don't really have a career and are just kind of unemployed. You may think that sounds ok but you start to feel bad about yourself and your decision to start your own business. Once you establish a routine it will change your whole mindset. The best thing to remember is you don't have to work 24/7.  Remember this is your business and you make your own hours. Make sure you stop work at a certain time everyday or you will work from 9am to 9pm. To give you an example of my day I normally wake up at 9am, eat breakfast, workout and then work from noon to about 5pm. Then I start dinner and spend the rest of my night with my husband. When I put a hard stoping point in my work schedule it allowed me to shut my brain off and spend some time with my husband. I truly feel by establishing my routine I was able to succeed at being a wife and a full time photographer. 

I hope you all enjoyed my first personal blog post. My goal this year is to encourage other creatives to get out there and follow their dreams. I really love the whole concept of community over competition. My goal is to blog a little more about my personal experience and some helpful tips along the way. I hope everyone has a fantastic 2016 and that all your businesses thrive this year. Love you all!!!

XOXO, Chrissy