4 Tips for Making your Creative Business More Life-giving by Ashley Wittmer
We're delighted to have our friend, Ashley Wittmer of Ashley Wittmer Photography share some tips that have helped her stay inspired and passionate about running her creative small business in the mist of a busy season. Enjoy! -Allison
This season of life has me juggling a few different roles that all take quite a bit of time. I have two young kids; my husband is going through grad school while working full time; and I have a wedding photography business. My life is a balancing act.
Letting go of my photography would have been one way to make life easier, especially when my kids were tiny. But while my specific balance of time has definitely changed over the years, I can honestly say that running a business IS life-giving for me. I’ve taken a creative passion and found a way to make a living doing something I love, even when my time was tight.
I wanted to share some practical tips that helped me build my business and stay sane with my family:
1. Stop the comparison game.
Nothing will suck your joy and send you spiraling like comparing your life – personal, creative, or commercial – to the people around you. Social media can be the best – that may be how you found this! – but it can also be the worst. It can turn the soul faster than a toupee in a hurricane.
So set strict boundaries for how much you look at other people’s styled lives. There are seasons of life when you just need to take the app off your phone. And if you’re promoting your business via social media, you know what times of the week are the highest for traffic: schedule your posts and move along. Your heart will thank you.
2. Focus on what you love the most.
When I started photography, I photographed dogs, kids, kids with dogs, dogs dressed like kids, and grandparents with kids holding their dogs. It was great to build my portfolio in the beginning, but choosing to specialize in just one or two areas was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was The Best Yes in action.
But what if no one ever calls again?
I did it anyway and I’ll never go back. I’ve been able to focus so much more on the photography that is life-giving for me and that I’m most passionate about. I feel better about my work, and I think weddings bring out my best photography.
What aspect of your work do you love most? Choose that and give it your best time – ideally, all your time.
3. Find your Tribe.
“Tribes” are all the buzz right now, but that’s because it matters. Do you have one a posse of people who will encourage you to pursue your dreams AND shoot you straight?
Everyone wants a tribe, but it takes time to build these relationships, and it takes risk to put yourself out there with people. But a thousand times over, it’s worth getting to journey through something huge with a friend, seeing it from start to finish.
This past year my tribe saw an adoption, a new business venture, special goals like being published, organized drawers, and daily quiet times. Little life-changing victories for our group, and we’ve cheered each other on all along the way.
4. Cut back.
We’re all trying to do too much. Because of the comparison game and not specializing in what we love most, we’re doing too much and doing everything half-heartedly. (Can I get a side of the Capsule Wardrobe for my business?)
We can enjoy what we do more, when we do less.
So what can go? What can you cut out and won’t miss one bit?
Owning a business, being a mom, supporting a husband as he finishes grad school, serving at your church, being a faithful friend, loving your neighbors: we have a lot of roles to fill, and it can be overwhelming when we lose ourselves in unrealistic expectations. When we stop comparing, focus on the things we love most, find our tribe, and cut back, the sweet dimensions of our lives become clearer. We can see what is a good use of our time and resources and how we can focus on doing the things we were created to do with our lives.
As a passionate wedding photographer in Indianapolis, I am so excited to be co-hosting a workshop for photography business owners with Chloe Luka Photography.
Curate Workshop came about after a lot of long discussions about 2 things: 1. Running our businesses with excellence and 2. Loving our clients well. Our goal for Curate is to educate each attendee on how to be intentional in every area of their business, while also equipping them with the tools they need to practically apply what they’ve learned.
If you are a wedding photographer looking to grow and develop your small business in meaningful ways, there are still a few spots left in our curate workshop: April 29, 2017 at Neidhammer Coffee Co. It will include a full day of business strategy, head shots, posing and a beautiful styled shoot. Visit www.curateindy.com for details.