Good morning and Happy Thursday! **check out my daddy long leg ARMS and my place of chaos! **
Okay okay, this is a serious post so bear with me on this.
As I try to gather my thoughts after returning from the WPPI convention I wanted to share one of the biggest goals for myself this year. And that is, setting boundaries. This has been a BIG deal for me because I have a LOT going on in my life. I’m a mom, wife, sister, daughter, business owner, photographer, editor, friend and roll model. Managing it all is tough.
I came across a post from my REALLY close and amazingly talented friend Mishelle Lamarand awhile back and she spoke about boundaries. Every single word written really strung a cord with me. I HIGHLY recommend reading it if you haven’t already.
I started my journey in 2010. I was in school taking 12 credit hours, working a part time job, pregnant with Lola and working my butt off trying to teach myself photography. My relationship with my family was almost nonexistent with me in school, at work, practicing with my camera, sitting in photoshop, lightroom, watching tutorials etc… And to be blunt I worked my ass off for the past 3 years to be where I am today.
Running a business is tough, it really is. From charging batteries, formatting cards, prepping gear, driving to and from locations, babysitters, organizing, shooting, editing thousands upon thousands of images, ordering prints, shipping, saving, hard drives, software, retouching, delivering and trying to get the face of your work out there is completely and utterly exhausting. It becomes more difficult when you add parts of your life into it. I’m a mom of 4 children who attend school, dance, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, gymnastics and swimming. I think you understand where I’m going with this. As I said earlier, for the past 3 years I’ve been working non stop 24/7. This isn’t fair. It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to my family. It’s not fair to my husband and it’s not even fair to my friends.
This year is a year I am setting boundaries. I receive questions and inquiries via text messages, instagram messages, Facebook messages, Facebook posts, people delivering messages verbally for other people etc… all hours of the day. This is really hard to keep track of. Trying to organize it all in the middle of my own life is impossible. Whether you are a friend, family member or awesome client I NEED all questions and inquiries streamlined into one place and sent via email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve emailed me recently you’ll know I have an automatic responder. This is for two reasons. 1. you know I received your message okay and 2. you know that my office hours are Monday – Friday 10:00am – 3:00pm, if it was emailed outside of that you’ll hear from me on the next business day. I absolutely will be responding to you during office hours. My office hours are set for me to edit, meet consultations, answer calls, return emails etc… In the past it was pretty much a free for all with me. I would edit, email, market etc… morning, noon, and night. Stop the madness, Sarah!!!!
Texting – NO MORE!
Every morning I wake up to make sure my oldest son is fed, packed and off to the bus stop, then I get my son Aidan up, dressed, fed, packed and off to the bus stop, then finally get both girls up, dressed, fed and ready for the day. This takes a total of 3 hours (I’m totally not kidding! >insert crazy mom morning hair and drinking coffee icon<) Sometimes during the morning madness I will receive text messages. And for me it’s very easy to forget to respond. I completely and totally understand that instant gratification is such a big deal these days but like Mishelle explained in her blog post, I’m not a cardiac surgeon. Anything I do is not a life or death situation. Please, just email me. This also goes along with evening/night time texting. Without the whole cardiac surgeon analogy, you get the point. It’s really difficult to respond giving pricing, print order information, retouching information, album information etc… via text. Not too mention, if I don’t see it in my inbox it’ll easily go unanswered and forgotten, not on purpose by any means but by accident because I just don’t use texting very much. And when i’m with my family during “my time” it’s a struggle to receive multiple texts regarding work.
This was a scary and tough step for me to make. I was always afraid of rejection and wanted to always please everyone. But, I can’t continue to live like this and no one should. TRUST me, if you haven’t already noticed you will be thankful for the boundaries. My workflow is now organized much better. I hired an assistant a year ago to help control the editing and administrative work which was THE BEST decision I’ve ever made. Lets face it being a one man show while trying to be a mom and wife was CRAY CRAY! BUT … I now have a life with my family which should never be taken away from anyone.
I am SO thankful for each and every one of you. I’m really happy to say I have the best clients EVER. I chose this path in my life because I absolutely LOVE it. I love your faces when you see images that I took. I LOVE seeing you post my images, I love learning the dynamics of photography and I want my children to see me successfully run a business while being happy. I have to set boundaries and please respect that I am only human, I am a mom, and I am a wife.