small business

This morning I woke up and reached for my phone. Why is it SO instinctual to just grab it? I began cruising the details and reviews of a marketing set I want to purchase. WORK! It is hard to remember that all that research and study time is work... and I just need to chill! It was 4:45 in the morning!! Relax!! Think! Wakeup! Eesh!!!! I find that it is that way when going to bed before going sleep too... Or When I'm standing in the kitchen trying to do dishes but get distracted by an idea, or remember something I wanted to look for.... Or notice a corner of the dining room that could be a nice little office space... and start looking at Pinterest! Ha!! Tell me I'm not the only one! Now that I'm back to full time photography, I've found that is very difficult to leave work at work... because its right there. All. The. Time. I've been working hard at developing the behind the scenes, restructuring, researching, fine tuning, tweaking, creating spreadsheets, studying, researching, tweaking some more. I read the other day a statement along the lines of, Creative Entrepreneurs: The only people willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40. lol! Isn't that the truth!

When I had that "It's 4:45 in the morning! Relax, Think, Take time to wake up" moment this morning... I decided today would be different. Its a good day to make it different, kids are home, house needs tending to, and I've forsaken my beloved outlet of Bible Journaling Lately... So after putting my phone down... letting myself enjoy the peace while the kids were still sleeping, I had some prayer time, dozed in and out... and when the kids got up... grabbed my coffee, the kiddos got books, and I left my phone in my room, and came to my cozy window chair, with a blanket, no technology, and dove in for a little bit to start my day off right! I need to go back here more often. Its a safe place, a happy place... a place to recharge.

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Dare to Dream

Reading this Blog from Jasmine Star (...the oh so successful, inspirational, entrepreneur-photographer-turned-mentor business woman...) I found a striking similarity. Growing up - I too had copy-cat dreams. Often voiced just the typical answers to the question of "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Some how, at some point, I began believing that I DIDN'T have a dream, I didn't have a passion, that Photography was just a glorified hobby, or even at a successful state - a means to an end/result. In Jasmine's blog she mentions a time at the beginning of her business when her dream became, "of working from home and being a photographer." She goes on to say: "...I didn't have the audacity to dream of working with my husband in a home we own, traveling together, being one of the top photographers in the world, and consulting creative entrepreneurs. I couldn't dare to dream that big."  That struck a chord with me, because I've been pretty vague lately with my own dreams. And my literal words, in prayers and journaling, have been "To be working from home around the kids' schedule, and doing photography full time"  HA! Not word for word, but pretty dang close, wouldn't you say?

Change scene for a second - I've been helping at our church-school a lot lately - and there have been a few times during some writing exercises where the 3-5th grade kiddos have needed to work on paragraph writing. Extracting the details from the younger kids can be paaaaainful. They went in to this one particular writing assignment a week or so ago with instructions of giving lots of detail about their weekend, even if they had the slowest weekend ever, they could give plenty of detail about how many hours they laid in bed, or what they ate, and where they ate it... There are certainly enough details to write 3-5 sentences right?! Yet the resounding "I don't know what else to wriiiiiiiite" came often. "I had a boring weekend. I did nothing. I did not do anything fun." Okaaaaaay. But there just HAS to be more to that! You HAD to eat, multiple times even! You prrrrooooobably watched some TV? Slept?  There is more. It goes deeper... *prompting and prodding continued* but do you see the connection I just made and smacked myself in the face with?

IMG_8648-6As Jasmine realized she didn't dream as big as she could have... I realize now.. my Dreams ARE bigger... They do go deeper. I have yet to craft them specifically and be intentional (I'll leave you hanging for a bit because they are journal worthy)... but I challenge those of you reading.. Dream bigger. And if you need a bit of inspiration - go Take a peak at Jasmine Star's early years.... to the woman who literally just decided one day that she'd try her hand at being a wedding photographer... and has created such a deep, meaningful, and rich (I'm not referring to financially) business and life for herself.

 

the Value Factor

I've lately really been faced with looking at my value as a small business owner and in my craft. This running a business thing for a full time income is not for the weary! Its hard work you guys! Seriously... Who would've thought? ;) haha..... But seriously - What do I value about my work and my business... What do I want clients and potential clients to value about my work and business? Pretty Images....? I'm not so sold. While I have spent a good 6-ish years developing and honing in my craft as a photographer, and in editing... (And plan to continue doing so.... ) I've come to realize that I value my work because it is something that I put my heart and soul into. I want to get to know my clients, not just pop some photos in a gallery and send them on their way, never to be heard of again until next Fall for family photos or the next stage of life. I want to be excited about editing and post processing, because I know how perfect a certain expression matches a person, how I KNOW I grabbed a good shot of the toddler who won't sit still... ever. lol! How I caught that daddy daughter relationship that you value or the history in something as simple as a funny face phase that will probably pass in a few short months... or Might be the beginning of something that will stick around and give a good laugh a few years down the road.

I haven't always been successful in developing a proper relationship prior to my photoshoots, but the types that it has worked out in that way have honorably turned out to be some of my best work.Website (149 of 472) It can be hard to develop a relationship with my client at times... especially when you know me enough to know....that I'm not the best conversation starter with people I don't know well! (unless there is just something driving me to randomly ask you to be my friend... lol... I've never done such a thing! *that sounds desperate....moving on*) but it's not difficult to do if that is what YOU, as my potential client expect. If you KNOW that I care to see a glimpse of your family values, the dynamics in the relationships you wish to capture, or the phase you're dying to freeze in time... You will be more apt to share those things with me if going in, you know that I care to know them! If you know that knowing you, and your "WHY" for wanting my work, makes my work BETTER.... it is likely that we will develop a bit of an understanding and rapport with each other before our session.... a connection. You won't be one to freeze or get quiet when I ask about when you two met, or who the funny one in the family is.....Right? Are you following or am smacking a nail with a crayon?

My work is valuable to me. I want it to be valuable to YOU but... I can't make that happen without first valuing it myself. Which is why I've been reflecting on what puts the Valisa in Valisa Henderson Photography?... and allowing more of myself to infiltrate my brand.

It IS valuable to many of my clients, and to those who have valued my work before I saw it's value - I am truly thankful!  When I asked myself, "What is it about a client who values my work?" The answer landed me back to ... relationships. Those that ask and ask and ask when I'm planning to come visit and make sure I'm planning on scheduling shoots while I'm there - shows me that My work is VALUABLE to them. Granted I know I have clients HERE in Northern California and Southern Oregon that value my work, for sure! But I feel my point is made clear with Arizona; There are TONS of photographers in Phoenix, Arizona; seriously. REALLY great ones... but when I visit that city... I have clients ready in waiting... because I have formed relationships with those that value my work. I have grown with them, or they have grown with me... one or the other, or both I guess ;).... It is NOT because I'm the best photographer (Because I do not possess that horn to toot!)...  My work is something that I want to promote... yes, but also protect. Because it's valuable. Why have I transitioned to selling prints and not just passing around digital files like they're candy? Because the color calibration matters, the way I crop something matters, the time I spend working on my business, the time I spend with you, and FOR you behind the scenes, the care and diligence I spend crafting your images... because of the relationship I like having with my clients... is worth far more than the changes and manipulations that non-professional, corner-store printing options do to *ahem* ENHANCE *???* your photos... i.e. my art, that I value.  Can you see how without that connection and relationship... it could be hard to value my work? I do know that that does not allow for just anyone to pop in and value my work in the way that I pray my past, present and future clients will. And I have to accept that. Not everyone will agree with how I do things... and  in finding VALUE in my business lately - I've learned that THAT IS OKAY. There will be others out there, and how they do business is valued by a different niche of clients. I want to attract those that find value in and appreciate my work, value in my one-woman-show business, and value in the ME inside my brand.

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