They say the first three years of self employment are the toughest. While this year has certainly been tough, it’s been an adventure that I would continue to choose, year after year.
This time last year, I shared my lessons from my first year of self employment (Tanya Jacobs Photography is actually 5 years old this year). You can read that post here.
I read it last night and I had to chuckle. While some of the lessons still apply now, there are so many more in my second year.
So here they are.
Real, honest lessons from my second year of self employment.
Master your workflow
I don’t have this down just yet, but I was forced to streamline my processes and get my workflow into some sort of arrangement when I was shooting back to back weddings and juggling late night editing, while being a mom and wife. Life with a busy toddler in the house and a business to run can be so hard, and yet, so rewarding.
It’s okay to be a mom first
I love spending mornings with Ella doing art classes, horse rides, ice skating or attending Baby Bright Stars or Clamber Club. So that’s what I do – I schedule mom hours into my day and I schedule work hours into my day. I’m a mom first, and that’s my most important role.
Believe in your worth
We all struggle with stuff. Confidence, habits, jealousy… Me? I struggle with believing in my worth. But with some mentoring and self teaching, I’ve worked through this and you know what… I’ve got this! I believe in myself. I believe I’m worth my prices. I believe I offer my clients a fantastic service and quality and I deserve to charge what I feel that’s worth. If you don’t believe in your own worth, how can you possibly expect clients to?
Give your clients an experience they’ll love
I’ve loved this – researching and refining my packages, my service, my offering to offer the very best of me and my products to my clients.
Forget about the likes
Facebook and Instagram are basically forcing you to think this way – unless you’re advertising with a bajillion Rand each week. Forget about the number of likes and the hearts. They’re not an indicator of how well your business is doing or how good your work is.
Be real. Like, Real, real.
I’ve received the most heartwarming interactions and connections with people online when I’ve shared openly, and honestly. I shared about my mom/entrepreneur struggles and other moms shared back. We joined forces and united and pushed each other along. I’ve found a tribe and I like my tribe. A lot.
Love your industry friends
I’ve been so fortunate to have amazing support all around me, and that includes the support of industry friends and colleagues. They were there to fall back on when I needed to rush to my mom’s side when she was in ICU and they were there when I hit an all time low in my career when I disappointed a client.
Which leads me to my next point…
Mistakes. They’re going to happen and they’re going to effing hurt.
Badly. But you have to, HAVE TO, get up and try again, no matter how hard it is. Mistakes in business are hard lessons that need to be learnt.
Community over competition
Sharing work you can’t take on, and sharing with people who believe in community over competition, is one of the most rewarding ways to help another person’s business grow. Choose community over competition, every time.
Set your intentions
If you’re going to succeed – succeed.
If you’re going to step up – step up.
If you’re going to do it – do it.
Intention is everything.
Invest in yourself
I’ve spent hard earned money on investing in courses, books, holidays and guides, all to better myself and my business. Investing in myself and my knowledge has been worth every cent.
Burn out is real.
Very real. There were days when I didn’t know how to face my workload and be a good mother and wife. Learn to help yourself, and learn when you need to reach out for help. Back to back weddings, no normal life balance, and a non-sleeping baby in the house is a recipe for some pretty ugly crying.
Completely un-photography related, but it was so necessary for me to function properly and to try regain control of my own balance. By sleep training, I mean sleep training Ella. 😉 It took her 21 months to finally sleep a straight 8 hours. Two nights ago, she pulled a 12 hour nighter with me (we had just arrived home after almost 23 hours of travelling). Sleep is important and Ella is a champ!
With every shoot, comes experience.
Your portfolio will grow, you’ll learn to co-ordinate your work to show only what you love, and want to shoot, and you’ll grow with time. Enjoy the journey.
Damain and Jitesh got married on, what I believe to be, the hottest day this year.
And still, they had a celebration that warmed every single heart who bore witness to this union.
Everything about their wedding at Collisheen Estate was perfect; the decor, the details and especially Damain and Jitesh.
So much love for this wedding!
Tomorrow, Damain jets off out of South Africa to join Jitesh in America. I timed this blogpost just in time to make the reunion in the USA even sweeter. 😉
Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness, adventures and love. Thank you for choosing me to tell this chapter of your story. It was a beautiful one!
Service Provider Love:
Venue: Collisheen Estate
Florist: Peter’s Florist
Decor: Amanda Janisch
Bride’s Dress: Gideon (designer)
Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss
Pastor: Pastor Kisten
Videography: Jay Pillay
Immanuel and Tasha wrote their own vows for their wedding day at Collisheen Estate and while it mostly included personal touches like, ‘I promise to drink milkshakes with you’ and ‘I promise to scratch your back’, they also promised to love each other. Even if you tried, you couldn’t find a more perfectly suited pair.
While editing their photographs, I was reminded of this and couldn’t help but smile.
They laugh wholeheartedly at each other’s jokes, they look at each other with the same respect and sincerity, and they love, with all their hearts.
These guys simply ‘husband and wife’ so well. 😉
Thank you Manny and Tash for ending my 2016 wedding season on the highest note, and for being so incredible to photograph.
Now go grow old together. x
Show some love:
Venue: Collisheen Estate, Orchid House
Hair and Make Up: Brittany Jane Make up and Hair
Decor: Finishing Touches, Sandra Lunn
Cake: Heidi’s Cafe
Dressmaker: Iqbal Osman
Groom’s suit: Dickson Tailors
Photographer’s Assistant: Nats <3
Love, love, loved photographing Espee and Wilma’s beautiful wedding day at Hlanganani, near Ladysmith. This venue is pretty new to the wedding industry but is incredibly beautiful with its forest and elegant reception hall. They’re in the process of building a chapel too so I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!
Espee and Wilma said their vows in the forest, under a canopy of red and gold bunting. It was so special to witness this pair coming together and to see how much love their family and friends have for these two. To be able to photograph that is such an honour.
Thank you Espee and Wilma! May your love for each other never ever die and may you always look at each other with such love! x
Bride’s Hair: Lezanne Botes – Style Company
Bride’s Make Up: Bonita Janse Van Rensburg – Body and Soul
Videography: Lizane Jordaan
Flowers: Jenny Dirker
Decor: Danielle Draping
Cake: Posh Nosh
Reggie and Emily got married on a very cold day in the Midlands and oh, what a wedding it was. I drove up to the Midlands that morning to second shoot for Kelly Daniels, leaving behind anything warm that I owned! But the love on the day and the pure joy of photographing such a beautiful wedding and people eased the freeze. Despite my lips turning blue and my hands red and numb from the cold, I enjoyed every second. Thank you Kelly for allowing me to second shoot with you.
Reggie and Emily were married at The Windmills venue in the Midlands Meander. This has always been on my top 10 list of ‘Must-Shoot-At-Wedding-Venues’ and I’m very proud to say… I’ve booked my first Midlands wedding for later this year at The Windmills! Can’t wait!