The 7 Ugly Truths

I was encouraged recently by a fellow photographer (who is also an amazing writer) to “Write one honest thing”. I read her blog post about it yesterday, and mulled over it for the day, thinking to myself – if I make my blog only about what’s on my mind any given day, what would it become? See, I often write in advance, and schedule posts out. That’s the engineer in me – always trying to get ahead and be prepared.

Instead, today, I figured I’d sit down and really think about what I want to say this Tuesday. Where is my world? What’s going on in my mind? And, well, to be honest, when I think about today is one of those tell my trainer that I want to do anything that involves punching kind of workout days.

Every time I look back on where I’ve come in a year, I realize that I’ve learned a ton in just a short twelve months, and this past twelve months I learned the real reason that so many photography studios go out of business – they’re great shooters, but they can’t handle the pressure. My skin and upper lip have got a lot tougher this year, and therefore, today’s post I present to you (in one little I’ll just make this one post and not twelve in a series) The Ugly Truths of Being a Small Business Owner:

Truth #1: Every three months I write a check to the Federal Government that could easily send Brad and I on an exotic two week vacation to Bora Bora. Each time I write it, there’s an emphasized comma in the number, and each time I put a stamp on the envelope I whisper goodbye, my friend.

Truth #2: It’s difficult to set business hours. Truth be told, I’ve answered emails at 11pm, when really I shouldn’t. I’m going to try and be better about that. Then again, once I didn’t return a phone call on a Sunday in an effort to set boundaries and was threatened with legal action as a result (nope, not kidding).

Truth #3: Daytime television blows. If anyone thinks it’s so great to be your own boss because you can watch TV and nap whenever you want, they’re sorely mistaken. There’s nothing I hate more than Dr. Oz and his gross stories!

Truth #4: I have to be a content machine. Which means that I always need to read up, think up, and shoot (was gonna say up….but… perhaps not..) a lot! My blog is a hugely vital part of my business and I run into writer’s block just about every time I sit down to write. And then I have to pray that what I say is remotely interesting. Nothing like hearing crickets in the comments section (*hint hint*)

Truth #5: I got denied for health insurance when I applied. Wow, that was weird to tell you about, but I did. I’m in the process of appeal right now, but seriously if we’re shooting and I suggest something dangerous, be a friend and tell me not to do it. It makes me frustrated, especially because I’m a consistent gym go-er, non-smoker, who tries to stay pretty healthy. The system…

Truth #6: I’m a struggling artist. No, business isn’t struggling, but I struggle with a lot of “what is my vision” type of realities. It’s like a Catch 22 – anytime I approach an event very methodically, it stifles a bit of my creativity, and every time I release more creativity, I allow for the potential of missing something else as a result. It’s a tough balance that I struggle with a lot, especially during weddings.

Truth #7: It’s tough to be the mean guy. There are times when I have to, and it totally stinks, especially because I come to really adore my clients. But sometimes I have to step up and do what’s right for myself and my business, and then I turn into a 5-year-old in a Red Rover game wondering if I’ll ever get picked again. Then I cry to mommy. Still do. I love her.

All of this said, I think with any job there’s a down side. I do get to listen to music as loud as I want in my office, and I am able to schedule my gym appointments during the slow times for increased cardio options. I do have amazing clients, and I love the challenges being my own boss provides. I have got to know my mail lady better, and watch my orchid bloom three times this year (is that strange?)

PS – Anyone watching the Bachelor? There are some crazies on there!