We started our wedding photography business 10 years ago on top of working our “day jobs”. We would be a teacher and financial planner by day and run a photography business (and work at our church) on the evenings and weekends. Coincidentally, the year we started our business was the same year we decided to start a family. Fast forward a few years, we had our 3rd kid, moved into a new house, and we were both working full-time in our business. We quickly became those people with no life…but there was one problem…
We liked our jobs!
OK, this may not sound like a serious problem, but we loved our jobs so much that it completely consumed us. Almost every hour of every day, every conversation, revolved around new business ideas and our clients. Our friends stopped calling us because we were always “busy”. We missed out on connections and important moments with our kids. Our priority was our checklist (OK let’s be honest, it was my priority…..I haven’t been able to get Matt to follow a list in the 12.5 years we’ve been married). We were saying YES to every opportunity with our business because we saw potential for growth.
Then we realized that there was a better way to do things. A better way to do business. Family. Marriage. We made some changes in our calendars, our systems and our mindsets that have allowed us to find a better balance in life, and more success in our business than we would have found had we stayed on the path we were on. The path to burnout. When we made these important changes to our business, not only did we see an increase in our profits, but we added a richness to our family and a deeper connection with our kids that is priceless!
“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” ― John C. Maxwell
We’ve been hanging on to this quote this last year as it reminds us that even when good opportunities come our way, it may be preventing us from saying YES to even better opportunities or experiences. Time is your only asset that you cannot add on to or buy more of. We live in a world where our closets are overflowing and our schedules are way too crazy, which lead to more stress and less connections. Matt and I try to limit our kids to one activity per season as we find that the more we involve ourselves in, the more it takes us away from our time at home together. Set your priorities and be sure to be careful with your YES’s. You will always disappoint someone…don’t let it be the ones you love most.
What can you get rid of in your list or responsibilities or in your schedule?
This was a game changer for us and we know a lot of photographers and business owners do this already, but especially if you are a parent, you NEED to outsource. I know it can seem like a big investment (Trust me, I’m as frugal as they come), but when we handed over our editing, administrative tasks, cleaning and even lawn care, it freed up our schedule to actually become more focused business owners and way better parents. There needs to be a bit of sacrifice of both money and control, in order to live a better life and focus on what matters, even more so if you are parents!
I encourage you to choose one thing that is taking up a lot of time and try outsourcing that for 2-3 months to try it out! What could you outsource? What would you do with that extra time to make your business more money, or to invest in your family?
SCHEDULE YOUR PERSONAL PRIORITIES.
There are always things to do for your business: improve your branding, post on social media more, network more, edit more, the list goes on and on and on. In the past 10 years, I’ve never felt like I was “caught up”! Because there are always so many tasks to do as a business owner, it can be hard to allow yourself to play and be present with your family. For us, it helps us to make concrete plans on a personal level.
Every Wednesday night in our house is family night where we sit around the table for dinner and then play games or do a fun family activity together. This is marked on the calendar and our kids won’t let us forget it! We also prioritize individual dates. This means that we purposefully spend one-on-one time with each person in our family, including each other as a couple. I can’t tell you how much our kids value this! Our oldest daughter has already planned out her dates with daddy for the year and when it is date night with him, she is all dressed up with her purse on her shoulder ready to go trying to hold her smile in! What type of traditions or plans do you want for your family?
BE THE BEST YOU.
Juggling everything from marketing, blogs, clients, and editing to field trips, dance recitals, and sleepless nights can be exhausting. You don’t need to spend even one second thinking about what others are doing and how you compare. They don’t have your life, and you don’t have theirs. Your priorities may be different, and if you want to find true fulfillment in your work and personal life, you need to focus on YOUR priorities. If you find yourself playing the comparison game, striving for things that you don’t need to strive for, buying things your don’t need to buy, just stop and take a look around. Cherish the people that you love, and be the best you that you can be for them and for yourself. They need you, not the Jones’.
Let’s take it one day at a time and remember to say NO to the good things, so we can say YES to the BEST!