• The Pressure is On

we all feel it to some degree. With the exception of babies, every human being experiences PRESSURE to some degree. Pressure to perform, pressure to get things done, pressure to be who other people are expecting you to be…. the list could continue for miles and miles. “Pressure” is a weird feeling to explain because it’s not exactly the same feeling as “stress”. Pressure can be a very positive thing sometimes but when I think of “Pressure”… I think of time, deadlines, expectations, and falling behind. As a small business owner, I feel pressure constantly.

So many people say to Michael and me “You’re living the dream!”  And I would have to agree that they’re right. We are VERY thankful for this season of life that we get to work together and build a business side by side. However, “The Dream” doesn’t come to people on a cloud of butterflies and cupcakes…. getting to where we are today has actually been extremely hard in some seasons. As a business owner, I have experienced a certain level of “pressure” since DAY ONE.  It started in college when I created my first website and got a Facebook Fanpage. I was putting myself out there and I was showing the world that they could count on me to produce really pretty stuff. Then, I started gaining a following (more pressure)…. and THEN, I started raising prices because there was a demand for my services (even more pressure). Eventually I started teaching other people how to do what I did. I started portraying myself as an educator in the industry and literally, the PRESSURE was ON. Prices kept rising and the business kept growing….. and as prices were rising, my level of “pressure” grew as well.  Move along a few years, we decide that it’s time for Michael to join the business. You would think that that would relieve some pressure since I wasn’t doing this alone …. and it did, but it also elevated the necessity of success! This is ALL we have now. There is no backup income.

There are some days when it’s less intense and then there are other days when it’s just downright annoying and overwhelming. Somewhere along the line, I started learning that when I’m feeling pressure, that means that I’m moving forward.  Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate the pressure instead of running from it and I’ve taught myself to recognize when I’m allowing the pressure to stress me out.  There has to be a balance. The pressures of running a business is what keeps them operating… we have to find the fine line of allowing that pressure to move us and not stress us. Stress will stop you in your tracks, pressure amplifies the need to get stuff done! I’ll admit that there are MANY days when I wake up and think “wouldn’t it be nice to not be responsible for the success of anything?”.  Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to wake up, go to the office, get home at 5:30 and never think about work until I arrived in the office the next morning at 9am.  I imagine having a boss who worried about the company’s growth so that I wouldn’t have to. My job would be simply that, MY JOB. I would have one role and I would just do that role over and over again without ever having to feel PRESSURE.  Some days that seems like the ideal situation….. And then I realize that I wasn’t created to be in a role like that. I wouldn’t thrive there. I was created to be a business owner because as much as I don’t always love the pressure, I can handle it.

As I continue to work on talks for multiple conferences, book weddings, edit, answer emails in a timely manner and blog daily, I’m reminded that the pressure I feel is a good thing. It’s pushing me forward and when it seems like it’s too much to handle and turns to stress, that’s a tell-tale sign that I need to take a day off and start again the next day. :) Someone once told me that running their own business was one of the hardest things they have ever done and I can see how that statement would be true. I agree that keeping this business alive and growing is a hard task…. but it’s also a very rewarding one and I’m thankful for it. So today I’m letting the “pressure” push me forward instead of stall and stress me and for all of the business owners out there who are reading this, I hope you do the same. :) Happy Thursday everyone!


20 Comments Photography
  1. kari reply

    i love this! So great and so true. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Danielle Brooks reply

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, Katelyn. God is using your words to speak to my heart to keep me moving and encouraged.

  3. Claire M reply

    This post could not have came on a better day Katelyn. Small business owner and in the final year of my Masters, things are getting tough. Needing to know the difference between pressure and stress definitely will move things forward and not stall the game. Thanks!

  4. Ashley Herrinton reply

    Love this so much! Thanks for sharing that beautiful heart of yours!!

  5. tiffany farley reply

    so so so true. Love this. a great reminder friend.

  6. Tonya reply

    Gosh I needed this today!

  7. Maggie reply

    Your words go straight to the heart today. You have such a gift for creating not only beautiful images, but beautiful blogs as well. I hope that in the midst of the pressure, the support you receive from all of your dedicated readers (including me! :)) will give you a peace of mind and the joy to continue to inspire us all. You are so wonderful and I can’t imagine trying to navigate this industry without having as great of leaders as yourself for me to follow after and learn from.

  8. Rosa reply

    Thank you for always being SO honest about the reality of being a business owner. I am very thankful that I started following you since the time I wanted to pursue photography. In the end, I had to come to terms that in MY case, being a business owner was NOT something I wanted to do. Like you mention in your post, there are some people that thrive being so, and LOVE doing it, but there are others (like me) who love having a 9-5 job and sticking to photography as a hobby. Again, thank you for never making it seem like it’s always “butterflies and cupcakes” :)

  9. Rebekah Carter reply

    I feel the same way so often about my nursing career. it is difficult & stressful at times, yet I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing right now. Great post that is so applicable to everyone, not just photographers. you have a great perspective on life & that is what makes you so good. :)

  10. Angela Snyder reply

    Winter is always hard in regards to staying motivated, so thanks for sharing, you are a superstar!

  11. Britni reply

    This is the perfect way to explain it! As a wedding planner, I feel this almost every day. pressure to “click” with a client. pressure to get their contracts and invoice out in a timely manner. pressure to follow up with them, just the right amount of times.

    The list goes on, but in the end, we are called to do this and it’s what we love!

    Thanks for sharing

  12. Ashley reply

    Katelyn this is such a great message! I have too thought those same things about wishing I didn’t have to worry about so much.. But I love how you said you were not created for that role. So true and I love it! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Carissa Kennedy reply

    Let’s forget all these pressures and have a spa day!

  14. ashley goodwin reply

    amen sister! However I also find myself doing the opposite, and letting go of pressure that i put on myself that actually are things I’ve created in my head more than anything else! :) Keep doing your thang, you rock it! xo

  15. Shelley Hohe reply

    I definitely agree with you on this post. Although I have only been running my photography business for 6 years, my husband has been running his business for 20 years. Has it been stressful…yes. I couldn’t imagine him doing anything else and now that he has worked hard for so many years, he is now reaping many benefits. The best thing about running our own businesses is we get to wake up everyday doing something we truly love doing while serving others :) Thanks for sharing!!!

  16. Katie reply

    Such beautiful words!!! You are amazing Katelyn!!!

  17. Stephanie Messick reply

    Amen Katelyn! Wonderful message and reminder! :)

  18. Sarah (Danaher) Bradshaw reply

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing such truth!!! My heart needed this today!

  19. Anna reply

    This is exactly what I needed to read! And, as I fight to get my own dream going and successful, I totally can identify with the wish that I could just go into work from 9-5, come home, and not worry about ti, but I would suck at a job like that. I get too fired up about awesome stuff to be able to do that. haha. Thanks for the amazing post! Bring on the good pressure!

  20. Angel reply

    As a “9-5” Accountant I know the pressure doesn’t end at 5 when I go home, my work still goes with me. I think those of us who thrive on challenges just seem to bring it onto ourselves no matter what walk of life we take. my husband is self-employed so i understand the pressure of self-employment and know that it’s not for everybody so it is a great article for those who might not think of all of the consequences of self-employment :)

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