Hey there! It’s kind of been a season of reflecting for me. I’m going on 11 years in business and been working a lot of where I’m going and my goals for not only Sara-Anne Photography but also Sara-Anne! As I reflect and think about where I’m going, I’ve thought a lot about where I’ve been and what worked and what didn’t! I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of the best decisions I’ve made in my years of small business ownership!
- Move to a Small Town! Now don’t get me wrong, there are difficulties (smaller market, swamped industry, live in a bubble) but for the most part, those things have worked to my advantage. When my husband told me we were moving from a large market to a smaller market, I really struggled with where to “build” but through prayer and guidance, I did “move” SAP to the small town and it was the best decision. The fact that I have name recognization nearly everywhere, the fact that networking and building my brand is so much easier in a smaller town, the simple fact that I’m one of the leaders has been a blessing. I’ve used this small town to help nurture my little business and it’s been awesome.
- Valued my work from the start! I never started off as an inexpensive photographer, I knew that what I did was special and because of my art background, I considered it art. I would sell my watercolors (5×7) small prints for $150 why would I offer a print of an image that I took at less? Those were the things that went through my mind as I started this journey, so it helped me to define my business model right from the start. When mentoring young small business owners, I always share with them the value of each product they sell. This is true even more true in digital format and I’m so thankful that this decision was made early on.
- Making the Decision NOT to Quit: About 4 years ago I nearly quit ….I made some huge mistakes, very public mistakes, that left me ashamed and wanting to crawl into a hole. I let so many people down, my family, my students, my industry and I felt even God and every fiber of my being wanted to quit. One day on the side of the road, when I was truly contemplating “should I just end this all?” and when I say ALL I mean life, business everything, but at that point, something deep down spoke to me. I truly believe it was God who in His still voice whispered to me “the same woman, who has come this far, can go even farther” I made at that point a decision to rise above. Was it hard? OMG yes…was it costly? YES! but that decision to fight through was one of the best I’ve made. I learned so much, I’m a better businesswoman, I’m a better person.
- Develop a Style: I talk more about this here, but having a style that is unique to me, that is my defined brand, that no matter what is shown is all ME! This took time, lots of time and while I’m drawn to trends our industry offers, it’s not me! I love nothing more than when someone says “I knew that was your pictures before I saw the name” Developing my style has given me the freedom to be ME! It’s helped me to focus more on the quality of what I’m doing. It has helped me not to “chase” others, but to be confident in who I am as an artist.
- Be Transparent: I’ve always been a pretty open book. I’ve strongly believed that what I was doing was more about Sara-Anne than Sara-Anne Photography. That I wanted people to get to know me and my heart. There have been times when that was hard, but I always have desired to build relationships and friendships with those I get to come into contact with and not just a client/photographer relationship! I wanted people to feel comfortable coming to me when they had questions when they needed something photography related and so much more. I feel that this has given a “human” aspect to Sara-Anne Photography. I have connected so much more with so many awesome people and it truly has been the biggest blessing but also a great decision business wise.
Being a small business owner is hard because every decision matters. We find ourselves often 2nd guessing things, wondering if that change or that “jump” was the right one. I have found, that most of the time, going with your gut and heart is the best thermometer for knowing what to do! Thankfully, I feel that I’ve made more good decisions than bad, but there are always decisions that we regreat…we just can’t be afraid of them. (Next time I’ll share the 5 worst decisions/mistakes I’ve made”
I’m so excited to share this little guys newborn session! He was a champ during his session, slept and settled in just perfectly! He is all boy with such adorable nose and lips! I loved that we captured his tiny features! I’ll make sure we share how Mom choose to highlight those for his nursery in a framed print! It’s going to be amazing! Thank you so much, Holly & Luke for allowing us to capture your sweet boy!