April 24, 2019

Business Growth: Then and Now

Business Growth Coastal Wedding Photographer Elizabeth Friske Photography

It’s crazy to think that this little business of mine has been around for 9 years!

Although it has taken me a while to get where I am now, the journey has been incredible. It’s been full of ups and downs and a lot of often uncomfortable growth, but I can’t even begin to thank those who’ve followed my journey and have trusted and invested in me over the years.

Without you all, I wouldn’t have kept going and been able to look proudly on where am I today.

When I first started, I shot everything from couples, families, dogs, senior portraits, maternity, you name it…everything. I was just excited to be shoot and having so much fun doing it.

The first few years I was really just learning. It’s important to master the basics and experience all the trial and error in the process. By today’s standards, I wouldn’t say I was very good, but I do know one thing. I connected with the people I photographed.

They trusted me. They believed in me. And over the years, they’ve continued to believe in me, whether that means cheering me on or asking me to be a part of their story in some other way.

Since I’m just shy of a DECADE in business, I thought it would be fun to take you on a journey of sorts and share my thoughts on the entrepreneur life over the years.

So buckle up friends… it’s been quite the ride!

I’ll start by being honest.

I often think that I am behind.

My mind tells me:

“I haven’t grown fast enough.”

“It’s taken me far too long to get HERE, I’ll never be able to get THERE.”

I’ve witness photographers sprout up after me, who are far past me now.

But the funny thing is, no matter where you are on your journey or how fast you’re going, someone will always do it faster. (And someone will always do it slower, too.) Speed doesn’t define the quality of your journey or your work. In fact, it doesn’t really say anything.

We all take our own paths and ride our own waves toward success. The beautiful thing is, success looks and means something different for all of us –  in business and in life.

It’s funny how life can be determined to go at its own pace, even when we wish it would speed up or slow down.

Business Growth Coastal Wedding Photographer Elizabeth Friske Photography

So while I could get frustrated with what my journey looks like compared to others, I think it’s better to look back at how far I’ve come.

Although I’ve always prided myself on the relationship and care with which I treat my couples, my experience has grown and my work has improved. I love all the couples and families I’ve had the privilege to photograph and feel so lucky to have played a small part in their stories. Whether they hired me 9 years ago or yesterday…every moment I’ve been a part of matters.

For the sake of reflecting, here’s a look back at where I began.

First Wedding:

I booked my first two weddings with couples I knew from work. I am so appreciative for the trust Amy & Mike and Melanie & Ed had in me to capture their wedding days.

I remember being so nervous for both. (Well… let’s be honest, I still get nervous for each wedding because I care so much about doing well for my couples.) But I remember feeling excited and fired up. I was being paid to be a part of such intimate days!

They believe in me before I even knew whether shooting weddings was for me or not. Because of that, these people will always hold a special place in my heart!

Confidence:

Speaking of confidence… my biggest downfall as I grew in my journey was the belief that I wasn’t good enough. The lie that I didn’t fit in and I didn’t belong. I didn’t trust myself as much as my couples did.

I still have my days where I feel down or less confident, but that is a natural, human thing to do! Today, I have a sense of confidence that I didn’t before.

I’ve gained invaluable experience, my work has improved tenfold, and I’m more comfortable in my own skin. That has made such a difference.

Although I’m imperfect in it, I know that I have the skill and the personality that clicks with my couples.

My business isn’t about me, but serving couples in a way that feels personal, comforting, and celebratory of them.

This doesn’t come easy and it can be a constant roller coaster, but I’m proud of my journey and the level of confidence I have in my work. I would have never said this a few years ago, but I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and spent time understanding myself, because without I can’t grow. It’s given me the humble confidence to keep improving and living out my business goals.

Website:

I sat in fear of getting my own website for far too long. I think was three years in before I finally hit publish on my first blog.

It took forever for me to get the courage to put myself out there! To claim space on the internet. To be seen.

I wanted everything to be perfect. But that mindset only made me fall behind. I tried chasing after everyone else’s journey and it only made my stagnant in the process.

When I finally did it – when I got uncomfortable and made it happen in spite of my fear, I allowed myself to grow in the very ways I’d so been craving. I just didn’t realize that’s what it took to do so.

While my first website was nowhere near what it is today, I’m still proud of creating it myself. It didn’t take long before I outgrew it and went through a few rebrands.

My First Logo:

My first website:

Was all over the place, style wise and esthetic. It is so old that I don’t even have a screen shot of it. It was busy and confusing. Overdone and too much. I designed it myself and I am not a web designer. Clearly you can see I invested later on for that.

My first rebrand:

My latest rebrand and new site I call home:

Business Growth Coastal Wedding Photographer Elizabeth Friske Photography
Business Growth Coastal Wedding Photographer Elizabeth Friske Photography
Business Growth Coastal Wedding Photographer Elizabeth Friske Photography

Growth has a funny way of making you naturally reflect.  Whether it’s from childhood to now, in business, or in a relationship. It’s taken years of hard work, trial and error, and a belief that this business isn’t just about me and my dream, but about the couples I serve and the memories that I get to capture forever.

Just scroll through my Instagram feed or my Facebook page and you’ll see the growth of my style, skill, and heart.

But even though my style and skill has evolved, my heart has always been the same.  

It’s always been for people and their stories. To share this gift and deepen the meaning beyond just an image.

Growth is about learning to love yourself in the process of finding your way. That’s why I’ll continue to do a lot of soul-searching, self-reflection, and a practice of gratitude.

Gratitude fuels growth and confidence. It switches your perspective and allows you to hone in on your purpose.

So take it from me, stop searching all around you. Find the gift you have inside of you and be bold in putting it to good use. There are people who need what YOU offer, no matter how many other people offer it.

Thanks for supporting me in my journey. I hope I get to support you in yours!

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