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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Nelson

The Ugly Truths to Owning your Own Business

When people tell you they are self employed, the first things to come to mind, for most, are, "wow that's so awesome! You get to be your own boss! You don't have to work 9-5! You can work from anywhere and go where ever you want! You aren't tied down!"

Why yes, we do get most or all of those perks and more. But what most don't talk about are the darker sides to owning your own business. It's not as easy as it seems, and becomes infinitely harder when you go at it alone. So, quick shout out, anyone want to jump up as co founder, partner in crime with me?! Taking any and all inquiries.

A giant ugly, oozing, dark side to this business is doing it alone. You take on 100% of everything. And I do mean everything. As the sole owner, runner and worker of my company I am in control of all the little details. I am a main point of contact, I am my own sales team, I am my own website creator, content creator, photo taker, editor and distribution team. I am the accountant, the scheduler, the decider of major business decisions. The wearer of many hats.

"With great power, comes great responsibility" - Uncle Ben

Truer words have never been spoken. I mean, I'm sure there have been, but in this particular moment in time, this quote strikes home.

When everything is running smoothly, I wouldn't choose another line of work. Photographing people during their most special moments, moments that they will hold close to their hearts forever, brings me such joy. Getting to meet all of these wonderful couples, even just for a single day, is magical.

However, there are days, moments interspersed, that really take a toll. Writing helps me process and I hope that it helps those who might be starting out on their own self employed journeys, or those who may find themselves in similar situations.

So let's talk about mistakes.

You are meant to learn from them, and by god I hope I do. When you work in the wedding business, whether you are a photographer like me, or any other vendor, mistakes are highly avoided because when mistakes are made, business is risked. But, sometimes they can not be avoided. I'll speak from experience now about a particular mistake. A mistake I made. The worst of their kind.

For wedding photographers, the booking seasons can vary. During some months they are really active and people are reaching out every day or every other day to inquire about your services. In other months, weeks can go by without a single hello from a bride or groom. During the busy season, it is paramount, I've found, that you keep a strict calendar of bookings, possible leads, and meet ups. For me, double bookings are pretty rare, but have popped up in the past and that is when a strict calendar comes in handy. A quick look at the date and I can see what is coming up. Simple right? Well, what happens when you don't adhere to those strict processes? That's right, a double booking goes unseen and un-addressed.

My mom taught me that when you make a mistake, the best thing to do is apologize right away. So, after realizing the mistake I had made, after the gut reaching feeling of letting someone down subsided, I did so and offered a solution. I'll leave it at that and go deeper into the emotions I felt.

As the owner of my business, my first thought was, "you've lost business". As a human being, my first thought was "you've let someone down". That is a very, very hard feeling to come to terms with for a people pleaser like myself. The last thing I ever want to do is let someone down because of my mistake. But here I am, faced with such a dilemma. The only real advice or words of wisdom I have is, do all that you can do, apologize and move forward. If the mistake can be rectified, that is the best possible outcome. If not, all a person can do is learn from it and take it with them through all of their other interactions. All easier said than done I feel in this moment. Greater words of wisdom and advice is always welcome.

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1 Comment

Jeremy Chevallier
Jeremy Chevallier
Apr 19, 2019

Endure the lows... optimize the highs :) you never hear about the tough times in business from the famous successful people, but we all go through them.. keep your head up, and short-circuit your reward system :) which means find small indicators of progress to celebrate. Je t’aime 💕

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