Yes.. a couple of years ago I “QUIT” my photography business. Looking back- there are things I would change BUT quitting my business isn’t one of them.
This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while for a couple of reasons. The first being that I know many of my family and friends are wondering why I started back up after the reasons I gave on quitting. And second- I think this needs to be talked about more in the creative industry. I’m about to get real raw with my emotions and mental health- this is 100% me. It’s scary to show this side of me- but I hope it helps someone. I am not sharing this to get any sort of pity for myself. I genuinely think things like this need to be talked about more often. I’ve gotten into the habit of sharing only the pretty side of my life- and I don’t want that to be the case anymore. So, hey! I’m Kristy and I struggle too! <3
In January of 2017 I was burnt out, exhausted, and experiencing SO many life changes.
I posted this on my Facebook Business Page and I wouldn’t be lying if I said this doesn’t make me cringe a TON.
I started my business in my teens while I was attending high school. I worked and learned as much as I could. I was growing physically, emotionally, mentally- all while I was trying to grow my business. I then struggled through about another year of managing my business as an adult (taking one-year slow while I attended some college).
I think a few things played into my decision to close down:
- I struggled with comparison. I looked at other creatives and where they were at, how gorgeous their photos were, how many clients they were getting, and let it drag me down. I never looked back at my old work and saw how far I came creatively. I never let myself be proud of the success that I had achieved. Even though my family and husband constantly cheered me on to succeed- I had to make the decision myself to be happy where I was at.
- I felt like I couldn’t “shed” my younger, less-experienced self. I had a lot of lessons to learn (I still do!) and as I made mistakes I “felt” like they followed me and that no one would ever forget them.
- I stopped focusing on what really mattered. I LOVED to take photos as a child and teen- creating something beautiful for other people gave me so much joy. I also love to manage things- so running a business was very fulfilling for me. When I didn’t feel like the business side of things were “successful” I started obsessing over the business side of things and completely let that overtake my love for photography.
- I stopped practicing self-care. Part of that obsession kept me up late into the night and let me beat myself up over little mistakes. It let me work 12 hour days with no mental breaks, miss meals, and more.
So after years of this- I reached a breaking point. I wanted to enjoy being married and living life where I could come home and not always have a feeling that something needs to be done. I prayed so much- I wanted to know what God thought I should do. And I felt at peace about quitting and taking a break. So I QUIT. And it was SO FREEING.
It was scary to quit- since this had been part of my identity for many years. I was afraid of what people would think- that I was a failure. But with God, my family, and my husband by my side, I faced that fear and did what was best for me.
Quitting was the Best Decision
From 2017 to 2019 I grew more than I ever thought I would. I finally gave myself some headspace to relax and enjoy the changes life brought. I also became a mom in 2018- and having that space was so important as I adjusted. God knew what surprise was coming my way, he knew what I struggled with, and he guided me to make the choice that saved my mental health.
Deciding to Start Again
No matter what- creating beautiful images and managing a business has been my dream since I was 14. At the beginning of 2018- I thought I would give up that dream for forever but I couldn’t get rid of that drive that had reignited. I pondered the thought of opening my business up again and it terrified me that I would fall back into my unhealthy slump. Cole (my husband) encouraged me to take my time but wanted me to chase whatever dreams I had. After months of thinking and praying- I finally came to the conclusion to reopen my business. It took awhile to get restarted with new portfolio sessions, website building, etc.- but at the beginning of 2019 it was official. I was back in business.
A New Outlook
I’ve matured so much over the past few years, I’ve come to understand myself more and know what I need in order to be the best me for myself, my family, and my son. When I reopened my business I promised myself that I wouldn’t compare myself to others, I would take growth at my own pace, forgive myself for my little mistakes, take care of myself physically and mentally, and focus on what really mattered. And I’m proud to say- that I love 100% of what I do now. I know how to give my best self to others, my business, and myself. It’s always a process of course- but it’s SO much better than it was before.
So hey, you’re a big dreamer and goal maker. Here’s my two cents. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace. YES- HUSSLE- achieve those dreams, work hard. But if you aren’t where you think “success is”, take a look at where you came from and be proud of your progress. And always remember one of my favorite quotes: