2016: Sink or Swim | Covington and Clifton Forge Photographers

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The word deadline is scary. I can say with confidence that many people I know are ready for this year to be over with the expectation that next year is going to better. 

My reply to that is...

IT'S ON YOU. 

I read a couple of blogs floating around that were beneficial with the overall objective that you can't blame the "year" or other circumstances for your perception of where you are in life. 

I TEND TO AGREE. 

And it got me thinking even further.. 
Personally, 2016 wasn't that bad for me. Not bragging, but if anything, looking back through this year, those blog posts have some truth to them. 

LET'S RECAP

The word for 2016 for N. Nicely was "Growth", and it couldn't have been more perfect. 
We were driving through downtown one day and I saw the sign. Actually, it was a FOR RENT sign and told the hubby that it would be nice to open my own professional office in the middle of our town. We joked about it at first, but truth be told, I knew I had to do it. I just didn't know how. 

I ended up taking a huge breath and called the number to inquire about what I would need to do to plan on opening in 2017. After speaking with the landlord, I knew it was slightly possible but I couldn't pass the chance to just do it then. Hubby was skeptical, of course, but supported the idea after we talked about it.

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January 18, 2016 I signed the lease. 

My mom drove up that weekend and went with me. My heart was pounding. I literally had sweaty hands for the first time in my life holding that pen. 

With some transparency and crazy honesty here, I signed that lease with the last $800 I had to my name. NOT KIDDING. The deposit was half that, and I had no bookings set for the near future. My mom ended up giving me a couple of hundred dollars as a gift for taking a chance, because she knew. 

We had a tax return coming, so I only had a little bit of cushion to make the first month's rent, but I am going to tell you: 

I WAS SO SCARED. 

Investing every penny I had to my name into an office that would only be operational part time without knowing what the next few weeks or even months would hold was terrifying. I had business expenses I had to account for every month, that I knew I wouldn't be able to pay. 

Being in school full time, a mom, and a wife, and running a business consumed every bit of me for the better part of the year. Not to even mention, going to clinicals and running the very occasional EMS or fire call was the fill in for my free time. Every single task was as important as the other, and it was time to see if N. Nicely could sink or swim. What did I do? 

I PADDLED LIKE A FREAKING DUCK.... 

There wasn't a night that I went to sleep before 2 a.m. After finishing homework and getting everyone to bed, I was up researching the best marketing information, and the best photography resources. I was teaching myself sales and marketing techniques that catered to my target audience. Everything I read, I made sure was purposeful and useful. Weeding out the generic information and developing my own tweaks to each method was the sole focus. 
I didn't know the first thing about running the type of business I wanted to. All I knew, was I had to do it.

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SO...

I was learning and reading everything. I checked out library books. I saved articles from Forbes magazine. I found a business coach who encouraged me when I felt overwhelmed.

Finding a balance was hard. I can't even honestly say how the sessions even started coming in or how I even managed. Somehow, I did it.

BUT -- IT WAS LITERALLY EXHAUSTING

In May, I graduated, but crunching and preparing for the certification testing was only beginning. 

Staying up until 2 every night was taking a huge toll on me. It was literally the only way I was going to maintain a successful business. I kept pushing harder. 

In August, all of my major tests were completed, and I gained my EMT-I Certification. By the end of August, I was steadily receiving inquiries, and blogging consistently. Weddings were coming in and September was officially completely booked. 

Then October. 

November was supposed to be the start of my slow season.  

Never happened. 

I planned on December being the start time to the off season, but it got insane. 

I am ending this year on a surprisingly high note with weddings already booked for next year and sessions already scheduled into October. 

I hate to admit this, but for 2016 I didn't have a plan for how it would go. I was just winging it and going with the tides. I don't recommend this tactic, but sometimes, flying on faith and hope, you just have to. 

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I TELL YOU THIS BECAUSE: 

IF you want it, you go get it. Make the scary changes in 2017 and don't give yourself the option to fail. Working hard doesn't make it easy. It will not be easy. 

BUT CHASE THOSE DREAMS, because sitting down and wishing it will happen will not cut it. Make a decision, make sure it's set, and don't let failure be your option. If you force yourself to cannonball into the water, you only have two options: Swim to the shore or sink. 

I say swim. Take the rope swing with full force, and jump into the deep end. Don't hold back and swim hard, fast and strong. 

You ready? 

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IF you want it, you go get it. Make the scary changes in 2017 and don't give yourself the option to fail. Working hard doesn't make it easy. It will not be easy. 

BUT CHASE THOSE DREAMS, because sitting down and wishing it will happen will not cut it. Make a decision, make sure it's set, and don't let failure be your option. If you force yourself to cannonball into the water, you only have two options: Swim to the shore or sink.