You may have noticed I’ve been laying a little low on the blog front and in my usual social media hangout spots (a.k.a. I haven’t published a blog post in 9 weeks, and haven’t shared anything new on my Facebook page or Instagram since early February! Eek!)
Please believe me when I say I am SO sorry for disappearing on you all. I never meant to abandon you! Here’s what happened (there’s some okay stuff and really great stuff):
Downtime is necessary!
When City Sports was liquidated last November, I took a big hit from that—I had been working in their HQ and doing product photography for them, so when (most of) their office in the North End emptied in about 48 hours, I knew I wouldn’t have that consistent paycheck anymore and I needed to find new ways to make ends meet, fast. This happened at the same time that my usual slow season starts—Ouch.
That meant even though I still had portrait clients I was working with and repeat clients scheduling with me (thanks to the mild winter weather!), I needed to turn up the hustle to find new opportunities. And as you might expect, extra hustle means more focus during the day, and less energy by the time it’s all said and done. I wish I’d had more creative energy to give to blogging and having conversations on social media, but I decided that I needed to give myself permission to take a break from that temporarily so I could come back to it in a time when I could be truly “in it” with you all.
Another thing I wish is that I could have foreseen that I needed a break from so much time in the online world, and given you all a heads up. But here’s the thing: life and business are not two totally separate things. Sometimes life circumstances affect business, and vice versa, and that’s ok. So this winter I let myself take a rest that I needed, sans guilt. I’m choosing to trust that those of you reading this can relate, and would give yourselves the same permission to rest when you need it. I would so much rather focus on a couple things and do them well, while treating myself nicely, than trying to do many things at once with disorganized and sub-par results!
But here’s the coolest part of why I’ve been quiet lately:
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what this means, Entrepreneur.com defines a company’s brand this way: "Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be."
Currently, quite frankly, the visuals of my brand feel misaligned with everything mentioned above. To be honest, my current branding hasn’t felt complete or very “me” for about a year and a half.
Here’s my deep, dark secret: I designed my current logo myself, somewhere around 2011, when I was a senior in college studying studio art with a concentration in graphic design. Seriously. If you know me personally, you might be totally surprised if you haven’t heard that before because I would NEVER touch a design project today.
When I worked with the graphic designers for City Sports, they would sometimes have me handle some simple design projects for them. Even then, they could only assign me the simplest of design tasks, and I almost always started with a template that they made for me because anything else turned out like poo (it’s ok, you can laugh! 😃 ). Graphic design has truly never been my forte, but when I went off to college I really thought that “being a graphic designer is basically the only way to make a living while being creative, unless you’re some kind of child prodigy.” (Oh, how wrong that was!) So I pushed myself for four years, graduated with a great GPA, an okay portfolio, and the undeniable realization that photography was really what I needed to be doing. Past me was a little stressed about that, but present me is 100% thankful for all my experiences leading up to this point.
I share all that to say, I have learned SO much lately about the true worth of hiring a creative expert. Not cutting corners when you have the choice to invest in something great, that will elevate your experiences in life and business. Choosing to trust a creative business owner to do what they do best. Choosing to focus your energy on the things you do best, rather than trying to wear ALL the hats, and fumbling around with the ones that don’t fit quite right.
I am done trying to “make it work” myself when it comes to my branding, because while I have learned so much through this process, I am totally not a branding expert! The awesome part is, I got connected with someone who is: Sara at The Graphicteller. Sara is helping me rebrand my business, and I couldn’t be more pumped. I hope you pay her a visit at her website, blog, or Instagram to see the other great work she has created!
Sara has been SO patient and helpful, and I can’t wait to see the end result of this process!
So what does this mean for you?
My rebranding means newfound clarity for both of us! I’m really honing in on:
- The work I create (what services I offer and how), and who I do it for
- My business focus + values (Why I do what I do)
- Incorporating print products (So that you can have a positive and meaningful experience of your photos! When was the last time you looked at that folder full of images on your hard drive?)
Overall, I’m working to create a more positive and complete experience for you. I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts about this in future posts and I can't wait to hear what you think!
To my clients: THANK YOU. I could have never gotten to this point in my journey without you, and that’s the truth! With your help and your trust, I have had amazing opportunities to create images of your stories that will last a lifetime, and it has been an absolute privilege. I can say with certainty that I love my job, and I love doing it to serve you all. I really believe that when we tap into our passions and gifts, everyone benefits! Every glowing testimonial and happy email makes my day, and reminds me that I’m on the right path. The rebranding process has been one big step (and a work in progress) continuing on that trajectory, and I can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks!
Stay tuned for more updates about my rebranding, and what it means for YOU! Pretty visuals coming very soon!!
What do you think, friends? What does "branding" mean to you, or make you think of?