You may be thinking to yourself, "Looks like they are on a mountain top - just living the dream". Well, quite literally, yes, here we are on a mountain top. But are we always "living the dream"? Some days yes, but other days we are definitely NOT! But we have been incredibly blessed by the relationships & opportunities our small photography business has brought us.
We definitely want to be clear & say, mixing marriage & business is definitely not for everybody. It's hard work. Harder than we thought it would be. It all mixes together - the personal with the business & the business with the personal. It gets sticky & messy. But at the end of the day, we love it & it works for us! In the 5 years we have been married, we have had the chance to fine-tune our roles & divide our business tasks where our natural strengths lie. That way, both of us are doing the things we love - that fills us up. Wrap that up with working with your best friend & voilà! We have our dream & business all bundled into one.
You may be thinking, "What are some of the biggest things you have learned along the way?" Well, how long do you have? The list is extensive. But to break it down, here are the major things we have not only learned in our business, but have also learned in our marriage.
1. The Power of Third Parties
We have all been there - in the midst of a disagreement thinking, "Why does this person not get me?" We have long since found the magic of neutral third parties. When it comes to a large business decision, we have found that we work best when talking to another person. This may mean extra meetings with our financial counselor or being mentored by other photographers - but it is all worth it. Learning from one another is a huge bonus of working together. There are still lots of things to discover along the way, so if we are not open to listening first & talking second, we can miss out on all the beauty of learning & discovering. Not to mention, neither of us knows it all! We are not experts in everything, even though we may want to think we are. Therefore, a third party is able to hear both of us & advise us on what they think is best after hearing both of our sides or opinions.
2. Outsource the Ugly
It's true. Not everything that happens behind the scenes is always fun. There are certain aspects of running a business that are just not your bread & butter. Enter in: outsourcing. Just this year, we have made great leaps & bounds to outsource some of the work that takes us longest to complete. These things are usually what we are least familiar with or don't have a ton of experience in. Example: finances. When it comes to doing taxes, we're no experts on what is legally kosher & not! We don't have the margins for it! It sucks us dry & leaves us taxed (no pun intended) at the end of the day. So when it came time for us to take a hard look at our goals for 2017, hiring a financial planner was on the top of our list & boy, we are so thankful we did! Now we have peace of mind knowing that our expertise does not need to be in our financial paperwork & we can put more energy towards the things we love like coffee dates with our couples, engagement shoots, & forming relationships with others.
3. Unplug Together
Plan time off! Plan activities to get you away from work. We try to treat our clients with the upmost professionalism and intentionality. So naturally, our personal needs are sometimes pushed to the back seat. But we serve best when we are filled ourselves! As we are intentional with our clients, we also must be intentional with ourselves and our marriage because we cannot neglect each other! This can be so hard though. We all have in our hands (as you are probably on your phone right now!) a powerful tool which can be used for SO much productivity, but can also create SO much distraction and disconnection. When we're checking our texts (curse you group texts!) are we really with one another? How does Snapchat affect our connection? This is why a lot of our intentional time together is "unplugged". Try it friends! When you go out with your spouse or even friends, leave your phone in the other room or in the car. This small act can eliminate so much distraction and allow for so much connection! Kickin' it 1990's!
4. Weekly High Councils
Have a standing weekly meeting ("high council") to plan out your week for both personal and business things. Making a plan is so important because it sets out the expectations for the week, aligns both of you on the weekly priorities, and helps you work most effectively as a team. Our weekly meetings range from the shoots we have planned, to the packages we need to get out the door, to the friends we are going to pursue, to the meals we are going to eat every night! It may sound over the top, but when you're hustling hard you don't have time to waste on miscommunication, last-minute decision making, or needless stress. Lay it all out on the table ahead of time, talk it out, and make a plan! It can make a world of difference!
Friends - thank you for following along with us on our business adventures & for always cheering us on. We definitely wouldn't be where we are without our incredible community!