I have no outline or plan for this blog – and to be honest, I’m probably only writing this to procrastinate painting my office, which I’ve been putting off for a while now. But…..A few days ago, I hit a milestone in my business. I actually kind of forgot on the date because of how crazy life seems sometimes, juggling life as a business owner and mom, but Annie Laura Photo hit 5 years in business. I know five years seems so small to some but 5 years was always the stat that I would hear when it came to small businesses. You’ve probably heard it too. Half of small businesses fail in 5 years.
So, while it may seem like a small celebration – it feels pretty big to me. Someone who in their first month of business wasn’t sure if she’d ever get a paying client. I was FULL of so much self-doubt when I launched but decided to just jump-in…see what happens. I’d never dream that it’d bring me here. 5 years in business, doing what I love. My first Fall season in business, I was doing sessions for free to get my name out there. I was approaching people and basically begging them to let me take their family pictures. This upcoming Fall season, I have a nearly booked calendar for the next 4 months and lots of weddings ahead for the season.
With photography now my full-time job (in addition to #momlife), I have lots of “pinch me” moments. I remember seeing other photographers when I started and just saying “I just wish I could be there” or “If I only had ____’s success.” And now I’m where I wanted to be July 2015. So as hard as it is to see some days, I try to remember that along the way. I try to always be thankful for all of the hard work in every season because I’m exactly where I wanted to be 5 years ago when Annie Laura Photo was started.
But all of this doesn’t mean that much or doesn’t happen without everyone who booked me, shared/liked my posts, referred me to others and trusted me with their memories. SO I could use this blog post to share 5 things for small business owners to know or 5 things I’ve learned in 5 years but we live in a world where we’re ALWAYS bombarded with advice and articles. You can definitely figure it out on your own without my help so really I just want to use this blog post to say thank you for every little thing over the past 5 years.
Like my first paying clients – Rylee, Paige and Haley. I took their senior photos for high school and this past year I got to photograph them again for their graduations from PC and Clemson.
Or the Till family who have booked me the most out of any family. It all started when their oldest son was just born and now they have 2 little ones.
Or my FIRST ever bride and groom of my own – Whitney + Caelum. So thankful they trusted me with their wedding day.
Also that one time I got dream clients like Mickie and Austyn and I got to shoot at 701 Whaley. A venue I was obsessed with before photography was even on the map for me back in college.
Or English who referred Alison who referred Lauren. Or Meagan who referred Mary Margaret who referred Hannah. Or Kayla who referred Maci and Laini.
Or the Smith family who I met when doing their newborn pictures for their son and now they have TWINS. I got to go back to their house and photograph this new chapter in their lives.
Or that one time Jessica + Austin flew me to NEW YORK to photograph their engagement
Or getting to shoot at Cypress Gardens with Hayley and Nick – a literal dream come true for me
Or the 3 gender reveals and the 3 newborn sessions I’ve gotten to photograph for some of my closest friends in the entire world
There’s so many more things I could list but literally, I’m so grateful for every little moment of this business – so thank you SO much to all of you! Here’s to FIVE years!
Photos by Josie Derrick Photography