That Time I Set Up a Sand Art Stand…

Feb 10

Yesterday I saw in my “Facebook Memories” (you know…the ones that show you something you posted on this day last year, or 5 years ago, etc) something I posted that mentioned “starting a new journey”. The post was from 7 years ago, yesterday. I clicked on the comments to see what it was about, and it was the day I chose to leave my job as an Admissions Representative at a local college to pursue my photography career full-time. At the time, I had just graduated from a private college with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business, and I figured the business end of my degree would qualify me to work in a local business somewhere, anywhere. 60 applications to different places, and I finally landed an interview and got my first job out of college. It was amazing, and I truly did well during my time there, but I knew I was meant for something greater, and I kept saying that to Jake. I could feel it in my soul, and I knew it in my heart. Somewhere during my time as an admissions rep, I picked up photography as a hobby, which quickly and unintentionally grew into a business.  I finally came to the point where it felt like I had two full time jobs. I was working 9-5 as an admissions rep, and shooting photography sessions at sunset, and weddings on weekends, not to mention the countless hours of editing and client correspondences I was juggling. I can still remember designing my first website during a lunch break in my cubicle, and knowing I couldn’t do both careers for long. I was growing weary of juggling the two, and quickly became run down as my business was growing.  I thought long and hard, but I knew it was time to leave. It was definitely a little scary. I was leaving a steady pay check and benefits to embark on an entrepreneurial journey.  But I knew, I just KNEW, it was right or me. The day I left, I was insanely nervous, but after making the decision and speaking with my boss, I was filled with an array of emotions. The whole thing was abrupt, liberating, and emotional, but by far one of the best decisions I have made in my lifetime. Jake was amazing throughout the process. He supported my decisions, and was going to be behind me no matter what I decided. He knows that this girl on fire can’t be stopped once something is burning inside me. So what’s the point? Seeing that post had me reflecting on all of my jobs. I know for certain each and every one of them has played a crucial role in bringing me to where I am, right now, here today.  I started working as a kid, on a farm, picking strawberries. And it was hard. Sounds fun, but if you’ve done it, you know you’re up at 5am, getting to the farms, and spending hours on your hands and knees picking rows and rows of strawberries, filling baskets, and going until lunch or beyond until the heat was unbearable. I recalled a time in my life where my parents (who are entrepreneurs themselves) encouraged me, in elementary school, to set up a little Sand Art stand, along side theirs at craft shows ( My mother is a florist, so we traveled to craft shows along the East Coast on weekends, for years). And so I did. My parents ordered me the kit, and kids would come create their own sand art creations at my stand. This is so funny thinking back to it, because I was something like 9 or 10 years old. But I made a little money and more importantly, I realize now that my parents were already (maybe even unknowingly) instilling entrepreneurial seeds of knowledge in me. From there, I did everything from working at a mini-mart/gas station in High School, waitressing, retail, and babysitting my college professors’ children. I even cleaned my mother-in-law’s house, for years. I also performed country music for a long period of time, performing with a band at county fairs, from the top of the East Coast all the way down to Nashville.  And then of course came my first real job after college, which brought me to the earlier mentioned, Admissions Representative… which later brought me to the start of my photography career. Every little piece of the puzzle brought me to where I am now. Jobs that were so hard that I realized I never wanted to live that life, to jobs that helped me grow in the career field I’ve chosen. It’s kinda crazy. But part of me always goes back to that little Sand Art stand my parents helped me to put together each weekend next to theirs at craft fairs. I can still remember my ambition, thinking, I could make money by doing something fun that I loved. I was just a kid, but it’s those moments that I think gave me a “fearless” kind of attitude with being an entrepreneur.  It wasn’t all roses and rainbows when I started my business, but I wasn’t really scared. I knew I could do it. I knew I had the power, the ambition, the “failing isn’t an option” attitude, and an amazing support system behind me. And it worked. And I shot a lot of sessions and weddings , and I grew alongside my business. Now, not only do I shoot sessions now, but I also hold workshops for aspiring photographers and mentor as well. Crazy thinking back on it all. It’s instrumental to reflect and see where you’ve been, how it’s brought you to where you are now, and envision where you’e going, next. So I’m here telling you today that whatever you’re doing, whether it’s your dream job, or not. Something you loathe or love, it’s bringing you to a place of something greater. Every little piece in your puzzle matters. You might not see it yet, but you will. Keep kicking, girlfriend! I know you’ve got this.

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