Oh goodness… what a WEEK!!! Y’all, I don’t think I even have WORDS for how over the moon happy I am about all the things. Thank you for your love, for checking out the site, for sending feedback and for your support. I am constantly blown away by the amazing support system and community that I have, and goodness, to say I’m thankful would be the world’s biggest understatement. I’m heading into a weekend without a wedding and can’t wait to spend some time relaxing with my roomie in the city! (CHEERS to ALL the Hallmark movie marathons!) Weekends like this are few and far between, so I’m feeling incredibly grateful for the rest, especially after such a big week.
You got to see a HUGE part of the rebrand on Monday— the huge visual part! BUT, there is actually a huge part of the project that I don’t know if you’ll see at all! Today, I wanted to give you a little bit of background on why the project was born in the first place and a behind the scenes look into what exactly will be changing within my business.
As some of you may know, a few months back, I had the opportunity to learn from Katelyn James right in her living room! At the time, I felt a little trapped by my website. I liked it enough, but I felt like it wasn’t really me. It was pretty, and I loved that about it, but it didn’t really say much about who I am as a person, business owner and photographer.
When we sat down for website critiques, I immediately blurted out: “So… I’m totally having a branding identity crisis and I don’t know what to do.” After going through a few of my pages, Katelyn asked if I would prefer feedback or to just go through some brainstorming for a new site! Well… I think you can guess what option I chose because that night, I stayed up until close to 3AM laying the foundation for what you are seeing today.
It wasn’t until I sat down and really looked at things that I realized why exactly I felt so urged to rebrand. When I built my last site, I was working one full time job and two pretty time intensive part time jobs, rarely saw anyone outside of work, and lost a lot of what makes me, me. I was at a point in my business where I really didn’t have a clear vision on where I would be taking things, and in general, I wasn’t super in love with who I was as a person. Have you ever had a moment where you sat down and realized that the only thing that defines you is work? Have you ever realized that you have become a robot of a human who’s only purpose had become work and only work? Have you ever looked at your calendar and realized that your next single day off isn’t for another two and a half months? Have you ever realized that your workaholism was having a dramatic impact on your health and relationships? I have, and it really wasn’t pretty.
I think I’ve always felt a little bit of that in my old website. A lot of this rebrand was built around shedding that old season for a new one. Cheesy, I know… but it was so needed.
In April, I left my full time job. It was hands down THE scariest decision that I have ever made, and it has definitely changed who I am as a business owner and person. The last seven months have been a total rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t change a second of it! After a bit of time on my own, I have a much clearer image of who I want to be as a business owner and photographer. I also had a chance to look at who I am as a person now and who I want be in the future too. While a huge part of the rebrand was the pretty website you’re seeing here, a huge part of the rebrand will be completely unseen!
Today, I want to share a little bit of the behind the scenes with you to help you understand some more of my heart and method behind the rebrand! Not all of it was the pretty that you see online! In fact, a lot of it was some not-so-cute work behind the scenes. I dug into some uncomfortable heart things and looked at my processes and pain points within my business. Cheers to new and healthy changes to pave the way for a successful future!
Now, let’s dive right in!
The Website’s Back End
For the longest time, I used Squarespace for my website, and I absolutely loved it!!! Seriously… I cannot say enough GOOD things about Squarespace. BUT, when I sat down and started looking at designs for a new site, I realized that I just wasn’t able to do what I wanted with Squarespace as quickly as I wanted to do it. Enter Showit! It sounds silly, but I have been dreaming about having a Showit site to call my own for the longest time now. I have always heard amazing things about the platform and seriously love the look of each site that I see. They are beautiful, responsive and showcase imagery so well.
Goodness y’all, this site builder is a POWER. HOUSE. I didn’t think I could love a platform more than I loved Squarespace, but each second that I spent within the Showit interface made me realize that I made the right decision (for me and my business— I’m not saying that this would be the right decision for your business!).
The learning curve was a bit of a thing, but once I got going, I literally fell in LOVE with Showit. For anyone making the switch, I highly recommend taking the free webinar training. It really helped! From the support crew (shoutout to them… they are the literal best!) to the easy to navigate designer, I was able to design a site that I absolutely loved! My favorite part? I know that this isn’t the final look that my site will ever have. I will be forever be making design tweaks and portfolio updates. Showit makes this SO easy and so efficient! Cheers to this platform for saving me so much time now and in the future!
I’ve reorganized into an LLC
This is just a random little tidbit for you. It won’t really change anything that you need or see, but I felt that I needed to share because YES, the legality of a business and brand is SO important! For a long time, I was registered as a sole proprietor and recently made the decision to reorganize into an LLC. This form of organization makes more sense for my longterm vision, taxes and personal asset protection.
I’ve been working with a local lawyer that specializes in small businesses through the entire process to ensure that everything is done correctly. The process to register a business or to change its registration in DC is long, complicated and very confusing. So… I let the pros do it!
This is one of the FIRST major things that I’ve outsourced in my business which is a pretty huge step for me. This girl loves having control of all the things, but this is one of those things that I realized that I didn’t really want to take on myself. It was time I didn’t want to spend and knowledge that I didn’t have. The extra money spent to work with the firm was SO worth the peace of mind and time saved in the longterm. I highly recommend having a lawyer that is local to you take care of this, if you have any questions or doubts.
Bonus: While I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice, from personal research and conversations with my lawyer, if you are looking to outsource this portion of your business, I do want to encourage you to consult a lawyer route and AVOID the Legalzoom route. This is because a lawyer can stand up for you in court, should anything ever be disputed about your legality or registration. They will also take care of everything from start to finish, including permits, tax and EIN registraiton! Legalzoom cannot and will not do everything for you and won’t stand up for you in court. If you would like to know who I am working through this process with, feel free to send me a comment or email!
Streamlined and Simplified Client Communication
I’ve been working on templates and communication resources in the background for a while now! It is so important to me that my communication with current and potential clients is efficient on two ends: my end and the receiving end!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been looking into my entire client experience and will be slowly making changes to make the entire process more efficient! This includes updated emails, workflows, the way I share pricing, text and specific sections on my site and much more! I’m a huge fan of running my business in an efficient way, so I am really excited about these micro changes!
Boundaries and Business Hours
One day, I looked up and realized that my work habits had gotten totally out of hand. I was working from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, and well… I was just so used to living my life that way! I am sure my fellow entrepreneurs understand… especially when you have more than one job! Running a business is a lot of work! When something is your baby, it is so hard to step back and realize that it just isn’t healthy to be immersed in work 100% of the time.
While running my business is SUCH a joy, I realized that I really did need to create some boundaries if I wanted to live my life in a way that makes me proud. After all, I didn’t leave my desk job to work just as much (if not more!!) as I was when I had three jobs. So… I’ll be implementing business hours, boundaries on when and where I work, and will be more intentional with how I am spending my time during my work hours.
If I am being completely honest, this a part of the rebrand is the part that I am MOST nervous about. After all, I really have only known work for the last couple of years! It feels really scary to have to understand and recognize that something you are doing needs to change. It is so scary to say the words: I am and want to be MORE than just my business. It is even scarier to make that change! However, I know that setting boundaries is totally necessary. It is something that I will be taking on slowly!
So, friends… if you email me after 4:30PM and don’t receive a reply right away, this is why! Help keep me accountable!!
This was another really scary change for me too! You may have noticed: A lot of my website is geared around weddings, couples and loving on other photographers! As I looked at my business and all of the things that I love to do, I realized that my heart really was in serving couples (and serving them well!!) and helping others pour into their businesses! Throughout the rebrand process, I made the decision to focus more on weddings and serving other photographers and less on the other things. It is always my priority that whatever I am doing is my best, and I knew that doing the things that I love the most (like weddings, engagements, headshots for other creatives and teaching about topics that I love!) will make the biggest difference in the quality of my work.
Today I wanted to give you a permission slip to take on more of the work that fuels you and less of the work that you don’t love as much! It is okay to only say YES to specific things!
Prioritizing myself and my relationships
Stuff is about to get real real, real quick y’all. At this point in the year, I have worked 30 weddings and still have two to go! It was an amazing and wonderful year, and I don’t think that I would change a second of it. With that being said, I feel like I could have been there for myself and more of my friends and family this year. I went months without a day off and spent days without seeing anyone outside of work. Which… when you work alone from home most days, that is really saying something. Fortunately, I DID get to see a lot of sweet souls at the studio when I got to teach class!
I spent a lot of this year working and not a lot of time with the people that I love. I let a lot of relationships suffer as a result of how much I was working, and that really makes my heart hurt. To say that I am incredibly thankful for the people that have loved me and that have stuck around during a season of so much hustle and workaholism is an understatement. For the people that have checked in, that have invited me out to make me feel included even when they knew I most likely had to work the next day, that still cared even when I am sure they felt that they were putting in more effort to our relationship than I was… I want you to know that you mean the world to me and that I am so grateful to have you in my life.
As a wedding photographer and a fitness instructor, you work a lot of odd hours when people with regular jobs are not working (like early mornings, evenings and weekends!). Sure, I work during the regular hours that other people do too, but I also still work the odd hours too! (Note: this is where those business boundaries and hours come into play!)
I’m slowly working on changes in my business and personal life to love more on those that mean the most to me. I am also going to be more intentional with the weekend work that I take on and more intentional with the hours that I work during the week. Life is far too short to be spent working 110% of the time.
This was a huge, scary and somewhat sad realization for me (especially because I love my job so much!!), but it was one that was so incredibly necessary. I’m sharing this with you today in the hopes that A: You recognize if you have this issue in your own life and need to make some changes or B: That you are a special person in my life and help keep me accountable to putting my people first and business second.
Loving others well is so much more important to me than anything else, and I’ve really let my work habits take a toll on that. I’m so hopeful that all of the changes I’m making will ultimately allow me to have more time to pour into the people that mean so much to me. Cheers to exciting, necessary and healthy changes, friends!
Now… if you’ve made it to this part of the post, friend, you need to give yourself a hug! Thanks for tuning in to all of my rebrand excitement this week & thank you for your support! Next week, I’ll be doing a post, answering all of the questions you had about the rebrand! If this post sparked any questions for you, feel free to leave a comment below, and I will be sure to answer it in next week’s Q&A post.
HAPPY FRIDAY FAM!
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