A Dream can start a Business. A Dream alone can not sustain a business.
My personal journey of dreaming, failing, finally mastering a business and an explanation of why I do what I do with you and your business.
I remember the very first business card I ever had. I was 19 and it was actually a hand painted card for a company my boyfriend (husband now!) and I started together- Stasis. We were going to make T-Shirts. Hand Made Screen Printed T Shirts for Bands 1 by 1. Yeah... Brilliant. I think we made 10.
After that I had several different “businesses.” I was a Visual Artist, I was an Event Coordinator, I was an Interior Designer... Anything artistic that I could do, I turned into a business and had a card to go with it. For whatever reason, any talent I had felt wasted if it stayed a hobby.
And if a dream or an idea didn’t get a business card, it may have gotten a whole notebook with a full business plan laid out in it, or hours of youtube research spent on it, and then those too got left for dead. I realize now it was the DREAM and creative process of building a profitable brand that I was addicted to, not the actual act of running that business.
When I became AJBC Photography it started exactly the same. I did about 3 shoots and slapped my name on a card. Putting myself out there never intimidated me, it only felt like opportunity. Yet, due to my lack of planning, marketing, consistency, hell, lack of overall reality, many of my “businesses” failed before they ever got a chance to become anything. I’m a wee bit over eager and that can be good and bad.
I had done about 3 amateur shoots when I thought word would travel and business would grow. I sat back and waited. And waited. And... before I knew it this venture felt like every other venture I had started.
Except it wasn’t.
A couple years later AJBC Photography came back to me at a time when I needed something to latch on to, I needed something that felt like my own, I needed a way to prove I had skills and could accomplish something if I set my mind to it. I had dropped out of college, gotten married at 21, built a house, and now at age 23 I was left feeling a little lost with what my purpose was. Shortly after that I brought my camera back out and photography became something I felt connected to, good at, as if it was truly my thing.
So I kept doing it. And I kept learning. And I stayed hungry for more.
Those are 3 things my previous dreams never had.
I remember the day I became A REAL BUSINESS! I got my little LLC paper in the mail and I thought- this is real now. I can not believe this. Never, ever did I EVER see myself as a business owner. People like me just didn't do big, scary things like that! I was a self proclaimed Artist and Photographer, I had no college degree, and was 75% self taught. With no Business education I had somehow, someway, formed a real, government aware, money making business. And now I had to keep it alive.
I started investing in myself, in my education, in my business. I went to out of state conferences, upgraded my equipment, got a professional website. I was making smart, driven choices to move forward.
But because I was learning, from myself, as a went I was making huge mistake too like changing my logo 4 different times in the first 4 years of business, I changed my style and target client base 3 times, I changed my pricing drastically 3 times, losing old clients each time. 2 steps forward, 1 step back. But I wanted it. So on the nights where I would cry and not want to do it again, the next morning I picked myself up and kept on.
After AJBC became settled and stable, my mind quickly became unsettled. The dream state had calmed down, and my brain just couldn't accept that, so my husband and I went on to form a business for him, and then a business we would run together, and then we started helping other companies with their marketing. And then, again, I realized, I’m not obsessed with personally wanting to run these businesses, I’m obsessed with the dreaming stage!!
Within the last 6 months I’ve contemplated going back and forth on starting a side business, something to give me more creative freedom. Should I become a naturalist blogger, an etsy shop owner, an herbologist? Should I sell makeup, should I write a book? Should I just move up north and live off the land!? No... really, seriously... these have all been in serious question. Another option was a business coach.
Seriously. Why was this not OBVIOUS!? Aside from AJBC I didn’t actually want to RUN any of these businesses I had ever dreamed up!! All I wanted to do was dream up the big goal, figure out fun ways to market them, find out how much money could be generated, and then.... I got bored when it came to physically doing it. My brain was born to solely dream. This now I know.
Working with other Professionals and Small Business Owners allows me to do what I do best- DREAM, but in a way that will positively impact the individual willing to carry the dream out, put the work in, and make it come to life, like I did with AJBC Photography. I am the creative thinker that can't stop dreaming for you.
I can’t bring all these dreams to life, but YOU CAN! And really, it’s not my dreams I’m obsessed with, it’s ANYONE’S dreams and goals in life. I LOVE seeing people think big and then chasing after that. I love hearing about it, watching it grow, it’s a genuine high for me. Give me a cup of coffee and sit down to tell me about your dreams and I PROMISE you I will be writing out your life plan whether you want me to or not. I've done this to multiple friends on multiple occasions.
Oddly enough, for being an artist, I could talk business and numbers ALL day if there’s fire and passion behind them.
So... to keep myself in check and make sure I don’t start another business that’s going to die a quick, uneventful death, I’ve started at a realistic level allowing me to offer the best service I can to other people just like me! That's where AJBC Business comes into play here, offering Business Portrait Shoots and included with the 2 top Collections we offer- a Marketing and Branding Strategy Meeting!!
My husband and I are both full time, self employed small business owners making an income off of what we feel most passion about, while still being able to afford the lifestyle we want to live, save for our future, and have health benefits. You don’t need to stay a slave to your job and the world to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. And that starts by knowing that in your business you are a true professional, so have that visually represented through Professional Portraits!