Indianapolis Family Photographer | casey and her camera
Today is a strange day for me. For most of the world, it’s their first (or maybe even their second) day back to work for the new year. I’ve always had a job. Since I was fourteen years old, I’ve always gone to work… for someone else. If you really want to get into it, I started babysitting at twelve, but let’s focus on the tax-paying years that started at age fourteen.
I started out coaching softball and teaching piano lessons. That grew into working at the local grocery store, then the restaurant across the parking lot. In college I moved into retail and worked in the shoe department of an AWESOME store for most of my college years. After graduation I got a teaching position, and started on my ‘career track’. Brad and I got engaged and I moved out west and back into retail temporarily, while also teaching at a preschool and working after-hours as their cleaning lady. Shortly afterwards I relocated again and re-started on a new career track as a facilitator, and then later as a manager, with the company I stayed with for four years until I had my last day on December 19th.
Then the holidays came. We’ve always gone home for the holidays, so taking two weeks home in Michigan without working was not odd for me. But today is.
Today is the day I would normally go back to work – or at least begin working from home again… for someone else. And this year, everything is new. This year I will not be going to work for someone else. This year I will be working for me.
So far, we’re off to a good start. My boss let me come in at 8:30 after getting some household chores done, and I get to make my own priority list and agenda for each day. I have a lot of flexibility over my schedule, I can take my lunches at home, and the focus is on getting the work done rather than punching the clock. Of course, I’ll admit, the hours will be far more than anything I’ve managed before, but for now, it’s the slow season.
There are so many things I want to do in my life. I never saw owning my own business as something I wanted until about four years ago when I committed to myself and agreed that I would give this a wholehearted try by 2016. Lucky me, I’m one year ahead of schedule. I have big plans and goals this year and have even started thinking about 2016 and what needs to happen to lay the foundation for the even bigger plans I have for next year.
But what does all this mean?? What does it mean for those of you who have supported this hobby-turned-business of mine over the last few years? I started ‘dabbling’ in photography as a possible business in 2010, started to entertain the idea of this becoming a reality in 2013, took risks in 2014 and am soooooo ready for 2015. Things have really changed in the last year or two and these changes will affect all of you.
For starters, pricing has changed. I’ve always done this work on the side and it’s never been my primary source of income. Yes, I’ve been paying taxes on everything, but this is the first year that this will be my full income, and after some financial planning, CODB analyses, and determining what is a realistic number of days and hours for me to work, this is where I’ve settled. I realize it’s a jump in cost, but this is what I value my work at and recognize that my work and products have really grown and changed over the last few years. This will not be the last time my pricing changes, but this is the first, and I want to be transparent in this process, without being defensive. I know this means some of you will now look for other photographers that better meet your budget, and I completely understand, but for those of you who have been here for a while and have seen the change and growth, I look forward to continuing to outshine myself each and every time I work with you.
Turnaround time has drastically improved. If you read my contracts (and it still reads as such) return time is listed as 12 weeks. For legal reasons, the contracts will continue to read this way for this year, however, my timelines are changing. For this year, I will do my best to have sessions returned in 2 weeks and weddings returned in 4 weeks. YAY! I know some of you (myself included) just about die waiting for your images to come back. I can relate, and I want you to live. 🙂
Availability is flexible. Focusing on this business full time allows me to have more open availability to you and your needs. Dates can be scheduled around YOUR schedules now. Of course, some dates are already booked – it’s always best to book as far in advance as you can. I recommend at least 30 days, but that’s just the suggested minimum. 90 days is truly ideal!
And finally, I’m spending time looking at how I can start giving back. I’ve had a lot of mentors and motivators along the way to this journey, and I don’t want to spend this year focusing solely on me. I want to return the favor. I have some ideas up my sleeve that are in the works for 2016 and this year will be used for planning and coordinating these pieces. The inner teacher in me (and maybe my college degree) are the only hints I’ll leave you with for now.
So cheers to 2015 and your first day back to work… and my first day at my new job. Let’s make this year better than the rest.
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.