It's hard to believe that we were saying goodbye to 2017 one month ago already. It feels like only yesterday when I was writing down new year goals and watching that New Years Eve ball drop. But here we are friends--31 days into 2018 and left with a single question:
What did you do with your January?
As some of you may know (but if you don't, you're about to know), I'm not a full-time photographer yet.
I work a corporate job punching the clock Monday through Friday 9 to 5. So when I was asked "What did you do with your January?" I have to honestly sit back and let that settle in and think... Where did time go and what did I even accomplish?
Here are some things that I'm proud to have accomplished in the month of January in my business and personal life:
Living, Loving & Working Healthier (Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally)
As I entered 2018, I was daunted by the idea that I was going to be turning 32 in April [insert face palm emoji here]. This was/is a strange yet interesting feeling--getting older. Although learning to accept that time is moving with or without me is a hard pill to swallow, I find myself saying things like "when I was your age..." more often than I'd care to admit (and that's just what I used to think "old" people said...yikes). But here I am.
I realized that I want to be as sharp, fit and well put together when I'm in my elderly years. So to align myself with this life goal, I decided that I needed to be serious about making healthier choices.
Some think healthier choices only means no junk food and hitting that treadmill; but it's so much more than that. As a photographer (and current corporate J.O.B. employee), I'm either carrying my heavy camera bag and standing on my feet for 8-10 hours straight, or sitting 12 hours between being behind my desk or commuting. Neither scenario can be good for my body unless I am physically equipped to do so.
Here's what I find works for me:
Better Family Time
Aligning with living a healthier lifestyle, I've noticed a shift in my friends and family which let me tell you--it's awesome! Being able to inspire and share nutritional tips and tricks with them as well as go on hikes, runs or take walks with my mom especially...has been a dream come true. And I say that with all sincerity.
I think as a business owner on top of working a day job, us business owners don't realize the strain it sometimes can have on our families; and while I am not a mother (unless you count my fur babies) or run a household it still can feel like my weekly attention can become spread a bit thin. As I make no guarantees, I do however, promise to try my best to make more time for my family and my friends. Because at the end of the day, if I'm not nurturing those relationships that I hold so dear...what's it all for anyway?
Ooh-La-La Weekly Date Nights
My girlfriend, Clare and I have been trying to do regular date nights. And while this is still sometimes a challenge with both of our busy schedules, we're trying to at least make it out of our studio apartment to enjoy a night out together. Living in LA, there's only so much you can do for date nights. I'm kidding, obviously. But we are always looking for new, fun, cute, and interesting things to do (so let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions). :)
Work/Life Financing Balance (In Progress)
I'm going to be brutally honest and admit that I have never really been on-top of my finances. Yikes! Did I just say that? You read that right, friends. The thing is..money, budgeting and all around finances was not always my forte. I've always been so la-la-la when it came to money talks--personally and in my business. This my friends, is about to change. This is still a work-in-progress as I have it down a whole lot better in my personal finances in the month of January, but still need some work for my business and will follow-up with my progress. :)
OMG Trello Workflow
It's official. I have found my project management queen! It's an amazing app that allows you to write down your tasks, and place them in new "cards" labels as "In Progress", "Saved for Later, or "Do This First" (just as a few examples). Trello is the reason that I've been able to keep up with my blog posts and creative planning on point. And in case you're thinking it-- no, I'm not sponsored by them I am just very excited that I found Trello.
Weekly Blog Posts (Automation is EVERYTHING)
I started my first photography blog in 2012, where I posted random shoots I did and almost embarrassing photos of tours of my bedroom from my parent's house (don't go looking for them--it's not worth it. Haha.) It wasn't until 2015 where I became more serious about running and maintaining a cohesive photography blog. This was when the website you're currently on was created.
I used to think that since I'm a photographer, I should only blog when I had photos to share; or if I had a styled shoot I was involved in otherwise no one would ever care to read my blog. But since last summer, I came to realize that that was so far from the truth. I started blogging more seriously--with more intent--and started seeing a shift in my engagement and in my business. In the past 31 days I've managed to post 4 times/once a week (including this post), which to me is a big deal. So much so that I have seen the light of automation in the sense of blogging. I've been able to dedicate a couple of hours a week (typically on the weekend) where I focus on writing for my blog. This has allowed me to put together valued content each week for you beautiful people [insert happy dance here].
Better Website Navigation
Creating smoother, cleaner, and easier navigation for my website was something that I put aside for far too long. As part of my New Year goals, maintaining my website was on that list and I'm so happy that it is, because now when you come onto my website, you'll be able to navigate pretty easily. I've also added new pages showcase The Wedding Photography Process, an updated About page, and a way nicer and user friendly Homepage where you can click through Featured Blog Posts and even see Instagram feed at the foot of the page! I was really excited about added that little widget in there.
"Learning to accept that time is moving with or without me is a hard pill to swallow."
Top 24 Wedding Photographers in Hollywood by Expertise.com
As champagne moments go, I think this one was one of them. Thank you. <3
If you follow me on Instagram (which you should totally head over there and hit Follow), you might've caught my Instagram Story where I showed a behind-the-scenes look into how I edit my photos and a little insight on the big differences in how I used to edit my photos compared to now. While it was new to me, I thought I was fun to do. So I'm hoping to do more behind-the-scenes more often.
Facing Social Media (Literally)
As I grow my brand and business, I've noticed that the posts where I show my face or personal story is where I tend to receive the most engagement. Funny enough...just last year, I thought..."no one cares about seeing my face or hearing my life stories". So, showing up in front of you can be scary sometimes, but I'm willing to show up and be me--messy hair, shiny faced and awkward smiles.
Found My Voice (Branding & Beyond)
Writing has always been a part of me, whether it's writing in my journals since I could write or here on my blog. Finding my voice for my brand was just another extension of that. This month, I was reminded that I actually had a voice and that my voice in my writing was indeed there. So if you're reading this and wonder if I actually say the things I write---yes, yes I do. Sorry, not sorry.
As part of my way to keeping myself accountable and my gratitude well off, I plan to post monthly reviews of my work and self-growth. Let me know if there's something that helps you stay on track and how you stay humble with gratitude! I'd love to know, because when we can learn from each other, we grow together.
January out, hello February!