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Friday, May 11, 2012

Obstacles :: Roadblocks or Filters?

Obstacles are there to weed out everyone who doesn't want it as much as you do.
Tonight I was at my dear friend Emily's house (she was my maid-of-honour :D) for a cup of tea with her, her mum & her granny. It was so lovely sitting around with three generations of ladies telling stories that ranged from primary school in the 1990's to adventurous holidays to Switzerland in 1948! Amazing :P 

Emily's mom mentioned that Emily had shown her my business card (Emily is so wonderful about promoting my business — love her!). Naturally, that opened the door for business chit-chat & somehow we ended up talking obstacles that stand in the way of people and their dreams.

So many people see obstacles as roadblocks that prevent you from achieving your goals.
Instead, I like to think of obstacles as a filter system. They weed out people who don't want "it" (whatever's on the other side of the obstacle) as much as you do.

All around the tea table we agreed on this idea and then the ladies asked me if I'd faced any obstacles so far in my photography business.

"Well......."
And so began my miniature saga of conquered obstacles & obstacles through which I'm still charging. Their question gave me an opportunity for some on-the-spot reflection of how far I've come and what I still need to work on. My answer reminded me just how passionate I am about what I'm doing, how much I'm willing to sacrifice for it & how much I have invested in it already; sleepless nights, early mornings, savings accounts, bye-bye comfort zone etc...


3 Obstacles I'm Currently Hurdling

Everyday Obstacles of Time Management & Work-Life Balance
It seems like I have more work than I do time. Over the past 9 months I have gone through periods when I was literally working from the moment I woke up in the morning until the moment I finally let my head hit the pillow. What a recipe for exhaustion and divorce, eh? Thanks to the help of books like "The 4 Hour Work Week" by Timothy Ferris and inspirational speakers like Zach & Jody Gray who have mastered their daily schedules, I have been able to gradually improve my work-life balance. I've begun to appreciate that if I really want my business to success I have to start investing just as much care into myself and the other parts of my life. My business needs a strong foundation and I need to remember that,

my business is in place to serve my life. My life is not in place to serve my business.

Not Having Enough Money for Equipment = Improvise & DIY Equipment
Out comes my ghetto fabulous camera gear! Everything from tin foil reflectors to coffee filter "Expodiscs." Show up to shoots without the pro equipment has been so embarrassing at times but nobody else ever seems to notice or care. That was my very first photography lesson I ever learned — at my very first photo shoot (the one that converted me into a photographer) I was using a point-and-shoot camera (eeek!) and I was surrounded by about 12 other photographers, all of whom where holding super-cameras with 70-200mm lenses (i.e. the big guns!) I survived that shoot by putting on the blinders and focusing on my goal instead of what other people were thinking. I suppose that's the mentality that I've built my business on.

Lacking Connections with Other Peeps in the Business
So much of my time has been spent struggling through graphic design and atrocious attempts at videography and self-portraits. How's a girl suppose to get a decent headshot for her blog or an engaging intro-video for her website when nobody else is willing to hold the camera for her?! I'm not shy about reaching out to other people but it seems that in this tiny seaside town on a random wee peninsula in Scotland....there's nobody to reach out to! Obviously that's an extreme claim but from what I've seen, the other photographers that do live here simply have a style that's drastically different from my own. I'd really like to team up with some people who have similar goals and style. I think they're all in London & America :P hehe Graphic design has also been a big challenge — life would be so much easier if I could simply get a web-design super-star to create my custom couture website and brand identity for me. One day, I'm sure I'll hire someone when my business is ready for an upgrade/make-over. Until then, doing it the homemade hardway is the best way to learn new skills, figure out what I want and gain massive appreciation for what the professional can do (so much better than myself).

Phew! Loads of other obstacles out there that I didn't mention and some that I'm not even aware of yet! Bring 'em on!!!!

But enough about me for now. What about you? What obstacles are you facing and overcoming?