A little over 9 years ago, I decided I was done with the corporate world. It was an easy decision, I had burnout from my previous industry of advertising and realized with some massive hustling and staying true to who I was as a photographer hobbyist, I could make a business out of shooting families and kids the way I wanted my own family documented. Thus, my in-home documentary business was born. Aka, business number 1. A few years later after being asked by peers to share tips both on the shooting and running a business front, etc. I started mentoring. That mentoring then took the form of online classes and thus my teaching of photography began aka, business number 2. Back just a few short years ago, myself and my partner Summer Murdock decided we wanted to start a community-driven online photography school, having taught at other schools ourselves, and create a whole new option for those looking to take online classes. Illuminate Classes was born, aka business number 3. Should we add in my kids and running a household as another business? (parents all over shake their heads yes and scream HELL YEAH). So there we go, business number 4.
4 businesses. Two run solely by me, two run with myself and my partner (husband for kids and Summer for the school). Add in the fact my street photography has picked up major steam, and I’m closer to a 5 business juggle these days.
In my last blog, I told you about my tremendous sidelining back pain that I was convinced was led on by extreme stress. It was my body saying, ‘seriously you had a brand-new baby 8 months ago AND launched a business laying on your back, enough.’
When I thought about what I wanted to share with the readers of The Daily Feels this time around, it felt right to share my decision that I made just a few short months ago: the time had come to leave one of my partnerships. It was a heart-wrenching decision to leave Illuminate Classes, my co-baby, a bucket list accomplishment, and one that felt honestly like I was abandoning a baby. I thought long and hard about it, talked to 2 very trusted people, who have known me a better part of my life, who KNEW how much of a struggle it would be for me to come to terms with leaving something I helped to start, but I had to. Though I know and still know it was the right decision, I struggled greatly with something I feel so many can relate to: the fear of failing.
Now, there are a few ways to look at the term ‘fear of failing.’ There’s the fear of failing and having never tried (that one I can honestly say has never applied to me in my life- I try everything- no regrets!) and there’s the feeling of being a failure because you cannot juggle it all. That you just cannot make it work.
That’s the one I grappled with and when I started thinking about stepping down from Illuminate, I had flashbacks of another ‘failed’ business called Baby HipWear. Backstory: Back when my first daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at three months old and had to wear a full body harness 24/7, I was astounded to realize not a single clothing company was out there addressing the clothing needs of the hip kids. They have to wear full body harnesses, or casts and there was no clothing suitable for them. ‘Just buy 3 sizes up’ I was told. Well, that was NOT going to cut it, so I started my own clothing line for them. I can’t sew a stitch, but I tapped into my neighbor’s mother who helped me create the first prototype garment and then hired a seamstress in middle America to execute! The business was the most fulfilling one to date. Honestly and truly, to get letters from people around the world of how thankful they were to have options, made this the biggest labor of love I could ever hope for in life. To know I was making their lives a bit easier as parents going through a scary time with their kid, was incredible. Sadly, about 11/2 years in, I had to shutter the doors of BabyHipWear. I lost my seamstress to another entrepreneur who was hitting it big time, and I could not find another one to produce at the costs I needed. I was devastated and felt extreme failure and let down. I know it was out of my control, but it ate away at the entrepreneur in me.
Fast forward to this current day decision and I once again had those feelings of failure creeping up. Why make the decision to leave the partnership? TIME. Life is about tough choices. Life is about making certain things priority and recognizing where we need to let go. Illuminate was one of those tough choices. I still am a teacher there and still adore my friend/former partner but when I tell you how free I feel from the everyday responsibilities, and what that has translated to for my own quality of life? AH-MAZING.
My time was freed up in ways I never believed, mentally and literally. I now go into the city each week to street shoot (what truly feeds my artistic soul these days). I now volunteer at a local animal shelter and walk the doggies, and love on them until they find their forever home. I am more present for my girls, less agitated, less ‘pulled’.
So did I fail because I couldn’t quite make it all fit? No. The failure would have been if I continued on trying to make something work that was time to move on from – the failure would have been ignoring the voice inside me that said ‘it’s time to go.’
It’s that failure I wouldn’t be able to live with….