Christa Norman Photography is Officially 3 Years Old!!! It is crazy that I’ve been a full-time wedding photographer in Orange County for 3 years now. But it feels so long and so short all at the same time. Like hasn’t it always been this way? And didn’t I just leave Trader Joes? All at the same time! I am so grateful for all of my sweet couples and people who have cheered me on along the way. I could have done it without you all! My third year of business has been so insiteful and so I am sharing Here are three quick things I learned over year 3 of full-time business.
1. Comparison will kill your business and your artistic process
We have all heard the quote “comparison is the thief of joy”. But just because it has been a little overused on Pinterest, doesn’t make it any less true. It is especially true for me. I love my business and my couples, but my business has not grown as much as I would have hoped. And this year I wasted a lot of time in discouragement from comparing myself to other photographers. Over the last year, I learned how to overcome this discouragement through prayer and keeping my eyes on my own paper so to speak. This looks like spend less time on social media and I have even gone as far as muting most of my wedding industry peers that I follow so that I will see less wedding photography when I do get on. It is hard to hbe so disciplines but it has been so refreshing and life giving!
2. Getting smart about my finances + valuing my time
When I left Trader Joes three years ago to do photography full time, I had no idea I was running a business. I learned very quickly that, I did indeed have a business and that I knew virtually nothing about how to run it. Since then I have spent a lot of time reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts, and even invested in a couple of courses to learn about business. To my surprised I have really enjoyed it! Especially because having a solid business and workflow allows me to serve my clients better!
This year I have been specifically learning a lot about business finances and valuing my time. Like making paying myself a priority and getting strategic about looking ahead to save for times when business is slower. I’ve also realized that my time and skills are valuable and I needed to price myself in a way that reflects that! Sitting down to calculate how long it actually takes me to edit a wedding or design an album has allowed me to make sure I am working for more than $3 an hour! That is not sustainable and will lead to burn out!
3. Putting my time and energy into the things that really matter + avoiding hustle
Hustle. It’s a trendy thing. Late nights and burning the candle at both ends is idolized in culture on social media. But I had to ask, at what cost? At the cost of my friendships, health and spiritual life? No. That’s not worth it. I am not opposed to hard work but I believe it is possible to work hard and run a successful business without sacrificing the things I hold most dear. How could I serve each client well if I am so frazzled that I can’t remember their names? How could I tell genuine love stories when I’m not prioritizing my own? Praise the Lord I never got to this point but it so easily could have and I’ve seen it happen to other photographers and business owners.
Instead, I took the time to look at the parts of my business that really matter and decided to dedicate the majority of my time to those things. Instead of just working hard I am working smart. And I’ve learned to be okay with a slower pace because that’s what I need to feel like a human. Since making that mental shift, I have felt so much more rooted and satisfied with my work. I may not be the top booking wedding photographer in orange county but I might be the most joyful one. And because I can work from a place of rest all of my clients are well taken care of.
There you have it! Three quick things I learned in my third year of full-time business!