I tried to ride out the flood of New Year blog posts and really contemplate on mine (that, and give all my readers a chance to not be annoyed by so many New Year posts.) I'm not a New Year resolution girl. It's now 2017, and I'm still the same girl that's making a giant pan of 5 cheese macaroni and cheese for lunch on January 2nd.
I set my goals year round, I truly do. I set monthly goals for my business (which I'm really good at achieving), I set quarterly personal goals (THOSE sometimes...err...often fall behind...but I'm working on that), and I keep the most extensive and organized to-do list I've ever seen for every day tasks (though often forgetting to add things like "take a shower" and "work out").
One ongoing to-do list item I always keep at the top of my list is a reminder for me and it says "It's not business...it's personal." If you've been following me for a long time, you may remember that my old photography website had that phrase written at the bottom of every single page.
Obviously, this *IS* in fact a business, and I do operate it as such on most levels. But the one facet of my business that isn't business is ME. It's my relationships with my clients. It's my passion for my work. It's my love affair with the stories that each client tells me. It's how seriously I take each and every customer's review of my services. It's my dedication to making sure that every person has the warm and fuzzies about their experience. It's my desire to continue to do something for a living that I'm SO passionate about without majorly sacrificing my time with my family.
KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL is the reason I don't have a (probably much needed) large staff of additional photographers, virtual assistants to answer my emails for me, a sales person doing my photo reveals, and someone else running my social media accounts. It's the reason that sometimes I rock a messy top knot that contains far more dry shampoo than hair. I have had to actively try to keep it small. And to be honest, it's outgrowing me. It's become bigger than I can handle on my own with just myself and an assistant. But like any business, I need to continuously adapt, and I will strive to do so while keeping.it.personal.
While I most definitely have help, *I* am the only person that is fully invested in this business of mine. It's a part of me. And in such an intimate line of work, I find it to be utterly important that you all get to know me. I want you to feel like you know me before you meet me. I want you to feel completely at ease, like you are working with an old friend. I want to be the one to sit with you as you see your images for the first time and get all watery eyed. I want to be the one that gets more excited than you are to see your images blown up huge and hung on your wall.
Ok, ok, so maybe that makes me a wee bit selfish. But I genuinely feel the personal touch adds so much to the experience for my clients.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with not having a hands-on approach in many businesses. In fact, my apparel line Blonde Black and White is one that I dedicate about an hour a week to, I outsource just about every aspect. And my husband coincidentally just publicly announced yesterday that his fitness studio Heat Bootcamp is now officially a franchise. There's most definitely a time and a place for expansion, but for Kara Marie Boudoir, that is not in the foreseeable future.
Sometimes people will stop me in restaurants/grocery stores/coffee shops and say "HEY! I follow you on Instagram! I love your work!". I think "Who? ME!? You recognized ME!?!?!" *commence crawling into a hole in embarrassment and trying to remember what the last embarrassing thing I posted was...* But then I realize that's a pretty awesome thing. I definitely put myself out there a little bit (lot bit) more than most other photographers. And I'm ok with that...in fact that's very intentional for all the reasons I've already listed.
So, in 2017, I want to officially pledge my commitment to KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL.
Thank you all SO, SO much for the most incredible year KMB has seen. Thank you for keeping me booked. Thank you for referring your friends. Thank you for every single "like" and Instagram comment. Thank you for understanding my mission to helping women feel a way they haven't felt in a long time (or ever). Thank you for your grace when I go a month without blogging because I'm swamped with edits. Thank you to each and every woman who has trusted me with their boudoir experience. I don't take the privilege lightly.
I ADORE YOU.