Every time I write one of these "It's the end of the year, holy shit" blogs, I am blown away by how much I crammed into one year, and stoked about having the "Best Ever Year of Kara Marie Boudoir". 2017 was another record breaking and fulfilling year of business and I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you who follows along regularly, trusts me with their boudoir experiences, and tolerates my annoying Instastories.
It's this week every year that I spend looking back at the year's body of work, blog posts, and thousands and thousands of photos. I am so grateful for the abundance of business, blessings, and beauties that surrounded me in 2017.
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+Photographed 384 Women
+Coached + Mentored 13 Boudoir Photographers
+Attended 3 photo conferences
+ Composed 10,695 emails (whaaaaaaa???)
2017 Travels to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Miami (Lots of warm and tropical surroundings, apparently!)
It was a year of awards and I feel extremely honored and....well...baffled quite honestly! There's been several print magazine features, a few Huff Post articles, individual image awards, and the 2017 Boudoir Photographer of the Year from AIBP to cap it all off. I have this problem where I downplay a lot of "accomplishments" as I am truly always aspiring to fulfill my potential which is still a long road in the future. But recapping on 2017 I can actually look back at the year and be proud of what I've built, even if there are 1000 things I would change, I know that I busted.my.ass. I have a long way to go, but am proud of where I am. THANK YOU to all of the publications, mentions, reposts, and cheerleaders giving me encouragement along the way!!! <3 I plan to put myself out there even more in the photography industry in 2018 and really fine tune my craft as much as I possibly can.
I'm not much of a "resolutions" girl. I think it's just the word itself that's lost it's meaning because of all of the empty promises attached to it. I AM a goal-setter, and more importantly, a goal-ACHIEVER. So while you're not going to get a whole slew of big dreams that I will likely not fulfill, I'll go ahead and list out all of the plans that are already in motion for 2018, and I will continue to work my ass off towards them.
In 2018, I will be...
+MAKING A HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT. Like....in 2 days. I've been chickening out big time on this one that's been in the works for 3 years. I pulled it off in September and have yet to fill y'all in on my little secret. Stay tuned.
+TRAVELING A TON. There has been so much time spent wishing that I would have traveled more before having kids, or before my career became so demanding. About 6 months ago I made a promise with myself and my husband to make 2018 a year of experiencing things I've always wanted to see. We'll be working out of Europe for the summer of 2018 ([Santorini|Mykonos|Athens]Greece, [Naples, Florence, Venice, Milan, Almalfi Coast, Rome] Italy, [Paris, Nice] France), and I also have several other photography related travels occurring (Los Angeles, New York, and Boulder CO.
+Slowing down. I have this little problem that involves seeing a blank spot in my calendar jumping at the chance to fill it if someone asks. That resulted in a 2017 full of being FULL. Too full. Client experience is my TOP PRIORITY in my business. It's what this has all been built on. I still delivered on this in 2017, however it became a lot more difficult to do when I was sometimes taking as many as 15 appointments a week. That.is.NUTS. I am continuing to remind myself that this is a SMALL BUSINESS, and to keep it as top-notch as it's always been, I need to learn to stick to my pre-determined number of appointments a week, and politely decline on any additional. It's in the best interest of my clients, and in the best interest of my creativity and mental health (which is also in the best interest of my clients).
THAT SAID, My 2018 is already over 75% booked (HOLY.CRAP.), and I will be increasing prices a pinch and saying "I'm so very sorry that I can't accommodate you" a little more. As much as those words pain me,it is worth it to keep the ultimate client experience 100% intact and even improving as time goes on! No burn out for me!
+Beefing up my boudoir photographer education offerings. As per the previous bullet point, I *do* need to slow things down a bit. That will mean taking on fewer boudoir mentorships. I believe in giving photographers a REALLY thorough and customized experience when it comes to their business coaching, so I will continue to limit these to a manageable level for me so that I can over-deliver to my "students". HOWEVER-- the great news is, I will be really beefing up on my educational guides for photographers and other small business owners!!!
By the end of the 1st quarter, there will be a really beefy library of educational offerings on my website for purchase for photographers! I'm in the final stages of fine-tuning now, it's been a TON of really really hard work, and I'm really excited to release all of it soon to continue to help photographers and other small business owners market their companies, grow in their craft, and deliver impeccable customer service.
+EDUCATING THE $%&@! OUT OF MYSELF. I always say that my biggest insecurity....well...it's not anything having to do with my appearance. The thing I wish I could change the most about myself is my intelligence. LUCKILY----that's something I can change.
There is endless information out there, endless education, and endless possibilities for expanding my knowledge on just about any topic under the sun. I have ALWAYS been an advocate of continued education and will continue to study photography for as long as I'm shooting. It's so important to recognize that YOU DO NOT KNOW IT ALL. You don't. Even in the things you're an "expert" in. I recognize that (x100000), and am taking a very proactive approach to my education. I am already enrolled in several classes that will enhance my technical craft, and have about 60 books on my "to read" list to work on becoming a more self-aware, enlightened, happy individual. Like the last 3 years, this next year will be a year of learning new things.
+GIVING MORE TO MY CLIENTS. I'm always looking for new ways to make my clients feel extra special. From helping them with their bags into the studio, to customizing a welcome sign for each of them, to following up with them years down the road to congratulate them on new life events....client relationships are really important to me. That's not just something I say. So, in 2018 I'll be fine tuning the client experience even more to give them alllll the warm and fuzzies.
And now that all THAT'S out there, y'all can hold me accountable!
FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, TRULY...GENUINELY...THANK YOU. Thank you for reading through this long and winding blog post, thank you for reading all/ANY of my blog posts. Thank you for every sweet comment, every word of encouragement, every Instagram "like". Thank you for trusting me with your boudoir experience. Thank you for being friendly and my friends. Thank you for all of your continued support over the last decade of making my passion a career. I love you all and cannot wait for another BEST.YEAR.EVER.