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All About Light: Week 40

All About Light is a weekly photography project by two friends who met virtually while working on their respective Project 365s in 2013-2014. We quickly realized that we enjoyed each other’s photos and always looked forward to seeing what the other one shared. Since we both have a love for the genre of street photography, we found ourselves capturing intriguing signage in unexpected places and laughed about who might get the next best shot of a crazy sign. After finishing our Project 365, we decided to take on a weekly project to study the use of light and learn about ways to improve our photography by focusing on different light sources. Each month we will focus on a different source of light in our photos. We hope you enjoy what we capture as we learn all about light.

This little family of owls was cleverly hidden among the trees at LegoLand (Carlsbad), which we visited this weekend. I love the detail of one of them being turned the other way. Everything was so well laid out and planned. The attention to detail was impressive!

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{owls}

Beth of Beth Moses Photography and I became friends in 2013, while sharing our photos in a large group of Project 365ers online. As the year went on, we realized how much we had in common and even had a friendly competition of shooting odd signage and tagging the other one with “Your turn!”. Besides our shared interest in photographing everyday moments, we also share a passion for coffee and the south. I’m so glad I get to continue to share my thoughts on photography with Beth, and now, this project, too. Now, go see what Beth is sharing this week: Egyptian Money.

 

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Taking the plunge: why and how I started my small business

I am often asked what brought me to make the decision to start a business. I don’t have a business degree, but I’d argue that to start a business you don’t really need one. For those who know me, you probably know my story already. But chances are, there are parts of it that you don’t know. Here’s what drove me to this journey I’m on and why I’m so glad I made the decision to be an entrepreneur.

DSC_5124I always knew what I wanted to do for a living. At least, I thought I did. For various reasons, I changed my mind once I got out of graduate school. I worked for a year for a small translation agency as a project manager and interpreter while my husband (then boyfriend) finished his degree. I loved the work, but not so much the company I worked for. It was a stepping stone, though, and I learned a lot while I was there.

Deciding not to go on in academia was the best decision I could have made. I do not regret it at all, but I remember that I came to this decision after agonizing a lot over what to do. I had always wanted to be a professor. But why? I didn’t have a good reason, really. I had been teaching as a lecturer for years already, and while I enjoyed it in the beginning, I realized after a while that it was not a good fit for me in the long term. I didn’t want to teach forever.

While my husband continued on through school for the next four years, I was a lecturer for two of those years at the university level. I had two to three jobs at at time and was constantly on the run from one class to another. During this time, I took on some freelance translation and interpreting work. I already knew about the industry, having worked in it before. It was nice, but also very hectic to try to fit it all into my schedule.

In 2010, I decided to open my own business in hopes that my freelance work would become more and that I could contract others in my business. I did not want to take much money from our personal savings, as we were pretty newly married and my husband was still in school. So, I invested $700 from our savings and crossed my fingers.

I knew I had the knowledge from my previous position and the language background I needed to get it moving. I also knew there was a market and I already had a few clients. More importantly, I felt motivated. I wanted something that was mine. So, for the next two years, I continued to teach as a lecturer and work on my business every. single. night. I was constantly running from one class to another, and then staying up many, many nights working to meet client deadlines. I think back now and wonder how I had that much energy. All I can come up with is personal drive and motivation to make a change and have something of my own. There was a lot of stress, but I knew it had to be worth it.

Besides being tired of working for others in jobs where I didn’t see a future for myself, I also felt motivated by learning about business and navigating my own path. I researched how to write a business plan, and I attended workshops, seminars, local business owner meetings and tried to soak up every ounce of information I could about running a successful business.

There were many lessons learned, but I’ll save those for other posts. And, of course, there were some naysayers along the way. I was actually told once by a small business advisor that my business was not really a business, but more of a hobby. I remember leaving the meeting feeling so offended and like he didn’t understand my business at all. That just fueled my motivation more. I am no longer offended. I know that there are people who believe that if you don’t jump into your business 100% from the beginning, then it’s not a real business. I beg to differ.

I don’t regret having another job (or in my case, jobs) that paid the bills while I got my business moving. In fact, I know many entrepreneurs who worked at jobs they didn’t care for until they felt financially secure enough to cut the cord like I did. For a lot of people, it’s the more reasonable choice. If that’s you, I totally get it.

By 2012, I was able to give up my multiple jobs and take the plunge to working solely for myself. It was (very!) scary, but so exciting. With a business there is always some uncertainty from one month to the next. But one thing was definitely certain. I was ready to hustle.

In the 5 years I have owned my business, I have gotten to know some of the best people, both clients and colleagues. Knowing that what I have worked on is mine drives me even more. Today, I work with over 100 vendors, have two project managers and earn over three times the amount I did when I had multiple jobs teaching. I don’t say any of this to brag. That is not my intention with this post at all. Instead, I hope that if you’re looking to start a business, you feel that there is hope for you to start small and think big, as I knew there was for me. If you have to work at a job you dislike just to make it possible to walk away one day for a business that is yours and one that you believe in, know that that day will soon come and it will be one of the best feelings you will ever have. Know that others will always have an opinion about how they think you should handle your business, but when it comes down to it, doing what is best for you and your situation is the only thing that matters.

{This post is part of my Business & Entrepreneurship series. You can read more about the series here.}

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Perfect Timing: Week 40

Perfect Timing is a weekly photography project by two friends who met in college, became roommates and have been close ever since. We share a love for languages and travel, and although we’re from the same southern state, we now live on different continents, balancing a demanding work life with a private life. We both agree that everything happens for a reason, whether we see these moments as positive or negative at the time, propelling us ahead or slowing us down. We hope you will join us each week, as we share little moments of Perfect Timing with you.

I have kept this reminder on my desk lately to “just keep going”, as I’m starting to feel a bit of burn out these days. I know that not every day will be this way. So, instead of making a drastic change right now, I am choosing to just keep going and power through. I have some vacation time in my near future that I plan to take full advantage of. In the meantime, I’ll try to make the most of it.

{Postcard from Jess Lively.}

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{just keep going}

Mary of Moe-Digger Photography and I became friends in college after we realized how much we had in common. We each grew up with three brothers, played sports and studied history, languages and cultures. I still remember our SLR cameras and our love for shooting with film. We have shared many wonderful experiences together over the years and have supported each other through some of the most significant moments in our adult lives. I am excited to take on this project with her. Check out Mary’s Perfect Timing photo for this week, too: Blur.

 

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New series on business and entrepreneurship

For the past several months I’ve been thinking about starting a new series on my blog about how I made the decision to start my own business, what drives me as an entrepreneur and lessons I’ve learned in the past 5 years I’ve been in business. I am, by no means, an expert. But I can say what has (and has not) worked for me. I am often asked by friends and acquaintances how I came to be a business owner and what it’s like to work for myself and work from home. I hope to share that and more with you.

DSC_4408What this series is not…

  • A promotion or marketing tactic for my own business. I don’t need or want to market to folks through this blog. I don’t write this blog to gain business. I’ve never talked about my own business in specific terms here, because writing this blog is something I do on the side for my own enjoyment. So, know that I will not be doing self-promotion here. ;)
  • Legal advice or tax assistance. I’m not a lawyer or accountant and have no plans to be either. If you need legal or tax advice about your business, there are a lot of great small business lawyers and accountants out there.
  • A prescriptive way to open and run a business. There are a lot of business models and a lot of research you can do to start your own company. I did a lot of my own research (and still do), so I encourage anyone who is looking to start a business to really buckle down and learn before jumping into something that can so greatly affect your finances and lifestyle.

If you’re thinking about starting a business or just want to know a little about what it’s like to work for yourself, I hope you’ll follow along, ask questions and maybe even be inspired to start your own business or project that you find fulfilling. My own experiences and some obstacles here and there have taught me great lessons in business. I also plan to share some interviews or profiles of other women business owners who I respect and who inspire me. I hope this series serves as a source of experience and inspiration for you.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Entrepreneurship

 

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Perfect Timing: Week 39

Perfect Timing is a weekly photography project by two friends who met in college, became roommates and have been close ever since. We share a love for languages and travel, and although we’re from the same southern state, we now live on different continents, balancing a demanding work life with a private life. We both agree that everything happens for a reason, whether we see these moments as positive or negative at the time, propelling us ahead or slowing us down. We hope you will join us each week, as we share little moments of Perfect Timing with you.

I was invited by my good friend Rowena to join a Field Notes swap with 15 other women who enjoy using Field Notes notebooks. Each of us will choose a notebook from our own stash and will send it on to the next person in line on our group list. Everyone can use up to 3 pages in the notebooks we receive and we will write about the theme that the original owner of the notebook has chosen. I’m still trying to figure out the theme for my book, but I’ve chosen to use a notebook from my favorite line of Field Notes: Pitch Black. As I continue to consider the theme, I’m already looking forward to receiving the different notebooks over the next 16 weeks. If you’d like to follow along with the swap, check out #retrowturesfnswap1 on Instagram.

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{Field Notes Swap}

Mary of Moe-Digger Photography and I became friends in college after we realized how much we had in common. We each grew up with three brothers, played sports and studied history, languages and cultures. I still remember our SLR cameras and our love for shooting with film. We have shared many wonderful experiences together over the years and have supported each other through some of the most significant moments in our adult lives. I am excited to take on this project with her. Check out Mary’s Perfect Timing photo for this week, too: Remembering.

 

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Perfect Timing: Week 38

Perfect Timing is a weekly photography project by two friends who met in college, became roommates and have been close ever since. We share a love for languages and travel, and although we’re from the same southern state, we now live on different continents, balancing a demanding work life with a private life. We both agree that everything happens for a reason, whether we see these moments as positive or negative at the time, propelling us ahead or slowing us down. We hope you will join us each week, as we share little moments of Perfect Timing with you.

A temporary, but important reminder that is useful in so many areas of life. I needed it this week. Here’s to making value-based intentions that are not temporary.

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{be patient}

Mary of Moe-Digger Photography and I became friends in college after we realized how much we had in common. We each grew up with three brothers, played sports and studied history, languages and cultures. I still remember our SLR cameras and our love for shooting with film. We have shared many wonderful experiences together over the years and have supported each other through some of the most significant moments in our adult lives. I am excited to take on this project with her. Check out Mary’s Perfect Timing photo for this week, too: Is What It Is.

 

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All About Light: Week 39

All About Light is a weekly photography project by two friends who met virtually while working on their respective Project 365s in 2013-2014. We quickly realized that we enjoyed each other’s photos and always looked forward to seeing what the other one shared. Since we both have a love for the genre of street photography, we found ourselves capturing intriguing signage in unexpected places and laughed about who might get the next best shot of a crazy sign. After finishing our Project 365, we decided to take on a weekly project to study the use of light and learn about ways to improve our photography by focusing on different light sources. Each month we will focus on a different source of light in our photos. We hope you enjoy what we capture as we learn all about light.

There’s really nothing profound to say about this photo, so I’m not even going to try. I just saw these cool circles of light coming through the holes where the cords feed through the blinds in my office. I guess it is true that photographers can be light chasers. ;)

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{stripes and circles}

Beth of Beth Moses Photography and I became friends in 2013, while sharing our photos in a large group of Project 365ers online. As the year went on, we realized how much we had in common and even had a friendly competition of shooting odd signage and tagging the other one with “Your turn!”. Besides our shared interest in photographing everyday moments, we also share a passion for coffee and the south. I’m so glad I get to continue to share my thoughts on photography with Beth, and now, this project, too. Now, go see what Beth is sharing this week: Texas.

 

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