Sometimes I write because I am inspired. Other days I write to tell stories. Sometimes I simply write to express how I feel. I write for others and I write for myself. Today I’m writing a letter to myself and to my fellow small business owners.
Over the years I’ve had people ask 'so what do you do other than photography, like as an actual job?'... because photography can’t be a real career? People often comment that I’m so lucky to be able to work from home/be my own boss/do something I love every day. Yes I do love it and I will never stop being grateful for it, but it’s not all as glamorous as it looks. It’s a lot of hard work, long hours and isolation. I also wouldn’t call it ‘luck’.
I’m not some girl with a glorified photography hobby. I am a business owner making a living from being a photographer, educator and blogger. I rely on my business to pay the mortgage. I rely on my business to get food on the table, the power bills paid and to build a retirement fund. It is a legitimate, tax-paying business with all the outgoings of any other.
And although Heidi Horton Photography is a business, I am also a person who happens to be the face of a business. Every day I put my heart and soul into this business, doing what I love and caring for everyone that comes into contact with Heidi Horton Photography. I never really talk about the boring side of business, because I’d rather tell people about the fun stuff - the cool people I get to meet, new friendships that are forged, the awesome industry I belong to, the imagery I get to create, lives & stories I am asked to document. I also share about our marriage, our dreams and adventures, I talk about our dog, we even open our home to host workshops. Heidi Horton Photography is very much a personal brand. There would be no Heidi Horton Photography without Heidi, or Matt.
Having such a personal brand and sharing a lot of ourselves does add a huge level of vulnerability. Most of the time that vulnerability is meet with compassion. For that I am thankful. And not everyone is going to be a fan. I get that. I would be kidding myself if I thought I could make everybody happy. I choose to be grateful that I have found my tribe. And they are fiercely loyal friends, supporters and clients.
Somedays I know it would be a hell of a lot easier to work for someone else, but then I remember that even the worst day in my own business is better than working for someone else, because it's my dreams I'm chasing, one step at a time.
I know many peers and fellow small business owners who face similar challenges, successes and vulnerabilities - maybe just in different ways. Those who bleed for their business, working all hours, not only for the gains but for the sheer love of it. And so this is for you: I acknowledge you. You are the real deal. You are worthy. And you are not alone.