As a business owner of a small photography studio, I am grateful to say that I love my job. I love meeting new clients, hearing their stories, getting to photograph them and their families. I love when I get to be creative and curate unique sessions for my clients and I hope I get to do what I do for a very long time. I also wish I had more time to dedicate to my business, but as a mom, its a challenge.
I know there are plenty of working moms, whether you have a boss or are the boss, it all comes with its unique challenges and having to work around every unique individual and their needs in your household is sometimes an extra hurdle to climb.
As a small business owner, for me, right now, mid August to mid September is a transition month for my family, moving into our next year of school, doctor appointments, shopping for clothes and school supplies, getting their schedules, hair cuts, just to name a few things...This is the time of year I take a few weeks off to take care of all of this stuff, because, to be honest, most of it falls on me and not Daddy. He's here, we're married, its just the kids get me for all of this with a little bit of help here and there, but if I'm being totally honest in this blog, it's overwhelming.
This year especially. With covid, it's just enhanced all of the challenges. Challenges and issues I didn't even see coming our way. I am struggling to hold onto my little business. The business challenges are overwhelming, I feel like I keep using this word. Right now in the background of writing this, my dog is barking non stop and no one seems to be stopping him, in fact I think someone is making him bark; this is one of many distractions of working from home right now and not having the ability and freedom to visit the studio. Time is another big challenge, in 20 minutes, I'm going on a bike ride with one of my kids, I love it, I want to do it, but there's just not enough time for everything.
Another big challenge right now I'm seeing is competition from other photographers. I don't follow other local photographers, I don't want to know what they're doing, however, I do come across social media posts once in a while that put them right in my view. I am seeing one has basically taken verbatim from my website, some of her sessions are in the exact same spots and set ups as mine and of course she's cheaper. Maybe we're just very similar in style, perhaps she has no idea who I am, but it's a blow. I know a lot of these locals are wonderful, talented, don't have a studio so don't have the overhead I have and their husbands buy their cameras or the money for their props comes out of their family budget instead of their photography business budget because they're undercharging so they get business to build a portfolio, etc. This is the shitty side of this business. I hear 'there's room for all of us', however, I'm not sure there is....
Another hurdle I'm facing right now is trying to keep the business here in NJ, where the covid guidelines have been rough, afloat. I'm grateful I had a client hire me to take lots of photos of food over the covid period, that really helped and got me through however, I needed a little more, so I advertised, and took on more clients this summer than usual. The more time I spend on my business, the less time there has been with eyes on my kids and they've been starting to make some not so great choices.
The kids are great; they do require alot of attention and guidance because, well, they're kids and with peer pressure and social media playing a big role in their lives right now, It really causes alot of stress on the Mom. I get the tears, the screams, the tantrums, the blame, the crap....it's all coming my way right now; it's been one of those times that you re think EVERYTHING you're doing in life.
Perhaps I should close down the studio to focus more on the kids? Maybe i should move the studio home so i don't have so much overhead, but where I'll have my dog barking incessently and kids moving all of my props and stuff? No thanks, Do i just go to people's houses and take photos? Then I' on the road for a long time, should I get a better SUV? How long will I be traveling? Will I hit traffic? There are just so many variables. I like my little spot, I love what I do, but It just doesn't seem to be working for my family right now.
Do I give it more time while I'm figuring things out for my kids? Their next steps to making better choices? What type of help do I need to help them? Its just hard sometimes trying to be everything. Do I really think I can have everything I want? A successful business, great kids, a great marriage and friends and family to share it all with? It's a struggle and right now, i'm not winning the struggle.
Dolly Parton has a saying that I use as one of my mantras, "The way I see it, you have to put up with a lot of rain to get to that rainbow" . Thanks, Dolly. I'm in a storm right now, but praying it gets better SOON for my kids and my business.
I was trying to attach some black and white photos to this blog and perhaps I'll go back later and try again, but for some reason I can't get them to add into here and my son is waiting for me to go on our bike ride.
Last note, should I keep blogging on my business page about business struggles/ business owner mom struggles? I'm not sure anyone will want to hear my whining, lol... But I just needed to get this off my chest and be real.
Please feel free to send some prayers or positive vibes for my kids and I right now, they'll need it going into this new school year and I'll need it to get them through it, while trying to hold onto my little business.
Thanks for reading.
Where did the name Millie Dee come from? It's my 2 nicknames, my maiden name is Miller, so some friends call me Millie and some call me Dee instead of Denise, so I jammed them together and made Millie Dee...