Dear Chelsey, If Only You Knew...
I remember when Stephen and I first started our business. We were poor college students, in love, and wanting to figure out our lives. We knew very few things about starting our own business. But if there was one thing we did know, it was that we loved working together and being creative. We loved every chance we had to pick up our cameras and we were so eager to learn and grow together!
We were both in college, so there was no pressure to fully "succeed" or bring in tones of income at the time, although we both thought that would be nice! Honestly, TréCreative started kind of on a whim. We needed a website and name quickly to do our first bridal show here in Chico. So we came up with the name (more on how soon!), build a pretty ugly site, and went live to the world at the local bridal show. From there, one wedding led to another and we kept booking more and more awesome couples! What started on a whim grew and our love for our couples and business grew the longer we were in it!
Although we now have an awesome support group of past clients and industry friends, that was not always the case!
I remember trying to study for my final exams at Chico State, but all I really wanted to do was see our business grow and shoot more weddings. I was curious and eager and falling more in love with photography than the degree I thought I originally wanted a career in! More than anything, I felt alone. After transferring to Chico State, I remember realizing during my junior year what I wanted to do after college. I was realizing more and more that maybe, just maybe I could really join forces full time with Stephen to grow our business. Stephen's degree was in film so he already knew he would be making "movies" of some kind for the rest of his life. But I was on the fence about how much I wanted to commit and turn my hobby into my career!
The more I grew my craft, the more photographers and business owners I started following. And although I was learning so much from online material available, I was still missing something.
I was missing that face to face interaction and knowledge that can only be shared while in person! If I could tell my college self an important lesson Stephen and I have learned, it is that you have to really jump in and make yourself vulnerably and available if you want to succeed! Although I was "following" other inspiring photographers, I wasn't reaching out. I wasn't asking questions or eager to meet people in my own community or even attend a photography conference!
I know conferences can be expensive. But the ones I have made the effort to attend are seriously life changing!! I can't begin to tell you about the amazing people we have met and skills we have learned that has impacted our business and lives. I'm pretty extroverted and even though I love being around people, it can still be intimidating walking up to strangers at a mingling event or conference. Our work can be pretty isolating with all the computer time during the week, and even if we're with our friends they don't always understand the daily challenges of running their own businesses. I remember trying to talk to my college friends about my frustrations or struggles with business, but I could tell they couldn't fully relate! Not to put them down, it's just nice to have others to talk to who can relate and know exactly what you're going through.
If you're just starting out with a new business venture or in the creative industry, it is key that you put yourself out there and show up! Make a commitment to show up to your local get togethers, (like ours called Tuesday's Together). Save up and attend that workshop or conference you've been eyeing. Take an online class, or find a mentor who's "been there done that." Reach out to other people in the same business as you. Get to know others in your field and see how you can support each other! Having community formed in your life provides such a great support system for new business owners.
Stephen and I love The Rising Tide Society and everything they're about. It truly is about community over competition. It's about showing up for one another and cheering each other on! If you haven't found a community yet, I encourage you to hop online and find people close to you and actually meet up and dive in deep! And if you happen to be in the Chico area tomorrow or need an excuse to visit, we're having a little Happy Hour (on the Crush patio downtown) get together for our local creative group tomorrow evening! We would love to meet you!
Let's support each other along the way and root for one another! Take the leap and email that person you've been Insta-stalking to finally meet up for coffee. Don't let fear get in the way! You can do it!
Happy Thursday Friends!