Our Entrepreneur 'Cheese Sandwich' | Erica + Jon Photography

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We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.

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Our Entrepreneur ‘Cheese Sandwich’

It Started with Some Advice…

If you haven’t heard it from us, you’ve either heard it from someone else or are currently experiencing it yourself – being an entrepreneur and starting a business isn’t easy! As a matter of fact, one successful business owner we know once commented to Erica’s dad, ‘If you don’t have to start your own business, DON’T!” For us, that ‘have to’ was something we couldn’t deny – a burning desire for something of our own, and something we were willing to make sacrifices for. 

Gary Vaynerchuk once mentioned on a podcast to budding entrepreneurs that being an entrepreneur means you will most likely have to eat cheese sandwiches for your first year or two in business, not steak and potatoes. It goes right along with Dave Ramsey’s talk about with living like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. When we made the decision to quit Jon’s full-time job with Caterpillar to launch our full-time photography business and move back to Arizona from Washington, we knew that sacrifice was what it was going to take to be successful.

As we started looking for rental homes in Arizona from behind the computer in Washington, we started praying for the perfect home. Preferably new, single story, private owner, and within our budget. Thankfully our prayers were answered and we contracted on a great rental home and shortly after pulled the moving truck into the driveway.

The Shine Wore Off…

It didn’t take long for the newness of the ‘perfect’ home to wear off though. You see, there was one small drawback…

It was in the middle of nowhere! San Tan Valley, Arizona – as far southeast as you can get in the valley and a solid hour from anywhere we need to be. Our business grew and our shooting schedule became more and more busy, which meant that the drive time, gas, and extra babysitting expenses had us quickly holding a grudge against the once perfect answer to prayer. It was easy to get an attitude while driving across the Phoenix-metro area and into single lane roads jam-packed with traffic after a busy day of shooting.

We’d routinely drive over 1.5 hours one-way just to scout locations. We’d fight traffic for over an hour to get to the camera store. As the costs (financially and mentally) kept piling up, our attitudes kept growing.

We Decided to Eat Our ‘Cheese Sandwich’

But then we remembered something important – this house we hated was once an answer to our prayers. So what changed? We did – plain and simple. It was a serious gut check. Because you know what else we realized? The drive time wasn’t a burden when we first moved in because our business wasn’t busy! Quickly, the thing we despised became something to celebrate. Once we changed our perspective we realized we should be grateful for the inconveniences because they were a result of our success.

We made a decision that day driving home in the car to no longer begrudge where we lived. Instead, we’d challenge ourselves to be grateful for it. This was OUR cheese sandwich and we were happy to eat it if it meant we were building our dreams. We embraced it, accepted it, and determined to make the most of it. 

This week, we’re saying goodbye to our cheese sandwich. Our business has grown to a point where we can purchase our own home again and we couldn’t be more excited about this transition in our story. We’re pretty certain there will be more cheese sandwiches to eat, but as for this one, it’s all but history.

So friend, if this being an entrepreneur thing is something you really, really want, open wide and take a bite – it’s only temporary. 🙂

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