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.
If you know us well, you know that we (and Jon especially) are very measured people. We don’t often make decisions on a whim and usually fall more into the category of over-analyzers, over-planners, and what-if-it-to-deathers. So when we both came to a calculated conclusion to quit a comfortable corporate job, move back to our home state of Arizona, and start a business from scratch, you’d better believe we’d given it some serious thought and prayer. We called that year our year of “Crazy, faith-required things,” because even though we made our best plans and calculated the risks, we knew that a heavy amount of faith would be needed to be successful in our new journey. Leaving comfort was difficult, but as we now say, “Shift Happens.” And our life took a major shift that summer.
We uprooted, moved back to the land of sunny deserts, gorgeous sunsets, and of course, the best chips and salsa around and started our business…as wedding and lifestyle photographers. As new business owners, we felt so blessed to have experienced life-changing education as we started off on our entrepreneurial journey together. We saw success modeled for us by two incredible human beings who seemed a lot like us: husband and wife team, desert dwellers, wedding photographers. So naturally, we began to emulate the success we saw from them into our own new business.
We were pursuing the luxury wedding photography industry and a specific niche of family lifestyle clients. And being savvy enough to know that our branding needed to attract our ideal client, we spent inordinate amounts of time perfecting what became our branding board with our designer.
You ready for it??
We liked to say that our monogram looked like it would be perfectly at home on a luxury hotel bathrobe. Jon wore slacks and bow ties. Erica wore the color pink. We felt like we were on our way…except for one major thing.
It didn’t feel anything like us.
We’re more the sweat pants and gym shorts variety. Our idea of a fancy dinner is a taco salad accompanied with chips, salsa, and white queso. We felt like imposters…big time.
We slowly began to realize that although we were right to emulate certain things about those we looked up to – their business drive, their heart for others, their relationship as a husband and wife business team – we were wrong to imitate their style and their niche. Why? Because it was anything but us.
This led us to a serious dilemma. We had sacrificed so much to get to where we were. We left stability and security, invested time and money into building a brand, and most painfully, we were emotionally invested in what we were doing. But it wasn’t us.
We felt distraught and discouraged. We questioned our purpose and intentions. We wondered if we’d made a huge, embarrassing mistake. We were about ready to quit.
That’s when we had what seemed like a divine intervention – a series of events and people who took the time to speak life into us, encourage us, and help us see that our current greatest weakness could be our greatest strength. We needed to step into who we were and own it. We needed to pursue a business path that felt like us.
After all, if there should be one lesson we learned from taking drastic steps to leave a corporate job and move across the country to start a business it should have been this: Shift Happens.
Instead of dreading it, we needed to embrace it. We wrestled with the emotion and the implications of what shifting our business really meant. Essentially, it meant starting from scratch….again.
New ideal client.
But instead of backing down from the challenge we faced it head-on and worked through the process to create something that felt a whole lot more like us.
Today, we’ve had opportunities as brand photographers we could have never imagined. In fact, if you would have told us even a year ago that we’d be running a six-figure brand photography business serving household brand name clients and professional sports teams, we’d have laughed you out of the room!
But there is strength in stepping into yourself. In embracing who you are uniquely meant to be.
Maybe you’ve been considering a shift in your own business, but the thought of starting over scares you.
Maybe you’ve built a brand around one type of client or industry that you’ve realized doesn’t bring you joy any longer.
We have one message for you, friend: Shift Happens.
Embrace the change and pursue it with all of the tenacity and determination you have. As we write this encouragement to you, the world around us is still unraveling with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe. We look forward to the day we can re-read this blog and smile being on the other side of this, but we also know that right now, in the middle of it, is a great opportunity for you.
As the global economy sits in a holding pattern, what better opportunity do you have to embrace change and create a business that brings you joy? What if you could look back on COVID-19 and remember it as a time you hunkered down and created the business of your dreams?
Don’t back down from the challenge friend. Step into yourself and remember, Shift Happens.