Growth, Reflection, and 2016

I love beginnings. The beginnings of new books, new shows, new years, new planners. That feel of it being the first time you crack open a planner and write in it's pages, or the first time you're reading a brand new book. It's such a great, fresh feeling.

And here we are. The start of another new year. And while typically I get that "freshly cleaned whiteboard" feeling, this year, I'm way more unsure than I usually am. There are so many variables ahead for me, and I'm not sure exactly how things will go. 

 pink and white invitation suite at highgrove estate. © Burlington, NC wedding photographer, Silver Feather Studios

Growth in 2015

2015 was a different kind of year. When it came to my business, I think I've invested more time on the backend of things - finances, marketing, taxes. The actual art of photography sort of took second place. I continued to learn, of course, everytime I picked up my camera, or attended a photographer get together. But when it came down to it, I pushed myself to be a better businesswoman over being a better photographer. 

But this past year, I had a totally different experience. I found myself feeling more confident on the business side of things, which gave me room to enjoy the actual ART of what I do. Learning to shoot differently, to train my eye better, to optimize my editing software. 

I am so glad I did this. SO GLAD. Because this year was a GAME CHANGER. I have never felt so EXCITED about my work. I've grown exponentially and it has been such an amazing experience. Now that 2016 is here, i'm eager to keep that going!

 beautiful diamond ring and wedding bands. Burlington, NC wedding photographer, Silver Feather Studios

Reflection in 2016

I always reflect in January. Where could I have improved last year, what mistakes did I made, what changes need to be made to our standard operating procedure. I've made the new yearly goal list and started implementing changes. We moved into a new studio, and planned out our income projections with  pretty color-coded spreadsheets. This year, though... i feel unsettled. And not for reasons we've faced before. We have more bookings at the start of the year than ever before. Inquiries are hitting the inbox, and we're even booking up for 2017. So it's not the usual struggles of running a photography business.

But I see myself being pulled in a lot of new and exciting directions. Frankly, it scares me. I'm giving a presentation at PP of NC in a few weeks, I'm talking more and more about marketing to fellow professionals, I'm writing for magazines. The general axis that this business has floated on is shifting, and it's terrifying!

Silver Feather Studios has been in business since 2011, and for the first time since possibly year one, I think I'm venturing into a totally new unknown.  Three or four years ago, when January rolled around, I still needed more bookings, and I needed to improve all of my processes. Two years ago, I needed to do a better job managing our finances. Last year, I needed to start planning for the future.

But this year? Well I just have to keep doing what I'm doing. Better than before, yes, but still... I've got a handle on most of my ideas. Most of what I try to do is working. So.... what's next? What do I do now?

And that's why the fear is there. It's an entirely new kind of unknown. It is refreshing though. To be here. To find out that I'm not overly comfortable and that I'm still a little scared about what's to come. Because if I'm not scared, why am I even doing this?

 wedding favors at the highgrove. © Burlington, NC wedding photographer, Silver Feather Studios

You're probably wondering why I'd blog about all this aren't you? Why not keep on pretending I've got it all together, and that everything is awesome? 

Because I am surrounded by people who are jumping into the unknown. They are starting new businesses and taking leaps of faith, and I'm watching them do it and I'm pushing them, and I'm thrilled for them...and in five years, I hope they are in the same place as me right now. I hope they're not too comfortable and just a little bit scared, and still willing to jump off that ledge. 

It's an exciting place to be. Scary, but exciting. And I can't wait to see what this year holds.

Hope your 2016 is better than ever!



Ariana Watts

Silver Feather Studios, Burlington, NC, 27217, United States