Last week, I was having an incredibly peaceful morning. No really…it was AMAZING! I had a morning to myself by the sea in a HUGE shell bed next to Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills here on the Outer Banks of NC. I love living here…getting up super early and hitting the salt air first thing, it’s like the equivalent for those who get a good walk and healthy breakfast in…it just starts your day right.
So I’m there, crouched down in the bed of shells…eventually plopping down. Sometimes I stand and bend over and look around, sometimes I just straight up sit in it and scoot my butt around moving shells with my hands to look. Me five years ago would have been concerned about looking ridiculous but wild, free, happy me is like oh yeah I’m sitting my heiney in this shell bed and finding me some treasures…my girls will be SO excited to see what I bring home!
I look over..and there’s a woman in the REALLY saturated part of the shell bed looking around. I see her where I want to be, and I think..okay, she’s getting all the good stuff. I should just stay over here and then look here and then leave when I’m done. I won’t even go over there, if there’s anything good….she got it.
Then like I always do, I started thinking of this decision I made in correlation with my business.
I actually stopped looking for shells for a minute and thought to myself…Amanda…what did you just decide!? You’re not even going to LOOK over there because you think she nailed it and took all the good stuff? I wasn’t even going to try. I was going to just sit in my average shell bed, look around, then call it a day. Now…if you’re not a beach goer, this analogy may not mean much to you….but try to apply it to something you love. I LOVE looking for sea glass and discovering each and every little piece is like an amazing treasure and gift! You can read my thoughts and perspective on sea glass here and here. It’s truly a beautiful representation of so much more than actual pieces of weathered trash.
I decided that the other woman found everything worthwhile in her saturated shell bed and there would be nothing left for me. I started to think about this in terms of the market I work in and how sometimes people say “the market is so saturated” and I hear “UGHS” and “psssshhhs” from some people every time a new photographer pops up. That’s a really ugly mentality. Are you doing that? Okay…so do you never ever remember being NEW? I remember getting “ugh’d” at and it sucked. Of course our market is saturated…look how accessible high end digital photography equipment is now! Look at how people are choosing community over competition and educating one another, OF COURSE it is! It’s become a fight in so many ways but I think it’s only bettered the industry because now clients know they have a choice. They can choose to have good images and someone who fits their personality…and that’s a gift!! I’m not mad that brides get to choose someone really fun and upbeat now versus a photographer like Hank in Parenthood (love that show, but Hank is like a nightmare photographer in my eyes hahaha!) — I can’t be mad at that. It’s harder for us to book to more people come along but it demands we be ourselves and find likeminded people to work with and I’m okay with that!
So I decided when she left to go ahead and look around over there and I realized what I almost did that day was miss out on my biggest haul yet. Yep, that’s right! Over 20 pieces of REALLY diverse and amazing sea glass and I almost completely missed out on that. How dare I tell myself that this woman got all the goods and I had no chance. Just because she had been there first, and longer, that means that I don’t deserve to give it a try. I know it’s easy to compare your beginning to the middle of other’s progress but you just can’t. They started exactly where you did and they grew, and you KNOW you can do this if you bust your butt. Walk to the shell bed, plop down and get to searching high and low — you’ll find your treasure.
This is hard, I know guys…I know starting a business is hard. We have had tough seasons of booking less and getting off the ground wasn’t the easiest thing but if you don’t keep going, searching, trying and reminding yourself that respectfully you are worth of “the pie” too — you don’t ever know what’s possible.
Want to keep up with an Outer Banks mama of three sweet (and oh so wild!) little girls shooting weddings & small business photography while making time for the things that matter most? Click on the links below and let’s connect!🙂