Cheers to 2017! A couple weeks in, but it still feels fresh. While I've never really done "resolutions" in a traditional sense, I do love that feeling of a clean slate that January gives. Life + work + the day-to-day grind can have a way of keeping you in permanent hustle-sleep-repeat mode, and it takes a little extra focus to step back occasionally, and look at the bigger picture.
I've loved reading many of my friends posts, recapping their 2016 and sharing their goals for the new year. I think there's something important about taking the time to lay out where you've been, where you are, and where you want to be. And sharing that with others adds an extra layer of accountability that, at least for me, helps make it all feel just a little more real.
2016 was a great year- both personally and professionally. When VTS shifted gears at the end of 2015, to focus exclusively on styling + photography, I was excited but also apprehensive. It seemed risky, to go all in on a career that I loved AND that I knew next to nothing about how to build. The odds that it wouldn't work out or that business wouldn't come or that people would judge my decisions were all constant thoughts. (SIDE NOTE- I'll be speaking on the topic of "Finding Work When Offers Aren't Falling Into Your Lap" later this month at Alt Summit, and recapping it for the blog- if you have any specific questions, email me or leave them in the comments below.) But I knew I had to try. Month by month, things steadily grew. Clients kept returning for new projects. New ones were referred. Instagram helped bring business in ways I could've never dreamed. Every single month, I'd think- ok, NEXT month I'll feel like I have a better handle on everything. Working for yourself is amazing freedom, but can also be amazingly overwhelming! Styling, shooting, editing, emails, invoices, inquiries, payroll, social media... so VTS grew (into a team, which was awesome, and had long been a goal of mine), and so did the workload. A good problem to have, right?
Then, the last few months of 2016 shifted into high gear- a couple times I felt like pinching myself. Here I was, just over a year of doing this professionally, and getting work I used to dream of. But I knew I needed to go into 2017 with some serious thought + planning given to how I was going to continue to grow + scale my business. My long-term goals for VTS are bigger than just me- maybe pie-in-the-sky, but having a vision (anchored by a plan) is what has always kept me going. Well that, and coffee.
So for 2017...
- CONTINUE TO GROW THE VTS TEAM- I've realized that as much as I want my hand in everything, I can't do it all. Gradually giving certain responsibility to others means a business that operates more smoothly, and working with others brings in fresh perspectives. (And when I say continue to grow the team, I mean soon- so if you're interested, stay tuned!) Long-term, I'd like VTS to be a team of creatives too (not just me with a camera), and want to begin to put wheels in motion to make that happen.
- MORE CREATIVE COLLABORATIONS- Working alone is comfortable and safe. But nothing stretches you more than working with others. I've found a balance of both has helped me to grow creatively and think of projects in ways I wouldn't have on my own. You also learn from other peoples tips + tricks, and their way of doing things. There are so many different ways to create something beautiful, and I can't get enough of learning new ways. Which leads me to...
- MAKING TIME TO BE CREATIVE- Might sound crazy, since it's what I make a living doing, but there IS a difference between creating images professionally and creating just to create. It's easy to get into a rut when you're busy- you focus on the end result, because after all- it IS what you're being paid for. But when I take time to slow down and get more into the process, I'm always always always so glad I did. Creative burnout is real! Making time monthly (even weekly) to just see where my crazy mind takes me creatively is a top priority.
- SHARE JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE- This might be my biggest challenge. While I love brands and artists that let you get to see a little of the soul of the brand/person behind the work, I've always struggled with finding that balance. I love to share my work but I struggle to find the time and way to share more. I want to challenge myself to share a little more of my creative process + inspirations (both on the blog and on social media), as well as sharing more of the talented people I work with.
I feel like I need a fifth item, to round this list out... haha. But I think I've got my work cut out for me. I have to add- I SO appreciate all of you! Creating is my joy in life. Every single person who takes the time to read my blog, follow my work on social media, like my photos, comment on my silly captions and jokes... it feels unreal (and amazing) to put something you create out into the world and have so many people respond so positively. I'd love to know if there's anything you'd like to see from VTS in the new year- any series ideas? Creative or business questions? More photo downloads? Tell me, I'm all ears!
CHEERS TO 2017!!!