New Year – Same me – just needs a little kick in the a**.
I have a whole lot of feelings surrounding the new years resolution thing. I think there’s some positives – it gives people hope and there’s a lot of collective energy towards doing better and being better so it does make setting goals and sticking to them a lot easier when the rest of the world seems to be doing the same.
What I don’t love about them is they are often superficial and they don’t get to the root of the problem so they don’t always stick. As a certified Master’s Coach – I understand what it takes to create change in behavior and it’s a LOT more than just setting a goal. You have to understand what’s keeping you from getting to your goal in the first place and work on the mindset along with the new behavior.
I don’t want to bore you with the deets (even though it is quite fascinating to me). The reason I’m bringing this us is because I want to be more transparent in the process of building the biz and being an entrepreneur. Nothing has humbled me quite like this journey of being my own boss. There’s been a lot of highs – but surprisingly a lot more downs than I was expecting.
After some close inspection – I can see that the downs were honestly my own doing because I lacked intention and discipline. I had a lot of “goals” but I found myself doing a lot of meaningless tasks that are were not necessarily contributing to my success and quite honestly were burning me out. I am a type A person, but without an intentional routine – I’m just an anxious mess. I was sleeping in, not spending my work hours efficiently, and just feeling like I was serving everyone but myself. Guess who’s responsible for that?! YEP ME….
So this year I am going to try to ride the momentum of the new year to simply be more intentional. While I have a lot of goals I am continuously working on I don’t have any “New Years Resolutions”. I feel like what I am doing is working, but it’s not sustainably long term. So in the spirit of change – I am not focusing as much on my “goals” – but more on the actions I am doing that are keeping me feeling drained.
That looks a lot like:
-Unplugging and stop worrying so much about what other people are doing or what trends I need to hop on
-Setting a weekly schedule and sticking to it
-Limit distractions while working by turning my phone one do not disturb and closing out social media so I am not tempted to scroll
-Spending more time dreaming about the life I am creating instead of manufacturing an image of it for social media
-Being present with my clients, with my family and friends, and with myself
-More quiet time connecting with my inner guides and intuition
-Being as disciplined working for myself as I was when I worked for others
So here’s to 2023 – to enjoying this life I’ve built without rushing to the next accomplishment – to being still and finding guidance from within – to building unwavering trust in myself- and to being really intentional with my time on this earth.
Life is a celebration worth cherishing and I hope to do just that.
My love of photography came about in somewhat of a weird way. There was a girl I went to middle school with, her name is Kelsey Wright, and she starting doing photography and posting it. Her photos were the perfect manifestation of what she was going through and I remember feeling so inspired that I also had to try. From there it just ended up being a long term love affair that had many many ups and downs. To this day I still thank Kelsey for inspiring me to express myself – look where it’s ended up.
Before we get there though – lets just acknowledge that a lot of growth had to happen artistically and emotionally to get to this point. I got my first canon point in 2008 and boy did I think I was something. Here’s some pictures of my middle school days where I shot literally everything, but focused heavily on landscapes and black and white.
Early high school I started to hone in on shooting with people. I did a lot of experimentation with crazy filters and all kinds of things that are somewhat cringeworthy, okay a lot cringeworthy. But in a lot of ways, that little girl was not afraid of being wrong, she just created. Thank goodness for my friends who trusted me (;
Later in high school I decided that being a photographer was a real option for me in terms of careers. I started “Ah’mazing Photography” in 2011. Again a little cringeworthy but this girl was excited. I did quite a few senior portraits but ultimately found a lot of joy in photographing couples. Makes a lot of sense in hind sight. Enjoy some of my early couple portraits from 2011 – 2013.
*Enters Sammie Saxon* – this is the creative genius I owe so much of my growth to. Just before I left for college to study photography, I met Sammie. He took me under his wing, showed me how to level up my craft, and encouraged me to keep shooting always. To this day, whenever I see him – he asks to see my recent work. I spent a few summers back home shooting with Sammie and even doing an internship with him at Southern Views Magazine. He showed me the art of portraiture, particularly the fashion industry. Here are some of my favorite photos from our early shoots together.
Studying photography in college was much different than I expected it to be. I had to take several different art classes not pertaining to photography to understand the basics of art, I took several hours of art history, and there was a lot more conceptual exercises than I was expecting. But I would not trade my experience FOR THE WORLD. My time at Jacksonville University and the people I met there were everything I did not know I needed. Here are some of my favorite photos from my time studying art at JU.
Oh did I mention that 50% of my program was actually FILM!? Not video – film photography. I got to learn the art of photography from the most basic pinhole cameras, to 35mm, medium & large format, all the way up to digital. Film is something that I have recently gotten back into and I cannot wait to start shooting and developing in the darkroom again! Here are some of my favorite 35 mm projects I shot and developed.
Throughout my time in College I also discovered a love of self portraiture. I have hundreds of self portraits from over the years, but the biggest project was for my Senior Thesis. These portraits were about how anxiety and depression feel. I purposefully edited them to be dark so you would have to get close to see the details and printed them large scale to highlight how obvious anxiety and depression is in every day life and yet people still walk right past you as if you’re a ghost. Here are the final images from my thesis.
This is the sad part of the story – where I graduated with my degree – and ran away from my dream. I was absolutely terrified of becoming a “starving artist” so I went on to get my Master’s Degree in Education. While I do not regret this path one bit, I am a little sad for that version of me who was too scared to even try. I have been working in higher education for almost 4 years. About a year ago I started creating and shooting again. Things took off for me quickly and in January of 2021 my husband and I decided to open up Cirrus Gold Creative Company. Our plan was for it to be a small part time business doing photography and drone video. In 2021 I also faced some very life changing events that caused me to really reflect on where I want my life to go. I cannot imagine it without photography and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my days than documenting this incredible life.
Here’s some of my favorite recent work – can we get a round of applause for that glow up though!
This year we filed all of the paperwork to become a formal LLC. I put in a notice that I will be leaving when my contract with my current position ends in October to become a full time photographer. I have 8 months left until I’m a full time artist and I cannot believe this is really happening. After 14 years – I am finally done running away. I am ready to let this dream come true. Happy 1 year to Cirrus Gold – here’s to making things officially official!!
As we move into the new year our plan is to offer wedding photography and video services as our main offering because we are hopeless romantics. We will still be doing couples, engagements, senior, and family portraits as time permits. We also offer drone video services like roof inspections and things on an inquiry basis. We are located in Phenix City Alabama / Columbus Georgia area but are more than happy to travel!
And now you’re all caught up! It’s been a lot of ups and downs and there are several things in between that I will be sharing with you as I keep this blog. I hope you’re coming along for the journey.
Cirrus Gold is a Wedding Photography business based in Columbus Georgia and Phenix City Alabama area. We also do couples, engagements, business branding, and some family portraits. We are about to launch an entire drone video service so stay tuned for more information!
Opening your own business is not for the faint of heart….when creating an LLC – you’re quite literally scratch building something with its own entity – I mean it has its own tax ID number. This is literally like having a baby in the sense that:
So how did we get here? We operated as a sole proprietorship and started Cirrus Gold Creative Company in 2021 just to see how it would go. We got our business license, rebranded, launched our website, and started business. Two months after opening – we had to quickly put a pause to all things because I was going through some scary medical testing. More on that another day – but after about 5 months off we were finally able to resume again. Not sure how everything would pan out – we ended our first year with almost $3,000 more in sales than our original goal for the year.
So we decided it was time to get serious. A series of doors began closing in my professional life and it was the perfect time to decide to go all in! I have about 9 months left on my contract with my 9-5 job and I will be going full time in October of 2022. After about 14 years of chasing this dream I decided to stop running and face all things that were holding me back.
Here’s what I learned our first week as an LLC:
Okay let’s address these things shall we?
Number 1 – 90% of this opening up your own business is about persistence – it’s just a mind game.
You start to ask yourself all of these insane questions, the most prominent one being “What if this fails”!? Great question….if you’re planning for it to fail – you just might see that come to fruition. Now there’s something to be said about having a back up plan or making sure your finances are going to be relatively okay if you take a hit – but in reality opening your business means that you’re taking a risk. You have to suspend yourself a little bit from the notion that things are going to be safe and comfortable and get really intimate with the idea that you are going to stumble a bit. Even with said stumbling – really the only way to fail is to stop trying to get back up.
So when you don’t know how to fill out the business license application – Ask for help. When you realize you forgot to renew your license on time the previous year and get hit with a penalty (true story) – you make a note in your calendar to make sure it gets done correctly and pay the fine. When you’ve had so many conversations about numbers that your head starts spinning, take a break. Put it down and pick it back up again, and again, and again. I’ve heard it so many times but I’ll say it here too….successful people learn when to rest so they don’t have to quit. So far in my journey it’s been spot on.
Number 2 – Just because you don’t know what you’re doing does not mean you shouldn’t be doing it.
As a first time business owner, I’m very grateful for my background in counseling and coaching because I was able to coach myself in the process a bit. There will be so many times you question your ability to make it through this process because you have no idea what you’re doing. Here’s the thing – fear is just a knowledge gap. Yet it is capable of driving you right out of those offices and right on home if you let it. What I found to be helpful is to say to myself “fear I know you’re here but we are doing this anyway so hang tight” and I asked questions. I asked so many questions to anyone and everyone who was willing to sit on the phone with me. There were companies calling me and asking me questions I knew nothing about, so I spent hours on the phone asking them questions just so I knew how to answer their original questions.
Google is a friend – but be weary of the things you read on there as not everything is up to date or applies to your circumstances. I recommend going to the offices you need to visit in person (if possible) to get the most accurate information needed. It helps if you tell them that you’re a first time business owner and that you really value their time educating you – that certainly went a long way with the disgruntled lady at the licensing office. If this is your first time opening a new business – you’re going to feel inadequate. But you need to start somewhere. You’re just as worthy of owning your own business as the next person – the only thing separating you from them is this is your first time taking action. You’re not going to know how to do it if you’ve never done it – but it doesn’t mean you should call it quits.
Number 3 – Courage will come and go. Do it anyway!
Emotions and feelings are temporary and constantly moving through your body. You cannot control them, but you can control your reaction to them. Are you still going to be scared, going to feel lost, and going to wonder if you’re cut out for this? The answer is YES – a screaming yes to all of those things. But you’re allowed to be brave and scared at the same time. You’re allowed to wonder if it’s going to work and still have hope that it will. The only thing that’s going to get you to that success is by taking action. Show up! Even when your knees are shaking – keep showing up. I have been doing photography for 14 years and always dreamed I would own my own company. Dreams are great – but they get you nowhere without action.
Overall I can say that this week has taught me more than I ever cared to know about bank disclosures, merchant services, the penalties involved with not turning in your freaking license paperwork on time. So there were plenty of stumbling blocks, moments I felt completely lost, and times I wondered if this was really worth all of the trouble. But ultimately it comes down to this – time is passing and I can spend it safely behind a desk working for someone else’s dream or I can be uncomfortable for a while and build my own adventure from the ground up. I’m voting for the second.
Stay tuned friends & thanks for being here!
Cirrus Gold Creative Company LLC is located in Phenix City Alabama & Columbus Georgia. We provide photography, Cirrus Gold is a Wedding Photography business based in Columbus Georgia and Phenix City Alabama area. We also do couples, engagements, business branding, and some family portraits. We are about to launch an entire drone video service so stay tuned for more information!