Let's get real. None of this happened on our own.
Em and I have been blessed with a network of supportive family, friends, and peers. We are smart enough to know the difference between people that want to use you and people that want to collaborate. We worked our little buns off developing a stronger connection to our inner knowing and built walls around the naivety that still crops up when we expect every promise or contract to be fulfilled.
In a nutshell: we got smart and then we got lucky.
We developed our own style, our own niche in the photography and videography markets, we priced ourselves competitively in the beginning and then based our prices on the value of our deliverables later, we made a lot of friends and a lot of realizations about ourselves and our fellow artists. Some of those revelations were eye opening in a not so fun way. Most of them were revelations based on the gaps between artists' desires and their ability to plan strategically to achieve those desires.
We started to understand why we have been so successful where other companies have failed. We honed our voice, our packaging, our brand and our process. We started charging more because we were consistently over-delivering and consistently short on time. We took on less clients at higher prices and are still to this day struggling to keep up with our schedules, but our growing team is helping resolve that slowly but surely.
After a lot of hard work, smart work and honing just about everything from our crafts to ourselves, we got lucky. I say lucky because what I'm about to share is the most vital part of a successful business and most business owners and artists never get around to working on this part. We are lucky because we have each other to remind us that this is our number one job if we want to grow our business.
It's your mindset, homie. It's your frame of mind.
If you believe sh*t is going to go sideways, you will find a way to sabotage a perfectly good opportunity. If you believe sh*t is going to work out for you and that things that don't work out are chances for something better to come along - you're absolutely right. Whatever you think is correct. I say this because your thoughts inform your actions and your actions make up your life. I decided I wanted to change my life in six months, and six months later my life is unrecognizable. We set a goal to get flown out to L.A. for a job by the end of the year and we did just a month after we decided that was our goal. Twice. And now we work with clients in L.A. on annual contracts. So... yeah, this isn't magic. It's regular ol' goal setting.
Set a goal, make a plan, and breathe. If you have control issues like I do, remember that nothing is really in your control no matter how well you plan and get really comfortable with adaptation. Always look at your situation and take note of ways in which you could adapt your current philosophies, habits, and strategies to the current environment.
Look for ways in which you might be hanging on to old patterns of behavior that are not serving you, your business, or your art.
Also, stop second-guessing all of your sh*t. You have value to bring to the world, so BRING IT. Nobody can bring the awesome stuff into this world in the way that you can, so freaking BRING IT. WE NEED IT.
They say that when you have problems in your business, you really have personal problems. And it's true. The times that we have struggled or come close to succeeding and then suddenly didn't have all been times in which we have let our personal insecurities or failings come out to play. If you allow your doubts and fears to be in charge of your life, you will continue to fail at achieving the life you want.
So, like.... stop doing that, okay?
We worked hard. We worked smart. And we are lucky enough to have each other. We are lucky to have our family. And our friends.
And you are lucky. Because it is never too late to do all of the things that you've always wanted to do for yourself and your loved ones.
You are lucky because time is a concept that we really don't understand. We don't understand much of the way the world works. I mean, what the hell is dark matter REALLY? What is it? Why is it? Why are we? Why are you?
I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that you are never going to find the answer inside the dark caverns of your mind where a little voice might still be whispering to you, "You're not good enough." You won't find the answers there, so let's not go into that place so much, yes?
Find your peace knowing that life is more than anyone will every truly understand. Understanding is both important and totally unimportant. We seek knowledge because we are uncomfortable with the unknown. We are still the cavemen that get scared of things going bump in the night. Those things could eat us, after all.
Be more than your fears. I'll repeat what Emilia once told me after a weird breakdown about my teeth falling out or some other random, universal nightmare: you are smarter than your neuroses.
You are. Own it. Love yourself.
Therein lies true success.