My enthusiasm is ramping-up
for Imaging USA 2014. Trish and I got our official badges in the mail today. Eeeek!
It's hard to believe that
this time last year I was dreaming of ways to fake-illness myself out of the
trip to Atlanta for Imaging 2013. In my very first post for this blog, I
confessed my panic and nausea induced by a stalled cash flow and floundering
business. Thankfully, my business partner Trish dragged me kicking and
screaming out from under the covers of my fake sick bed to IUSA 2013 and it
I once heard Trish say, "A problem shared is a problem
halved." That's been true for
us so far. Sharing our problems, exposing our soft underbellies and swallowing
our pride opened us up a support system of expertise, good will, and creative
inspiration from PPA.
Writing about our woes
started out as an experiment. I've been chronicling
our trials and tribulations here for nearly a year and it's helped me foster a
new way of looking at my business and my life. The experiment would either end
in total failure with me at my new job as a sectional saleswoman at the local
furniture store (love me a sectional) or it would end in success with "Bright being the new Bleak" when it
comes to the future of Snap!. Sharing mistakes has also taught me to see
inspiration for success in the most ridiculous, outrageous and mundane places.
Take for instance, when
Queen Latifah called us recently. Queen Latifah is only (according to Google
and um, the rest of the world) the very coolest singer-songwriter, rapper,
actress, drop dead gorgeous model, television producer, record producer and
talk show hostess. Not to mention she's considered one of hip-hop's pioneer
So, the phone rings the
other day and it's Queen Latifah (in the interest of full-disclosure it was
actually a lovely woman named Chelsea who works for the Queen Latifah show, but
close enough).Chelsea was looking to get permission to use a photo from our Pinterest
page pinned by one of their upcoming guests. You may have heard about this couple
in the news, Ryan Leak and Amanda Roman. Ryan planned an entire wedding from Amanda's
"My Dream Wedding" Pinterest page. A photo we had taken of earrings
was pinned by Amanda and used by Ryan in creating their wedding. Ryan proposed
to Amanda, she said yes, and then they had the wedding all on the same day.
We had a nice chat with Chelsea
and were about to hang up when she said something really momentous. She said, "Congratulations
on your life." Chelsea wanted us to know she had spent a lot of time on
our website and was really impressed by the photography but was even more
impressed by the passion and zest we have for what we do. Gosh, Chelsea (a.k.a.
Almost Queen Latifah) that was awfully nice of you to say. Lightning bolt
moment: It's important to remember that a bad day for us doing this is better
than a lot of people's best days at work.
Other times the inspiration
for success comes from humbling places. One of the goals we set for ourselves
at Imaging 2013 was to get involved with PPA Charities' Operation Smile. We
were moved to action and tears after attending a PPA Charities party at Imaging
and listening to all the wonderful people involved with Operation Smile speak.
We had no idea then that we would get so inspired... really inspired... to donate
all we could to Operation Smile.
The more we read about
Operation Smile, the more we watched the videos of the children whose lives had
been changed by Operation Smile, the more we wanted to do. One day we had an idea
to donate the amount of one surgery ($240) for every wedding we booked. When
given here and there, the $240 was hardly missed and before we knew it, we had
booked 28 weddings and donated $7,487 (and counting), making us the Top Studio
Donor in the country for the year.
I hardly know how that happened;
after all, we don't have a fancy studio. We are just two ladies plugging away
here at my house in my spare room. Sometimes it's a struggle to make ends meet,
but I've never missed a dime of the money we've given to help children in need.
In the course of a year, it
turns out that I shared my problems and halved them too by reaching out to PPA
and asking for the help we needed. Ironically, what has really reenergized our
business hasn't been what we've taken from PPA but what we've given back. It
turns out that Joy shared is Joy doubled.
I'm thankful to be doing what I do every day knowing that I'm pleasing my
clients by involving them in an uplifting charitable cause. Sharing our passion
for photography and the joy of our good fortune makes a bigger impact than I
could have thought possible a year ago.
I hope you are considering going
to Imaging USA 2014. If you are struggling like we were, don't crawl under
those covers, share your problems and halve them! Reach out and get a little
help. Things will turn around. Once they do, remember what Almost Queen Latifah
said, "Be grateful for the life you have."
You're doing what you love! Once
you're feeling good and joyous about how lucky you really are, start spreading
the joy and love around. PPA Charities' Operation Smile is a great place to
start. Remember, bright is the new bleak.
Hope to see you in Phoenix!