My Journey to Full-Time
Hey friends!! I just wanted to pop in to share some fun news with you! Last week, I officially went FULL-TIME with BKC (!!!). What the what?? So. Crazy.
This year has been just so full of twists, turns, & transitions and while I may never have expected to be here today, I’m just so unbelievably grateful.
I spent this past week kind of adjusting quietly to this new reality and while for some it may not seem like a big deal, to me it has been. I’ve always been the kind of person that needs to really sit in a moment when something changes. To take time and quiet to process it all. I’ve often said that September is my New Years, the time I take each year to really think through the past year and anticipate what’s to come. So, to have this big life change coincide with the beginning of September, I felt even more in need of this time to pause. As I was thinking through all the changes from the last few years, I wrote out some of my journey that brought me here and who better to share it with than all of you who’ve been supporting me along the way?? If you’re just joining – welcome, I’m so glad you’re here! Feel free to skip ahead if you just want to see what’s next, but if you’re curious how I started feel free to read along. 🙂
So what’s my story??
I’ve always been fascinated by images, and my favorites are the ones that really make you feel something. That not only transport you back to a particular moment but show what that moment felt like while it was happening. I loved that photos could help me remember things I wouldn’t otherwise and that taking a good photo of someone could make them feel empowered. As a kid, I love looking through my parent’s photo albums and my dad’s film slides from when he would go on photo trips to places like Alaska and Montana. In high school, I was the one who took no less than 4-5 throw away cameras with me to retreats and camps and I still have stacks and stacks of images in boxes and bags from that time. I can’t even imagine what having a camera phone would’ve been like back then! I was the one in college that dragged my friends out every couple months for seasonal photo shoots (bless them), and the one that everyone assumed would naturally document the crazy adventures and events we went to.
Even in college, before this dream was ever really voiced into the world, I loved the business of it all too. I constantly read blogs, books, magazines- anything I could get my hands on really- from photographers and wedding planners and artists that were doing it. I was really drawn to learning as much as I could about their techniques and influences and just gathered as much of that knowledge up as I could like a squirrel before winter.
It took a long time for me to make the transition from being fascinated by others doing this, to actually admitting this was something I wanted to entertain for myself. I still remember a specific day in college where I was about to get a new camera after waiting a long time, and I knew exactly what I wanted and could afford but I never voiced it and instead chose something “less professional” because I didn’t feel like I actually deserved it. I thought I would look like an imposter and that you had to know it all before you even got started. That thinking held me back for a long time, and I often felt like I was looking for permission before I could take any risks. What if I’m horrible? How do I know if this is what I really want? What if everyone thinks I’m entitled or a fraud? How do you start without knowing what happens next? What if it’s not at all like what I think? What I didn’t realize, was that I was the only one that needed to tell myself it was okay to try without knowing the ending.
I’d like to say I grew out of that thinking quickly, but that was just not the case. Between 2010-2016 I bought and sold 4 different cameras, slowly (and hesitantly) upgrading each time once I felt like I had mastered and outgrown the last. Would it have made more sense to buy the camera I got in the end and spend that time really learning the system instead of wasting time and money buying and selling? Probably, but it was what I felt like I need to do at the time.
After I graduated college for business and wedding planning, I really had no idea what I was actually going to be able to (or even wanted to) “do” and landed in a corporate cubicle, where I stayed for just about 6 years. The summer after college in 2011, I started second-shooting weddings with some sweet friends of mine and my dad’s photo equipment and the spark grew. I turned my online journal into more of a photo-blog, sharing photos and stories with family & friends, and bought the domain name “bekahkay.com” just-in-case.
Skip ahead a few years to 2014, I married B and we settled into Baltimore city together. We made an effort to really simplify for our first year and take time to build into our marriage, cut out distractions and any non have-to’s, and dream about the future. Without that time and without B’s unwavering support and encouragement, I probably would never have been brave enough to voice this dream.
On the wings of his courage, I started planning throughout that fall and winter for what this business could look like and I officially launched February 2nd, 2015. Because I’m a crazy person, I couldn’t just start without feeling “official.” I knew if I wanted others to take me seriously, I would need to take it seriously too. Before February, I put together a makeshift budget and business plan for my first year, created a logo and website, and worked with a CPA to set up my DBA and Sole-Prop. I still felt like I was “faking it till I make it” but once all the paperwork came in I hit “launch” with a mixed heart of anticipation, doubt, excitement, and nerves.
I gave myself a year. I wanted to pour in as much as I could offer and give it its best shot to succeed but agreed with myself that if after a year we parted ways, that would be okay. I fought through a lot of fears and doubt and dug my heels into as many opportunities I could get my hands on. I pushed way past my comfort zone to get connected to other girl bosses, and Christian creatives in the community that were already living it out. I worked hard for free or cheap and invested in workshops and styled shoots to keep stretching myself. It completely surprised and overwhelmed me that by the end of that first year I had booked twice the number of clients for my second year than I had my first. So, I was off and running.
The last two and a half years have been so stretching for me in all the best ways. Working both my day job and heart hustle taught me so much. Being able to start the business without it needing to directly contribute to our home finances right away was an enormous blessing. This gave me more freedom to take risks, to keep my costs low and spoil the clients that chose to work with me. It was hard to wait on some opportunities and only use the income I was making to build back into the business when there was so much I wanted to jump into right away, but I was determined to not get into debt to start this. I made more mistakes that first year than I ever want to think about, but I learned with every one of them. I think the hardest thing to learn was that no matter how much I “knew” it was all just going to take time. To know there is nothing you can do to make time go by faster to get the experience that comes with well, experience, is a little daunting, but beautiful at the same time.
By last fall, I was reaching a point where I couldn’t serve both jobs well anymore. Building into my business in the corners of my office hours on lunch breaks, mornings and evenings, turned into feeling like I was “full-time, full-time” and there was an inevitable expiration date. Not only was I having to set aside dreams of growing and building new things, but I wasn’t able to keep up with what I already had on my plate. I was late with galleries and emails and have been half-hearted with posts and content and something just needed to give.
So, in March I packed up my cubicle-turned-office at my corporate job, said goodbye to coworkers and closed that first chapter of my work life and started a new job with my family’s business.
Initially, I planned to go right into my business full-time, but our family situation changed a lot right beforehand and we decided I still needed to be bringing in another income, so I set off for a new day-job combo. While I planned to be there for at least a year while we transitioned, over this summer we had another come-to-Jesus moment, where we realized it was just still too much. So we shifted plans again, trusted the Lord, and by Labor Day weekend, I made the biggest leap yet.
WHICH BRINGS ME HERE! (all the happy dances!)
Oh friends, I’m so full of joy for all that is ahead. Yes, I know there will be hard days. In fact, I’m sure the fear and doubt will be even harder to battle now that there’s more “riding” on this dream than before. But I’m choosing anticipation and excitement as I’m looking ahead.
What I’m looking forward to:
- Getting back to the heart, and serving my clients better. (Stay tuned for a brand refresh!)
- Having more quality time and capacity to build into my sweet hubby & marriage.
- Building into new dreams, instead of just daily tasks!
- Launching some meaningful tools (can’t wait for this!)
- Creating new “office hours” – and having more margin/balance.
- Being able to invest and connect more into the creative community.
- Finding new ways to serve current & new clients!
- More flexibility :).
What I’m nervous about:
- The flexibility, and becoming complacent.
- Trying to do too much all at once (all the ideas!!)
- Working from the same place I rest at home (how do you know when to turn off?)
- Being my own boss.
“Be stubborn about vision, and flexible on the details”- Jeff Bezos
This quote has been on our letter board for the past month or so, and I just keep coming back to it. The past few years have turned out so differently than I could’ve expected, and I know the next years will be just the same. And I’m stoked. No matter what’s ahead, I’m so thankful for where I’ve been, where I am, and all the adventures yet to come.
I wanted to share this with you all to just get back to the heart of sharing our stories. I believe in the power of being known and loved that starts with vulnerability. I want to tell real, deep, heartfelt stories of all those I’m blessed to meet and work with, and I know it starts by sharing my story too.
Thanks so much for being on this journey with me, friends. My road has been marked by fingerprints of those that encouraged and supported me through every season, and I’m so deeply thankful for each and every one of you. Thanks for sticking in, believing in me, and for cheering me on. I’m so excited to share more of my vision for what’s next so soon. Till then, cheers to all the adventures left unseen!