How To & Advice, Uncategorized

The Lesson That Grew My Small Business Beyond Expectation

Do you remember the butterflies in your stomach?

Those quiet evenings when you began to dream, can you still picture them? That dream that you dreamed, you were beginning to believe it might just be attainable, that you might have talent, afterall.

And it was time to begin.

For me, it was photography.


The core lesson of my photography journey has been and continues to be a core lesson for life and every pursuit that is worthwhile. So, while I refer to my personal experience… I hope you hear the heartbeat true to us all. This is the steady, quiet rhythm I was afraid to trust because I was looking for the biggest and loudest and (what I thought was) best. But even still, it paved the way for my business to grow itself beyond belief, start to finish, and I hope it will help you, too.

I had always loved capturing memories on my camera, always dreamed of being a photographer, but never would have dared to speak the words, or been brave enough to try. I thought I had something to offer to others that would also provide for my family, but I was scared.

I didn’t have spreadsheets and schooling and plans and calendars and marketing or even cute office supplies!

What I did have was a tremendous storehouse of anti-motivational self-awareness.

What if people didn’t like what they saw?

Weren’t there already a multitude of photographers to choose from? Why would anyone want me?

What if I rode on the wings of my efforts and dreams and single-handedly drove them straight into disappointments?

“I have found, you can neglect your gifts, but you can’t bury them completely.

They are part of you.”


And so, I captured memories of my friends and of my own growing babies. I did it because I felt like it mattered.

Not portraits.  No, that was for the pros. I took pictures of the funny moments. The silly moments. The messy ones. The quiet ones and the out of control ones. The eyes. The toothiest, goofiest smiles. The morning the tooth fairy forgot us AGAIN and got fired, and the brand new girl kittens sleeping under our porch who my small children named Benny and Billy. I did it because it was joy and that… is always worth remembering.

And low and behold, people just started asking me to take pictures of their families, too.

I didn’t immediately step into my dream, I (as was custom) had to panic a bit first.

“I would, but I’m not a professional!”

“I don’t have good equipment.”

“I don’t really know much about editing.”

“I don’t have lighting or a studio! I don’t know anything about posing.”


It turns out that wasn’t what they needed, afterall.

“They needed to be seen and understood as they were. Where they were.

I think we all do, don’t you?”


And though I fell very short of every expectation I thought was standard for an entrepreneur, though I felt unprepared and unnecessary in my field…

“I realized that the foundation of any good business always was and always will be… just on e   p e r s o n   a t   a   t i m e .”


“I like the way you see things.”

“I like the way you see me.”

“I really am so uncomfortable having my picture taken, but if you don’t mind our crazy, we could really use your services.”



“As I began to put people’s desires and wishes over my pride,

As I enjoyed the people more than the plan…

As I showed people the way I saw them, without always posing them or taking control…

As I learned to identify things for what they were and use my gift,

a business was born. And against my every misgiving and fear, it grew, and grew, and grew.”



[ one of my first weddings as photographer – with my favorite little brother in the whole wide world ]



“It turned out it wasn’t all about having the best, advertising the best, or being the best.

It was about having my own perspective, and doing my best.”


Sometimes we think our perspectives are different and even awkward. 

[ And sometimes they really are. Awkward Exhibit A below ]


But that might just mean that you are bringing a fresh new perspective to the table.

So bring it, my friend.

“Everyone brings something to the table.”




-Written by Mary Wall-



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