Even in Sunny SoCal it can be Gloomy
I’ve alluded to down times once we moved back to the states in 2018. I knew coming to an area that is gloriously beautiful and gorgeous weather most days would be saturated with an abundance of amazingly talented photographers.
I wasn’t wrong.
I also knew I would have to change up my marketing strategies and now actually hustle this little business of mine if I wanted to keep it going. That’s not to say I didn’t market and hustle in Japan, Rhode Island or Germany, but those are all unique bubbles that played in my favor big time. The San Diego and Carlsbad areas are completely different beasts.
I decided not to come in fully “guns a blazin'”, but instead make sure I had everything set up legitimately, and take some time to drive around for great locations, light, etc.
With dumb luck and maybe 1% marketing strategy, I booked a few sessions not too long after I got myself set up in Carlsbad. I will be forever grateful for these sessions and the families believing in my abilities in those first days. Out of the thousands of photographers in my area, they chose me. I have never and will never get any less excited about families wanting to book a session with me.
However, things moved very, very slowly from there. I researched, joined groups to get tips and tricks, tried various marketing strategies, etc.
I’m not going to lie. It was a lonely time those first several months in this new area. I was not only trying to get my business footing, but my personal footing as well and neither was going especially well!
I even applied for a few non photography jobs at that point. I was determined not to give up the business, but also knew I needed to keep myself busy. A stay at home mom of teens can be a quiet and lonely job and I’m not so good at just “being”! I need to be busy and/or entertained!
When you live in Southern California there are all kinds of comments that this must be amazing and awesome and just glorious all the time.
It is until it isn’t. When you are doubting your business and your abilities and engage in the joyous time suck of comparison it can be quite gloomy.
Luckily for me the one job I submitted to and even got called for a couple of interviews did not pan out. At the time I was very disappointed, but as so many quote “when one door closes, another one opens”.
Almost immediately the inquiries began coming in steadily. I wish there were one magical thing I could attribute it to, but there isn’t. Just consistently putting myself out there on social media, keeping content up to date on my website and trying to give families the best experience and best photos I could.
I attribute a good piece of it to also getting out of my own head.
Sounds strange, but defeating yourself in business is huge. The mental games a business owner, especially creative business owner, plays with themselves is crazy! Am I good enough? Do I need to cut my losses and sell everything and move on?
I finally stopped waiting for things to come to me and happen to me and started investing in the families I work with, my education and the way my business runs.
I don’t think any of my 2019 families will ever know how much they pushed me forward and essentially saved my business from it’s owner! I don’t say this lightly, but I get to meet and work with some of the best people I know. Some become my friends and coffee dates and some just bring me a smile and laughs for 60-90 minutes while they look gorgeous!
I’m already in the process to make changes in 2020 to bring better photos and better experiences to the families I will have the honor of working with this year. I’m excited for the new knowledge, new skills and hopefully soon new equipment.
Christa Paustenbaugh Photography | Family, Lifestyle, Newborn, Fresh 48, Senior Photographer | Carlsbad & San Diego, CA