Updated: Jul 3, 2019
So I was scrolling through Instagram today and I went down a rabbit hole of seeing beautiful office spaces, perfect outfits and lattes with artwork in the foam. I kind of glanced around and wondered - did I do this whole social media thing wrong? My office doesn't look like that, wow look at that Instagram grid.
I have to say, my behind the scenes is far from perfect. I smile at my outfits that are anything from pulled together and I realise - this life is far from a "mess up." It actually doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. Go them.
Let me give you proof that it's better to just start than to wait for perfection...
A year or so ago I was in the shower, I had my iPhone in a cup (because who needs a speaker when you can set your phone in a glass and have the sound come out just loud enough to not hear the kids screaming) and I was listening to a podcast when it hit me.
I cannot have these long showers when I'm an employee, I have to find a way to be self employed. I need flexibility for my two kids, how can I use what I have to build a business - I have to make this work. Somehow.
At the time I was an executive sales manager for an Australasian beauty company, self employed (it’s direct selling) I'd built it from the ground up - but I’d felt for a long time I’d lost my passion.
I just couldn't for the life of me get it back.
I had formed amazing relationships through this opportunity and the perks were great, holidays, company cars, but... because i'd lost my mojo, I wasn’t working and my sales were down. Here I was a hamster on a negative fly wheel and I was stuck.
Its hard to see the light in what your doing when your down in that hole. Ive been there, ALOT.
So I started a position within a local marketing company, which I enjoyed, but that contract ended after 3 months. Part of my role was product photography and I didn't know much about it, only the very basics.
So here I was, after 3 months, back at square one, with a dwindling side hustle and that was it. My only income. What would I do? Get another 9-5 job somewhere? Or start something new. Hmmm.
I desperately needed a positive change, something that was my own #creation - I was done working nights and weekends in direct sales, heavens what was I thinking, I can’t create anything... I can’t even bake for the school fair.
I was itching to be #creative and it was bursting to come out.
So while Im wandering around all confused and directionless, my partner Tom - a talented photographer, artist and musician, nudged me to pursue photography. The first time I picked up his #Nikon camera, of course he immediately said, "don’t drop it, that’s 4 grand" because lets face it, I am a little clumsy.
So I peered into this big professional camera, got my frame, I clicked away expecting a beautiful picture and the screen was BLACK. I felt confused because it wasn’t night time and I immediately claimed it was broken 📷.
We didn’t set it to auto... despite my pleading - he insisted I learn how to shoot manually, adjusting every setting for the best picture and so that’s how I learnt to shoot and I haven’t stopped learning.
Fast forward again and I had my headphones plugged into my crappy nearly dead computer... (it was on the verge of crashing because of all the large photo files) listening to tutorials on #composition, #aperture priority, #shutterspeed, #focallengths and so much more.
I was #mesmerised.
While #editing images on my screen I could see things transforming right in front of my eyes, it was like magic. I felt like I'd found something I could love again. I get to freeze moments in time forever, thats something pretty special.
It was sort of an experiment, really. I wasn't sure if anything would become of it but my ex employer, after letting me go (its cool, i'm fine with it) highlighted my talents and said that she truly believed #JuliaGrayCreative was something I should pursue. So I had the gear... I had Tom to oversee my every move and I just went for it. I ignored the what ifs, sucked it up and got started creating a brand.
I didn't know if I'd really enjoy #photography and whether I could make a living, or if I'd give it up after awhile... I certainly had NO clue how much work it would be...
I don’t have a grand plan for it...
The mission was simple: to create #beautifulimages, tell a story, produce a service people need. I didn’t want to sell, my selling days are over, I wanted to build relationships on a different level, shoot content, then help market that content for small business owners - I could see there were so many of them that needed help.
Im not shooting in a professional #studio with a gazillion light sources or fancy gadgets, one day, hopefully yes, but but if I had waited until things were perfect or pretty, or “as good as the others” I'd still be waiting.
So maybe it isn't #photography for you - maybe it's a new website, maybe it's a #blog or an #Instagram account, maybe it's a product or a way you want to show up in the world. You see all these other people doing it and doing it so beautifully and your reality looks nothing like theirs, so you just keep waiting...
Will you do me a favour... and just start?
Let it be messy and imperfect but let it HAPPEN.
I can close my eyes and see myself sitting at my table on my crappy laptop, nervous to hit import, in case it crashed and I lost everything - and I'm so glad I pressed the dang button and started working, turns out there were some local businesses around here that needed some great content and help with digital marketing. I started going and after a while I got a bigger faster computer and we will keep going.
You can always get better.
You inevitably will grow.
But if you don't start, none of it can happen.
So it turns out I didn't do this all wrong, it turns out I did it right because I simply started... and I'm ready for you to start, too.