On some days, it’s difficult to feel the magic in owning my own business. Take today, for example. I’m surrounded by forms and paperwork, wading through the sludge of DC tax code to determine whether or not photography services — not products, like albums and prints — are taxable in the District. I spent 45 minutes waiting on hold for the Office of Tax and Revenue, only to learn I’m to report my tax collection monthly, not quarterly. And no matter how many accountants I speak to, no one can give me a straight answer about anything tax related because it’s just not straight forward.
There’s something really appealing about a collaboration in photography. Everyone does their own thing, exercises their own skills and talents; but in the end, each individual works toward the collective goal of creating something with great visual impact — a beauty and significance that, working solo, may have eluded each of the contributing artists.
In photography, as in many fields, there is always something more to learn — some new way to advance your art form. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, well, congratulations…but it’s more likely than not you’ve reached a point of complacency, not expertise.
In yoga, we’re encouraged daily to find our “edge”, to identify our mental and physical limits, and ride out the discomfort of real and perceived challenges. It’s a beautiful life practice, really: to stay sharp, cultivate ourselves, and finesse our skill sets continually.
After nine months of full time photography school, my class celebrated yesterday morning with a small graduation ceremony. It was a nice moment’s pause, an opportunity to reflect on the growth we’ve experienced in such a short amount of time – sometimes with rather noticeable growing pains, other times with a surprising amount of finesse. It also served as an important reminder to continue to cultivate the artistic side of ourselves, knowing that our businesses will grow most in times when our creative souls are nourished.
I woke up this morning to a startling realization: today is my final day to hide behind the title of ‘student.’ Tomorrow, I am a business owner. An entrepreneur. A creative. A photographer.
And despite the trepidation, there is something delicious about the way those words float across my tongue. No more qualifiers – just me. Taking a leap, and waiting for the net to materialize below. Daring to fail, and loving every second of that terrifying and beautiful process.