“Progress is impossible without change & those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard
Good afternoon everyone! I shared this last night on Google+ about some of the recent experiences as of late. I wasn’t sure if I should share it here as it does delve into the deep end a little, but then I thought – that is pretty much where I’m at 99% of the time. So with that said, here’s what I shared yesterday.
Well… I did it. After nearly three decades of handing 99.9% of my business and doing my own books, I finally reached that “edge” I sometimes get to in life. Now don’t get me wrong. As I’m sure you already know about me, one of my mantras is: “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”
Being a four time survivour with near death experiences, one of which they brought me back – I have a sick & twisted love affair with squeezing every little drop out of each day, out of myself & out of life. It’s almost like I’m in a race against time with the goals and dreams I have and want to accomplish and the positive changes I want to make in this world.
One day I will depart this world and when I do – I hope to be remembered as “that guy” who’s typically pushing it to the edge, looking for the next gadget, a card carrying member, fan, Durannie and photographer of Duran Duran and someone that wants to share a good movie, Nachos & Newcastles and a lot of laughter with his friends.
Not to mention how I want to be the guy that consistently pushes himself to that edge in photography with my client relationships. Their satisfaction of what I do for them from conception to birth when I deliver their wedding photography is paramount to me. I take what I do so personally that unless I deliver an over-the-top experience for my clients on their wedding day and deliver the utmost best product to them (regardless of fare received), then I will scrutinize myself to the bone until I learn where I could have done better & make those changes.
Well… lately (actually for quite a while now), I have had the “itch” in the back of my head. It’s that itch I get as a creative person that is kept “under the thumb” by the CEO in me. It’s that itch that no matter how hard I push myself creatively, how hard I push my clients in front of the camera – it’s not satisfying my creativity that is screaming at the top of it’s lungs to do more.
Today was that day. The day that the screaming was so loud, the persistent looking at the clock, the persistent frustration that no matter how hard & how smart I would work, how many hours I would sacrifice in my personal life, how many additional hours of sleep I would shave off my routine – to the point of sleeping every other night as I capitalized on my insomnia. It was never enough.
This of course was done all in the name of productivity, so I could have more than one day off in a year (yes, my first day off this year was August 20th, 2011 and my last one was Thanksgiving 2010. All in the name of wanting to squeak out more than one hour to myself to daydream about the ideas I could execute in my head with my creativity.
But… yet… I felt as if I needed to do better, do more for the business, for my creativity, for my clients, and for the ideas that are raging through my head, dying to get out before they die stifled inside.
Well… That itch and the screaming & fear for my creativity and ideas that would potentially die inside as my inner CEO was slowly killing the inner Artist pushed me. It pushed me to hire a bookkeeper. This may be a logical decision for some, a “well duh” decision to other and a daunting, heart breaking, painstaking, gut wrenching, OMFG, Wholly Nachos & Newcastle, CEO voice inside my head yelling at the top of his spiky, blonde haired head; “are you effin kidding me, what are you thinking, you remember all the previous people who screwed you over from BFFs I grew up with, to professional photographers under-delivering photos that are so bad, you have reason to believe you were sabotaged, to a professional tax/bookkeeper who messed things up so bad you got audited and here you are giving handing over ALL THE BOOKS to someone else… AGAIN!!!!”
As if it wasn’t tough enough interviewing people from all over So Cal to eventually hire a previous client I’ve worked with for nearly a decade, become a good friend of mine and also knew which buttons to push in me – forcing me to take a few minutes here & there to talk about the opportunity and bring her on as my “Client Concierge” to start handling my emails, voice mails and other correspondence. THAT decision kept me up easily for two nights in a row before I said yes and now have Linda heading up “EPHQ Long Beach” for me.
So yeah, today’s decision to hand over the keys to my little slice of the world broke me down to my eyes welling up in tears as I gave up control. Yes, I’m that emotional and those emotional wells run deep. I get goose bumps at the thought of an amazing idea, a photograph that gets me jumping out of my seat and fully emotional when the father of one of my brides calls me holding back his tears of joy from just watching a slide show of his family’s portraits. Also, he’s not a very emotional man by any stretch of the term.
Might I remind you, I love what I do through to the core of my being. I love serving my clients, helping other photographers that are helping themselves. To the photographers that want, but won’t work – I will not and never help. I believe a photographer should learn his or her craft – not just “eat fish for a day.” I also love Love LOVE giving back to my community speaking at elementary schools, high schools and colleges.
I think f I didn’t love what I do to the point of it being not just what I do, but a huge part of what makes me — me, I wouldn’t have quietly celebrated to myself – my 28th year as a photographer, capturing life from “LA to London.”
But this was the week of change and today was the day where hiring a bookkeeper had to be done too.
The tears have subsided, I’m breathing a little easier as I look at my calendar and think to myself; I might just get one more day off this year.
As I’m writing this, a smile just came across my face as it hit me. The thing that I knew, believed in, and heard spoken by so many others before me – to have a business that is scaleable (been there, done that & it’s been poised ready to go to the next level for years) and people on board that I can trust with my family name. My name is something at the end of the day, I keep precious to me like Gollum and his ring.
I have two new people that know me, know what makes me tick and how important my name is to me. But! I have two new people on board with my family business that will allow me to do the one thing I adore so much – I eat, breathe, sleep (here & there), think, dream, desire, and is insatiable to me; art.
When I say art, I am referring to music, photography, fashion and so much more that it encompasses.
When my good friend; BJ (who’s also a long time BFF of Katherine) who I’m hiring to do my bookkeeping put it to me this way; “I just brought a business up to date, all the way to July 31st this year and it only took me just over five hours.” and “I’m good with bookkeeping and numbers like you are with photography and people.” – really hit me like a ton of bricks.
That sealed the deal and I now officially have a “Client Concierge” and a “Bookkeeper.” Now I’m on the hunt for a graphic artist and more associate photographers! Granted my profit margin will be lower overall, but like I just said said on Twitter, Facebook and here on Google + about the quality of life; “At the end of the day, people aren’t conditioned to look back at all the toys amassed, but to look back at their experiences.”
Selfishly, I’m dying for more creativity with my clients and with my friends. Creativity, art, photography, music and fashion are the air that I breathe.
As I end this passage sharing a little slice of my thoughts, my fears, aspirations and life with you – I’m staring at the abyss and unknown with a small grin on my face knowing a paramount thing is about to happen. I’m about to spend A LOT MORE TIME with my friends, my clients, and my craft.
Things in my life are about to redefine the essence of “Ho… Nutha… Levah!”
NOW…. I REALLY want some Nachos & Newcastles!
So, now that I’ve chatted your ear off and dragged you into the deep end with me… If you’re thinking… Hey – I’d really like to get to know this Newport Beach Wedding Photographer (Previously a Huntington Beach Wedding Photographer) that loves music & fashion, photography and art, feel free to contact me anytime.
PS, Here’s an awesome quote I recently shared on Twitter and I think helps keep the “Butterfly Effect” moving forward – spreading positivity. “I never wanted to be a businessman, I just wanted to change the world.” Richard Branson That’s a really profound statement to me, because I’ve always felt like that since a small child. I’ve never just wanted to be a photographer, some guy with a camera. But a person that can change the world & make it a better place.
PSS, I have some absolutely amazing news & I will be featuring a new guest writer this week for the Wedding Tip Of The Week. Stay tuned!!!
The Super PS, I’m still on the search for a couple more TOTALLY AWESOME Associate Photographers to join the Esquire Photography team in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, San Diego and Ventura. If you or some you know understands the importance of wedding photography to brides & grooms along with a zeal for working in the wedding photography business, totally contact me ASAP. Thanks!!!