12 Tips For Work-Life Balance and Finding the Courage to Stand Out
Jessica Anderson of Jessica Sue Anderson Photography in Utah is a multi-talented photographer, wife, mother and entrepreneur. The amount of information she’s assimilated and implemented to grow her new wedding business is truly inspiring!
What are your biggest strengths?
I am really good at problem solving, planning logistics, and learning new things. I love figuring out how things work and why, and if there is a way to do something I need to do I can figure it out eventually.
So basically I’m a nerd.
I can also talk to and relate to people easily, which may seem like an oxymoron to the above. I also have mad “Thriller” dancing skills, I make delicious fish tacos and I am an undefeated limbo dance champion.
What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve overcome?
The biggest challenges for me have been finding balance with my life and business, getting over being a perfectionist, and becoming brave enough to put myself out there.
I used to overthink things like crazy and worry a lot about getting approval from others, but I am finding more and more self-confidence as I have taken risks and realized that it’s a process, “you’ve gotta start somewhere,” and “something is better than perfect.”
It was scary to go full time with my business because my husband quit his job to be an entrepreneur offering online bagpipe tutorials. It meant we were more dependent on my income, so it’s been a huge leap of faith for both of us.
Book More Brides helped me connect what my husband said about capturing leads on my website and collecting emails, which has been successful for him. I didn’t see how that would work for a local wedding business.
Now I’ve set up autoresponder emails for bridal show follow up and a combination of other things.
She set up autoresponder emails for the bridal show, combination of lots of things.
It’s working out. I’ve already booked 6 weddings, a few of them paid in full up front! It’s been a huge blessing and it’s cool to see it working.
Most sales happen on the 5-12th contact, but that’s hard to get with thousands of wedding photographers and amateurs popping up constantly. I was feeling stuck, without a way to stand out.
I’ve figured out who my ideal client is and I’m connecting with them. I’m not trying to please everyone anymore, and it’s cool to realize that I can connect with my style.
I’ve found my niche and purple cow factor, focusing on fun, creative weddings and bright colors, going against what’s trendy right now in photography.
The weddings I’m getting are super awesome: hiking to lake in the mountains, a Muslim wedding henna ceremony, a traditional Mexican wedding.
For some reason I decided that the perfect time to start my wedding photography business was when I was six months pregnant with my baby, so I have been trying to figure out how to be a parent AND how to grow and develop my business at the same time.
It’s been quite the exciting adventure but I feel like I am finally starting to get the hang of it. It’s a work in progress!
What specific strategy has been most successful for you?
The best strategy for me so far has been to have a major shift in perspective about the purpose of my business.
I’ve realized that my business is about more than just taking pictures and getting money for it; it’s about genuinely helping people. I want to help brides have an amazing wedding just like I had, and I want to connect with people and collaborate with them to create amazing images.
The key to success is working with a higher purpose and then creating something incredible that you are truly passionate about. If you are just doing something to “chase the money” and not because your heart is in it, then you won’t get very far.
What was the biggest mistake you made in your business and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake I have made in my business so far was not specializing from the beginning. I knew that I mostly wanted to do weddings, but I was trying to do too many things and not mastering any of them.
I also would get distracted with other ideas or projects that I thought would make me money but didn’t necessarily contribute to my overall goals and purpose, which weren’t very well defined.
I’ve learned now the importance of having really clear goals and then specializing to become a master at whatever niche you choose for your business.
Deadlines really help me get it done! Having a deadline for my upcoming website review made me get it done in time for the webinar.
If you could teach wedding pros one thing, what would it be?
I’ve started the Happy Wife Balanced Life blog, an experiment of my discoveries of finding balance in life.
I was spending way too much time on my photography thing and have branched out to find balance, have fun, and relieve stress. It gives me a bigger way to help people.
Every Sunday my husband and I have a weekly planning session. I have to have things planned out, creating lists of ideas so that when it’s time to do something fun I’m not like, “What should I do?”
We have date night each week and I keep a list of fun date ideas. That way we actually end up doing something instead of, “Oh, well. We’ll go grocery shopping tonight.”
You need to know: when is it your time to work, and when is it your time?
Planning ahead and having ideas for those things makes sure they done.
Which charity did you choose to receive $100 donation and why?
I chose to give a donation through UNICEF to support the relief efforts in Nepal and in a small way help the 1.7 million homeless children that are in desperate need of life’s necessities right now. As a mom I just can’t even imagine the grief and suffering of those children and families right now.
All these awesome photos are courtesy of Jessica Anderson, Utah wedding photographer.
Can you relate to Jessica’s experience?