24 de febrero de 2012

My Biggest Obstacle Was Me

"I love God. I love to serve. My husband is my best friend and the most amazing man I have ever met. I love being a mom to 5 {yes five} super sweet and super sassy kids. I am a fashion junkie that loves wine, cupcakes and game night. I also have a serious addiction to handbags and shoes and think I passed those traits onto my girls. I am a fashion inspired, urban couture wedding, commercial and lifestyle photographer based in sunny San Diego. I have the best job in the world and I love being in love with life."

When I first started my business, I knew that with every fiber of my being that I could make it work. My biggest obstacle was… Where do I start? I knew what I liked, but at the time I thought I didn’t possess the technical skills to pull it off. I had ideas about what I wanted to do, and the services I wanted to provide, but ended up spending hours and hours researching and wading through endless options that would work for me.

There were workshops, inspiration blogs, people that the photography industry said were the IT photographers showing me what was popular. There were even photographers in my area that were always busy with work. I questioned their how’s and what’s, wondering what they were doing and secretly banging my head against my desk wishing I could just figure their secrets out.

Fast forward to a year and a half into my business, I finally had a little bit of experience, some technical know how and a whole lot of ambition. In January 2009 I attended my first “Spread the Love Workshop” in Washington DC put on by Justin and Mary Marantz . In the span of two days, they revolutionized the way that I thought about my business and myself. I had it all backwards. I thought that I needed to chase what other people were doing and shooting. To recreate their styles to gain clients and grow. In truth, J&M showed me that I just needed to start shooting and showing what “I” wanted to do! I needed to define who I was as an artist, what my loves were, and what I was passionate about shooting. I needed to be unafraid of myself and if people would like my work. It wasn’t an epiphany so much as the freedom that I found to just be me.

My transition was slow, not an overnight turning point. I had spent so many hours defining who I thought I should be, I had to take a step back and analyze what made me tick. Where did I really want to take my business? What steps would lead me there? What did I want to shoot? How did I want my brand to be viewed? How on earth would I start saying no to the people and projects that I didn’t want to do?

After I quit psycho analyzing myself and beating myself up about all of the things that I was doing wrong, I needed a starting point to move forward. I wanted to play on the things I thought I was doing right. First off, I am super shy. If we meet up in a group…I’m the tall girl standing by the dessert table, most likely with a cupcake in hand. I have always been that way. I knew that I was great at making connections and developing those relationships one on one, but group settings did, {and to be perfectly honest} still do trigger a major panic attack. I needed to step out of my comfort zone and start developing group relationships and personal genuine ones. I needed to be a more confident version of myself to market me.

Sounds scary, right? But it wasn’t. I gave it to God. I trusted that He would provide the encouragement that I needed to meet new people, to give me the words in new situations and that the things that I was good at would work in my favor even on a larger scale.

If I can share just two things with you, it would be to just be yourself and to genuinely invest in others. Invest in their lives and in their businesses. Find ways that you can help them without expecting anything in return. They will see you for the kind, caring person that you are. Not the one that is trying to be something that you are not.

Just be you! 

Check out Nicole's work! Visit her website  www.nicolebenitez.com 

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