Not like an editing business. More like editing my business.
So I was in the grips of a rather intense insomniac bout last night, which lasted until 8am (I woke up just in time to shower and get to work) and spawned the usual restlessness in the dark hours: mind on overdrive, sensitivity to sound, inability to focus on anything, and a close almost life-dependent attachment to whatever music or movie I happened to turn on in hopes that it would make me bored enough to fall asleep. I read five more chapters of my current read, which is very flowery in language and of lengthy prose, although not altogether mundane, certainly the type of literature that would lull one to sleep after several pages of detail about atmosphere. Even that failed to work.
So I retreated into the place I always go in these times, that inbetween of wakefulness and sleep, and willed my mind to go blank. Of course, it did the opposite. My thoughts exploded into colorful theories of the future, trying to tackle all my subliminal grapples of the day to day. To calm it, I began my little game of words. What words sound good together? What words may not have been strung together in a particular order for a particular reason before? I glanced at my computer, which was displaying the iTunes visualizer. I watched the colors burst in time with music. Eventually the computer went to sleep, and I watched the idle screen's default slow swirl of colorful tendrils writhe about, incrementally migrating their bright hues from their center to the wispy ends of the offshoots. Color. One of my favorite things. I began to drift off, thankful for the interlude in my churning thoughts, thinking of my love of color; the simplest pleasure that is always appeased through my daily surroundings. I thought of the slowly spiraling visual on my computer screen. The way the colors blended together, and separated.
And then inspiration struck. It was like a second wind, the force of the idea, this perfect connection of words ricocheted through my mind. It echoes off the walls of my skull and rattled around accumulating in volume until I sat upright with the sudden impulse to write it down. This resulted in a mad dash about the apartment, at 4am, searching for my Moleskine notebook; the photographic notes journal I have kept poorly since 2008. Most of the notes scribbled inside it are websites of photographers I like, or site devoted to a certain style I became briefly obsessed with. Other pages have theatrical productions I photographed, riddled with ideas of publicity shots that never came to fruition. Some pages simply contain doodles of people, places or things. I located the notebook on my business desk and grabbed my favorite Zebra pen for the occasion. Hurrying back to bed, I flung the covers over myself and switched on our twinkle light headboard for illumination. I opened the journal slowly, freeing the binding of it's elastic loop closure and remembering how I completely broke the spine somehow during its three years of constant travel in my various bags. I found the first blank page, barely fifty pages into the notebook. I licked the nib of the pen and began to feverishly write. It was like the idea was sleigh dog seen in the distance, magnificent and free, and only when it passed you you became aware of the load it carried. This idea, a simple two words, brought with it a complete and awesome understanding of an entire new direction for my business. Two and a half pages later, I had finally purged the stroke of genius.
All my doubts and pressures about running my own small business seemed to evaporate in this moment. I was narrowing my scope, defining my style. I was breaking free of the business I felt I was expected to run, and finding my own path. I was finally figuring out how to make it something I would enjoy more than dread, by eliminating those self-imposed boundaries and incorrect surmises about my character, impressed upon strangers by my own lack of personal style in my website.
I created a logo in my mind- something I have never been able to figure out- and banished confusion in my URL and similar URLs of other, completely unrelated an unaffiliated, businesses. I am actually beginning to feel excited about the legal process of licensing and trademarking. I have a whole new zeal, one I missed when I blindly jumped into business as a means to escape job scarcity and the prospect of working in fast food or a chain restaurant (the only plentiful options in my area). I feel like I am finally, after two years of trying my hand and my luck at making money off my passion of photography, am finding my niche.
My new direction will be bolder, more colorful, and more FUN portraiture. I am intending to switch my focus from an all-encompassing jack-of-all-trades photographer to a more specific family photographer, including pets, children, senior portraits, couples, etc. Weddings will still be available upon request, and I plan to limit to less than five a year. I don't necessarily want to be a "wedding photographer" exclusively, although I feel I am adept at it and enjoy it occasionally. The stress of the modern wedding is ridiculously high, and photographers have more and more expected of them in this capacity. I intend to write out large events altogether, preferring to work one-on-one with smaller groups, such as a family unit. I am no longer looking at this business as a means to bring in a whole lot of money... rather, I enjoy it and wish to do it in addition to the jobs I have and am happy in.
Now, here's where you lovely readers can get involved if you would like to. Please visit my website as it is now, and if you are so inclined, please leave me feedback on this post or by email. Is the site user friendly, or should I make some tweaks? Bear in mind that the Theatre photography will be disappearing at the beginning of 2012. I plan to revamp most of the Investment page and rework the site design with this new plan of action taking hold. I also will be changing the business name, due to the fact that I will no longer be M.E.T. by this time next year, as well as other sites that use "metphotography" in their URLs and are a COMPLETELY different type of business than I wish to be portrayed, even accidentally. You can look into that at your own risk, but I warn you there are nudes involved, and not all of them are as "tasteful" as the site may claim. :/
Mostly, I am looking to see if the site reflects me half as well as this blog, or if it seems to be a formal, impersonal representation of "business Mary". Can you compare the way it is now to how I generally outlined it would become? I just want some feedback on this new step, even though I am being really ambivalent (I have learned not to premiere business ideas in full before licensing, etc is taken care of... not everyone who may stumble upon this is as honorable as you faithful readers! I would die if my ideas were stolen before I could begin this new path!).
So, do any of you have inspiration strike in the grips of insomnia? Do any of you have your own business? What have you done to revamp your business to better suit you? Do you have any pointers?
Thanks for reading this ridiculously long post about my Business Enlightenment! haha