Ever felt like everyone else seems to be doing SOO well and have it all figured out, while you’re over there all like … “I have NO clue what I’m doing, or if I should even keep going?!”?!
Yeah. Right there with ya!
I believe in community over competition, and connection over perfection. And I'm writing this blog post because I want to tell you about my journey over the past three years.
The real stuff.
You see, as I’m writing this, it’s my business's THIRD birthday. And I couldn’t be more excited! Because, there were times I thought I might not even get here.
(By the way, is that even how you spell business's? Or are there too many s's? So confusing!)
Welcome aboard the personal and faith-fuelled rollercoaster ride that is Anna's Entrepreneur Life.
Now, I’m about to get a bit personal. If you’re not up for personal, you might want to leave in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1!
There were times when I was convinced I had to give up.
When bills weren’t getting paid and credit cards kept getting maxed out.
When anxiety filled me up to the brim and broke me down in tears.
When I stayed up late and got myself sleep deprived trying to catch up with a never ending to do list, juggling multiple jobs at the same time.
When I demanded answers from God as to why He would put this desire on my heart to capture and create and photograph beautiful things, if that wasn’t what I was made for.
(Oh yeah by the way I’m like a big Jesus loving person - hope you’re not too weirded out yet! I promise, I’m actually pretty normal still!)
But each time I broke down, He lifted me up again.
He whispered His peace into my being and calmed the raging storms within.
He placed amazing people into my life that spoke soft words of hope and encouragement when I needed it the most (Hello husband, my number one biggest fan, supporter and partner-in-crime! Without whom I could never imagine any of this. I love you. You're the bomb!)
He reshaped my thinking and transformed me into a new person with new priorities. Renewed the way I navigate both life and business.
So I kept going, one step at a time.
Fuelled by His strength and His love for me. Trusting that He had a plan for me.
Slowly, things started to change.
And now, I've finally arrived at a place where I'm beyond passionate about what I do - not because of what it gives me but what it gives other people.
When I stopped doing business for my own success and started pouring myself into the lives of other people – people that I could relate to and help in a REAL way, I found so much satisfaction. Fulfilment. And purpose.
I may have started out with “I just want to take pictures”, and moved through the “I’d just really like to be successful” phase, but I have learnt that true fulfilment is found in the “I want to serve people and welcome them into a loving atmosphere, whilst supporting my own personal life and family in a sustainable way”.
Notice the word sustainable.
Building a sustainable small business is something I’ve been learning a lot about recently.
With this new-found love of what I do and why I do it, it was astonishingly easy to work too much, too hard, too often.
I started prioritising my business over all else. Even over my own marriage.
Ouch. That’s a difficult one to admit. It hurts to say.
Yes, my business IS important to me. But I never want it to take centre-stage in my life. I never want to lose my focus on why I’m here.
I’m not here to build a flawless, mega-successful business. I’m here to love people and love them well.
Jesus reminds me of that every day.
And I can only do that if I humble my heart and get my priorities in order :-)
Faith. Marriage. Work. These are the promises I wrote to myself;
- I won’t let myself spend every late night and early morning at the computer.
- I won’t let myself take on more weddings than I can personally handle.
- I will serve people out of an overflow, not from a state of overwhelm. (Friends, for more on this topic, read The Best Yes or Present Over Perfect. They're two brilliant books!)
- I will take ownership of my life and all the things that have been entrusted to me.
- I will take time to go on dates and weekend getaways with my husband. And spend mundane everyday moments with him, too!
- I will take time to read my bible every morning, and write my praises and prayers every evening.
- I will trust God's plan, put in the good work and give myself rest when the work is finished.
But hold on and let me just be real for a minute here!
It’s not always easy! I am by no means perfect or even halfway there. I screw up all the time!
Last night, I got distracted by some work things I wanted to sort out and didn’t spend the evening with my husband. And let me tell you, that wasn’t the first (or even the second!) evening this week spent in front of my computer.
It’s hecka easy to preach the grateful, inspired life but it is not quite so easy to live it. And that’s OK!
Real life isn’t all mountaintops and sunshine. It’s also valleys and rain and sometimes thunder.
I want to build a business that embraces R E A L life. That celebrates it and speaks hope and encouragement into peoples hearts, relationships and creative adventures.
Sometimes, I feel absolutely lost and insecure – like there are a million and one things I should do, that everyone else seems to be doing. Yet still no matter how hard I try, I don’t seem to have enough time, brain capacity or general know-how to pull it off.
Other times, I feel like I’m living a dream, walking on water and my heart overflows with gratitude that I get to do this!
Now I have a question for YOU
Why are you doing what you are doing? What motivates and drives you? What are your priorities? What are you struggling with? what's your story?
Be it wedding planning or dream chasing, go deeper.
Ask yourself, who or what is your anchor?
Let me know in the comments or head on over to Instagram (@byannamathilda) and send me a direct message if you want to talk to me privately. I love to connect with new people :-)
Anna Mathilda is an intimate Wedding Photographer and female empowerista in Surrey serving newly engaged couples who feel overwhelmed by the wedding planning process.
By shifting the focus to the beauty of their relationship, their story and the future of their married life together, she grounds her couples through a photography experience that makes them feel encouraged, restored, more deeply connected and even more in love with life than before.