Day 3068 – My Journey Into Full-time Business Ownership – or – Portions Of The Last Chapter In My First Book

My journey into fulltime business ownership was something like the changing of seasons. It all started in fall, my absolute favorite time of year. The colors burst forth from all sides. The air is crisp and wonderful. There are warm mugs of cider, tea, or hot chocolate shared around the campfire. When I started into fulltime business ownership, it was much the same. The colors were brighter; this was something I had dreamed about for years. Ever since my early weddings, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Those first few months were wonderful. We photographed amazing couples, I attended one of the biggest wedding conferences in the world, I slept in (after I got over the belief that I had to get up when “everyone else did”), I saw friends during the day that I never could have seen otherwise. I even went to the daytime Bible study at my church. Bright oranges and yellows and reds, everywhere.

As with the seasons of the year, it slowly crept into winter, so that when I sat up and noticed it, I couldn’t believe where I was. By January, I realized that while I had gotten inquiries and had consults, I hadn’t booked anything substantial. I was under this assumption that now that I was fulltime, I could merely increase my prices to reflect that it was my fulltime job and people would pay. It wasn’t until I stopped to think over the past months that I knew I had priced too high, too fast, and way above what we were worth at the time. My pride took a big hit.

Isn’t that how most winters of our souls go? We are so caught up in other things that we don’t see the change in ourselves, how far we’ve fallen, and how much we need God. Isn’t it a time of God showing us a way we need to grow? Moving us away from our sinful nature and more into the nature of His Son? The winters show us how utterly desperate we are. This one was no different for me.

Around this time is when we started praying before each consult. This change softened our hearts and made it easier to hold each opportunity with hands held open to God. He gives and takes away, after all. Everything we have is God’s, whether we admit it or not. I think the sooner that we realize this and live our lives like this, the sooner we’ll see success. I’m not talking about monetary success, even though it’s sometimes part of it. I’m talking about seeing success as how God is working in you.

Through this winter, the biggest thing we came away with, the thing that made me realize I needed to write this book was this fact: God defines success differently than we do. In the context of our relationship with Him, our success was a closer walk with Him and a deeper prayer life with each other. This was a very tough financial time for us, but God always provided just what we needed when we needed it. God made such a big change in us that friends of ours now reference us when giving advice to someone about a tough financial time. “Go talk to Jen and Bret about finances. They have a lot of experience and good advice.”

While it’s nice to be seen as an “expert” in something, and there is a part of me that takes pride in it, I can’t. There is no way I could have navigated that dark winter on my own. There is no way that I could have orchestrated my life to fit as well as it did in all those circumstances. Every success goes back to God; He is so wise to let us go through winters in life. If it weren’t for the winters, how on earth could we appreciate the spring?

Spring bloomed gently around us until there was overflowing joy and rapturous beauty. We started booking weddings again, with wonderful people. Things were clicking. The machine was working. The floodgates were open with blessing.

When summer rolled around, we were ready for the hot and sticky situation that met us. Bret was fired. His part-time job had been the main source of income we had over the summers. His military college benefits and monthly stipends only occurred in the nine months he went to college. On the bright side, there was only one day that we really freaked out. It was bad. You would think that after all that we went through in the months leading up to this point, we would have responded differently.

The next thing I knew (only four days after he lost his job), I was attending a life-changing conference for women and Bret had found a job that would provide enough money to cover expenses until he went back to school.

This excerpt is from pages 73-77 in Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner (this is an affiliate link to my book. This means we’ll get a small percentage of what you order, if you choose to order something on Amazon).

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Day 3062 – Lessons Learned After Reading About 500,000 Of My Own Words

For the past two and a half months, I’ve been rereading every single blog post I’ve written. I only have about 3 months of posts left. I’ve been reading with the intention to find posts that are pinable and shareable (and content that can be used for other things). Some have been a quick scan, knowing I won’t want to share it. Some have been an in depth read. So what’s it like, looking back on 6.5 years of your life? Seeing what you talked about at different times? Here are a few takeaways.

– Taking steps, even very small ones, every single day, adds up to something incredible. I am blown away at the mass of words I’ve created, just by showing up again and again.

– When you start something new, you will not be perfect at the beginning. I didn’t find much until a good year and 2 months after I started writing. Now, to be fair, when I first started the blog, it was to reach potential wedding photography clients. It is so much different now.

– It will take a while to find your voice. I think a lot really clicked for me after I shared about my alcoholism. When I put myself out there, and got a great response, it gave me a lot of confidence to share more personally.

– Things will change over time, and that’s ok.

– Even if you think no one is reading, and no one is impacted, maybe YOU will be impacted by yourself in the future. I reread a post about waiting, and it helped and encouraged me that day.

Have you ever looked back on your life, your work, etc? What did you find?

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Day 3049 – I Love To Write Day

When I saw this fun day pop up, I thought, “wow, that is SO true oh me now!” As a kid and young adult, I liked to write. I think at one point I did want to be a writer when I grew up. But like many things in life, it got pushed to the side as a “you can’t do that as a job” type thing. I still got the nagging thought that I needed to write a book. What that book would be about changed over the years, but the feeling wouldn’t go away. While it took me about three years to finally finish and publish my first book, I don’t regret the process. It changed me in so many ways. The second book was much easier, since it was a more practical topic, and I wrote and published in less than six months. My third book has been a lot harder, in some ways even more than my first book (digging into your struggles as an alcoholic and sharing that with the world wasn’t something I’d choose to do). And yet, I am still enjoying the process. I am still enjoying writing every day. I’m so thankful that I finally listened to that part of myself that needed to get words out to the world.

So a very happy I Love To Write Day to you!

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Day 2973 – We Love Memoirs Day!

Ah, I love fun days. (If you want to find your own fun days, this is where I find most of mine.) I was excited to post about this day because of my alcoholism/sobriety memoir. In some ways, writing my first book was like writing a memoir. My first few drafts were much more about me and it changed into a devotional with a dash of my stories. The process of writing this book is a lot like the business book. Oy, not fun. But, I know I will feel much more accomplished after finishing it, even if it takes a while to write. And much like my goal of success for the business book, my goal for the alcoholism memoir is the same – that one person is changed because of what they read. So, I want a quality book versus just getting another book on the market.

I want to take a minute to give a shout out to a memoir that in some ways changed my life, On Writing by Stephen King.* I would have been about 19 or 20 when I read this book. I had a wonderful experience reading it on vacation and found myself wanting to write. I didn’t do a good job of writing once I returned home – ha, I was a life lesson in not applying what you learn right away! But that book has stuck with me over the years.

Have you written a memoir? Do you want to write one? What’s your favorite memoir? Let me know below!

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* Amazon Affiliate Link
Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
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Day 2790 – Crying In The Coffee Shop – or – Officially An Author

I am sitting in the coffee shop, crying. Neither of things is out of the ordinary, but the reason today is new. I am officially a paid author. I realized I published my book* in December, but today I got my first payment for book sales. I also got my first payment for being an affiliate partner with Amazon. I officially made money while I’ll slept. It is so awesome to see the physical, er, digital statement, of a few of my goals. I found myself feeling the same way I did when I saw my book in person for the first time. Utterly overwhelmed. I’m so thankful for the spark in my soul to write and share my experiences. I’m so thankful that others are interested in reading what I’ve written. Thank you to those who have purchased my book, read my blog, or clicked on an Amazon link* and made a purchase. Y’all encourage me to keep going.

And to those who have dreams, continue to chase them!

* Affiliate links.

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel