I had no idea how to go about filming weddings. Like, practically speaking. How does one just... start doing that? After falling in love with filmmaking in high school and starting a film degree, I quickly realized Hollywood wasn't the route I was going to take. Instead, maybe I could focus on videography locally. Maybe even weddings. But how?
I'm here to tell you that being a teacher's pet pays off - my favorite high school teacher's daughter happened to be getting married, and after a few emails I realized she was about to make my dreams come true. Five years ago, on January 15, 2015, I filmed my very first wedding, and I was positively enchanted. Better still, the teacher who had supported me through my high school years was by my side, still cheering me on.
And, I was hooked. But, as an ENFP, I was never really able to focus on it as a sole career.
Between 2016 and early 2019, I finished massage school and completed my state and national board exams to become a licensed massage therapist, as well as training to be a labor and postpartum doula. I so deeply loved both of those careers, but I kept coming back to videography. I didn't really know if it was possible to do video full time - I knew other people were, but how? Was it really something I could focus all of my attention on? Was there actually potential to turn it into a full time career? There were so many other cool jobs to explore!
I had always had a day job - three years on and off as a medical office manager, six months at a massage studio, a couple summers away as a camp counselor - with videography constantly in the background. I just kept wondering, what would happen if I put all of my energy into my videography business? I loved being a doula, but I couldn't keep living on-call if I wanted a thriving video business. So in early 2019, I made the call to finally put all of my eggs in one basket. I don't regret that decision.
They say that success doesn't come from what you do occasionally - success comes from what you do consistently. Who knew consistency was the catalyst to a successful business? ;)
Looking back, 2019 feels a little bit like an explosion, and I now consider it a bit of a "rebirth" in terms of Abidoodle Productions. The amount of education and growth I gained last year is honestly still hard for me to grasp. I spent four years being so frustrated that I wasn't growing fast enough, that I'd never be as good as these other videographers, that I could never make a living wage doing something I loved. 2019 proved all of that wrong, and then some. It's difficult to try to put into words all the things I've learned in what seems like a short amount of time, but here are a few key things I want to share.
1. Relationships are the most important thing.
Thank goodness for therapy. Seriously. Can't recommend it enough. I'll be rambling about some recent bullshit with my therapist, and then end up talking about some random incident from eight years ago that I had no idea still bothered me. Knowing yourself is so. damn. important. Running this kind of business is personal. My brand is me. Checking in with yourself is just as important as keeping up with everyone else, if not more important. Make spending time with yourself a priority. Make a relationship with yourself a priority. Go to therapy. Journal. Cry. Laugh. Heal.
Prioritizing relationships is hard. I know it and you know it. Family, friends, mentors, clients, strangers. That's a lot of people! That's a lot of time! But if you pick the right people, the right relationships, you'll be blown away by what you learn and how you grow. Gaining real, true friends in the wedding industry in 2019 was revolutionary for me and my business. There's nothing like pinging ideas off of someone else who just gets it.
In 2019, one of my biggest priorities was to bring people in and lift them up. I networked my butt off, coordinated big styled shoots, started a podcast, and really focused on serving others. I wanted to bring as many people in on my success as I could. It brings me so much joy to see wedding vendors being recognized for their skills and talents. This is most certainly where I found the most growth.
2. It doesn't all have to happen right now.
I keep hearing on the How To Film Weddings podcast that we overestimate what we can do in a year, but we underestimate what we can do in ten years. For five years, I wanted it all. I lived with all my chips in the air, at all times, forever. Even now, I keep thinking of new projects and new ideas, and it can be disappointing knowing some of them need to go on the back burner. When I was in high school, every damn person told me, "You have time," and every time I heard that I wanted to scream and maybe punch someone in the face. It didn't feel like I had time. So, I'm not going to tell you that you have time. I'm just saying, I've learned that they were right.
3. Take time to celebrate the successes.
It's too easy to get bogged down by the failures. It's too easy to remember the one negative comment you read in a sea of positive comments. I've accepted that failures are stepping stone toward success, and when you finally get there it's easy to just move on to the next milestone. This has always been a big problem for me, so I actually started a journal dedicated solely for my successes. Any success, big or small, I make sure to write down and celebrate before setting another goal. We do too much looking ahead, and not enough living in the moment.
I don't know what my thesis is here. I always thought that was sort of bullshit in English class anyway. Just let me ramble! Isn't that what a blog is for?
I can't wait to see what 2020 brings. Every single day I'm thinking of how I can best serve my business and the people around me, and I can't wait to work on whatever project is next. I don't sit still long.
A huge, gigantic, sincere, and heartfelt THANK. YOU. to the many, many people who have supported me through this journey of owning a business. To the people who came and went, to the people who stuck around - I'm so insanely grateful for every moment. Every failure and every success contributes to where I'm at now. And it's a pretty great place to be.