celebrating 8 years and this is what I learned about being an entrepreneur!
Today officially marks 8 years for me here at Kayla Illies Photography and let me tell you…it’s been an INCREDIBLE 8 years! Throughout my 8 years of being in business, I’ve been through my fair share of successes, struggles, challenges, and realizations! But there are a few key things that I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur along the way that I wanted to share with you, in hopes of inspiring other young entrepreneurs and helping them through this life of entrepreneurship!
A short history of Kayla Illies Photography:
2007-2009 I went to college for Professional Photography and graduated with my Professional Photographers diploma!
2009 I started Kayla Illies Photography fresh out of college. I started in my small hometown in Minnesota part time while I worked alongside my family on the farm. I started out photographing everything and everyone.
2012 I realized I couldn’t keep up with 2 full-time jobs and still live my life, so I decided to go full-time with my business! That was the best decision I’ve made in my life, after marrying my husband, of course! I had also made the decision to focus my efforts on photographing high school seniors, pets, and weddings! I also started offering my clients a full service experience by helping them design their home decor for their homes from their photos and selling the finished photography products to them instead of just giving them the digitals and leaving them to figure it out on their own.
2014 My husband decided he wanted to join the Marine Corps so we spent the year preparing for that and I learned everything I could about moving my business to a new location.
2015 We moved from Minnesota to Southern California. I came to the realization that my true love in photography was photographing couples in love for their weddings and engagement sessions! So I switched my specialty to only photographing weddings and engagements. Being a military spouse, I also decided to photograph military homecomings for couples but my main focus is on weddings and engagements.
2016 I worked hard to rebuild my business to tailor a full service experience to couples who were getting married! I also networking hard with other wedding vendors in the industry to help build each other up and to be able to offer a list of recommended wedding vendors that I knew and trusted to my KIP couples for their wedding day!
2017 I’ve been spending this year working on learning how to best serve my KIP couples, providing valuable advice to them and creating free tools for them to use to help them plan their wedding, and how I can best reach my dream KIP couples to work with! I also started donating 10% of all my profit to the HiCaliber Horse Rescue in Valley Center, CA to help save horses from slaughter and to give them a second chance at life!
What I learned about being an Entrepreneur in my 8 years of being in business:
- I learned early on that getting as much education as you can to help you learn how to build your business is one of the best things you can do! Learning from those who’ve already been down the same path as you is so much better than trying to forge through it all on your own in the dark.
- I’ve learned to just be myself 100%! Being an entrepreneur, people will connect with you for who you really are, not who you try to be as a professional. Don’t worry about everyone liking you, it’s ok if people don’t. Those who like you will connect with you!
- I’ve learned that you can’t be everything to everyone and that not everyone is going to be the right fit for you! That’s COMPLETELY ok! As hard as it is to say no to a potential client, if they’re not the right fit you’ll be saving both of you added stress. The people who are you ideal clients and are perfect for you are out there and you will find them so put all of your efforts into finding just those people!
- I’ve learned that you need to value yourself and have faith in what you offer! Believe in yourself, because YOU ARE WORTH IT! Don’t undervalue yourself just to get an extra dollar. Charge what you’re worth and don’t take no for an answer! Your time is precious, spend it wisely!
- I’ve learned to stop looking at everyone else as competition and instead to help build each other up! Community over Competition is the best way to go! Networking with other people and helping build each other up will make being an entrepreneur so much more joyful! For you other creatives out there, check out The Rising Tide Society!
- I’ve learned to invest in myself and in my business to help me grow! Investing in education, in the tools that will help me grow and be more efficient, and in my marketing!
- I’ve learned to value my time and to spend it wisely! The whole point of owning your own business and being an entrepreneur is so you can do what you love and so you can live the life you want to live, not spend it working 24/7. Make time for yourself, for your spouse, for your family and friends, and to do the things you love in life other than your business! Make your life your priority!
- I’ve learned to put in the hard work, to do what needs to get done, and to do the things even if I’m scared to do them! To grow we need to do the work. We can’t sit on the side hoping and wishing to be successful or that someone will come along and hire us! We need to do the work and take the actions necessary to make that happen!
- I’ve learned to only compare myself to who I was yesterday and not to compare myself to others! We’re all on a different path in our lives and have different things going on. Focus on being better than YOU were yesterday and work hard on that!
- I’ve learned that I CAN overcome anything and that fear only holds you back if you let it. Don’t be afraid, instead look at the positives in everything and focus on your goals! Do what you need to do to get where you want to be. Don’t allow fear to hold you back. You CAN overcome ANYTHING you put your mind to!
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly figure out how far one can go.”
If you’re a fellow creative that wants to connect, meet up for coffee, or to pick my brain, feel free to reach out to me via email at email@example.com! We’re all on this journey through life and entrepreneurship together! #communityovercompetition
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- Printable wedding planning timelines to help you stay on track while planning your wedding.
- My own personal KIP wedding day shot list.
- Tips on how to plan for your engagement session for the best photos!
- Questions that you need to ask wedding photographers to see if they're the right fit for you.
- Sample wedding day timelines for the best photos on your wedding day!
- How to plan a destination elopement!
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