Monday, September 5, 2011

building confidence as a woman and business owner

Last week I was telling my friend Maddy (photographed here, isn't she beautiful!? Inside and out.) about how naming my business after myself has affected me. It's shifted the way I think about business and more importantly, the way I think about myself.

We had went into a clothing store and when we left, I had mentioned that I wondered how old the ladies thought I was. They were so friendly to me and so friendly to my children. I find that in situations where people don't think I'm so young, I feel more respected. I'm 23 and sometimes it feels like people have expectations for me when they know my age. I have two children and I act like I do. I don't know what that means really, other than that I feel very mature for my age. We started talking about how my confidence level has grown over the past year. Two years ago, I was mature, but I wasn't confident - about anything. About my parenting, my photography, my life. But in the past year, I've really grown up. It's so strange how quickly you can change and you really notice it when it's happening. I told her that two years ago or even one, I would feel extremely uncomfortable if I saw someone I knew in public and I would even go so far as to avoid them. But it's different now. If I see someone I know, I stand tall, and I talk to them. And it may seem like not so big of a deal, but for a shy girl like me, it's a big step in my confidence.

When I chose to name my business Jaimie Myers Photography, I knew that I was putting myself out there in a big way. Everything I do is now associated with my brand. Everything my brand is is now associated with me. We are one in the same. And that's exactly what I wanted. My work is so personal; so much of me goes into what I do for my clients, so my brand has to be me and I have to be my brand. When you hire me to take your photograph, you are asking me to be a part of your life in this little way. My clients have to know me. They have to trust me. And I have to be confident enough to make them trust me and to know myself enough so that they can know me. If I don't know me, who will?! It's kind of like the old saying that 'if you don't love yourself, you can't love anyone else' (or something like that).

I've had to force myself out of my box of comfort a little bit and I'm so grateful that I am. Some of it has to come forced, but to the same token, a lot of it is coming naturally as I age. It's funny; when I met my husband when I was 19, he told me he was afraid because he knew that I was going to change so much over the next several years. I thought he must be nuts; I knew who I was. But he was right. I have changed. For the better. Way better. I'm now able to speak more confidently with people, hold better conversations, say how old I am and accept that some people will think that's awesome and that others won't care and that some others may frown upon me and my choices. And as time goes on, I become more and more able to talk confidently about what I want from my life, where I'm headed and about what steps I am taking to get there now. It becomes easier every day to feel confident saying 'I own my own photography business.' At first it felt odd, like people wouldn't take me seriously. But the most important thing is that I take myself seriously. The rest will fall into place.

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