Being scared is NOT a good feeling. Having the “this is it” feeling is even worse.

This is IT. This is the end. It’s a sinking pit in your stomach. It’s laying awake at night wondering if you can make ends meet, wondering where your next job is coming from, wondering if you should get a “real” job and throw in the towel. Is it worth it? Is passion enough? Is the love of art all you need to keep going?

There are no simple answers, especially with photography. It’s a hard industry. It’s feast or famine. There is no “sort of” making it, and everyone is hungry. New photographers sprout up every year. Photographers who have been in business for decades quit out of frustration and burn out. It’s tough. It’s not just making pretty pictures. As a small business you live, breathe, and die your craft. There are no nights off. There is a lot of coffee involved, a lot of “let’s just get the kids to bed and then I can work until 2am….”

It’s been a long year, and it’s only February. Last month I came close to giving up, and in the middle of my turmoil and sleepless nights I just felt two little words: Don’t Quit.

2012 is my year. Don’t ask me how I know this, it’s just what I know. I feel it in my heart. Already, so many amazing things have happened that I couldn’t have imagined laying in my bed at 3am last month. Little words of encouragement came in at just the right time. My awesome family, incredible photographers and clients swooped in with words of love and affirmation. You can do this, they said. You can make this happen. How can we help?

We brainstormed. We rebranded. I asked for constructive criticism. We scratched everything and started again. (I know I already posted about starting over (see post here) but I think it’s important to be transparent, and to get personal.) January was a hard month… and then February hit.

It was like a light went on. Things started happening. Clients started booking. My phone has been going crazy. I find myself STILL awake at night, but with ideas instead of despair. I am SO EXCITED, and yes, it is an ALL CAPS kind of excitement.

I guess the reason I am writing this is just to even encourage one person. You can do this, whatever “this” is for you. If it is the burning desire of your heart, and you KNOW you are supposed to be on this path, then stride forward with boldness and confidence. For me, I know God will make a way, even when there is no way. I trust Him. I know He has put me in photography to make a difference and change the world… and I will. Maybe not tomorrow, but it’s going to happen.

I understand the hunger, and need to be working… I was there not long ago. Stick it out. You can do this. I’m with you 110%, rooting for you, and here to help. Without the strong hands of others pulling me up, I might have fallen by the wayside, but they didn’t give up on me, and you reap what you sow. This IS it. What will you make of it?

Who are you going to pull up today?