It's been a minute since I've looked at the goals I set out for not only the business but for my personal life as well. I did a spring update this past April, and I'm a little sad to admit not a whole lot has changed on many fronts... But one HUGE thing has...
Zak and I are overjoyed to announce we're having a baby girl in just a couple months! Please meet Leona Michael Gruber - due March 2, 2015. It's amazing how this gigantic life change has been able to make the days go even faster and yet that much slower at the same time! And the little peanut has perfectly timed herself so that Momma can get back to work right as our 2015 season starts up! (I may or may not have typed that with my fingers crossed... After all, she is now the boss. :)) She's been an even greater motivation to get the business where I want it. I'm super excited, and more than a little anxious to see where 2015 takes us, all three of us. <3
But in a continuing effort to keep myself accountable, let's see how I did with my 2014 goals...
1.) Book at least 20 weddings for 2015.
I'm happy to share that 2014 was the best year yet for Jamie Gellings Media, and it feels amazing! Thank you so much to everyone that contributed to it! We had a total of 17 weddings, 13 engagement shoots, 26 lifestyle/portraits (family, maternity, child, and seniors), and 12 'misc shoots,' including a few commercial shoots, some more volunteer work for the Wisconsin Humane Society and Relay for Life, as well as some video work and a few super-fun photo booth gigs. And I'm feeling positive about what 2015 will look like. I'm at 13 weddings now, with inquiries coming in every week. This time last year I had booked 12, so I can't imagine 2015 will be anything but a success! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
2.) Improve presentation & overall client experience.
This is an item that I would like to concentrate more on during this off-season. (Which we're already near the middle of!) I was able to check a few items off this list, but there is still sooo much room for improvement.
3.) BLOG MORE!
If you've kept up with the blog at all, you are fully aware that this may be my weakest area...sadly. I would like to say that since we've hit off-season I've been slightly better. Slightly. I still am no where near my two posts a week I set out to accomplish. It's totally do-able and will remain on my goal list for 2015.
4.) Throw a client party in 2015.
Yup, still want to. I was thinking sometime this spring - but life may have thrown a tiny, cute, Leona-sized wrench in these plans. Stay tuned. :)
5.) Plan shoots I want to do.
I did organize a shoot with some fellow photog friends this year, and had full intentions of planning at least two more... I have decided that if I truly want something to happen, I MUST set a date. And furthermore, invite/tell someone else that date in order to keep myself accountable. I believe this to be the difference with not only this topic, but even with keeping up with my friends and family. If I set an actual date night with a friend, nine times out of ten I see said friend. We can play the "We should get together soon," for months and that's not good enough. So, bring it on calendar of 2015, you shall be filled!
6.) Get organized.
When I originally posted this goal it was meant a little more for the business side. When it inevitably winds up back on my 2015 goal list, it will take on some additional bullet points. Again, life has decided to force me to get organized and think even more clearly about my future, what I want for it, and how I will make it happen.
7.) Increase my presence.
In the last update I told you I decided to be a paid feature on WeddingWire. Which I do believe has been worth it, I know I have had a few inquiries from this service and plan to keep with it into 2015. Also, I've recently joined a networking group here in my community and have high hopes this will lead to more business this year as well. I've also tried to get in the habit of using Instagram more to keep you up with what we're doing, whether it's behind-the-scenes stuff, day-to-day happenings, or special promotions. As far as other avenues, I'm just not quite sure. Word-of-mouth and the Facebook page are still my two best "promoters", if you will. During this off-season I'd like to do some research on a few more bridal shows in our area and see what our budget can allow. I'd like to wrap this section up with another huge THANK YOU to everyone that has recommended us to their family and friends. I know I would be no where near where I am without you guys! xoxox
8.) Book more 'other' shoots.
(Referring to anything non-wedding to fill up my calendar - families, maternity, commercial shoots, etc.) The number for other shoots wasn't bad for 2014, I'll never complain about the business that I get, but it's still lower than what I want for 2015 and where I want this year to take us. I trust that if I can get myself to continue to work on and improve on goals 1-7, 8 should follow suit.
1.) Three or more mini-vacations.
I almost hit this one! Although I have yet to blog about any of it... Zak and I did explore Door County with an extended stay that we planned around a wedding we booked. And my sisters and I had so much fun on our road trip to Nashville! So. Much. Fun! I promise to share a few more photos before wedding season. Enjoy a couple phone-photos as a sneak peek for now. :)
I need to start planning at least one excursion for 2015. Life is going to be so different with the addition to our family, but I'd like to start creating some great traditions that involve 'getting out of Dodge' now. Oh the places we will go. :)
2.) Take more pictures.
I'm saddened and super embarrassed by how poorly I did with this goal. I started out strong and let it slip away. Again, I'm going to hope our new little one helps me get and keep my camera out. So much of our lives have gone undocumented and there's just no excuse. I know the memories are still made, but so much about what I love in being a photographer is capturing those memories and allowing people to look back in the years to come. I just want to be better at doing this for myself and my family. I will be better.
3.) BLOG MORE!
Here's what I wrote when I first set this goal:
"I included this in my personal goals as well because this blog is more and more serving as a personal diary. I know I'm going to be happy I took the time to write when I look back at the end of the year, well, hopefully happy and not embarrassed that I didn't reach any of my goals. :) "
Funny how the very last point I made was how embarrassed I am... But it has been super cool to look back and it's definitely served as a kick in the you-know-what to keep with blogging and improve upon not only the consistency of my writing, but the content as well. I need to dig a little deeper and start including more topics outside just sharing recent shoots.
4.) Exercise more.
This has come and gone. With the pregnancy I've been a little more aware of my activity level - whether or not I do something about it on a day-to-day basis is something else. I have started somewhat of a routine with belly friendly workouts, but know this is another area I need to work on.
Seems I did better with the business goals than the personal ones...
5.)Learn more songs on the uke.
No open mic this year, but I did learn a song or two. You will find this same goal on my list for 2015. Some lullabies will most likely be my first attempts. :)
6.)We NEED a garage.
We have a garage! Well, almost. We're not parking in it yet, but we're just waiting on the overhead doors to be installed and the siding and a few other finishing touches to be done and we can check this off the list! I'm so excited for Z to finally have the space to do the projects he's been wanting to for so long! Feels so good to have this huge visual reminder that we are working towards our goals and more importantly, actually achieving some of them!
I really, really enjoyed writing this post. It's put the year into perspective a little bit. Made me realize there are more than a few things I fell short with and need to continue to work on, but also opened my eyes to all the blessings in our life. We have so much to look forward to and after this little look back, I'm even more excited to see what 2015 brings! Thank you so much for reading and your continued support. Stay tuned for my 2015 goal list that I can't wait to get started on!
Happy New Year!