5 Years and Things I Wish I Would've Known

I took a deep breath and hit “set as live.”

In a way, I thought I had arrived as I launched my first website. I left the blogspot world (anyone else remember those days?) and finally opened a permanent home for Erika Aileen Photography on this day 5 years ago.

The first online home for Erika Aileen…long before it was any sort of business.

The first online home for Erika Aileen…long before it was any sort of business.

Today on its anniversary, the virtual home gets redecorated. As I’ve grown and changed over the years, so has my business.

I was freshly married and still finishing my engineering degree when I got the moxie to launch the site. And is it too cliché to say what a ride it’s been? I mean, it probably is, but who cares? It’s true.

With 5 years of business ownership under my belt (and about 50% of businesses failing in the first 4 years), there are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself. Obviously, since that’s impossible to go back in time, I’ll let them live here for me to remember:

  1. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing.

    Learn, always be learning, but don’t use others as a measure of your own success. It doesn’t matter where they are with their business or life and it’s a waste of energy to try to play that game. It’s easier said than done, but own why you began this in the first place. Serve and love your couples to the best of your ability and listen to their concerns and fears.

  2. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

    Oh what headaches you could’ve saved yourself (and Greg :))! This is where your fierce independence gets the best of you. If there are systems or tools that would help you or make you more efficient, my word, woman, by all means use them!

  3. People matter most.

    You will never regret going the extra mile for someone and putting their needs before your own. I know you think you know this, but live it out every day and look for even the unobvious ways.

  4. Live a little.

    Life is about so much than tasks and lists (although those have their place). In a couple years, you’ll really get this as you leave your corporate job to take the risk of doing this full-time! Plan spontaneous trips with Greg and don’t worry about things you can’t control.

  5. Thankfulness, always thankfulness.

    There is always room to grow, but don’t forget where you’ve been and the truths, people and circumstances that have molded you. Don’t let your mind always be consumed by “the next thing,” but show thankfulness for right now. Be content in the moment.

Thank you for coming along on the ride and I can’t wait to see what I’ll be writing in another 5 years. Cheers!

Erika AIleen Photography 5 things I wish I would've known starting a photography business