Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
Hey fellow business-owners! Sarah here – coming at you with some very, very important wisdom that business owners often don’t like to talk about. You see, if you’re anything like Hunter and I (and we think most small business owners are), you probably aren’t afraid of a little hard work. In fact, you’re probably no stranger to a lot of hard work — to hustle. Late nights, early mornings, long days that turn into long weeks. It comes with the territory, especially in a job as seasonal as wedding photography (we apologize in advance if we don’t text you back in May, June, September, or October).
But the thing is, when it comes to the long-term health of you and your businesses, the only thing more important than working hard is… well… not working hard. I know that that sentence didn’t make any sense, but hear me out. As important as it is to be always out there building experience, building a stronger portfolio, demonstrating your value and demand, and building a professional network of clients and colleagues, hustling 24/7 is neither realistic, nor good for your business in the long-run. Burnout is a real and serious threat, and one that will crush even the most thriving small business.
Thus, as you may have figured out by the title, today’s blog is all about when to halt the hustle, put the cameras down, and take a well-deserved break. A word of caution before we begin: if hustle is a foreign concept to you, and if watching Netflix or going out with friends is more familiar to you than working late nights and early mornings, then you might just be a “wantrepreneur”, casually running a business that will likely never see real stand-out results. If your biggest need is more hustle instead of less, then this probably isn’t the article for you.
But for all our fellow hustlers out there, there are three really important rhythms to work into your busy schedule, especially if you work with your spouse like Hunter and I do!
“Rest not from duty, but find rest in it.” Who said that? Some great English scholar from the mid-twentieth century? Maybe one of the ancient Greco-Roman scholars? Nope – it was a fortune cookie that Hunter opened one time after dinner, and he still has that little slip of paper to this day. If you’re always waiting until you finish everything on your to-do list to rest, you’ll never do it. Instead, find rest in what you do.
Now we know that there are a lot of things you have to do as a business owner that you may not necessarily love, and don’t find restful at all. In fact, there are a lot of things business owners have to do that are downright stressful! But there are probably a lot of things that you could do in a mindset of rest.
Rather than begrudging all the editing you have to do from last weekend’s wedding, remind yourself of the great and wonderful gift that you get to deliver to this couple, grab your favorite comfort beverage (iced coffee for us), and set out to work with a smile on your face. You’d be amazed at how much less stressful certain aspects of your life can be when you simply decide in advance that they won’t stress you out.
As important as finding rest in what we do can be, it’s also important to build breaks into your daily and weekly rhythms. Hunter and I know that we’ll attack the afternoon’s challenges and tasks if we begin the second half of our day with a mental boost, so we take our “lunch break” seriously. Even if it means we might have to work a bit later than we’d like, we rarely work through lunch. Instead, we take that hour to do whatever we like – guilt free.
Remember, we’ve spent the morning grinding and we know how to get stuff done all afternoon. So we take that hour and read a book, play a game, or just sit and chat over a sandwich and let our minds take a break.
Likewise, we’ve attempted to implement a “no business talk” rule during our weekly date night. It’s easier in some seasons than in others, but we know that it’s good for our hearts and our souls to spend intentional time with each other each week where we’re husband and wife, and not just business partners.
Since we got married, once each quarter Hunter and I try to get away from everything, unplug from our business (as much as is possible), and take a serious break. As beach people at heart, that often means a long weekend or even a week by the oceanfront. However, it doesn’t have to be a big blowout vacation. In the Fall of 2017, we stayed at a friend’s AirBnB on a weekend that it wasn’t rented out in Nelson County. It was barely 30 miles from our house, but it was about the mindset that getting away gave us.
We checked out some local hole-in-the-wall spots and sampled some local breweries. Mostly we sat and talked or played a board game. It didn’t matter where we were, it just mattered that we were away from our business and the busy-ness of our everyday lives, and we hit the ground running when we returned. If you find yourself feeling burnt out and you haven’t gotten away from your business in quite a while, maybe it’s time.
For Hunter and I, after shooting a wedding this evening in Richmond and tomorrow outside DC, we know the end of our Spring/Early Summer wedding season deserves a nice, long rest. So we’re off to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week with friends and family! No shooting, no editing, no blogging. Just hanging with friends, big family dinners, and a lot of naps on the beach!
Okay, maybe one session. We just can’t help ourselves 🙂
Sarah + Hunter
If you’re interested in learning more from us personally, and joining a community of other photographers also striving to grow their businesses, click here to join our Facebook Community, Mastering the Wedding Photography Biz with Hunter and Sarah!
Wedding Photography & Photography Education
Charlottesville, Virginia and Beyond