On Writing and Entrepreneurship From a Former Wedding Photographer

Photo by Jennifer Sando

Photo by Jennifer Sando

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.
–Simon Sinek

I’m definitely a starter rather than a finisher, and I had not considered labelling myself in such a way until I read the book, The Power Of Focus. As I get older, I am trying to become a better finisher. It pays to tie up loose ends, or consolidate, or take an existing idea and reformat it, or know when it’s time to evolve.

My optimism is startling when it comes to new project and business ideas–and I’ve had many of them, believe me, with an equally startling record of fizzling out. I’m a dreamer, and I get caught up in small details, tending to stall after first base. I’m not good at deciding what to produce based on what’s in demand, and I kid myself into thinking I have everything covered financially. These weaknesses sound like a recipe for disaster, right?

I also know that what really counts is what you do with your weaknesses. And are they weaknesses if you are indeed self-aware?

Taking into account that I ran a wedding photography business for six years, while I do have entrepreneurial qualities, I don’t have the meaty bits to be a true entrepreneur.

I love crafting too much. However, I’m tired of being a starter. I want to make changes in my life and in my approach so that I can be a writer and pay the bills.

I’ve begun taking steps towards this–such as starting this blog. Joining Tribe Writers, too. Another action is to read Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins.

As I pondered my entrepreneurial shell, I thought of my father.

My dad is an electrical engineer by trade. He has worked for the government, for private companies and for himself. He’s been in partnerships, run businesses simultaneously, including franchises. He’s tried anything and everything—fearlessly experimenting as much as he could. He’s passionate about business and service. A true extrovert, he genuinely enjoys dealing with people. I worked at a few of his businesses. And I was too busy being caught up in my creative mindset to study what he was doing and learn from it. Truthfully, I am protective of my creativity, and if I was meant to take in what he’s been tinkering with over the years, then I would have.

We are so different as people, my father and I, and we rarely see eye to eye. One thing we do share is our entrepreneurial spirit. It’s safe to say that I inherited that from him.

It’s only been in the last decade, as my father slowly approached semi-retirement, that he found his business groove and has stuck with a good thing. He roasts coffee and he enjoys it. And I am proud of what he has achieved. The business suits him; he has full control over its pace—he can choose to take baby steps or go hard. It’s inspiring to see his journey as an entrepreneur finally lead him to a sweet spot, and to watch him achieve a desirable work balance.

He wants that for me too (for both of his daughters—I have a younger sister and we are nine years apart). What kind of parent wouldn’t want that for their child?

I have been lucky enough to find my sweet spot. Writing. This has required an attitude adjustment for my family, which isn’t going so well, because the image of my thriving wedding photography business still lives on.

Having financial struggles when you choose a creative vocation is a definite reality, which is the family concern, but I’m not ready to give up. I’m just getting started.

Not only that, money issues can occur whether you are in a job that you love or not; so why not follow your heart and choose the job that you want?

With entrepreneurship, there is a serious amount of hustle required. With writing, whether it’s writing for yourself or writing to meet a demand, you still need to hustle if you want your words to be read by someone other than you. Entrepreneurs invest time, money and energy into business, sometimes multiple businesses, then maybe sell them off and move onto the next venture. Writers invest time, money and energy (sometimes blood is shed too) into writing books; each book is a certainly a venture, and I don’t just mean the actual writing.

All of my retro ideas, projects and past work experience have prepared me for this moment. My entrepreneurial shell (thanks dad!) is perfect for the writer in me and I’m allowing myself to believe that it’s going to be hard to crack.

What other qualities do you have that you can use in conjunction with your craft? Please feel free to share your thoughts. Thanks!  2 Comments.

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About Jennifer Sando

I am a writer and photographer, and author of the book, Picture In A Frame.

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2 Replies

  1. daniebothawriter

    Jennifer,
    “With entrepreneurship, there is a serious amount of hustle required.”
    So true.
    Haven’t I discovered this—been going flat out with the writing now for 3 years, (Still have a part- day job) But finding monetizing it still evasive and slow to catch up. Having been in a structured Healthcare setup for 3 – 4 decades didn’t help the entrepreneur-fraction of my brain.
    Am working on the latter.
    I’m learning to “hustle differently.”
    Thanks for sharing, Jennifer!

    1. Hey Danie, 3 years in a great effort – hope you continue and begin to see the benefits of the work you have been putting in. It’s so daunting, isn’t it? Lately, I feel pulled in this direction and that direction over what makes a successful blog… but I think I can only work this out for myself by keeping up the momentum, to keep blogging and keep writing, and keep interacting with people who do read what I write. Cheers.

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