This post has been "borrowed" from Unfolding Passions, something I've been doing on the side for the past three years. It pertains to my photography business so I'm sharing it here as well! Read on!
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelou
Three years ago, I started a little something called Unfolding Passions. Fresh out of high-school, I wanted to encourage and empower young creative entrepreneurs like me. It started with a book and turned into this blog and a social media presence.
Over the next two years, I was trying to balance my money stream (wedding photography) with my side hustle (Unfolding Passions). I was NOT born a business major and I started my photography business when I was 15 because I loved people and taking photos. (Surprise! Taxes and the backend of a business weren't on my mind.) Everything is a learning opportunity, which I love, but it can make for a lot of unexpected detours.
In February 2015, I moved to Oklahoma and then nine months later, I moved back home with my parents. A lot of change was happening, a lot of unknowns and questions. Where was I based? How could I book weddings when I was constantly in limbo? What was Unfolding Passions supposed to look like? At the beginning of this year, I stumbled across the world of business bloggers, women who were running successful online businesses and teaching others how to do the same. I subscribed to way too many email lists, followed Pinterest boards dedicated to running a business, and my Bloglovin' feed was all entrepreneurs. By the time I moved back to Oklahoma in May of this year, I felt burned out. I was trying out too many things, experimenting with too many ideas, trying to come up with what worked for me by mashing together a bunch of other people's ideas.
Last month, I unintentionally took a month long break from Unfolding Passions. I shot two weddings, multiple family sessions, and taught a photography workshop with two of my good friends. I was focused on my photography business and UP was pushed to the back burner. When I got back home, I began to ask myself, "What is Unfolding Passions? What do I want it to be?" For a long time, I've been frustrated with myself and the direction that Unfolding Passions is going in. Every time I open up a blog post, I don't know what to write. (Instagram: you my fave. But I run so many Instagram accounts for different things, that updating the Unfolding Passions account honestly became a chore.) Finally, after a lot of thinking and praying and wondering, "Is this really the right thing to do?" I've come to a conclusion, one that I'm simultaneously excited and saddened by.
On October 15th, Unfolding Passions will be officially closing down + something new will take its place. Ellie Be: Photographer + Educator.
Bringing these two passions of mine together under my own name excites me. I'll be doing wedding photography full-time still, but I'll be adding an exciting new twist. I'll be opening up the Coaching side of business to young people, ages 16-22, in the hopes that I can empower them to pursue their dream lives and start up thriving creative businesses. (Think of it as the high-school counselor who wants you to pursue your dreams and will do anything to help you get there!)
I think it's important to always be analyzing a few things when you are running a business or a side hustle. Is this working? Is it making me feel good inside? Am I passionate about what I'm doing? What isn't working? Asking yourself these questions will help you stay at the heart of what you're doing. As I began to do that with Unfolding Passions, I realized that keeping up with two entrepreneurial adventures at one time was becoming too much, especially since I am building my photography business in Tulsa and that takes up a lot of time. While the message of Unfolding Passions is still so important to me, the method of relaying that message needs to change.
The reason I'm putting a bunch of photos of coffee shop dates in this post (besides the fact that I'm currently drinking coffee at my desk so it's on the brain) is because I want you to get a sense of what this new brand will feel like. Homey. Comfortable. Relatable. Like sitting down for a cup of coffee and chatting about life. I don't want to "hide" behind a name, although I love Unfolding Passions, I just want it to be you and me. Human to human.
This new adventure, Ellie Be: Photographer and Educator, will launch on the same day Unfolding Passions officially closes its doors, October 15th. If you want the updates, make sure you're following me on Instagram. That's where it's at.
I've learned a lot through Unfolding Passions. I've learned that you have to show up every day to do the work, to love the people, to make small decisions that will ultimate lead to the big change. When things get too much, working more isn't the answer. Loving people well and clearing out the clutter is the only thing that will give you clarity.
I don't even know where to begin with the thank you's. Over the past three years, Unfolding Passions has gotten support and encouragement from so many people and it has made my heart full. I am so grateful. I hope you come along with me as I continue the message of Unfolding Passions (empowering young creative entrepreneurs to pursue their dream lives!) in its new home!
For my wedding photography clients, nothing is changing! It's only getting better! A fancy new site, more fun images, and hopefully lots of coffee dates chatting about life and your big day! :)