8 months ago, I moved to Edmonton. That’s usually how my story starts when other people ask me. And I still love how they say, “no way!! SIX MONTHS!” Followed by the question “So how are you liking it?” I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of blabbing about how much I love this city, the opportunities and new perspective it has been giving me.
Before getting here, my parents always told me that life would be so different. That it would bore the frick out of me. So imagine my horror when I landed from that tiny WestJet plane only to see empty roads, dark large fields covered by snow and nothing else? I panicked for a bit. TAKE ME BACK TO MY CITY.
But somehow I knew deep within me that that doesnt have to be my story. This is the greatest adventure I was ever going to take on. My first winter, my first plane ride.. NEW CITY, NEW ME.
I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do. My parents wanted me to finish my school, which didn’t feel right for me.. I wanted to learn by doing. And luckily they trust me to make my own decisions. While I had 99 hobbies, there was 0 plan. I knew what I didn’t want, but not certain of what exactly it was that I wanted.
Except of one thing.
I was sure of the kind of people I want to surround myself with.
I wanted a community.
And it’s funny how when you think you want something, the universe just shows up and takes care of the ‘how’ because that same day, I stumbled upon a facebook ad for an eventbrite link. And then another. And then another. I ended up RSVP’ing for 3 events and I attended my first workshop/networking event only 2 weeks after moving here! THE GUTS. And there Ive met so many people I still keep in touch with and have collaborated in the past!
Jay Shetty, a monk turned motivational speaker and entrepreneur said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” And so I keep looking at them, especially when I get off track, it’s like a wake up call. I find that it’s when Im surrounded by these people that I’m so inspired to create, to reach my fullest potential, and be the woman I want to become because they prove to me that not only is she possible, but necessary.
The idea of starting a personal brand photography business came to me when I attended my second event. The speaker that day was this beautiful beautiful woman who screamed beauty! and confidence! and power and i-know-the-ish-im-talking about! While watching her talk with passion and certainty, I could see her heart is fully in it and that she was doing it for more than the superficial. I said to myself “Wow. She’s the kind of person I want to become.” She was a powerhouse woman!
I was just inspired and starstruck, if you will. And if you’re like me, when someone peaks my interest, the first thing I do is stalk their social media.. And so I did. I was so excited I just couldn’t get enough of her energy! And when opened up her instagram, it wasn’t disappointment, but more so I was confused?? Her digital presence wasn’t on par with what I saw in person. Where is the powerhouse woman that I encountered? Her instagram wasn’t doing her justice and I felt frustrated! Haha!
While I knew how successful she already was in her business, I also knew that it could be better. I just wished everyone who stumbled upon her social media also experienced the person that left me in awe and wonder. And that’s how it came to me, “I could help her!” And then that night was a rabbit hole of brand photography.
Nowadays, our business card is our social media, our websites. It’s not everyday that people would stumble upon our shop, see us in action, or watch us on stage speaking, but the chances of them stumbling upon our social media is much higher. And through it, we could reach more people, and serve more people. And so we want to leave a good impression the first time they land on our pages and position ourselves as an expert and a professional in our industry. It breeds trust. And we’re in the era of digital marketing to convey our message, promote our products and tell our brand story.
What inspired me to start and continues to, and also the reason why I love being an entrepreneur is the community. Im so overwhelmed and happy and grateful to be surrounded by people who GET me, have the same mindset and vision and believes in the same things I do.. I love taking photos AND I get to nerd about business and life and be my nosey self with these kind of people all WHILE being of service to them and their business. What did I do to deserve such grace?! I’m just the happiest doing it! Aah.
I think one of my best boss babe moments was when I got my Sigma 24-70 lens and it’s for a number of reasons. First, it was my first big purchase (the biggest so far) with my own money! And second, it symbolized a lot of things for me. One of them is that I trusted myself enough because before getting it I asked so many questions including, “Am I sure about this? Can I be trusted?” It felt like a commitment. And second, it made me proud how brave I was to invest into my business!
Entrepreneurship to me means being able to build something that supports me and allows me to support those I care about. It gives me financial, location and time freedom and allows me to live and embody my values. Most importantly, it keeps me going after growth. There’s so much room for it. I love how there’s always something to work towards and everytime, it forces me to level up.
There was this one time when I came home, locked myself up and cried so hard. The ugly cry. My mom cried with me for hours that night because I couldnt tell her what was the reason and it broke my heart. She couldnt take seeing me cry THAT way that she said “If it only hurts you like that, I’ll just make you go to school and stop what youre doing.” I felt so undervalued and I couldnt hold or look at my camera for the next 3 days. Ive never experienced such pain.
I remember saying “i’ll never do this again..” and then not even a millisecond after that I caught myself answering, “oh come on. Let’s be real here, you’re gonna do this again lol” “That’s true.” (Who else talks to themselves???? And says “lol” out loud? Haha!)
I journaled a lot. And prayed. And meditated. And realised that it was just my ego being bruised, not the end of the world. And if there’s something I shouldnt give up on, it’s my vision.
That’s what I always do, especially when it all feels blurry and messy. My mornings are crucial for me to stay afloat. I always spend the first hour of the day for myself– journaling, listening to preachings/motivational videos, working out, etc. When I fill my own cup first, I have more to pour into others and I am able to show up better for my clients. So having my mornings to myself are non-negotiable. If I have to be on a morning meeting or a shoot, I’ll wake up super extra just so I could still have my me-time. My mornings are mine, always.
I guess I can say that I’m a very goal and results oriented person so I always have something I aim towards. I set goals for every area of my life including my relationships, health and fitness, career, finances, etc. And I come back to them every week and at the end of every month. I’m still figuring it out as I go, so even though I have this clear vision of who I wanna be in 10 years time, I still allow myself to play, experiment and course correct along the way.
For my business, my goal is to learn from as many people as possible and create genuine connections, hence why I’m doing my blog series Women To Watch Wednesdays. Id love to do more of that and be more consistent with it in the coming weeks. There are so many people I keep finding on Instagram that I want to meet and whose mindset I want to explore.
That’s why Instagram is my favorite social media! I feel like my people, my tribe, hang out there and it proves true every time. It also allows me to build my personal brand, tell stories, showcase my work and at the same time, show up as myself in the Instagram Stories! Haha! I love planning and curating content for it, writing my long chatty captions, and connecting with people!
Instagram connects me with other #yegbossbabes. It’s my first window to their business, how they run it and who they are as a person. It lets me learn from and ABOUT them. I didnt come from a business-minded family so my hunger for community is just over the top. I love watching them hone their craft and seeing how their story unfolds. Learning about their mindset, work ethics, values and (for someone who loves being a tourist in her city) even their go-to coffeeshop, I’m all for it!! I just wanna meet more people. That would be the real adventure.
Thank you for reading. And to @yegbossbabes, thank you for the opportunity to share my story with others. If it helps inspire 1 person, I did my job. 🙂 I guess I’ll end this with my favorite catch phrase, my go-to cheer, and my motto for life,
GET IT, GIRL!