How to Be Unstoppable in Your Business

September 29, 2017

Julie Cate Photography

As a rule, I don’t like to tell people to start businesses unless they ask me about it (then I can’t really shut up about it).

But goodness, I’ve spent the last week and a half or so telling my sister that she should start one. She’s got two kids who don’t sleep at the same time and both want 100% of her attention, so when she tells me she just doesn’t have the time, I get it. But I was still trying to convince her because even though I knew it would be hard with her kids, I know there are solutions to all of the roadblocks she presented. With every concern about how she would find the time, how no one would find her content valuable, how she didn’t know how she would make money, how she was embarrassed to put herself at the front of her business, I had answers about finding support, content marketing, building a business model that would work for her, and putting herself out there in a way that would feel authentic. I just know it would be a huge success.

During one such conversation in the car where I told her to just trust me, it would work because I would help her start with a huge leg up (i.e. connect her with the right photographers, help her know what steps would move the needle the fastest, give her prompts to create content that would resonate with her audience), I pulled up to our favorite deli, got out of the car, and ran in. Waiting for my turn to order my sandwich, I shook my head, thinking about how she could travel, live wherever she wanted, and make good money while doing it: the three things I know would create her dream life. I still feel my jaw clenching a little when I think about it because I get this stubborn lump in my throat when I’m sure about something like this.

That’s when I realized I don’t think she has that. At least not right now.

You know, the lump. It’s the same little lump that made me do things that felt crazy in order to start my business and work crazy hours and reach out to people I felt I had no business talking to. It’s what kept me going the night before my branding shoot when I burst into tears because what if it didn’t turn out and who was I to spend hundreds of dollars and create a whole photoshoot around myself. It’s what made me tell my business coach that I never wanted anything so badly but to make this happen.

But as I looked at the fresh mozzarella and sopressata sandwiches, I realized the most important thing about starting my own business was this: it had to come from me. No one else’s praise, faith, or even love could motivate me to do what I do every day and perform it at my current best. It’s that stubborn little lump that started it all.

Julie Cate Photography

But little wins along the way have spread that feeling away from just my throat and now I feel it in my whole body:

  • When I went to England for work and felt my network was pretty small. As I drove back to Exeter from Cornwall, the road lined with beautiful English green, the trunk of my car filled with gorgeous antiques I had confidently chosen for my shop, my mind filled with the images I had just captured with one of my favorite photographers and one of my favorite floral designers in an old estate, I felt my eyes tearing up because I was doing what would never have felt possible just a few months before. I never thought people that talented would work with me that quickly. It was the validation I needed to reach out to even more pros I want in my network and to be confident that the vision I want to create is within my reach.
  • When I rested my head on my keyboard after receiving an email that my ideal wedding client wanted to book me. I just remember thinking, it worked. It’s working. 
  • When I looked at my revenue for this year and I was shocked to see that added up for the whole year so far, I already had tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Last year I hardly made any money at all.

So when I got back in the car with my sister, I told her that none of her concerns for not starting were valid except if she said she didn’t want to. Everything else can be figured out. But not this. Not if she didn’t want to. But if she had that feeling, that’s the way she could be unstoppable. To feel that stubborn lump.

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