For the next two weeks, I’ll be neck deep in the final preparations for our 4th photography workshop, Branches & Light. There will be a whole lot of me, practicing my talks to myself in the bathroom mirror, while my husband pretends not to laugh in the other room when I mess up and consequently give myself a quick 7th grade self esteem pep talk. :) All this workshop prep, has me reminiscing about the early days of B&L, and I wanted to share our story of how we started Branches & Light.
First up, a little background: Nancy Ray and I started B&L in 2011, as a business-focused workshop for lady photographers. We want to give ladies the tools and knowledge they needed to build a sustainable business that blesses their lives and their families. We open our hearts on practical strategies that work for us, but we also put our energy into honest conversations about fears, balance, and authenticity.
So how did we start this endeavor?
Nancy and I met in 2009 at a photography workshop in Atlanta called Love Affair. We had both been in business for a little over a year. Out of the 100+ ladies attending the workshop, Nancy and I gravitated towards each other because of our similar go-getter attitudes (and love of Anthropologie). I don’t remember the exact conversation we had, but at one point, we both shared our dreams for starting our own workshops one day.
Almost instantly, we were like, “LET’S START A WORKSHOP TOGETHER! YAYY!” And then I think we held hands and skipped around in a circle. Or we gave each other a professional handshake. Leaving it up to you.
After Love Affair, Nancy went back to North Carolina, I went back to Texas, and we started Skyping weekly to plan our ambiguous workshop. It was such a huge risk–the biggest leap either of us had taken before–and we honestly had no idea what we were doing at first. However, as we continued to brainstorm each week, our vision became clear as day. We realized there was a lacking in the workshop world: there was no one-stop-shop for all the practical knowledge needed to run a successful photography business. We’d seen lots of workshops focused on the art of photography, but nothing on the business of it all (like taxes, business entities, time management, and marketing). We both share a passion for smart business practices, and so we stepped in to fill that void excitedly (and nervously).
Ten months, and hundreds of Skype chats later, we found ourselves in Dallas, watching the Bachelor and putting together our attendee gift bags on the night before our first workshop. SUPER YIKES! I remember waking up the morning of the workshop being so excited and terrified–we’re actually doing this, there’s no way out of this now. BUT WE DID IT. We felt the fear, we did it anyway, and I can say with all my heart: committing to big things is WORTH IT. We taught our very first group with passion and love, and I had never experienced such fulfillment as a teacher, a leader, and an encourager. The very next week, we taught our second workshop in Raleigh. Then a year later, we taught our third workshop in Raleigh again.
This year, we’re teaching in Austin on January 28th. And I couldn’t be more excited. :)
Do you already lead a workshop? How did you get started? Would you ever want to lead a workshop? Next week, I’ll chat more about practical tips to start your own workshop.For Photographers