I remember sitting on the front porch on a moderately chilly night, just after dark with my boyfriend, Seth, in December of 2012. We talked about our 2013 New Year resolutions and both agreed that 2013 was going to OUR year. I was so OVER living like a gypsy (a third of my clothes at my house, a third at his house, and a third in my car. SMH). We promised each other that we’d do whatever it took to find our first house, save a ton, and move forward with our careers. We literally did all of those things, because we chose to nag the crap out of each other until we each did our fair share of work toward OUR resolution. Talk about determination. For months we spent hours every night passing the iPad back and forth looking at houses on Zillow & Trulia, not to mention the dozens of places we looked at in person with our favorite real estate agent, Glenda Garrett. Seth was super particular about what he wanted and all I cared about was having a spare room for an office and a possible space for a studio (I mean really is that TOO much to ask for? Pfft! Yea..) The first house that we felt was “the one” got sold before we could even contact our agent (looking back, it would have been a ridiculous decision anyway), the second house we got out bid on (would have been GORG, but we would have been WAY too far away from civilization), and the third really was “the one.” It’s perfect and it has ALL of the qualities that we were looking for. Third try is the charm right? Well, we ended being under contract for exactly 3 months and 4 days due to our lovely government shut-down and closed on Friday, the 13th and moved in under a full moon. How much crazier could it get?
Through all the chaos and anxiety of finding the “perfect” house, I was trying my absolute best to figure out the next step in my career. After all, THAT was what was going to pay the bills. My first year on my own with Brook Rudolph Photography (2011) was… ROUGH. Ever heard the phrase, “Fake it until you make it?” Yea, well, that was me, 100% of the time. Year #2, was even harder. Business started picking up and my career dangled on the edge of every single shoot that I did. And this past year, I made one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever dealt with. I applied to a photography & videography position for a new studio in downtown Charlotte, went in for 2 interviews, and finally got the job. I was OVER THE MOOOOON excited! Full paid benefits, PTO, and THE most amazing studio atmosphere I could hope for… but there were stipulations. I’d have to sign a pretty serious noncompete. I struggled with the decision to accept their offer and ultimately decided that if THAT company thought I was good enough, then I thought I was good enough to do it on my own. I’d have to struggle a little more with the bills, but it was the first year that I felt like… “Ok. I’m profiting. Thank you, Jesus. I think people like my work? Oh, so THAT’s what that button on the camera is for. Oh, wait, I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. I’m my own brand. Strangers are contacting and booking with me because they heard about me from a friend. SWEET! OMG, that random girl that I don’t know at the bank said she recognized my name and loves my work… wait…WHAT? And that other girl at the drug store just recognized my face from my facebook photography page… WHAT?? Ok, it’s time to break out the big guns.” The pressure has been ON this year and I’ve grown so much, not only in my photography, but also as a business owner.
Serious note: This business has been the most difficult adventure I’ve ever thrown myself into. It’s emotional, gut wrenching, and exhilarating all at the same time. Anyone who thinks starting a business from scratch is easy… is dead wrong. It’s not always unicorns and sunshine. 2013 definitely tested my faith. In the end, throughout all of my challenges, I’ve learned that I CAN actually make this work and that this is what I’m meant to do. Every day is a new day to become better, to try harder, and to make magic happen.
Anyway… I heard this song recently and felt like it was my anthem for 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aLUdBIE8k8 (Dear kids, put your earmuffs on. Explicit lyrics ahead) …. True, Macklemore is talking about his singing career, but anyone who is a starving artist can relate to this song. My favorite lyric, “A life lived for art is never a life wasted.”
Clients, friends, family, fans…. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and kind words. May you all have a blessed 2014 full of happiness, new beginnings, adventures, and love.
I absolutely cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for BRP and for the adventures that I’ll have with all the lovely people I’ll be photographing. Thank you all again, from the bottom of my heart.