Episode 350: Show Notes
With all these transitions going on lately, we’ve had to do some reflection because as we move forward, it’s important to figure out what we want and where we’ve been and so we decided to share some things you probably didn’t know about us starting our business. Emylee might be remembering everything as perfect, but it definitely wasn’t!
On this episode we make a few confessions and share some of the behind the scenes info that we haven’t talked about before. You might find these seven things surprising, you might find them relatable, but maybe you find it encouraging to hear that we did not have everything figured out before we started our business. A lot of stuff we had to learn along the way – stuff we’re happy to share with you, so be sure to join us for this episode!
Abagail: “I crushed on Emylee and did not expect to change my business model.”
I always thought Emylee was the cutest girl! Not in a weird way, but I just thought she was the best and frankly, I wanted to be more like her. I followed her on social media and never thought we’d get to be friends and business partners. When we started our business, I thought that we’d forever run a service based business. We started in branding and marketing and website design, and maybe some of you thought that it was always the plan for us to go on and teach, but my plan was really to just keep working from home. I definitely did not expect that we’d be changing our business model.
Emylee: “I only got a legit camera five years after I started!”
My belief has always been that you don’t need all the tools to get started and all the best equipment to get going. I started off as a photographer and I continued to do that for a long time after Abagail and I started something together. I only got a DSLR camera after we had been working together for a while and everything I was shooting prior to that was not a full frame camera. Four, five years into my business I was still shooting on a kit camera that you can get from Sam’s Club! Only later I got to the point where I realized I needed the control and then I knew how to use it, lighting and all that stuff. This is when a full frame camera made sense.
Abagail: “I didn’t think I was good enough to be a designer.”
When I was in school, I definitely didn’t think that I was up to par with the rest of the people in my class. Not grade wise, I kept up well, but I just imagined they would be successful, and so out of a place of fear, I attempted to be more of a director in any way possible, to give the bulk of the creative work to others. I believed that I was better at managing. I had been doing design work for five or six years professionally, and had been in school for it another four years, yet for a good portion of my working life I did not feel that I was good at what I was doing.
Emylee: “I had to teach myself digital photography.”
I went to school for art and got a degree in photography, but I was interested in the field before high school even, because my uncle is a professional photographer and we used to nerd out over photography. My high school was one of the few who had a dark room inside the photography studio, and so was my college. So I was trained in the dark room, and 100% self-taught in digital. I had to take classes online, learn from others and relentlessly study my manual so that I could understand how to translate my film knowledge to digital. And so a lot of my self-doubt came from having to teach myself.
Abagail: “I started college just when digital came out.”
When I went to college, digital design just came out. Up until then, even professionals were still using paint brushes and glue and cutting out paper. I crashed my computer because of a 1 gig file! Even though I was lucky to be trained in digital, it was so new that there wasn’t good education available for it. How I learned to edit was through Photoshop, even though it’s a slower and more meticulous process. As an example, one of my first jobs after college involved cutting photos out digitally and then applying the filters to make them look right.
Neither of us wanted a business partner!
Abagail: For the longest time, I didn’t want to work with a team. Initially I did not have any desire to work with anyone else, I didn’t want that big of a business. Where that came from was probably the fact that, before Emylee and I started working together, my team experiences were politically charged – manipulation, inappropriate sexual behavior and some laws had been broken. Perhaps I was naïve in some ways and startups were not a thing then. Startups have only gotten popular later where team culture has become so important. Now I believe you can have an amazing team and it can be a great experience. When we first started working together I didn’t want to compete with Emylee because we had such similar visions and ideas.
Emylee: I did not want a business partner either. Even when we first started collaborating, I never thought we’d be working together full time down the line. I was definitely landing bigger clients than I would have working on my own and working together just kind of came easy for us.
Be willing to go with the wind sometime
We both thought that we’d be working locally, that we would have a physical space our clients could walk into, with a studio and all that stuff. We were constantly thinking about a property – we thought we’d have a separate space for work. But we were doing less and less client work, so we needed less space. Eventually we realized that we both worked so well independently we didn’t really need collaborative space anyway. Even though it’s a nice idea to have a pretty office, it’s also great not to have to leave your house!
Abagail: “I crushed on Emylee and did not expect to change my business model.” [0:02:27]
Emylee: “I only got a legit camera five years after I started!” [0:04:00]
Abagail: “I didn’t think I was good enough to be a designer.” [0:06:11]
Emylee: “I had to teach myself digital photography.” [0:08:44]
Abagail: “I started college just when digital came out.” [0:12:31]
Neither of us wanted a business partner! [0:15:26]
Be willing to go with the wind sometimes. [0:21:38]