This blog post is going to be one of the most important post for me and I hope my story from this year can help inspire and motivate anyone who is struggling in their profession whether it be photography or any other business.

I am a pretty private person when it comes to my personal life. I use my blog to promote all of my photos shoots and usually don’t write too much. When I sat down to start putting this particular blog together, a wrap up of my year, I really wanted to share my struggles this year. Now, don’t get me wrong this was the most successful business year to date for me but also the most physically and mentally exhausting year.

I will start with this…Christmas Eve. Blake and I decided to exchange christmas gifts on Christmas Eve. I opened the box to find a beautiful mint condition Minolta XG-9 film camera. Now to many of you this doesn’t mean much but to me this was an amazing, heartfelt gift.  “Don’t ever tell me your quiting photography again”, Blake said. Blake has been my rock through this year, helping me through my ups and downs. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost given up, thrown in the towel on my business.

Owning your own business is something that is so rewarding but at the same time frustrating. If you look at my facebook/instagram you are probably like what they heck does she have to complain about. Social media is a total facade. What social media doesn’t show is the thousands of hours of editing, the back to back wedding weekends when your whole body hurts, working so hard to get no appreciation at the end of the day, and the thousands upon thousands of dollars you have put into building and growing your business. You don’t see the dozens of times I have just come home stuck my face in a pillow and screamed as loud as I could (You should actually try it, it feels great!) and also had a good cry.

The other side of this is the amazing people I get to work with, the places I have been fortunate to travel too, the amazing love I get to see at every wedding. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining or ungrateful in any way for my life and my business because the good definitely out weighs the bad.

My main struggle this year was constantly comparing my self to others, wondering why I am not getting as many clients, constantly feeling like I wasn’t good enough. As they say, you are your own worst enemy, this year I definitely was. I am a super competitive person and stubborn so that makes things even worse for myself. Generally I am a very happy go lucky person but I am very very hard on myself and I strive to be the best person I can possibly be and sometimes that can take a toll on my physical and emotional welfare. I put everything I have into my work and at the end of the day always feel I could have done better.

Even as successful as 2015 was for me, I still live paycheck to paycheck. I still wait tables every now and then to make extra money but you know what that is OK! It feels really good to write that because at the end of the day guess what matters? I am happy, I am doing what I love, I am surrounded by people I love and who love me! Money doesn’t matter to me anymore, I refuse to let it run my life. Do I have bills to pay, yes, do I owe money, yes but guess what I will get everything paid off eventually.

You really learn a lot about yourself owning your own business and struggling to make it. You learn the good things and you learn the bad things. I have decided that for 2016 I am not making resolutions I am making life goals because resolutions seem so flaky to me. Life goals are more solid to me, if you don’t reach your goal that year so what you have all the time in the world to reach it. I am making personal goals and business goals:

Goal 1: Taking more time for myself. (I don’t do this ever!)

Goal 2: Spend more time with my Fiance and family.

Goal 3: Do more personal projects in my business.

Goal 4: Only take on clients that I feel a real connection with.

Goal 5: Slow down and be more of a story teller in my images.

Goal 6: Step back from social media.

I have many other goals but these are my main ones for the start of 2016. I have so much gratitude for my family, friends and clients. Without them my business would not even exists. They are there to lift me up when I am down and to help push me to be better. I am so lucky to have the studio space I have. I get to show up at the office surrounded by other creatives/friends everyday. It is such an awesome feeling.

What I hope everyone can take from this blog is that its ok to feel like you can’t keep your head above water, its ok to feel down just know that things always get better, that there is always someone feeling exactly how you feel, you aren’t alone. I want to live this life for the experiences and for the love that life brings, for the people that cross my path and not for the money, fame or instagram likes.

Again, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for my family, friends and clients. Not many people get to say that their clients turn into friends. It brings me so much joy to be able to say that. Being a photographer is something so special, we get to be a part of so many intimate and personal moments. How AWESOME is that!

I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for me (I can’t believe I am getting married!!!) One thing I do know is that I have a brand new outlook on life and I am ready for whatever is thrown my way. Chelsea Erwin Photography will be going in a little bit different direction this year which I am really excited about. Below I want to share with you my favorite images from this past year. These images mean so much to me!

BRING IT ON 2016!!

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