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The Katelyn James Podcast

Ep. 7 | The Startup Series

The Decision & The Determination

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I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.

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I’m so excited to introduce this new series we are starting! After being in business since 2008, there are a LOT of new people around here so I want to make sure there’s a place where you can hear the full story! What did it look like to start a photography business in 2008 and what does it look like now? I want to share it all so you get the full picture, not just the highlight reel!!

The Legacy Podcast- The Startup Series
The Legacy Podcast- The Startup Series

THE DECISION

Whether it’s starting a business, a relationship, or as small as a conversation- we ALL have decisions to make. But what makes us actually JUMP at the opportunity and ultimately go for it? Through transformational life coaching we talk about this quote often by Sören Kierkegaard,As human beings we settle for a certain level of despair we can tolerate, and we call it happiness.” So there’s things in life that we start to settle for and make ourselves think that’s the best it’s going to get! But I think when you have made a decision to go for something and make a change, you have hit a new level of unhappiness and you are not willing to settle!! If you want to hear more about life coaching and who we recommend- check out this Youtube video HERE!

As we start a new school for our kids and the community, we have seen so many families with this mentality. They want something more than the status quo, and they are seeking something else! That is the same mentality I had when I started my photography business in 2008.

If you have dreams of pursuing a passion or business, this will all apply to you!!

Where It Started

The story really started in high school, when I was 15, I was always thinking about a way to start a business! My braces were off and I was confident, but yet still an awkward high school student. But I went for it! I started a “professional” scrapbooking business.. and I had ONE client. It didn’t go well, and that was the end of that! 

Next up (still in high school)- Katelyn’s Krafts. I would buy porcelain bowls from Walmart and porcelain paint from Michaels Arts & Crafts (a big expense!!) to paint designs and sell the bowls! I sold them at craft shows, festivals, and then in a boutique- where I eventually got a job.

This small venture taught me a lot about business! 

  1. Time is money- it’s a trade! I could not make those bowls fast enough to make the profit that I wanted.
  2. I was not in control of the sales or the customer base at the Bell Cottage Boutique when I was employed there!

Next up is college!

I went to the Director of Marketing in the Fine Arts Center for an internship that did NOT exist. We both knew the opportunity didn’t exist but he knew that’s what I was asking for and decided to create an internship! It was AMAZING. It was a very part time Graphic Design position and I LOVED it! I designed banners, signs and billboards for any speaker/ musician that was coming to the Fine Arts College. My designs would be sent to my boss and ultimately there were tweaks that had to be made! It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I learned through that I wanted to be my own boss! I love being creative and designing, but it was hard to see a different billboard design from the one I turned in. 

 

All of these experiences were building an awareness in me of what I wanted for my life, career, time, money and how I used my gifts! 

Alongside my friend Jessica, I had an opportunity to second shoot a wedding! It was great and I was so thankful to do this with my beginner camera.. But again I had a dissatisfaction of wanting to run my own business and not shoot for someone else. Michael would say sometimes I am a control freak, but all of these experiences led me to using my gifts and personality for what God had envisioned!

 

THE DETERMINATION

The pressure was low in starting this business, the cost was manageable, I didn’t have a mortgage to pay and kids to feed. A year into the business, I finally had the thought that this could be my career post-college. I was so excited about it, I loved it and felt confident in my skills! 

Are you on the verge of deciding whether or not to start a business? Or pursue a passion? Sometimes I so desperately wish the Lord would give me an exact time and date to just go for it! If you are waiting for a big sign to appear in the sky telling you to jump, you’re going to be waiting a long time. 

 

What is it costing you to continue to settle for your current reality even though you know it is not a pure definition of happiness for you? 

 

If you desire more but don’t take the steps, you think the risk doesn’t outweigh the cost of staying in the cycle, you won’t be able to break the cycle! I don’t know what your story is but if you need encouragement to take the next step, this is it!! 

Everything you experience has an opportunity to teach you about where you’re headed next!

Here’s some takeaways:

  1. Try STUFF
    • Try it all, try anything you might like to see what you enjoy!
    • This is the beauty of the school we’re starting for our kids. When you try new things, you’re weeding out and whittling down your preferences and taking steps closer to finding your purpose.
  2. Don’t get stuck in the stuff you hate:
    • My graphic design internship was a GIFT, and I’m thankful for the experience but don’t let that hold you back from jumping into something you love. 
  3. Pay attention to WHY you’re not enjoying something and let that guide you to other possibilities:
    • I didn’t love my work being tweaked: I realized I needed to be my own boss.
    • I didn’t love that it was up to the boutique owner to get more customers in the shop to potentially buy my stuff: I realized I had the potential to be a good marketer.
  4. You don’t have to begin with the FINAL GOAL in mind… this started as a passion and grew into a career. 

 

I love looking back on this journey through starting KJP! I’m so excited to continue to share more about it to encourage you through pursuing your passion!!

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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