Come on September, you can do it!

Am I being somewhat misguided with my belief that at some point I will have everything under control?! And that this will then mean that I have the freedom to blog regularly, drive my business skywards and parent in a way that would suggest that I have got this?! Or … is this the norm? I feel overwhelmed by all of it right now, trying to work, being a parent and being a wife. Not in a ‘woe is me’ way, more of a ‘how on earth do I do it all/what is the method’ way!

I started September with such gusto, perhaps too much?! I blame the Virgo in me. If you read any of my previous blogs there is a definite tone of ‘if only I had more time’ to them. Building a business and shocking the world talked about juggling it all and, if I am to be completely honest, when I wrote that it was a little tongue in cheek. I had yet to meet September, I did not know what juggling actually meant.

A busy mother, motherhood

On a parenting note let me quash that belief that when your child starts school you will be drowning in free time to Instastyle business plan. It is a myth. It does not happen. Your time suddenly becomes dedicated to ferrying people to various locations, when you are at home yes, you do have free time however this new free time is simply the same time you had before MINUS two people trailing your every move and undoing your every task. It is a better time yes … and it leaves you with approximately 20 minutes freedom before it is time to pick someone up!

Yes, I have been known to sit on the sofa with either my laptop or phone in hand in a vain attempt at working. This isn’t the time to do it either as this is when my partner in crime aka my husband is here. I don’t want to sit and go through the intricacies of both of our days or look lovingly at one another however I have noticed an enormous difference when sitting watching something together and actually doing that. Not dual screening, that doesn’t work. I was shocked at the lovely feeling I had when we both watched a film together, no phones or laptops in sight. It felt like we had truly done something together, how awful is that?!

So, back to the planning and reorganising of life. Both children are now settled into their new establishments. The puppy is a little easier to manage (that was a battle in itself! I felt so guilty about taking time out to walk the dog rather than to be working, either in the house or on the business!). Then I realised that this could actually become a multi tasking Self Care session. I am being deadly serious here too because I truly believe in this whilst previously also finding it nigh on impossible to put it into practice. For me, this now works. I am out of the house, I am exercising, there are no screens and the dog is being exercised as well as squeezed. That’s some planning right there and it just happened, naturally. Not with yet another list in a beautiful notebook. It wasn’t the way that others do it either. My planning and reorganising now is about doing. At this stage in life it appears to be the only way and I cannot believe that I haven’t accepted this before.

Children are not robots, recipes or reports. They are beings, they are unpredictable. Parenting is exactly the same, it is unpredictable so for the time being I will “unpredictably” build my business and manage my household.

This is most certainly more a parenting blog than a photography one today and that is something that I have tried to avoid … and I have no idea why for I am both. I am not a victim of parenthood though!  I am grabbing that by the same unorganised balls as I am my business! No wine memes, no bitterness and no hippiness. Just a work hard and play hard attitude to it.

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Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography is on it’s way people, it’s on it’s way!

P.S. Yes, I am quite anti people being glued to screens at the moment which is a tad ironic considering I am writing this for others to glue themselves to a screen. Ah, what IS the answer?! And what is the right balance?!

Controlled risk … or without abandon?

DSC_3666SM Child_It’s been a while since my last post, in fact, more than a while. Last time we chatted I ended with something about needing time to not only live my dream but also to live my life, as me, a mummy, a wife and everything else that is in the mix! That was in May, it is now August so I’ve had some time!

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour”. John Heywood

I continue to work away quietly behind the scenes with my business, grabbing hours here and there to practice, build and choose which direction Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography is heading in. So many of John Heywood’s lines ring true right now! No, Rome wasn’t built in a day and yes there were people constantly working on it! Everything I see is a potential story, a piece of art for someone’s wall or a memory of a precious moment and it is through my eyes. Naturally there are those who see things differently … it is those who see things similarly to me that I am after, my tribe! Before I can get to those people though I need to find the right people to help me build my business.

I thought that finally making the decision to go professional and doing the Training byLumiere course was the ‘tribe moment’. It was, however what I am learning now is that it was just one of them. There are so many elements to a business and naturally, a tribe is a human social group … so I am working on building my human social group!

Running your own business and being a work at home mummy can actually be quite a solitary profession, there’s no water cooler chat or brainstorming sessions to inspire or frustrate. With the rise of childcare costs  it is becoming more and more common for mummies to stay at home and work, generally setting something new up, rather than to return to work. There is an army of people like me out there, the skill is to tap into the right regiment! I tried a handful of networking groups and eventually found the right fit.

Danni McCabe of Mama Tribe … I know that I am not the first person to say thank goodness for her genius! She has ensured that networking in 2018 is current … rather than the somewhat dated and corporate approach that can be a little blind to the necessity of social media being part of your business plan! I met with Danni and Gracey in Milton Keynes (along with some other greats such as Susie, check out Wiki Places for Kids and Adele of Nutmeg Wall Art ) and left feeling like I could take on the world. Taking on the world, that feeling needs nurturing and feeding in order to keep it going and that is just what Mama Tribe does. Not only that, it introduces you to like minded individuals and it gives you the freedom to talk about work and then to switch topics and laugh about the intricacies of being a work at home mummy …  you are simply someone with two jobs and you are allowed to discuss both jobs. Don’t misinterpret this though, it is not a child discussion session, no! It is an understanding that you are more than likely to be working when the children have gone to bed or you head to a meeting, turn the iPad on and Paw Patrol blasts out rather than your business plan.

My human social group aka My Tribe is growing and in turn my business is growing, as are my children and my family DSC_3654 (we recently bought a puppy, thought that we needed to jazz things up a little!). Meet Zola. She’s amazing.

What isn’t growing is my bank balance, not yet. I think that it is as important to talk about that as it is talking about what your business is and what you are about.

When anyone makes a decision to do something completely different it is a risk. It is a controlled risk if you manage it and the most important element to manage is the expectations of others, at this stage. From day one of making this decision I have screamed from the rooftops that I will not make the mega bucks within the first three years. In fact, I won’t make much at all as with any new venture everything is outgoing rather than incoming! That combined with the fact that I am a stay at home parent is a huge thing. Financially, emotionally … and quite honestly, sometimes depressingly. I haven’t had my own pay slip for four years and now that I am doing my thing, living my dream I am essentially receiving a negative pay slip!

… and do you know what, I wouldn’t change it for the world! Don’t panic, I’m not completely delusional. I have this magic power to create extra time so, in that magical time, I’m a virtual assistant. It doesn’t inspire, it contributes and it reminds me why I am doing what I am doing now.

Take the risk, live the dream and accept the consequences … oh and find some amazing people to help you do it along the way.

Getting out of the comfort zone, in so many ways.

This weekend I took some photographs for my in laws and for The National Garden Scheme, not something that was in the business plan three months ago! Of course I was happy to take photographs for the in laws however I truly thought that it would be in the ‘dutiful daughter in law’ capacity rather than the ‘aspiring portrait photographer’ one. Wow, I got that wrong!

I am still very much in setting up mode for Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography and have yet to form a definitive list of what it is that I photograph and specialise in. This weekend has made it’s way into the business plan, it showed me that it isn’t what I photograph, it is who it is for.

People are my passion and not because I want to photograph them, it is because I like them! Getting to know someone, finding out what makes them tick, occasionally getting it wrong … these are all wonderful life experiences that when combined they provide you with a sensory overload. I have always been a creative person, I trained at Ballymaloe Cookery School after completing my degree. I thoroughly enjoyed my degree, I just didn’t get the creative kick I needed from it and at the time that I was filling in my UCAS form the creative service industries weren’t ‘promoted’ in perhaps the same way as some other industries. I was a cook, I worked in both commercial kitchens (at which point I called myself a chef!) and then I worked in my own kitchen running a catering company. I met people, I listened to what they wanted and I created it.

Photography was always there and I have no idea why I never considered it as a career. Perhaps it is as simple as I viewed it as my hobby and wanted to continue enjoying it rather than feeling pressured by it. When I announced to those closest to me my plans to start a photography business (not before completing my six month course with Training byLumiere BIG difference between thinking you can take photographs and being taught by the pros!) I immediately felt pressured. I found myself leaving my camera behind at times when I would have taken it with me. The confidence and conviction I had in making the decision to do this was gone. Why? I felt, and still feel, like I have yet to earn my stripes in the photography world.

Every job that I now do, be it for family or clients is another stripe. It is another interaction with a human, also known as a person. It is listening and hearing to what the memory is, before it has happened. And what of the comfort zone? Well, I am out of that every single time that I take a photograph because I am putting myself into someone else’s. This weekend – the flowers, the gardens and the people; those are the comfort zone  of my in laws and they wanted a memory of the day that they welcomed over six hundred people into their gardens, for charity.

On top of that, this is my first foray back into work after having my children. Initially I felt like I had so much to prove. I hadn’t had a salary for over four years AND I was only just getting to know myself again after working my socks off at being a mummy. What better time to have a second career then when you haven’t had one for four years, chipper idea.

I will always be a mummy and I will always work my socks off. I’m enjoying escaping that comfort zone too from time to time however not as much as I am enjoying it when I hear the children ask me if I am going to work or telling someone that I am a photographer.

All of these moments, these experiences, they are me.  So, let me know what you want me to photograph! Me and my newfound comfort blanket (my Nikon D500) are great listeners and just at the beginning of what feels like a pretty good journey!

 

Building a business and shocking the world ….

It’s been said so many times, “softly softly catchee monkey” and right now it actually means something! There is now a depth to these words, so much so that they could be becoming a mantra!

Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography, my business, my world and my being and the first time in my life that I am truly taking things slowly and (hopefully) doing it properly. Why you ask?! At the ripe old age of 37 I found my career purpose, I found my tribe and now I fit. Cameras have always been by my side, I can’t tell you exactly why. Is it because I am from Yorkshire, the landscape of imagination? Or the fact that I grew up in the Middle East and Africa – have my senses been spoilt from day one? Perhaps the fact that I love people, people from all walks of life? Whatever the reason is, it is a truly wonderful feeling to now work with something that has always been with me and to share it with others.

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Just give me some time to juggle the branding, the website design, the marketing, the legality, the children’s packed lunches, the washing machine and my wonderful, supportive and patient husband without whom this would not be possible. Here’s to you my love.