Earlier this month marked my FIVE year anniversary in business!!! I’m not sure where the time has gone, but this is a pretty big deal to see this day/year. 🙂 According to a recent USA Today article, 20% fail within the first year, and HALF of all businesses no longer exist after five years! This makes me humbled to think that because of YOUR support, enthusiasm, and love, my business has the opportunity to see another year!
I remember sitting on the living room floor at my parents’ house trying to figure out my career path back in 2012. After graduating JMU in 2011, it wasn’t long before I found a fun graphic design job towards DC working for the government. During that time I was dabbling in photography for fun and offered to take photos of my friends when a special occasion arose (no weddings though!!). As my business started to grow little by little, the two-hour commute each way was wearing on me. So when I was sitting on the living room floor talking to my parents five years ago about my purpose/calling, I decided that it was time to make things official! They have been my biggest supporters since day one, and I’m forever grateful!
Despite the excellent pay, I decided to cut my commute and take a local graphic design job where I had the privilege of meeting so many great friends! During that time, I was able to focus more attention on my clients and build up my reputation in the Warrenton area as a wedding photographer. I thoroughly enjoyed my job and work environment, but it wasn’t long before I noticed my business really taking off, fast and furious! The first official year in business, I booked 12 weddings and ever since then, it has been 30+! Although this year, I cut back to 25 weddings, I still pinch myself to think this is my livelihood! What is my favorite thing about this industry/my job? The HAPPINESS!!! It’s a fun career that continues to bring joy to my life. 🙂 Plus, every day is different, which is definitely good for me to constantly move around and switch things up!
It was five years ago when I walked into the courthouse and signed paperwork for Stephanie Messick Photography. Looking back to that “day one,” I didn’t know what the heck I was getting myself into! I was eager to learn, experience challenges and of course, celebrate the good times/milestones! To this day, I still do these things. It’s important to always stay humble. <3 If you had asked me 15 years ago what I would be doing right now, I would have told you an interior decorator … Ten years ago? Graphic Designer. Five years ago … I still would have told you a graphic designer, but photography on the side! Haha! Now, this business is my full-time job, and I’ll never forget to count my blessings!
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being there for me since day one! You brought me up to be the woman I am today, and I’m forever grateful. Thank you, Amanda, for helping me with helping me through all of my indecisive moments as well as late night packaging! Haha! And for being my second shooter in the past (hopefully, you can join my team again in the near future!!)! Thank you, Eric, for listening to all of my crazy talks about business. Haha! Thank you, Michelle, for being my first photography teacher and inspiring me in more than one way!!! Thank you, Sonya, for taking me under your wing and encouraging me to take on my first wedding, even when I didn’t feel 100% ready for that next venture!! Thank you, Katelynn, for motivating me to move forward with my dreams! All of our fun fashion shoots in the past have helped me get to where I am today. Thank you, Weaver family, for being one of the first people to put a DSLR camera in my hands back in college! Even though I was photographing in auto and holding up Pinterest photos to direct poses (LOL!), that shoot really inspired me to photograph portraits! And of course, I thank God every day for those who are in my life and for giving me these talents to share with you all in such a positive/uplifting way.
Gosh, I could go on and on who to thank, family/friends (and I’m so sorry I’m forgetting any other key players), but I really need to take a moment and thank YOU!!!! Without your love and encouragement, I would not be here today sharing my love and happiness with couples and portrait clients. I feel overly/undeservingly blessed and look forward to continuing my passion for the years to come! Thank YOU!!! XOXO!