In 2010, I sold a large portion of my belongings and moved to Prishtina, Kosovo. I had just finished my masters degree. The plan (plans, haha) was to teach high school English in exotic places for a few years and enjoy life with my then husband.
When I wasn't teaching, I was obsessing over photography and the relative novelty of having a super-cool website. A website! This seemed very new and exciting. I could teach and have a sweet little side gig doing something I really loved.
Seemed like a good plan.
And it totally was, until I found out I was pregnant. Definitely not planned. But not a disappointment either. We embraced the bonkers news with enthusiasm and a healthy does of what the fuck? Our philosophy was that things will work out. And they did, just not the way I thought.
Because of somewhat unreliable hospital care in Kosovo, and an impossible language barrier, we decided to move back to Minnesota to have the baby. But the baby had different plans, and I miscarried at 20 weeks.
Soooo, back to square one except now there's no job, no baby, AND we're living with my parents. Needless to say, I wasn't really in the mood to dive into teaching mid-year. I was emotionally drained. I was grieving my awesome career plans and a baby. Plus, it was the middle of Minnesota winter and that makes me want to hide under the covers all day.
I took a risk and decided to put everything I had into getting my photo business up and running. I had been shooting a ton—-mostly for myself, unpaid—-so I had some things to show. I had second shot at a wedding earlier that year, and the photos were nice enough to share.
The deal was that if I could make enough to pay my share of the bills before I'd have to interview for teaching positions in May, I wouldn't go back to teaching at all.
This was just the fire under my ass that I needed.
So, I bought the ridiculously
long domain nataliechampajenningsphotography.com and I was off.
I was crystal clear about my goal: book x number of weddings by May.
I was aligned with my intention: to have autonomy with my career doing something I loved that made people happy.
I knew who my ideal client was, and I was hellbent on making it work.
And it did.
A few years later, teacher in me naturally wanted to teach other photographers. Since 2013 I've helped hundreds of photographers grow businesses, and thousands through the PBH podcast.
I've learned a lot about this business since I started and I hope my lessons and knowledge can help you build the photo business you're dreaming of.
If this story has you fired up, the first place you should check out is here.
making music (guitar, trumpet)
planting & growing
Waimānalo Beach, HI
a great book or podcast
New York City
long walks with Islay the Dog
yoga & shaun t.
keeping score at baseball games
astronomy & astrology
plant-based foods & medicine
a good sense of humor & wit (I love you Conan!)
Read the PBH Antiracist Small Business Pledge here.
negativity & cruelty
loud, sudden noises
suburbs (more like I just don't get them)
blasting bathroom hand driers
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