2021.... What a year!
I closed my first Blog of this year with the words:
"I'm looking forward to it and hugely looking forward to 2021. It promises to be an exciting year, but hey: No guts no glory."
Well, that certainly proved applicable to this year. A quick recap...
January 1, 2021. The first day completely on my own two feet as a ZZP-er. It was a strange feeling. A flying start wasn't quite in the cards because we were still dealing with Corona. Now I'm not going to mention that word again 🙂 Of course I already knew this when I made the plans to go down this road, but still....
And now what? Throw in the towel? Wait for better times? Until something comes along? Certainly not! Put your shoulders to it!
The fact remained that many assignments had been postponed or would take place in a different form.
In 2020 I did a "front door project". Portraying people at their homes as a memento of that crazy period. Should I do something like that again? Or should I do something else? You have to stay busy was the thought. I decided to put out an appeal for companies to sign up. To show what was happening behind those closed doors. A lot of applications came in; from catering to retail, from education to small and medium enterprises. I visited many special places and was welcomed with open arms everywhere. The reactions to the publication of the messages were also very nice. In the end, this series has ensured that I was invited to the Alderman of Economic Affairs of Venlo to share my experience, and a few nice assignments were completed later this year.
In the meantime I was also busy with the purchase of my 1st company car. Partly because I knew I would be working as a freelancer for a school photographer. And since I can be used for that throughout the whole of NL it was a requirement. After some test drives, calculations and sleepless nights the order went out the door. In April the time had come and I could hit the road with a well recognizable car.
The agenda is slowly getting fuller and fuller. One family after the other books a shoot and the agenda is well filled with schools where I may go and photograph. Absolutely great!
Then the next growth opportunity comes my way. Where one door closes, another opens. Literally this time.
I have the opportunity to rent (part of) a property. My first reaction? Yes daggggg! I just got a bus, am 100% independent and time is uncertain...So no way!
But I am reminded of that last sentence from the 1st blog: No guts....... exactly.
After a visit I see opportunities and potential and decide to get started. My own studio and office is a fact!
Since the period at that time also offers a chance to divide time differently, the building and renovating can begin. The studio interior is ordered and the website is adjusted. Mid-May I turn the key of the front door and the photo studio is a fact.
In the meantime, the calendar flows fuller and fuller with family shoots on location, that the website has to wait for a studio update. Simply no time 🙂 And still not everything is on it... That's going to change in the coming weeks.
Having a physical location at a central point also ensures that people see you. Visibility is increased. With great regularity, people come into the shop for passport photos. However, I don't make them... This is virtually impossible to do, because 9 out of 10 times I'm not there due to assignments elsewhere. People are referred to elsewhere..... It gnaws.... I'd like to help people, and I've noticed that there's a need "on this side of the Maas" for this service. But how?
It is summer. The calendar is overflowing! What great news! I get to do photo shoots in the wide area of Venlo and may even cross half of NL and BE for another assignment. How cool...
Even during the holidays, the phone rings and messages come in: "Do you take passport photos too?"
Hmmm... I thought we parked those and can offer a nice alternative!
Not so. Between all the fuss, I decide to jump into this hole and start offering passport photos.
With the knowledge that I can't work with fixed opening hours I'm looking for a middle ground. You can always expand, can't you?
I can't complain about the fall season either. The photo shoots on location continue for a long time. And despite the fact that I haven't updated the website completely in terms of studio photography, (potential) clients already know how to find me. Private but also business. Nice to see.
I often get the question; How are you? The answer is always: Good!
Because that's what it is, all right. I can't complain and I'm certainly not.
Despite the uncertainty of being a self-employed person, I continue to find this journey cool.
So is it all hosanna? No, it is not! There are plenty of moments when I think: am I on the right track, am I making the right decisions, where will I be in e.g. 2 years from now? But despite that, it remains cool. I know what I want and where I want to go. I keep learning and discovering, falling and getting up. But that's part of it, right?
Every day gives me energy. Especially when I have delivered an assignment and get a nice response.
And are those reactions only good? 9.5 out of 10 thankfully they are 🙂 I know by now that the more clients I get, the more feedback I can receive. That's logical and good. All part of the learning and growth process. Fortunately, my clients know that I am always available to solve any "bumps" or to look for an appropriate solution together. Someone who claims otherwise has taken the wrong turn somewhere. Service, customer friendliness and customer focus are still core values that distinguish me from the masses. And I would like to keep it that way 🙂
Now that the end of the year is approaching, there are jobs that I can appreciate less about being self-employed. Like the administration and timesheets. Yikes 🙂
But I'm also already working on 2022. There is still plenty to do and plenty of ideas that need to be worked out.
I want to thank everyone for the trust, assignments, recommendations, referrals, reviews and so on which I received in the past year. Really super!
A special thanks to my girls at home, my parents, and friends who support me where possible. Without you this was not possible.
Hopefully we can return to "normal" soon, because we are all getting tired of the C.
I wish everyone happy holidays and a good and healthy 2022.