AHHHHHHHH!!!!! I feel like that’s the most appropriate intro for this blog post. The last 72 hours have been THEE biggest whirlwind of emotions. Just three days ago I quit working for Kylee Ann Studios and I honestly thought it would be a slow transition, but here we are just a few days later and I already have a full website up and running. It’s scrappy, but it’s functional.
Let me back up and give you some back story. For the last 3 years I have been working as an associate photographer for Kylee Ann Studios. This has been my absolute DREAM job. Kylee Ann Studios is northern Utah’s #1 wedding photography studio as well as family photography studio. Not only did we have the DREAM TEAM of photographers, these girls are my absolute best friends and they have been there for me through so much.
Kylee reached out to me on Facebook messenger almost exactly 3 years ago and asked if I would ever consider being an associate photographer. When I got the message I FREAKED out. Then I slowed down and told myself that she HAD to be reaching out for another photographer. She hadn’t posted that she was hiring and there was just no way I could believe that she wanted to hire me. I took a few hours to respond, just like I would for my biggest crush. Played it cool. Told her I had actually applied for another associate position, and I thought I would make a really good fit as an associate, but I hadn’t heard of anymore opportunities.
She replied quickly that they would start me as a backup and then transition me to full-time as I got more work. I could not believe it. I went out to dinner to celebrate that night because this job was such a big deal.
What Kylee didn’t know was at the time I was going back to school to finish my bachelors degree, separated from my husband, and just praying to God every single day for some guidance. The exact day she messaged me I had applied for over 45 jobs. I had only been doing photography for a few months. It looked like our separation was going to turn into a divorce and I just had no clue how to move forward. I assumed I would have to quit school, get whatever minimum wage job I could, and just pause on my dreams until my life settled down.
The job as an associate photographer for Kylee Ann Studios took off really quickly. I doubted myself and my ability to serve newlywed couples as my life was falling apart. I went to Kylee one evening and broke down. Tears streamed down my face as I told her I was getting divorced and I understood that my personal situation might not work with her brand for wedding photography. Of course, she reassured me that I could be an amazing photographer and she was still just as happy to have me as part of the team.
The last three years have been so valuable to me. I have gotten to do business alongside of my best friends. This is so rare in the photography industry. They have walked me through divorce, dating, taking vacations without Mina, business, a move and so much more.
Over the last 4 weeks I have had the recurring thought that I should go back to doing business on my own. I just can’t get it out of my mind. It’s really hard to explain when you feel something so strongly. Honestly the decision does NOT make a lot of sense to me. Leaving a business that I get to do alongside my two best friends is so heartbreaking. Who quits their job in the middle of a global pandemic, when thousands are getting let go? But it got to a point where it was consuming my thoughts. I knew I had to make a decision and stick with it. I called my parents and talked it over with them, and then sent Kylee a Marco Polo, explaining that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and that it felt like a divinely led decision.
Nothing at Kylee Ann Studios happens slowly, so here we are, 72 hours later, with two separate websites, two separate businesses and a friendship that feels more like a sisterhood that will last forever.
So here I am. I’m more scared than I have been in a really long time. It already feels SO lonely. There are 55 reasons why this could be a really bad idea. Just like when I first started Hiliary Stewart Photography. Starting Hiliary Stewart Photography led me to some of, if not THEE biggest blessings I’ve had over the last three years and I have faith that more doors are going to open. Thanks for being here at the VERY BEGINNING of me starting this business.
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