Chris Dickinson Photography | It isn't easy and, sometimes, it's not pretty.

It isn't easy and, sometimes, it's not pretty.

February 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This blog post is about being self-employed, an entrepreneur, a small business owner, and different observations that I've noticed along the way.  Our background; my wife and I are 100% self employed, something I'm very proud of.  For many people, this is just too risky, heck, it was for me...but I took that (calculated) risk.  Many people have at least one that's a papered full time employee, that's OK!  I was too!  I left a very comfortable career with a multi-billion dollar bank to run our own business.  What an amazing opportunity we have, every day!  As a side note, there are lots of iphone pics on this blog :) ...On to it.

I need to write this blog, edit family images, pet and stock images, prepare for a class I'm teaching, meet with a couple people about upcoming projects, schedule upcoming shoots, be a mentor, continue building an organization I believe in, be a friend, husband, father, brother, uncle and son.  Oops, just checked instagram, looks like my friend is having a great time in New Zealand - oh yea, where was I?  I need to...

Slow down for a minute.  Think.  Remember that song Steve Seskin played while you were at the Bluebird Cafe just a couple nights ago? How'd it go..."this is my day...I'll make it what I want to".  Yea, that's it - give yourself some credit.  Focus and zero in on what you want, just like a shoot.  Break it down, feel it, press the shutter and know that'll be the shot that gives you the Peter Hurley #SHABANG - this is just a brief look into the first few minutes of what goes through my head after getting up in the morning.

There are common, unspoken, entrepreneurial traits that I've observed over the years, especially in my wife. There's this sixth sense for seeking each other out, a drive inside, a passion, a yearning, a sense that one is never satisfied.  It's not perfection, it's like a battery that doesn't need charging (quite contrary actually). In the dictionary, self motivated should also reference the entrepreneur.  In writing this particular blog post, I started this one several weeks ago after the KelbyOne Blog Specialist, Julio Aguilar said he loved my work and would love to feature me, but I hadn't posted in six months.  Indeed, I was behind.  How do you juggle it all and dedicate time to everything?  I know where my bottleneck was, and I told him, sometimes you just need to be reminded of that.  Thanks, Julio!  F.O.C.U.S.

Singers and Songwriters

Joe with Travis Meadows at the Blue Bird Cafe

Several weeks ago my wife and I were down in Nashville.  While we were there we took time for ourselves by making reservations at the world famous Bluebird Cafe, we took in some amazing singer and songwriter entertainment with Steve Seskin, Travis Meadows, Seth Glier and Liz Longley.  This place, and these talented artists, truly left an indelible imprint on our life.  These are the songwriters that help make recording artists like Tim McGraw, Dirks Bently, and Jake Owen (just to name a few), famous.  For each of these artists, you don't get to the Blue Bird being lazy and you certainly don't have world class recording artists pick up your songs without promoting yourself.  Here's lifting my glass in respect for the journey that each has taken to get where they are and to the road that lies in front of them.   There's a line in Travis' song "Black" that resonated with me: "If I rise or if I fall, at least I had the guts to try".  Many people are envious of your success, although not too many ask to take the road you've taken to get there!


As you can see, I do use an iPhone to capture images too!

While still down in Nashville, we also had the opportunity to have dinner with dear friends and fellow entrepreneurs, Mark and Sandra Bryant.  They've been in business for years in Missoula, MT.  We shared great business stories, personal tragedies, and most importantly we truly enjoyed one another's company.  These are the kinds of moments and people that help you recharge that battery you forget about.  Mark and Sandra have achieved so many accolades within the professional photographic community that most of us can only dream of accomplishing what they have.  I have great respect, both personally (as photographic talent) and professionally (as entrepreneurs) for Mark and Sandra for the sacrifices they've made over the years - it's not easy and sometimes you think, how are we going to make this work?  They have, with each others strength!

Lunch and Dinner Time

I'll share two more stories.  My wife and I went to lunch yesterday (2/20) at Feldman's Deli here in SLC.  The owner, Michael, myself and another friend were paired up golfing last fall.  I promised Michael that I'd stop in sometime, this after almost taking his head off with one of my shanked golf shots!  When we went to his Deli I automatically picked up on his behavior.  Even when there didn't seem to be anything to do, THERE'S ALWAYS something to do!  I saw Michael wander for a moment and look around, I immediately knew that feeling that was going through his head - I'll find something to do!  He went to the back of his restaurant and started fixing a chair.  The food was amazing, the service...even better!  If you're in SLC, stop here and see Michael - have the Sloppy Joe (pictured)!

A couple nights ago I was interviewed for a college project on being a business owner and my chosen profession.  There were the typical questions, how, when, why.  One stood out to me; "how do you make time for yourself?".  The interviewer, Cris, is the son of sushi restaurant entrepreneurs, Sean and Mai Nguyen owners of Sapa Sushi Bar and Grill.  My wife and I have been going here for over two years, at least once a week regularly.

In this time, we've come to know the owners and over the last year I've captured their family portraits, once in each season in a different location.  Back to the question:  I said to Cris, "I know this sounds funny, but we take time for ourselves by going to Sapa".  He looked bewildered for a moment and then I explained.  When we go there, we don't have to do anything or really even make any decisions.  As a small business owner, making a living is all dependant on choices and decisions you make every day.  When we sit down at the Sushi bar, we can be us without making any choices - our drinks are automatically brought to us, our food is served without even looking at a menu.  It's like a big exhale for us!


There's a saying; "do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life".  Perhaps there's some veiled truth to that, indeed, you won't "work" another 8-5 day, you'll dedicate yourself to your living and lifestyle.  How you do that is up to you.  There's no magic formula to being successful, in fact, your success is defined by you.  Maybe you are successful at making $1000 a month, great!  That's up to you.  The one thing that will never change in any of this, hard work!  Sometimes it's not pretty, and it's not easy by any stretch.  It's tireless work and dedication to get where you're going.

Our magic formula is with each other.  I wouldn't have taken the risk without my wife.  We know our strengths and weaknesses and play off them extremely well.  Our success has been with one another and building ourselves up.  This doesn't mean that everything is always peachy, it's not.  Sometimes bills aren't paid on time every time.  Sometimes we argue, but all the time, we have each others back!  That's our secret.


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