If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that a couple of weeks ago I hinted at a HUGE announcement coming soon. Something that I’ve waited a long time to shout from the rooftops. Something that’s hands-down the riskiest decision this girl has ever made.
I’m going FULL-TIME with my photography business!!!
As of December 27, I officially put in my two weeks notice at my stable, consistent, SAFE day job in public accounting and I made the leap into the new year and full time entrepreneurship! Owning my own photography business has been a dream of mine since high school. Somehow, it got forgotten while I was in college. (More like, my practical side won out and I decided to take the “safe” route!) I started LSU in the College of Art & Design with every intention to graduate with a degree in photography, and eventually transferred over to the College of Business to learn the fundamentals I’d need to start my own business. Accounting was my favorite class so I chose that as my concentration, but I had no intention of taking the CPA exam. THEN I got to the beginning of my last semester and realized I only needed ONE more class to be eligible for the exam, figured I might as well, and signed up for it.
After I graduated, I started working for a CPA firm, and a little over a year later, I had my license! I had officially done everything I was “supposed” to do as an accounting major. Without fail I stuck to the safe, predictable path and completely let my photography dream fall to the wayside.
Fast forward about 3 years. Caleb and I were recently married, and even though we had been living together for a couple of years by this point & nothing had really changed, I was suddenly unhappy. I didn’t have a wedding to plan anymore. I felt like I had checked all these boxes on my to-do list of life: graduated, got a job, passed the CPA exam, bought a house, bought a car, got married. But I was already unhappy in my daily routine – work, come home, clean, cook, sleep and repeat. There was nothing for me. I needed a hobby that brought me joy. I was becoming a bitter, resentful person to my husband, which wasn’t fair to him. And I didn’t like that person one bit.
So after a lot of soul searching (and talks with mom) I realized I needed to stop trying to work AND run a perfect, spotless household and instead focus on what I had always loved: photography. My plan was to slowly start teaching myself again & taking clients. Slowly. I wanted to keep my safe, stable, reliable day-job.
Then our lives turned completely upside down. Caleb & I suffered two miscarriages and lost both our dads in barely a year’s time. If all that doesn’t light a “life’s too short” fire under you, nothing will. Going through those hard times put into perspective for me that I didn’t need to stay stuck in my safe & reliable routine that wasn’t bringing any sense of purpose into my life anymore.
So I threw myself headfirst into this business and set some new goals! We were already quickly paying off our debt, but I knew it had to be completely gone before we lost one of our paychecks. I estimated we could pay off the debt by October 2017, and then save up a couple of more months until the end of the year. If I met my booking goal, I’d go full time for 2018.
Well, we paid of the debt in September, and I met my booking goal exactly in December! So here we are. Was this the “take it slow” plan I had two years ago? Nope. But the amount of stress and work that path was causing – basically two full-time jobs – was about to run me into the ground, especially with a newborn on the way.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to have more time to focus on my clients. I truly wouldn’t be here without y’all, and serving y’all is the reason I pick up my camera over and over again. The best way I know how to explain it is to tell a little story: Several years ago, I had a friend take some portraits of me and my sisters for my dad for Christmas. When he saw them, he did something I had never seen my big, tough cowboy dad do. Y’all, he cried. Over something so simple as a photograph. But it wasn’t simple to him – that was his 3 little girls. And that’s exactly why I do this. It’s something that I can’t put into words, but that gift is what I want to give to as many people as I can.
So 2018 will be spent breaking out of the routine and focusing on the things that bring me joy: serving my clients and preparing for our baby. I have SO MANY things I want to do that have gotten put off for months because I’ve literally been working 2 jobs, 7 days a week. I can’t wait to start implementing all the ideas I have to serve my clients better and create a truly top-notch experience with Renee Lorio Photography!
To my super supportive husband, family and friends: thank you SO much for believing in me and giving me just enough of a “push” to make this leap. I needed it! I also want to especially thank all my wonderful clients who have trusted me with their precious memories so far and in the future… I literally would not be here without you, and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate you!!
Cheers to a new year and many wonderful things to come!!
Photo credit: Chavanne Cazayoux