Family Pictures And Why I Chose To Create A Personal Brand
Do you ever walk into the front door of your home only to feel out of place and disconnected?
I remember what it felt like four years ago when we first bought our house. It was strange, and different and still not quite as warm and inviting as I had imagined it to be. It was something new and it was still a house, not yet a home. I struggled on those days where I felt more at home at my parent's house or my in-laws where I had spent so much time over the past several years. Not because of my husband, or because of how we furnished our house - but because it had not yet captured a place in my heart as home.
In addition to that, we bought a log cabin. A beautiful, dark log cabin. Not your typical purchase for a 20-something girl and her husband who were used to growing up in a drywalled home with light and bright colors. I often complained that I didn't know how to decorate it, it wasn't really my style. I didn't realize how much I would struggle with making our house feel like home until we were moved in, and it was a done deal.
Now, four years later - I couldn't imagine walking through any other front door. Sure, I still struggle with wanting new furniture, flooring, etc. But I've learned that those are not the things that make this house our home. Instead it's the memories of late nights and early mornings with our baby. It's the vision of our first Christmas tree, twinkling quietly in the corner. It's the morning cups of coffee, nestled into the couch in the stillness of a sleeping house.
My "style" for our log cabin is the same as I imagine it would be in any other home. I quit focusing on the fact that I couldn't paint the walls or lighten up the trim and instead on just living our life within these walls and making it feel like "us" as much as I can.
It's not fun to walk into a home that doesn't feel quite "you." It's also not fun to run a business that feels oddly disconnected from who you are and what you want to portray.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
When I first started "Jennifer Kaiser Boutique Photo Editing," I knew immediately that it would make the most sense for me to create a business based on my name. At the time; however, I didn't look at it as "personal branding." I simply looked at it as a business that had my name. After all, I am the editor, so it just seemed like the best idea. When it came to branding though, I think I tried just about everything on for size.
I created a pretty logo, I started with bright and bold colors. Then I switched my logo and moved over to more subdued relaxed colors. From there, I decided to try on a darker, moodier brand. Finally, after feeling even more disconnected from this I did an entire site makeover and transitioned into something simple - white, mustard yellow, and black.
What I wasn't understanding at the time was that branding has SO much more to do with colors and logos. It has to do with who I am, what I want my business to be, and who I'm trying to connect with.
My business does not define my life or who I am as a person. However, I do define my business, and I need it to be something that fits like a favorite pair of jeans. I spend 20-40 hours a week of my life investing in my work and I need it to be a place that feels personal, that feels like home.
That is why I finally felt called to reinvent my business with a personal brand.
This is who I am; this is my family; this is my life that I love; these are my values; here is my God who I believe in; this is my mission. This is what I want to portray in my business and in my every day.
I know that personal branding doesn't make sense for everyone, and in every situation - but it made sense for me in my life and my business.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
I want the women who visit this page to know and understand who they work with. I want them to know that I value their time, their families and their lives.
I want photographers to see and feel that I consider them as highly as they consider their own brides and grooms.
I want clients who purchase from my shop to know who they support, why it's important to me, and that I promise a quality product that I myself would use in my business.
I want the moms who come here for no other reason than to read my blog to know that they are not alone in this journey called motherhood, that I see them. That I know the days are long and the nights are short, but that they have a friend who understands.
I want the business owner who looks for education and advice to learn and find value. I have been where they stand, I have seen the early mornings and sleepless nights, trying to bring a business to life while still working a full-time job and raising a family. I know that pain, frustration, and the desire to quit over and over again. Ps - Don't quit, you're almost there.
"The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up." John w. maxwell
So what does creating a personal brand mean for my business exactly?
It means that you'll see more of this. You'll see more real life, less forced business. It means that I'll be open and honest with you about what works and what doesn't. It means that you'll see more of my every day, my husband, my daughter. It means that I'm inviting you into my home, my log cabin, to sit down at our less than perfect kitchen table and to chat over a cup of coffee. It means that you'll see more relaxing evenings on my front porch, sipping a glass of wine, and talking about motherhood. It means that I'm more than just a photo editor, I'm also a woman who loves to cook (slowly improving) and I can't wait to share a new favorite recipe with you because I know how tough it is to be a working mom and I want to lend a helping hand whenever and wherever I can. It means that you'll see me go through those seasons where I want to be on top of the world with my business and those where I want to just slow down and rest. You'll see the imperfections, you'll see what it looks like to a work from home wife and mother. And the next time we schedule a video consult to talk business, or editing, you won't be surprised to see that I'm sitting on my front porch rather than in my office (where I truly spend very little time.)
It means I'm giving you more of me. I'm giving you my time. I'm excited to get to know you better and share with you this life, story, and business that I have worked so hard to build.
“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless. "My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action." Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is "T-I-M-E.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?
Thank you to Summer Kellogg of Summer Kellogg Photography for these beautiful, perfect memories for us to share with those we love.