I remember when I first found Jasmine Star‘s blog, and started reading about her adventures in becoming a cultural phenomenon (well, technically a wedding photographer). I was hooked immediately for lots of reasons, but what I still can’t get over is how much she shares. Like seriously, forget business school and just start on page one of her original blog and work your way through. The highs, the lows, the mistakes and successes, the lessons and the tips. It’s all there.
This philosophy of sharing seems to come so naturally to her, but for me it was completely new. I’d never seen anyone approach business the way I thought of business. Normally it’s all cut throat and secrets under lock and key and sharing anything with people who could potentially be competitors is considered to be the kiss of death. All the reasons I never wanted to go into business, because for me it is personal and I don’t like making enemies.
This week I’ve been floating on cloud nine, because two different days I woke up to comments on my blog from two of my favorite photographers, Mary Marantz (of Justin & Mary) and Katelyn James. For some reason, they just decided to take a minute and say hi. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Um, Ashley, you’re just a gal with a nice camera and some crazy aspirations…why on earth would either of those industry giants bother even knowing your name?” To which I would respond, “Yea, that’s precisely what I’ve been thinking all week.”
These two ladies really have no idea how much their little comments have meant to me. All it took was a few seconds and a couple of extra keystrokes (and somehow coming across my page, which I’m still not sure how that happened), but what they’ve done is so much more. They’ve inspired me. They’ve encouraged me. They didn’t try to intimidate me or tell me to go back to my day job or treat me like a fool for hoping that one day I could possibly be in their shoes. Nope. They just showed a little love, and you know what? It didn’t cost them any customers, not one sale or any market share. But it did get them both another lifelong fan.
To Jasmine, Katelyn & Mary, thank you for raising the bar on the industry and for using your experiences and your success to encourage others. If only we could all do business this way.