It's not business...it's personal | Austin Boudoir Studio

I tried to ride out the flood of New Year blog posts and really contemplate on mine (that, and give all my readers a chance to not be annoyed by so many New Year posts.) I'm not a New Year resolution girl.  It's now 2017, and I'm still the same girl that's making a giant pan of 5 cheese macaroni and cheese for lunch on January 2nd. 

I set my goals year round, I truly do. I set monthly goals for my business (which I'm really good at achieving), I set quarterly personal goals (THOSE sometimes...err...often fall behind...but I'm working on that), and I keep the most extensive and organized to-do list I've ever seen for every day tasks (though often forgetting to add things like "take a shower" and "work out").

One ongoing to-do list item I always keep at the top of my list is a reminder for me and it says "It's not business...it's personal."  If you've been following me for a long time, you may remember that my old photography website had that phrase written at the bottom of every single page. 

Obviously, this *IS* in fact a business, and I do operate it as such on most levels. But the one facet of my business that isn't business is ME. It's my relationships with my clients. It's my passion for my work. It's my love affair with the stories that each client tells me.  It's how seriously I take each and every customer's review of my services. It's my dedication to making sure that every person has the warm and fuzzies about their experience. It's my desire to continue to do something for a living that I'm SO passionate about without majorly sacrificing my time with my family. 

KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL is the reason I don't have a (probably much needed) large staff of additional photographers, virtual assistants to answer my emails for me, a sales person doing my photo reveals, and someone else running my social media accounts.  It's the reason that sometimes I rock a messy top knot that contains far more dry shampoo than hair.  I have had to actively try to keep it small. And to be honest, it's outgrowing me. It's become bigger than I can handle on my own with just myself and an assistant.  But like any business, I need to continuously adapt, and I will strive to do so while keeping.it.personal. 

While I most definitely have help, *I* am the only person that is fully invested in this business of mine. It's a part of me.  And in such an intimate line of work, I find it to be utterly important that you all get to know me. I want you to feel like you know me before you meet me. I want you to feel completely at ease, like you are working with an old friend.  I want to be the one to sit with you as you see your images for the first time and get all watery eyed. I want to be the one that gets more excited than you are to see your images blown up huge and hung on your wall.

Ok, ok, so maybe that makes me a wee bit selfish. But I genuinely feel the personal touch adds so much to the experience for my clients.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with not having a hands-on approach in many businesses. In fact, my apparel line Blonde Black and White is one that I dedicate about an hour a week to, I outsource just about every aspect. And my husband coincidentally just publicly announced yesterday that his fitness studio Heat Bootcamp is now officially a franchise.  There's most definitely a time and a place for expansion, but for Kara Marie Boudoir, that is not in the foreseeable future. 

Sometimes people will stop me in restaurants/grocery stores/coffee shops and say "HEY! I follow you on Instagram! I love your work!". I think "Who? ME!? You recognized ME!?!?!" *commence crawling into a hole in embarrassment and trying to remember what the last embarrassing thing I posted was...*  But then I realize that's a pretty awesome thing. I definitely put myself out there a little bit (lot bit) more than most other photographers. And I'm ok with that...in fact that's very intentional for all the reasons I've already listed. 

So, in 2017, I want to officially pledge my commitment to KEEPING.IT.PERSONAL. 

Thank you all SO, SO much for the most incredible year KMB has seen. Thank you for keeping me booked. Thank you for referring your friends. Thank you for every single "like" and Instagram comment. Thank you for understanding my mission to helping women feel a way they haven't felt in a long time (or ever). Thank you for your grace when I go a month without blogging because I'm swamped with edits. Thank you to each and every woman who has trusted me with their boudoir experience. I don't take the privilege lightly. 

I ADORE YOU. 

XOX

KARA MARIE

 

P.S. you're amazing | Austin Boudoir Studio

Yesterday I had the ultimate in lazy Sundays. My son's soccer tournament was cancelled...which is a good thing because I just so happened to have a raging hangover from an embarrassingly little amount of alcohol the night before (HELLLL-OOOO adulthood.), and it was cold and rainy. I worked from my laptop in bed all.day.long. and watched movie after movie. 

I probably wasn't mentally prepared to watch P.S. I love you in my current state, but I did. For some reason it resonated with me so much more yesterday than it did the first time I saw it nearly 10 years ago...before kids. There was a message hidden in there that I didn't pick up on the first time. 

For those of you aren't familiar, it's about a recently widowed woman Holly (played by Hillary Swank) whose late husband (Gerard Butler) left letters with her friends and family to be delivered to her intermittently after his passing to help her cope and move forward.  He challenged her even after he was gone. As you can imagine, it's emotional AF. 

In a really pivotal scene for me, Holly's mother (Kathy Bates)  says "Ohh how your father used to make me laugh..." and Holly responded by saying "I don't remember you laughing...". Mother, looking absolutely crushed says "Well that makes me sad. Because I did."   How many of us have lost so much of our young spirit because...well...life?! I know I have. I know that I don't laugh as much as I did before kids. I know that I'm far, FAR more serious now. And I know that I'm not alone.  We need reminded. 

Without giving away too much of the movie (if you haven't seen it, wait for a lazy Sunday, grab 6 boxes of tissues and a tub of ice cream and be prepared to cry it all out), it was one sentence in the final letter Holly received that drove the point home and had me ugly crying. You see, Holly, like so many of us women, lost a bit of her young free spirit. She got very serious over the years. The young woman who met the love of her life in a really adorable and quirky way on a winding road in Ireland while lost was actually the LEAST lost when she had no idea where she was. 

In his final letter to her, her late husband said "You see, I don't worry about you remembering me. It's that girl on the road you keep forgetting."  *ugly sobbing accelerates*

We.need.reminded.

If you hung in with me for that, you should get the correlation. That is my goal during your boudoir experience...to remind you. This experience isn't about the mom version of you, the wife version of you, the boss or employee version of you, the flat out EXHAUSTED version of you. It's about you...the WOMAN. 

Today we are hearing from Miss Z. A hardworking mom who, like most of us, needed a boost, and got it when she needed it the most. She was an absolute honor to work with, and when I received an email from her immediately after her session before even seeing the photos speaking of how great she felt, I knew my mission was accomplished. 

"Kara, you have a gift and it is so inspiring to see you use it to lift women up in a positive way. You make people forget about their body image and embrace beauty."

I hadn’t even seen my pictures and I didn’t care, it was so easy and fun and just what I needed.

"This has helped me regain some self-confidence and self-respect. I know it sounds silly but as women we don't see ourselves in the most positive light. Especially coming out of a situation where I was doubting the person I was."

"Thank you for being my silver lining in a time when I needed a boost the most! As I am writing this I have tears in my eyes because I don't think you and your team realize what you did for me. My pictures are stunning, I'm so incredibly happy with the results."

Rave reviews never get old. It reiterates to me (because, yes, I need self esteem boosts just like the rest of you!), that I am doing what I've always intended to do: Make women not only FEEL amazing, but make them realize that they ARE amazing. All the time. Boudoir photography can be categorized so many different ways...but for me it's about boosting confidence long-term. It's about self-appreciation. It's about self-acceptance. It's about being reminded of who you are as a WOMAN, not just a mom/wife/paycheck generator/exhausted human being.

Thank you, Miss Z, for sharing your experience and allowing me to remind you of your badassness. ;) 

DO YOU NEED REMINDED? I CAN HELP. LET'S CHAT, DAHHLING!

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