This past week I found myself thinking a lot about the pace in which the business is growing and the pace in which I perceive  other businesses growing... which I always think is way faster then mine, haha. ;)  Most of the time when I find myself in a slump or questioning how fast I should be going, it's because I'm spending too much time comparing my journey with someone else. There are other photographers out there doing more, creating more, creating faster, having better ideas, implementing their ideas faster... you get the idea. 

Comparison is the thief of joy.
That quote is so applicable for me. The minute I start comparing myself to others, the minute I forget about everything Jesus has done for me, the way He is growing the business, and all the things that make me and the business unique... that is when I start to feel lost. That is when I start to feel that I am not enough. Comparison is the thief of joy. To compare ourselves to others is to try to take away everything about us that is unique. 

When I find myself comparing my journey to others, a part of me suddenly feels the urge to hustle, to create more, to create faster, and to spend more energy on creating "extras." Have you noticed there are a lot of businesses offering extras... more freebies, more products, more offerings. There isn't anything wrong with offering extras. Extras are great, I keep thinking of extras I would like to offer, haha! But because I am a team of one, offering extras just isn't an option without other areas of the business suffering. And if there is one thing I have learned through all of this, it's to provide quality over quantity and to genuinely care for my customers and clients. 


So what do I do when I feel like I'm starting to veer off track and feel the urge to hustle? What happens when I start looking to the left and the right, instead of keeping my eyes focused on Jesus? I think about the type of business Jesus has given me to steward, the type of business He inspired me to create. This business is meant to care for and serve others and the best way I'm able to do that right now is through creating quality styled stock photography. A part of me wishes I could do more, but another important component of this business model is for it to function minimalistically. I knew it was important for the business to be simplistic and clear. I wanted you to know exactly what you were getting right when you popped on to the Elah Tree site. 


What I love about list making is that we are able to clearly see what is best for the business and what we should be working on next. I know that creating quality styled stock photos are important for the business because I'm still getting my name out there. Plus, the more styled stock photos I create, the stronger I become as a photographer. The more styled stock photos I create also provide more variety for customers. Getting everything out on paper really allows us to see what's a priority and what's a distraction. There have been plenty of times where I have had an idea or I thought I needed to add extra offerings. When this happens I write everything down and allow myself to process it. I'll come back to it a few days or even weeks later and usually by then I'll know whether or not it's something I want to implement. A lot of times I'll decide that the idea isn't a good fit or it's just a distraction, or it needs to be saved for later. 

For example, I have really been wanting to create instagram story templates and quote mockups. I think these would be super fun and great offerings. These aren't bad things to offer, but they aren't what's best for the business right now. These are ideas I'm saving for later.

I’m always fighting the fear of being left behind. Fearing everyone will race past me.

One thing I think we all struggle with as online business owners is the constant bombardment to to do or be more. I know this is one of my main struggles because I always feel like I'll be left behind. Remembering the quality of the craft I offer and staying focused on the customer helps to keep me on track. In the end, after I've processed everything, written everything down, even had a mini freak out, I know it's all about keeping my eyes focused on Jesus. It's my job to show up, work hard, and steward the business for His kingdom, He does all the rest. 

Have you found yourself in this same place? Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by all the things other people are doing and fearing that you'll be left behind as other businesses grow around you? If you are there, find comfort in the fact that you are not alone. I'm right there with you. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. xoxo. Samantha