Ask my family. Ask my best friend, Anne. I’ve always been selfish. Apparently I was bossy and selfish when I was a kid. Oh yeah, and did I mention vain? My sister gave me a card to congratulate me on getting my driver’s license that said, “Now you have another mirror to look in.” But I never thought I was vain, or selfish for that matter. I like to think of it as being motivated, goal-oriented, and a good leader. I’ve just been focused on whatever goal or direction I was headed toward.
I never really thought of myself as the suburban mother-of-two-type. I always thought I would be famous for something. But as I got older the path to parenthood just seemed like the next step. I never really even contemplated whether I wanted kids, at some point I just kind of knew I did. But how do you mesh the demands of parenthood with someone who is so inherently focused on themselves? It’s not easy. It’s hard for someone like me to take a step back in my career as my husband forges on, climbing higher and higher while I work fewer and fewer hours while still trying to build a photography business. But in some ways, it’s a relief to not be on that super-crazy career track and be in charge of how much I put into the business.
Being an entrepreneur in my world is different. I’ve hung up my “win, win, win” shoes and put on my “I’ll do my best” shoes. And that means that I work hard to develop my photography business but I’ve lost the edge that makes me want to do ANYTHING to be better. I won’t stay up all night to work on something, or get up at 5am to work out. I just have to do what I can reasonably do, and find a way to be okay with that. I set up my schedule so that if I’m not shooting I can pick up the kids from school and generally be around for them, while simultaneously working on my business. I get babysitters when I’m shooting and overall it’s working. The challenge is that my business is not a “side business” but I’m not devoting all of myself to it. I just can’t right now. It’ll grow. Probably slower than I want, but I’m okay with that.
Sometimes I feel like the amount of time and effort I put into building this isn’t worth the returns. Not yet anyway. But the alternative would be what? Being a stay-at-home mom? I wouldn’t be good at it. I would enjoy being able to work out and get all the house management things done that I constantly push off now. The house would be cleaner and maybe I’d even learn how to cook (doubt it). But I need to build something, work toward something, create something, OWN something.
My photography business allows me to build something and be in charge. Two things I love. I even try to involve my kids. I love how my kids sit on my lap and help me edit commenting on how I should “put the color back in that one” or how my 8-year-old says she has a crush on the muscles of one of the fitness models I photograph. It also allows me to control something when parenting is one big lesson in “here is something that you completely can not control.”
I share my excitement about building my business with my kids. I tell them about projects I’m working on. And I also tell them how lucky they are that I have a flexible work schedule and that I’m around when many parents are not.
I don’t think that everyone who wants to work is selfish. There are a lot of reasons for wanting to work – and for most people, it’s not even a choice. To even have that choice is a tremendous luxury. In my head, it’s not even a choice for me. I always want to be prepared to take care of myself and my family if I needed to. So I’m working toward that, doing the best I can.
I am a Headshot, & Commercial Photographer in the Northern NJ / NYC area. My previous corporate marketing career and MBA allow me to approach commercial photography projects from a unique perspective. I meet clients in their world and interpret their practical needs through my vision. I provide actors, musicians and models with unique headshots capturing their essence. I am an emotional photographer, meaning, I am most concerned with the emotion and character that I’m capturing. Plus, I’m fun and professional and people like to hang out with me.
For actor, musician and model headshots, my style is very relaxed and fun. I want to portray you as who you really are and allow you to engage with your audience through my camera.
Follow Yasmeen on the Web: