For the last few months, we have been really working our butts off. That is, compared to what we have managed to do in the past years. We shot more than 500 new stock images within a bit more than a quarter of a year, most of them are already processed, keyworded and uploaded. We have built a website for selling images directly (which frankly does not work out financially at all). We have re-keyworded almost a thousand images and uploaded them on almost a dozen new sites, all having their own requirements. We have started another website for a local contract business. We have started initiatives to find new models. And just these days we have re-arranged our apartment where we live and work with additional storage space for studio equipment, props, clothing. And I’m writing a blog article every now and then – but that is probably mostly a carthasis rather than actual work.
If you know us more closely, you also heard that we had some financial struggles over the past years – obviously mainly our own fault for planning wrongly but it is quite hard to keep up with the people around you and raise three kids. We have cut our rent by almost half, moving into a new place that combines living and working environment instead of having an external studio. We have just paid off a loan we had taken up for a new computer (the 6 year old iMac was not up to dealing with masses of new high-res images anymore). And when we had settled in at our lower costs, my day job was moved to a different country, so the more reliable half of our monthly income was gone. Still, we are getting closer to an even bottom line, paying off debts month by month and trying to reduce our costs to the minimum (while trying to maintain at least bits of our lifestyle).
But there is a certain limit we seem to have hit now – all of what we have done, all we have to worry about is taking up huge amounts of energy. It is really hard to keep a little piece of creativity alive while you keep worrying how to pay the bills. Making plans for new shoots are always a struggle because it is so hard to predict what will be going on in three weeks with kids around. And if enough money is coming in next month to pay the models you planned for.
Also, with three kids, there is no (or hardly no) relaxation on weekends or vacations. I am so grateful that we have arranged for a week off just for ourselves in June as the grandparents are taking care of our little guy while the two big boys are with their father during that week. It will probably be the only week for us this year to lean back and do something for ourselves. So anyone blaming us for being lazy at other times probably does not have three kids and a business. Usually Monday through Friday between 8am and 4pm are the only times when the kids are at school and child care, so for us the only time to lean back and take a breath.
Anyways, we need a break. Every now and then. Sometimes a short one, sometimes a bit longer. I really wonder how other people are dealing with all these issues. Please share your own stories, experiences, ideas if you have any. Maybe there is something we can learn from you.