Messing up and fixing mistakes...

I have had my first big mess up as a business owner. What a hard thing to type. :( So I am going to be very vulnerable in this blog which makes me super uncomfortable. You see I am an ultra perfectionist. I’d like to think that I do not make mistakes and even through the few I make (see what I just did there ;)) the part I really despise is admitting to my mistakes. I loath others to know when I make mistakes and even harder is admitting it to myself. I really beat myself up when I make a mistake…always have. I ponder and dwell on the error for days and sometimes weeks. There are mistakes I can remember from many years ago, times when I wasn’t the nicest person to someone, car wrecks, mistakes I made as a nurse (none of which caused harm btw), that if I think of it, even years later, my stomach churns and this huge sense of dread and guilt bubbles up. And I’ve had that feeling all night and woke up with it this morning.

So what happened you ask….I scheduled a session, told my client when to meet me, only to realize (only after being reminding by the park ranger) that the park closed 15 minutes after our scheduled time. Now this was only supposed to be a mini session which means the whole session generally lasts 20-30 minutes and I deliver somewhere between 10 and 20 images. Time wise, it wasn’t that far off from what was to be expected, but this was a special family and in my opinion couldn’t have happened to any one worse.  

Stephen and I are in a networking group together called BNI. BNI is all about building relationships with other business owners so that you can refer business to one and other. The whole premise of BNI is “Givers Gain”. You get to know your fellow members and trust that they do great work in their industry. As a BNI member, I look for opportunities to refer business to my fellow chapter members and know that they do the same for me. Stephen owns a home inspection company called Levelfooting Home Inspections here in Summerville. He does great thorough home inspections and has inspected some of Kevin and I’s investment properties prior to purchasing them. Stephen and his family have been to our home for birthday parties and they are really just great people.

I was so excited because he approached me several weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in doing a special session for his wife, Andrea, and daughter Stella. He said that they had not had any professional photographs taken since she was pregnant with their daughter (which was nearly 3 years ago) and just wanted to do something special for his wife. How sweet is this ladies?!? At first he was gonna keep it a surprise, but then ended up telling Andrea about it so I started working with Andrea to plan the session.

Andrea chose the only “urban area” I knew of in this area and it has traditionally been used by many of the local photographers here in Charleston. However, 4 days before their session, another local photographer was kicked out of that area during a session and told she was not allowed to be there. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to using a different location than the typical parks, beaches, and downtown locations that are so popular here in Charleston. But the thought of getting kicked out of a location when I had clients with me terrified me! So a few days before the session, we switched plans and locations. I timed the session based on sunset so we could get those dreamy “golden hour” images and assumed that the park closed at dusk like so many parks around here do.

So we met at 5:45 pm which is about an hour before sunset. I always start my sessions my meeting up with my families and talking to the parents, messing with the kids, just to set the tone and help loosen everyone up. This session was no different, I was in no hurry as I thought I had a hour! We had jut gotten to the spot where I wanted to start taking photos. I had taken about 15-20 images and here come the park ranger reminding us that the park closes in 5 minutes. 5 freaking minutes! OMG!

This was my chance to prove to Stephen how awesome I am as a photographer and I feel like I failed miserably. This is not the experience that I wanted Stephen and Andrea to have. It was rushed, it was hectic, it just was not a normal representation of me or my business and I deeply regret my mistake.

So in the rare event I make a mistake….(if you could hear me say this you would hear sarcasm), I always try to use it as a learning opportunity. Even though I may not like to admit it, I make mistakes and I make them often. There I said it! I am no different than anyone else. I make mistakes! As an admitted mistake maker, I think the best thing to do is own the mistake. And as hard as it is, admit the mistake and do not make excuses. I messed up. I should have known that park closed at 6 o'clock and I didn’t. No excuses, I just didn’t verify the details like I should have.

So now as a business owner, I have a unique opportunity to try to win back the trust of Stephen and Andrea I was so hoping to gain. If they are game, they are going to get another session, this time on me; a longer, better session, in a better location.

I am going to wait to post this blog until I can post some of their images with it (because yes, I still was able to get some good ones!). Enjoy the images from this ultra short session and I look forward to showing you more when I get a session redo!