battle burnout

Break Rules and Make Mistakes (Battle Burnout)

This post is for me. A reminder. A battle cry. But I would love it if you’d check it out and share your thoughts anyway, maybe you can relate. Maybe you’re self-employed too, or maybe you’re just hustling towards a goal that still seems lightyears away. Sometimes days hit me like quicksand. Pulling myself up and getting the momentum required to tackle the to-do list can be hard. It’s really a lot like the motivation to work-out. Putting on the running shoes, rolling out the yoga mat, or getting to the gym is the hardest part. Once you start it’s easier to get going. Interestingly, these two topics are pretty intertwined for me, if I can get myself to the gym I can usually get myself to the office. Today I’m talking about how to battle burnout. Typically at this point and on this subject I would head into themes like gratitude and mindset. However, today I’m actually going to encourage you to break rules and make mistakes.

business motivation business survival

Perhaps you’ve heard some of the stats on business survival rates. “About two-thirds of businesses survive 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and one-third will survive 10.” (Check out more small business stats.) I know that when I first heard that, or something like it, I vowed to make it to the final third. We’re sitting here entering our 8th season as photographers and I’m excited to see what the next few years throws at us. Some of the known challenges and barriers are things like cash flow, health insurance costs, customer spending, and uncertainty. Cash flow was something that we got under control early on by following strict budgeting and ensuring we had retained earnings to handle the inconsistency of income. I know that the state of health insurance isn’t helping especially since dealing with that has nearly become a full-time job for Marc when he should be focusing on his photography work. Customer spending is definitely a tricky one because as technology advances, photography gets easier making for a more competitive landscape. For some people that means hiring a friend, amateur, or price shopping professional photographers might all be viable options.

battle burnout


Don’t misread the above paragraph for doom and gloom. Yes, I’m a little pissed about how long it took Marc to sort out the health insurance mess. And sure, it’s frustrating to have leads move forward with photographers who are less expensive especially when I can’t compete on price. At the same time, I see other clients highly valuing their photography, I see photographers who are able to provide something unique that allows them to charge high-end prices. If anything most of the challenges and barriers to succeeding in photography business are actually just pointing to ways to run a successful business. Things like good time and money management. Things like offering unique value and exceptional service to our clients. The challenge I want to focus on today is actually uncertainty.

Me, I’m not a risk taker. Not naturally. The idea of not knowing where the next job is coming from scares me. The unsteady and inconsistent income is terrifying, especially now that I have a kid. The main reasons that I’ve survived this long are that I have an awesome partner and I try stay present. For a planner like me, staying present is really hard. Worrying about the future is way easier! This post from fstoppers is worth checking out on the subject of helping your photography business thrive, especially the part about uncertainty. Uncertainty is a part of this life no matter how I try to deny it or fight it. There’s also a little faith involved in “knowing” that we’re going to survive the year. It’s the things I discussed above than help you keep the faith. Have a strong budget, a good business plan, manage your time, and have some good techniques to stay motivated and battle burnout.

the easy answers

It’s that time of year where we’re in a wedding season lull so we’re not as busy as we are in mid-summer or early fall. It’s a blessing because we get to work on personal projects, visit friends, and make some time for otherwise neglected tasks. I was always frustrated by the idea that a job could consistently fit into a 40 hour work week especially when experience showed me that it couldn’t. Some days are just busier than others. If we need to hustle and work overtime when we’re swamped then we should be able to take a day off when we’re not. However, as much as I believe it’s important to take a day off to ski or reconnect with your spouse, it’s the lulls that allow us the opportunity to work on things that will help our business grow rather than always just putting out fires.

So, put your running shoes by your bed at night because that will make it easier to head out on that run first thing. Do the equivalent thing that will help you get going on the important projects that will grow your business and keep you passionate about what you do. The easy answers, which aren’t actually easy, involve things like time-blocking and goal-setting. It’s important to exercise and eat right. If you haven’t tried it, meditation or gratitude practices can do wonders for moving you towards success. Set up your environment, clean your desk, and play inspirational music. And then… break rules and make mistakes.

break rules

break rules and make mistakes

For me, all of the advice above is fine and good but when I really need a jump start I need more than routine and good habits. I need passion and love. I think that because I’m not a natural risk taker it’s precisely the risks that make my heart pump a little faster. Marc is much more inclined to break rules than me. He seems to think that sometimes rules get in the way. I appreciate that he acknowledges that some rules have purpose and are there for a reason, but when a rule isn’t there for a reason he’s not one to blindly follow it. Innovation and creativity require abandonment of rules, and sometimes I wonder if success does to. After all, I can’t seem to find a clear recipe for success. Rather I believe we have to hunt and dig for success. Throw in a pinch of fight and a dash of “maybe this will work.” Check out these 20 Reason to Break Rules, to see what I mean. We wouldn’t be where we are today if we had played it safe. Self-employment isn’t the safe choice. We’re way off trail, deep in the woods, and ready for danger and adventure. Think of the rewards if we get to our destination!

How else do we differentiate ourselves from everyone else out there trying to do their own thing? Actually “do your own thing.” Make your own rules, take risks, do things that scare you and make your heart skip a beat, and make mistakes because once you do you can move forward and learn. Let go of “this is the best way” or “everyone is doing this” or “we’re supposed to do that” and grab on to the scary stuff. The things that make you nervous, the things that seem out of bounds. Be afraid, but don’t let fear stop you. Make mistakes, but don’t let them slow you down.

So how do we battle burnout?

Embrace the uncertainty, turn challenges into opportunities, and realize it’s not just about burnout… it’s about survival. How bad do you want it?

I’m sure there’s a boss somewhere waiting to tell you what to do if you don’t.

Go get em!

Thanks for taking the time to be here, we hope these thoughts make a difference in your day! If you enjoyed this post, check out more of our thoughts on building a life and a business. Be sure to join our newsletter below to keep up with fresh content and let us know what you want to hear.

We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in outdoor weddings and other adventures. Capturing people in nature and the mountain lifestyle is a passion that became a dream that became a life.

Based in Evergreen, CO we travel throughout the state as Colorado mountain and adventure wedding photographers. We also frequently travel to California and other wedding destinations to document your love in a variety of memorable settings. Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

In the meantime, remember to…

love adventurously bergreen photography

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