Posted by: draknor | December 5, 2011

A Tough Week in Review

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve not been keeping up with either my blog posts or my tweets.  I want to say I’m still working on figuring out routines, but that’s kind of a lie.  It’s more from not consciously following my routines (and then improving upon them).  Sometimes I stay up late then sleep in; sometimes I just don’t feel like doing the morning routine I’ve tried to establish.  But something’s not working, since it feels like I’ve had a tough week or so.

First, I had some fillings replaced back before Thanksgiving, and my jaw/temple has been sore ever since.  I suspect I’m clenching my jaw at night.  I went back to the dentist a week ago & the filed down one of the fillings that had been a bit high, but the soreness in my temple hasn’t gone away.  It’s lessened a bit now, a week later.  But still not back to normal.

Last week was rough with my workout plan — Monday I stalled again on the overhead press and barely got through my squats (at 215 lbs) and deadlift (at 245 lbs).  Wednesday was an utter failure.  I couldn’t do my squats at 220 lbs. In fact, I failed twice  — sinking down into the squat position & then not able to get back up. (Of course, I’m using a squat rack so the bars catch the weight.)  And had a couple of reps with really poor form that really stressed my back.  I moved on to the bench press and barely got through one set of 5 reps of 150 lbs.  Failed on the second set. Now keep in mind, two weeks ago I did 5 sets of 5 reps at 145 lbs, so 150 lbs shouldn’t have been such a struggle.  I didn’t even bother trying barbell rows — my back wasn’t ready for it.

So I skipped my Friday workout, and I think I’m going to skip this week. My low back’s been tight all weekend and is still tight this morning.  I’ll give my body some recovery time, and then when I get back to the gym next week I’m going to de-load every exercise by 10%.  I think I’m pretty much at my current physical limits now with these weights, so progress from here on out will be slower & more difficult to achieve.

On the business side of things, I met with a real estate agent last week in person to pitch my service – David Phoenix Photography – and chat about her experiences with professional photographers.  Got some great feedback on my sales flyer — in trying to show agent’s amateur photos vs my professional photos, I made the presentation too subtle & she thought the  agent photos were mine!  Yikes — definitely not what I want!  So, some redesign work to do there.  I’m also working on my website and have been getting frustrated with building it in WordPress;  the design & layout I want to do is not really what WordPress was designed for.  I’m going to make it work for now, and probably re-implement later in Drupal or something, but its taking a fair bit of time.

On the positive side, I made my first income as a real estate photography! I had invoiced my first agent two weeks ago for a shoot, and when I met with him late last week he paid me in cash! Woohoo!  Now I feel better saying I’m a “professional photographer”, since I’ve officially been paid 🙂

It’s difficult trying to balance where to focus in business.  Flyers, websites, etc — those are important for marketing.  But at this stage of the game, I need personal contacts and “face time” to meet agents, to start building a rapport and relationship.  Time spent creating relationships is much more likely to generate these early results.  But that’s also more scary!  It’s easy to sit alone in my messy home office & play in MS Publisher or WordPress.  But that’s not what I’m going to get paid for.  The first agent I worked with paid me for my great photos, not because I had a nice brochure or flashy website.

I had coffee this morning with another small business owner — Matt of Frogbox. He opened the Madison franchise in September of this year and is really working on getting name & brand awareness.  We chatted a lot about marketing efforts, small business challenges and advice he’s gotten from other franchises.  Talking with him was really invigorating for me — helps me to realize I need to have a circle of people who are in a similar position; small business owners, people just starting out, following their passion — to share support & encouragement.

I started out this morning not feeling to particularly motivated to do anything. In fact, I secretly hoped Matt would email & cancel our coffee meeting, so I could crawl back in bed.  But I’m glad that didn’t happen — now I feel energized & motivated again to keep pursuing my goals.  It’s good to have those kind of recharges! And to figure out how to build those into routines so you can come to rely on them.  Challenges, challenges!