My First Employee

My First Employee

When I started my little business 4 years ago, I never in a million years thought I’d be in this position. I thought I would always be scraping by and trying to make ends meet with my art. But I had a vision, and I never quite knew where that vision would lead. I had hopes and dreams and I tried as hard as I could. And then one day I woke up and realized that I had too much work piling up. This is a good thing, I would tell myself! But at some point, the idea of success outweighed the actuality of it. I pushed myself harder and harder because I set inconsequential deadlines for myself, and soon I found myself overworked.

Long story short, I absolutely hate the gratification of busy-ness. But what I do love is pursuing my passion as forcefully as I can without over-doing it. And so that brings me to this cross-roads in my life right now. I was working myself as hard as I could while staying healthy, following my dreams and passions, yet all the while I was letting people down. I would miss emails (and not just a few), and I would mismanage my calendar, and fail to print my images on time…and so on…(yes, the list is long). The fact is, I’m not going to be good at everything. And I realized that if I slowed down enough to manage the business that I had going to perfection, I would have an extreme lack of time to do what fulfilled me.

At the start of this year I was thinking all of these things to myself. I’ve wanted an employee for a long time but could never justify it…that is, until I realized that I could either spend more time doing what I’m not fond of doing, or I could hire someone who enjoys those things and focus on what I do love. With a little help I could focus more on what I love, and turn that into an even bigger business. So at the start of this year, when one of my best friends was visiting, we had a revelation.

She wanted to move. She wanted a new job. I had just settled in a new town and needed an employee. Despite being best friends for the last 12 years, we had only lived in the same town for 2 of those years. And, crazy enough, she was visiting me in order to assist at a retreat I was hosting. The pieces were there, and we discussed the possibility of her moving out to where I live to assist me. A huge life change. Just one of many we’ve talked about over the years. And I didn’t get my hopes up, because asking my best friend and her husband to move across the country to come work for me is ridiculous.

Or is it? She thought about it seriously. He seemed interested.

And then, just a few short months later, the decision was made. She packed up her apartment and made the move. It is perfect for both of us. It allows us to both do more jobs that we love, and to spend time together, and just be happy. Because what greater gift is there in life than happiness? And we can give that to ourselves.

So after 12 years of her being forced to hear lectures from me about just doing what makes you happy regardless of how difficult it seems, we both listened and we both moved forward together. And I can finally say, after 4 years of this crazy business moving forward, I’ve made another step toward my happiness and fulfillment. Please welcome Kelly, my new assistant and life long friend, who will be helping with everything from emails to workshops and beyond. She is incredible, and I say that wholeheartedly, as she is one of the people I most admire in the world, and I hope you will as well.

What is the most important thing you’ve done for your business?

From a trip to Yosemite…
…a drive through North Carolina…
…and a day in New York City!


23 thoughts on “My First Employee

  1. So happy for you Brooke!!!!! How wonderful to get to work with your best friend!!!!! What a dream!!!!! Welcome Kelly!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. So happy for you Brooke!!!!! How wonderful to get to work with your best friend!!!!! What a dream!!!!! Welcome Kelly!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo
    Maria Alman-Doten

    1. Awww thank you so much! We are over the moon about it and I’m so excited for the first time to not have to manage everything. I think it was starting to clog my brain a bit too much. <3 <3 <3

  3. Oh wonderful news Brooke! I’m really happy for you. When you believe in your dreams strongly enough, your dreams are becoming true

  4. Welcome to the Brooke Shaden Family… good job brooke you two are going to go very far.. not that you haven’t already.. but even farther.. can’t wait to see what adventures come your way next and more behind the scenes videos!

    1. Thank you Kevin, that means so much to me. I feel very grateful today for all of the changes happening and can’t wait to share more adventures!! Up next, a video about how to shoot underwater <3

  5. Congratulations! Having imployees is such a big dream for me. It will be a clear evidence that my business is thriving! Enjoy the not doing things you don’t like part!

    1. Hehe yes! I think I will enjoy that very much. There will be a big learning curve I think, not just for her to figure out my strange system but also for me to actually stop doing those things! xo

  6. How wonderful and exciting for the both of you! I love it when people get to do the things that they love!

  7. Ahh I’m so happy for you!! Working with friends is awesome. I’m so glad you get to do more of what you love.
    And HI KELLY!! <3

    1. Working with friends *is* awesome. I’ve been doing it ever since I started photography and its the only way to go 🙂

  8. The most important think I have done for my business is to believe in the value of my work product and to not sell myself short by asking for less than what I am worth. In the beginning it is hard because you walk a fine line between wanting to sell your work and get your name out there so and wanting to earn what you feel you are worth without scaring potential buyers off. You need to sit down and quantify all that you have put into not just one piece but what it has cost you along the way so you can begin to see the value in what you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth and when people try to get you to compromise on that value believe in yourself enough to say no, to stand up and have faith in yourself that you and your art are as valuable as the amount you ask for!!!

    1. Mary, what an amazing thing to do – to understand your worth and tell other people with confidence. That is what so many people are missing I believe. Self confidence breeds more confidence.

  9. So excited for the two of you! I know you have both have wanted this to come to fruition and seeing it finally happen is wonderful. 🙂

    1. Thank you Kristin! Yes, that retreat was the first time we even discussed it, so this is super exciting for us. So glad to know you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *