February 21, 2023

Breaking out of my comfort zone and cultivating growth as a new small business

personal growth, business growth, photography business

The post-holiday months in the colder climates can be slow for a portrait photographer. I’m in mid-Michigan and we have no shortage of cold, gray days.  It is still my first year of business and I know I have a lot to learn. So I am using the down time to find new ways to nurture both my personal and professional growth and generate meaningful relationships along the way. 

Whether you're here because you are navigating something similar or to learn more about me, I hope there is something here for you to take away. My intention here is self discovery and understanding how I can best grow my business and thoughtfully serve my community. 


When you run your own business, solo, I think personal and professional growth go hand in hand. I have lived in the Lansing area for just over three years (which in covid-era timeline, that’s just just over a year!), so I am just recently beginning to learn how to network and reach out into the physical world since living in a new area and starting a new business. I consider myself introverted around most people, so it can be very challenging to relay the value of your product when you struggle with shining any sort of light on yourself. 

It’s hard to explain - maybe you can relate - I KNOW my work carries an extraordinary amount of value, but when it comes to explaining that to others, I fall short. My photos are beautiful, the people will find me, so all that I have to do is take photos and the rest will follow, right?  I wish it were that easy! 

I want my work to convey honesty and vulnerability. In turn, I must continue to be honest and vulnerable. So rather than gloss over the grit, and put on  a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ grin, I feel better about opening up about my need and desire for growth in my business and personal journey. 

How will I do that?

By existing outside of my comfort zone. 


My first step has been to extend my social circle. As I mentioned before, I am an introvert. Conversations with strangers are exceptionally difficult for me. In the past month I have done two things to extend outside of my social comfort zone. 

The first:  I joined a book club aimed at self exploration and self awareness. I was so nervous before the meeting but I LOVED IT! It felt good to open up with others that I had never met. I am really excited for the next book and meeting. 

If you can find something like this in your area I highly suggest it! If you can’t, it might be worth trying to start one on your own!

The second thing I did outside of my social comfort zone was attend a local networking event for small businesses.  I had NO IDEA that so many of these things existed and how many resources there are for local small businesses and business start ups. Despite what some people may tell you, there are A LOT of people in your community who are there to help you succeed! 


My next step is to put more context to my website, besides just photos.  It is important for my business to fulfill some sort of purpose to me and to my community. I haven’t figured out what that exact purpose is (beyond providing amazing photos!). It is more than just pretty pictures, so here I am: blogging. I have never given blogging a second thought, but the more research I did regarding growing a small business and the more sense it started to make. To know me is to know Maris k photo. To know the value of my product is to understand me and my commitment to this journey.

What will I blog about? Ooof. Good question! I may jump around between sharing favorite photoshoots and just rambling about my journey. I am open to suggestions if you want to send me a message. I am all about exploration and understanding all that I can. 


Our lives are in information overload so I appreciate you sticking it out and reading this.

Sending you warmest regards,


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I would love to hear from you if you have any questions, comments or any feedback or just want to say HI!