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The Story to Full Time: The Hustle

March 30, 2020

becca rizzo photography

If you’ve been following along, you know how it all started. But now we’re in the thick of it. This is the season of hustle and lessons learned.

In case you haven’t been reading The Story to Full Time, start with The Story to Full Time: The Beginning to see how Becca Rizzo Photography came to be.

Now we’re in the thick of it. This was my hustle season. This was the season for lack of better terms, I worked my booty off. I continued investing in education, investing in higher quality gear, second shooting any chance I got, learning from mentorships, and even shot a couple of weddings on my own for friends for close to nothing (humble beginnings, right?!) This season was SO worth it, but it did not come without its fair share of struggles.

becca rizzo photography

I am the first one to tell you things worth having don’t come easy. You have GOT to put in the work. Becca Rizzo Photography was no different. But there are some things I really struggled with and lessons I had to learn the hard way that I want to help prevent you from having to learn on your own.

Priorities and Balance. Like I said before, this was my season of hustle. Now I want to start off by saying I don’t necessarily think hustle is all bad. I really do believe you have to be willing to work hard for something worth having. But this was hands down the biggest thing I struggled with while working towards the goal of going full time. I was working 40 hours a week at my day job, then coming home to work on my business during the nights and weekends. The closest thing I had to a break was maybe my Sunday afternoon nap. I was so scared to slow down because of how badly I wanted my dream to come true. But this mindset led me to feeling overworked, stretched too thin and depleted. I didn’t really take any time for myself and I eventually lost track of why I had even started this thing in the first place.

Looking back, I would tell myself that it is okay to pause. It’s okay to rest. And it’s okay to have balance. Actually, it’s not just okay, it’s completely necessary.  If I would have believed that then, I would have saved myself from a lot of sleepless nights, anxiety, and breakdowns.

Looking back, I would tell myself that it is okay to pause. It’s okay to rest. And it’s okay to have balance. Actually, it’s not just okay, it’s completely necessary.

I know it’s not fun to talk about that stuff, but it is the real stuff. It’s the stuff I kept hidden from everyone with the exception of a handful of people. So please learn from me and know that as you work hard towards a goal, set some boundaries for yourself! Some boundaries I gave myself:

  • “Laptop closed” time
  • A bedtime
  • Blocking out days in my calendar ahead of time. I literally will write “DO NOT BOOK” on certain days of the year so I can remind myself to take days off.
  • Over time, I learned how much I could actually handle in a joyful way, not an overworked way. So once I reached my x amount of sessions/weddings per month, I considered that booked up and didn’t take anymore.
  • I shared my boundaries with my husband and closest friends so that when they saw me get off track, they could remind me of the boundaries I set for myself. (Full disclosure: I still have to do this!)

I know creating balance in your life is so hard. It also will look different from person to person, and from season to season. All in all, give yourself grace as you navigate this. But just remember you don’t have to earn rest, instead you should work from a place of rest. Once this clicks for you, it changes everything.

Just remember you don’t have to earn rest, instead you should work from a place of rest. Once this clicks for you, it changes everything.

Idolizing. One of the biggest things I struggled with putting my business on a pedestal. I viewed it as my “way out” of my frustrated, discontent, and unfulfilled self (see Part I) and my way into being complete. I thought:

  • “If I just go full time, I’ll be happy.”
  • “If I just go full time, I won’t struggle with discontentment.”
  • “If I just go full time, I’ll feel important and accomplished.”

But I was chasing the wrong thing. I was chasing this business that I thought would magically fix everything once I got to “the top.” What I had to continuously learn over and over again was that those voids in my life can’t be filled with my business. Sure, doing something you love can absolutely help. But my struggles ran much deeper. I had to get serious about doing the work on my heart instead of just trying to fill these so-called voids in my life with things I thought I wanted and needed. And if I’m being honest, starting a business doesn’t necessarily fill the voids, it only magnifies them…

But I was chasing the wrong thing. I was chasing this business that I thought would magically fix everything once I got to ‘the top.‘”

Comparison.Ironically enough in the beginning of all this, I was so confident. I mean, if you start a business you have to have some sort of confidence to think you can be successful, right? Well, talk about my issues being magnified…I started comparing myself like I’ve never done before. Somewhere along the way, I went from not caring at all what people thought about me to constantly wanting the approval of others. I wanted to be acknowledged and respected. I wanted to feel important and accomplished. I know a lot of people can relate to this, especially with everyone’s highlight reels being shared on Instagram and Facebook. It’s in your face all the time! The pretty pictures, number of bookings, nice houses, fancy trips. Everyone all of a sudden seemed so much further along in life and in business than I was. I went through phases where I didn’t feel good enough. And instead of cheering myself on, I became my biggest “mean girl.”

What I learned and what I still have to remind myself of is everyone is on their own path. My path is going to look different than yours. Your path will look different than mine. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay- it’s how it is supposed to be! My advice is when you feel yourself going down that spiral or needing the affirmation of others, take some time away from the screen and fill that time with something you know is good for your soul. Take a walk, go outside, spend time with Jesus, call a friend. Remind yourself you’re on your own path, and it’s a beautiful one no matter how seemingly messy it looks right now.

Remind yourself you’re on your own path, and it’s a beautiful one no matter how seemingly messy it looks right now.

Looking back on my journey, I love that it’s mine. I didn’t love all the parts of it at the time but I also learned so much not only about myself, but what successful and happy actually look like.

I hope that you take my story to heart. Learn from my struggles and take from it what you will. Just remember that whatever dream you have, it will come to fruition in due time. Don’t rush the process, but embrace it, and trust that God’s ways are always better than our own.

Stay tuned for Part III! The Story to Full Time: The Patient Pursuit

Part I: The Beginning
Part II: The Hustle
Part III: The Patient Pursuit
Part IV: Making It Happen

becca rizzo photography

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