Pursuit 31 is based on the Proverbs 31 woman who also had it all. In the days of no laundry machines, no less!
It was founded in the Spring of 2011 by Karen Stott out of her struggles and the need for a community like this… Here is her story.
Bio 1 ~
I have been a full time photographer/ mom/ wife for the past 6 years. At first I refrained from calling myself a full time photographer because I did have so many other things tugging at me for my time. However when it came down to it and I calculated out just how much time was going into my photography business, I quickly realized. Yes. I do run a Full Time photography business. The catch is… when normal people have a 9-5/40 hour workweek to fulfill their full time work duties… I probably have around 15. And most likely it looks like this… an hour during naptime… 3 hours after the kids go to sleep and before I go to sleep….. 30 minutes while hubby is in the shower and so on…. 15 hours yes. But all jumbled up in the middle of what I call the working from home nightmare. It took a few years. But soon I realized that I was not cut out for this chaotic lifestyle. I was miserable. My kids became extra needy and my husband was resenting the time I spent on my business. It was not working. The stress in our household made me resent my camera as well. I hated my computer, stopped answering client calls and went into shut down mode. I began to miss my pre-business owner life. The one where I had coffee with friends. Went on dates with my husband. And actually had time for myself. I had hit the bottom. And I wanted out.
During this time the Lord began to show me that my camera was just an instrument. It was just a door that would open up my life to a deeper calling. If I would just surrender. It wasn’t really photography that I had began to hate. It was the fact that it was overtaking my life. Things HAD to change. I decided to start over from scratch. This time, the Lord was going to build it all. I had to let go of everything to actually find who I was supposed to be. Over the next few months He highlighted my specialty, He helped me build my brand and HE aligned my schedule and helped me prioritize. It’s been almost a year now and I sit here looking back almost baffled at all the Lord has done. My business has been restored to something I love, thrive at and it actually blesses our family. My children are happier and more fulfilled knowing that they are a priority over my business. My friendships have been challenged but risen above it in the end. I have found out who my real friends are and who will fall when things get tough… And I’m okay with that. The road ahead will need committed friendships and I feel blessed knowing who those are now.
The most amazing part however is that Isaac and I are at a completely different place.. The stress, anxiety and frustration that used to fill our home has been replaced with praises to our King, contagious laughter and doe eyed flirting. It is unbelievable. Our marriage has never been more full of life, and love and fire. I just feel like a lovesick bride again and it’s been amazing. And that’s what happens… That is what can happen when we take our crumbled up messy life and surrender it to Him. He can make the broken pieces into an amazing new person. An amazing new life. He did that for me. And I know that His heart is crying out for the chance to do it for you.
Bio 2 ~
I can’t even really remember not having a passion for photography. At the age of 8, I remember begging my mom for a pink Barbie 110 camera I saw at the store. Elated when I received it, I began taking pictures immediately and lived for the days that we got were able to buy more film! However, even though photography always seemed to be a part of my life, it took on a whole new meaning after the birth of our first child in 2005. I mean, I became obsessed. Literally a camera-crazy mom following my child around at every second to capture the crinkled noses and happy giggles that filled our days. My family and friends noticed that I had an eye for it and soon began recruiting me for their own family pictures. I was in love at first click. Seriously. Taking photos for other people was amazing. Fulfilling. And …..Addictive! It started taking more time and I began wondering if I could possibly make money doing what I love.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a mom and a wife. It is what gets me out of bed each morning (literally) and what keeps a skip in my step. It is my dream come true. But with that being said, I also found a part of me slipping away. You know, the part that actually showers and puts on nice clothes and does her hair. The part that still knocked my hubby’s socks off and had extra money to surprise him with things. I missed that. And yes, I know that peanut butter covered sweats and the smell of spit up can have a certain appeal to them, (especially to amazing daddies like my hubby), but I kinda had dreams for more. And something inside me didn’t want to let that go.
Over the next few months, I was photographing as much as I could, reading manuals and books, scouring forums, and emailing established photographers to try and gain some sort of knowledge. I felt a little like I was continually hitting shut doors. The forum I was on was extremely clique-ish and it was hard to find encouragement there. The photographers that I had contacted didn’t even reply, and again I was left to find things on my own. I’ve always been fairly stubborn, so as much as this kind of hurt my feelings, I had to keep going. Shortly before my daughter turned one, I filed with the state and started my business. It was an extremely scary time. I was nervous about failing and what people would think. I was scared to tell my friends that I would now be charging them to take their pictures. I mean, who did I think I was? I can seriously remember the first time I uttered the words, “I’m a professional photographer.” Really? By what standards, I thought to myself. How can I really categorize myself as that? I mean, I didn’t go to school for it, so I couldn’t say that….Right? Wrong. I was more than capable. God had given me a gift and it is He is who qualifies me, not a certificate from some school. The only problem with following my passion for photography is that I really, REALLY, loved it. And when I really, REALLY love something, I tend to whole-heartedly dive in. It took me some time before I noticed that my newfound passion was having negative effects on my family. Somehow in the process, I lost my priorities. Photography began running my life and filling every thought in my brain. It had taken over, and I needed my life back. My children hated the computer and would literally cry when I sat down at it. I found myself frustrated that I ‘couldn’t get anything done’ when really they should’ve been my priority. It seemed I was constantly having to prove to my husband that he was more important than my business, when really, my actions should’ve shown him. It had to change. I then found myself on a journey towards finding balance. Could I really have it all? Could I continue to follow my dreams and not sacrifice my family? I was about to give up completely and quit because I really felt like I couldn’t do it all anymore. It was then that the Lord brought me to Proverbs 31… yes.. cliche I know, but still, have you ever read something that you have read 100 times and all of the sudden something clicks? Well this was one of those moments. I started reading about this women that God gave us as an example and I was FLOOOORED. How did I never before realize that she was a business women? How did I never before see that she worked her little booty off!?!? I mean, buying a field and selling them? That sure sounds like business to me! It was that day that I realized I CAN do it all. I can WITH His help! Over the next several months my family and I set a course to getting our lives back in order. It took tweaking and tears and giving up things but it was SOOO worth it. We rebuilt the business with God as the foundation and the business manager and life has never been the same.
My family and I are now living proof that business & family can peacefully dwell together. With all parties happy, fulfilled, and actually ……..thriving. It is my passion to help you get your life back. You CAN have it all, and I, with His help, would love to help you get there. Pursuit 31 is based on the Proverbs 31 woman who also had it all. In the days of no laundry machines, no less! My heart is to continue pressing on towards being more and more like her, and I’d love it if you’d join me.
Your Sis in Him ~ Karen
My heart goes out to all of you who have big dreams and the passion to back it, but don’t know how to get there. It took me a long time, many tears, much confusion, and a TON of money to get me to where I am today. If I had only had someone to show me the ropes, answer my questions, and show me the way when I was starting out. I can’t even imagine how much money I would have in my pocket and how much heartache that would’ve saved me. Not to mention it would’ve made the road A LOT shorter! Pursuit 31 was designed for women who desire to run a successful photography business without having it take over your life. This retreat will give you support and encouragement, as well as tangible steps and business secrets to easily take you and your business to the next level.
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