Hey, Mom, My Business Will be OK. Promise.

Dear Mom,

It’s Sunday morning and I can't shake the urge to write you.  JD and Polo are sleeping next to me and the sky is gray.  I’m writing because lately I’ve described your reaction to my business decisions as confused.  Most of the time, I’ve resorted to simply saying, “Oh, my mom thinks I’m crazy,” but I don’t think that’s it.  At least not entirely.

Right now I’m working two full-time jobs.  I’ve tripled my workload, sleep less, and talk faster (because, well, talkingfastsavestime, obviously).  You call to ensure I’m eating right (yes, I know beans and rice solves any problem) and I’m praying enough, but I’m writing to explain where I am right now, so we can look back and know—precisely—when I was okay with uncertainty.

When I tell you about new business ventures, you immediately wonder about my photography career.  How many weddings will I shoot?  Will I still host photography workshops?  Will I be able to handle our mortgage?  When I don’t give clear answers, you place your thumb on your lip and nibble on your nail in consternation.  You’re worried, I can tell.


You’re the same kind of worried when I was eight years old and walked door to door in the neighborhood selling magazine subscriptions so I could earn redeemable points for a sleeping bag.  You watched from the porch, knowing few neighbors in the barrio were interested in GQ or Vogue magazines.  You agreed to walk with me as I sold magazine subscriptions in other neighborhoods and didn’t stop until I earned enough points.  Day after day, we walked.  When the sleeping bag arrived, you let me sleep in it for weeks in my bed.

You’re the same kind of worried when I worked two jobs in college and promised to earn straight A’s.  You placed your thumb on your lip, and said I shouldn’t worry.  I shouldn’t stress out.  When I graduated summa cum laude, you cheered from your wheelchair.  The chemotherapy made it hard to walk, but you were determined to see me cross the stage with my diploma in hand.

You’re the same kind of worried when I left law school to pursue this crazy dream of photography.  I didn’t have a camera, I didn’t have experience starting a business, but I was determined to try.

Today I’m writing to tell you I’ll be okay.  I have a year full of photographing weddings, and I’m still teaching, but the educational endeavors are expanding.  In addition to photography, I’m teaching entrepreneurs how to brand and market their businesses.  In some ways, it feels the same way it did selling magazine subscriptions.  I’m not sure if people are interested in what I have to say, but I’m determined to knock on enough doors until I meet my goal.  Why?  Because it’s the thing I do best.  I’m undaunted, mama.  I look at impossibilities and believe—deep in my heart—they are opportunities to shine, if I work hard enough.

Mom, I’d love for you for sit and watch me from this proverbial online porch.  I know you’re worried, but I’ll be okay.  Just smile, wave, and trust life will work out.  You raised a daughter who’s unafraid of risk, failure, and success.  For this, thank you.

I love you,