Goodbye 2014; Hello 2015

Christmas treeNew addition for 2014

I don’t use the word “blessed” very much, but that’s exactly how I felt this past year. Some years are just a string of days, highs and lows, but nothing earth shattering. My life, however, has been all about big changes. In 2013 I went from Miss to Mrs. I had the best vacation of my life with my new husband. Between planning a wedding, working full time, and going to school at night, I was stretched to the max. I was quite sure 2014 would slow down and let me catch my breath.

I was very wrong. Some time early last year my husband was offered the opportunity to open a new office for his company. While I always knew I wanted to move, Texas was never on my list. I always pictured leaving the South and taking up near the West Coast. However, the opportunity was simply too good to pass up. Houston is a big city. I can work with that I thought.

Houston pleasantly surprised me. Honestly, it’s not so different from Atlanta. I live in a dense area with tons of retail. Good and bad. I love being connected. I can easily zip around town to my different photography gigs. With that, of course, comes the horrible traffic. I’m definitely not a shopping/mall person either so that’s just wasted on me. The diversity has been one of the most refreshing aspects of moving here. Who would have thought a city in Texas would consist of about half minorities? (1.3% Indian… represent!) The majority of people I’ve met have been so nice! I would say that’s probably the biggest difference from Atlanta. The professional contacts I’ve made definitely stand out to me, but it’s also the small daily encounters. Friendly waitresses and cashiers, for instance, just make the day better. (In Atlanta most of the cashier/waiter type jobs were filled by people who acted very annoyed that you had the audacity to shop or eat at their place of employment.)

Besides moving halfway across the country, leaving behind friends and family, a huge change for me in 2014 was my career. Leaving a steady job of over four years was scary. However, working forty hours a week was not very conducive to starting a business. I finished the commercial photography program at the Art Institute in December 2013. The timing for the move was perfect. It’s as if the stars aligned. I had the rare opportunity to start my own business full time.

With my husband’s full support, I officially launched Sonal Penner Photography. I had built a network of photographers in Atlanta and left that all behind. I knew zero people in Houston.  I turned to the internet and starting reaching out to people. The first months were very slow. I expected this–it takes time to build a new business. Knowing that didn’t make it any easier to stomach. I questioned whether I was making the right choice for myself and for my family. Since graduating college I’ve been financially independent but all of a sudden, I wasn’t anymore. I could throw in the towel and get another job in marketing with a steady paycheck. However, I constantly reminded myself this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Cheesy but true. I had the support and time to do this thing! I am pleased to say business has picked up. I’ve been experiencing the snow ball effect. The people I work with have been wonderful. Truly. When you’re running a business, it can be hard to work with someone new. You’re putting your trust in someone you don’t know. Thankfully I’ve been given many opportunities and each one has helped my business grow. For 2015 I plan to keep my nose to the grindstone and keep things rolling. I’m excited to see what this year has in store. I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.

What did your 2014 look like? What are you looking forward to in 2015?

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2 thoughts on “Goodbye 2014; Hello 2015

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