Hello gorgeous! Today I’m celebrating because it is my 12th business birthday! As per tradition, I’d usually be writing this by post on my actual business birthday itself with a bunch of flowers from the best florist in town and a glass of my favourite gin, however as I’m currently recovering from surgery right now I actually wrote this post in November, which is almost an entire month early. It feels totally weird, But I guess that’s the entire theme of 2021, so I’m rolling with it.
Whenever I write one of these business birthday posts, I always go back and read last year‘s post to see how the two years compare. And, I’ll be honest, last year‘s was hard to read back. 2020 really was a rough year for so many of us and, although 2021 has not been the return to normality that many of us perhaps have been hoping for, there are so many things I am grateful for experiencing that have forced me out of my comfort zones and made me a stronger, more resilient business owner as a result.
For example, I have become excellent at filling in grant funding forms! During the last 12 months, I successfully applied for a Respond Adapt & Strengthen Grant from my local growth hub (amongst others), which funded new equipment in the form of a brand new laptop and filming lights. This allowed me to deliver my Virtual Boudoir Shoots and online training to a much higher quality level, including the option to connect more seamlessly with powerful DSLR cameras. In fact, my virtual boudoir shoots proved to be so popular that some of you went for NINE shoots over the last two years! I’m hoping that, post-Covid, I’ll be able to travel to meet some of you in real life as well, because a handful of you have become great friends in the process.
It was also perfectly timed because, in the same week that my new laptop arrived, the battery in my old laptop decided to start expanding and had to be disposed of safely as quickly as humanly possible!
Through my local Growth Hub, I was also given the opportunity to join the University of Hertfordshire’s Business Incubator scheme, which I have been part of since April 2021. Designed to support the growth and development of local businesses, it has been amazing to meet virtually with my cohort every two weeks and grow with each other as we level up our individual businesses. I’m lucky to be surrounded on a regular basis by incredible and inspiring superhumans who share their business successes (and failures, because let’s face it we’re all human!) with me – and wow, do they know all the hard-hitting questions to make you really dig deep into your ‘why’. Now that the University is officially open to students again, I’m excited post-surgery to go in and explore all the other opportunities that the university has to offer, like access to specialists, internship opportunities, and a custom-built filming studio!
Whilst in-person boudoir shoots have been quiet this year due to month after month of lockdown restrictions(!), another silver lining was having the time to finally launch my sister brand, Branding By Tigz. My signature style of empowering photography has always translated well into the world of personal branding, commercial and editorial photography, but more recently a few of you have also discovered I have a degree in illustration and a background in graphic design, so have the skills to take on other business-related creative projects like logo design, brand identity work and website design. The rise in demand for these services over lockdown meant that it was finally time to give this area with my business its own website and finally show them off! At the moment, the website is only advertising my personal branding photography and editorial photography services, but in the New Year, I’m really excited to expand on that to show the full diversity of creative services I have to offer. So, if you know anyone that’s looking for a business or personal brand identity level up in 2022 and would prefer for it all to be done under one roof with the same creative team, you know where to send them!
Speaking of my diverse range of digital skills, I’ll transition skilfully into one of my proudest achievements this year, which has been making the Top 40 Digital Women To Watch list for 2021 and being shortlisted for Digital Woman Of The Year! I’ve always been a self-professed girl geek with a love for technology, so being recognised in this field is such a huge honour to me. By the time this blog post goes live, the awards will actually have been announced, so hopefully will have something to celebrate in the New Year when I’m back in the studio. However, just being nominated is more than enough and something I will probably be shouting about for quite some time!
And, of course, the biggest thing that has happened to me this year is my surgery. On 15th November, I had surgery on a large dorsal ganglion cyst on my dominant left wrist, which means my year has finished a little bit earlier than it normally would. As mentioned above, I’m currently writing this before my surgery has actually taken place – which is a little ironic because it means that right now I can’t actually tell you how well I’m recovering! However, the optimist in me is putting it into the Universe that everything went exactly to plan and I’m well on my way to being fully recovered by the time I come back to the studio in January. I’m so looking forward to smashing my 2022 goals when I’m back!
Speaking of smashing 2022 goals, this year will be my 13th year in business… and thirteen happens to be my lucky number! I’ve already been chatting with my #QueenOfSocials Ms Moo about some exciting projects I’d like to work on, so watch this space because I really feel like 2022 is going to be the year. That phoenix moment I’ve been waiting for feels like it’s just on the horizon now…
And, darling, I’m ready to soar.
As always, on my business birthday, I like to send out a few personal thank you to people that have really supported me through my 12 business birthday. To my #QueenOfSocials, Ms Moo – who is currently running the business on my behalf whilst I’m recovering like an absolute superhuman – thank you so much for being the best work wifey I could ever ask for. To Scot and Penny, for pushing me WAY outside of my comfort zones this year and showing me what I’m truly capable of achieving when I put my mind to it. To Rebecca, my business bestie that somehow always seems to be going through exactly the same things at the same time and just ‘gets it’. To James, who has gone above and beyond, and supported me so much more than I could ever ask for both pre-surgery and post-surgery. And finally, to all of you for supporting me through ANOTHER pandemic year.
Without you all, I’d just be an eccentric woman with a camera and a dream!