Hi there! We're Luke and Cat, and we're so happy you're here. We hope you'll stay a while! We’re a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Houston, Texas. Ranchers-turned-photographers, our world looks like this: a Craftsman-style farmhouse; our newborn, Knox, in our arms; coffee in the kitchen; Edison lights on the back porch; and a pair of English bulldogs at the foot of our bed. Read more...

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There's a Fine Line Between B.S. and Great Fertilizer

Jun 3, 2015 / Our Life, Business

"One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds."
— Dan Bennett

We know a thing or two about gambling with gardens. For us, one of the biggest perks of working for ourselves is working at home. Our home is a hundred-year-old Craftsman Bungalow, and we live for making every inch exactly how we want it.  Since we spend a considerable amount of time on our porch, what we really wanted was a privacy fence - but not just any privacy fence would do. We envisioned a fence right out of an English garden - latticework covered in beautiful, hardy roses. But when you build a lattice fence and plant rose bushes, you don’t get roses overnight. What you get is an empty fence and a lot of doubting friends and relatives…

We fielded a lot of questions and raised eyebrows in the early days of our garden. All that bare lattice didn’t exactly match the aesthetic we’re known for, and keeping the fence covered up wasn’t an option - how would the roses have grown? It wasn’t pretty in the beginning, but we stuck with our long-term vision and we employed certain techniques to ensure that we would beat the gardening odds.  Thanks to the breed of roses we selected and Luke’s obsessive fertilizing, those roses grew fast. Just three years later, they’re full and pretty, eliciting ooh’s and aah’s from all who visit.  Now, people only see the results.  They don’t think back to those early times we spent tilling soil, pulling weeds, watering bushes, weathering storms, and spreading fertilizer with our own hands with nary a bloom in sight. 

Anyone who has passed elementary school science class gets the metaphor here: plant a seed, care for it, be patient, watch it grow. But to boost your business to the next level, it takes some next-level gardening skills, including: research, patience, and perseverance. 

You see, roses aren’t easy.  They have a reputation for being difficult to care for — Amazon.com has an entire category of books devoted to rose gardening.  There’s also a book category called Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The business you want doesn’t grow like a weed, sprouting up overnight and growing out of control, despite adverse conditions. Like a rose bush, it must  be carefully tended and expertly pruned.  You have to create the right conditions and  train it to stay on the fence you grew it for, consistently feeding it with quality fertilizer.  Yes, this requires perseverance and patience, but it’s worth the work (and the wait!) when it pays off with exactly the life you planned.


The Takeaways:


  •  Pick the Right Plants: When we set out to plant our rose-covered fence, not just any hardware store rosebush would do.  After a lot of research, we ordered Katrina Roses, the only breed of rose that survived Hurricane Katrina. The Katrina Roses didn’t bring us instant gratification, but they weather storms like those other roses won’t. As a business owner, you too must have a hardy constitution.  Plan, research and prepare.  Some days will feel like a Category Five storm.  But storms pass, and if the foundation of your business is strong, like the Katrina Rose, you too will survive and eventually thrive.

  • Don’t Overwater Your Roses: It’s tempting to hover until you get results. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself staring out the window, waiting for buds to bloom or clients to land on your doorstep. Plant the seeds, be patient, and direct your attention to another part of your business! Don’t over-focus on the results that may not be showing right away when you could be engaging your business elsewhere.  While we waited for our rose bushes to bloom, we built a deck, installed Edison lights, and worked on other landscaping.  Eventually, it all came together.  

    Likewise, in the early days of our business, when we weren’t shooting clients or editing, we were doing other things to help the business landscape—taking classes, going to conferences, working with mentors, networking, creating business systems.  Sometimes it turned out to be plain ol’ manure, but sometimes, it was the super strength fertilizer we’d been looking for!

  • Blooms are Temporary: Just because your rosebush (or business) isn’t delivering the prettiest results doesn’t mean you get to take a day off from it. Keep steady with your care, pull weeds before they get too big, and work the hardest when you see the least results. Underneath that pretty flower (or flourishing photography business) is a huge, steady root structure that doesn’t get the credit it deserves.  Flowers wilt quickly, but a good rootstock will live for decades to come.

  • Miracle-Gro is a Myth:  It isn’t a miracle—it’s a manmade chemical synthetic product.  You can opt to super-size your business for practically supernatural results (using tools like the paid SEO we talked about recently, TV/radio commercials or purchased lists), but, too much “Miracle-Gro” can be toxic to plants, animals, and businesses too.  Instead of looking for a quick fix, focus on strong, steady, long-term natural growth.  There’s a reason why gardeners call organic compost Black Gold.

Are looking for a safe, natural, healthy way to organically boost your photography business?  We can help.  We’ll teach you how to you improve your business structure and enhance your technique.  The result?  A business and life that bloom.

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