We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Griffin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance? It doesn’t exist. The end. And you’re welcome for these words of wisdom. . . Well not completely, but I don’t feel like it ever exists. It always feels like something is lacking, someone, something is not getting the attention it needs to fully thrive; for me to make it fully thrive. But those are feelings of a control freak. Are my kiddos going to be chronically troubled because I have a session to edit instead of doing one (or five) more Disney princess puzzles? No (even if an evening of whining tries to convince me otherwise). Are my clients going to fire me because I skipped answering an email at 11PM when I received it as opposed to 9AM the next morning? No. Is my husband going to completely feel ignored if I’m too tired to make it through our stay-at-home-movie date night? Doubt it. Will I think that everyone feels all of these negative emotions? Only if I let myself. I, as one person, cannot be responsible for the happiness and wellbeing of ALL THE THINGS, all the time; no one can. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in trying to balance work, life, and sanity. I can do it all; I just can’t do it all every single day. Some days I have emails to answer, contracts and invoices to get out, and gallery deadlines to meet. Those are the days when it’s all business, all day. We order take out, the noise cancelling headphones go on, and my office door gets locked. And the next day, I don’t open my emails even once because I do all the mom and wife things. I make sure my family’s cups are filled to the brim on those days. As a solopreneur, I have to plan for the crazy, refuse to overbook, and schedule time off. Non-negotiable, etched in stone, no-matter-what, time off. Sometimes this means saying “no” to my best, most favorite clients. However, I know that for the good of my company, my family, and my mind, saying “no” right now is what makes me the attentive artist with a customer service driven mindset in order to serve them the best way possible in the future. I refuse to try to pour from an empty cup, and my family, my business, and myself are all better because of it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Colette James Photography doesn’t want ALL the clients; it want the right clients. If I have someone reach out to me and I don’t feel like my style or processes will serve them in the absolute best way, I am more than happy to refer that potential business to another local artist who can suit them better. My number one priority is to make every person who comes to me feel their absolute best, and if that is with another photographer, it is my ultimate duty to point them in the best direction. Having a “Community Over Competition” attitude has helped me to overcome the need to take on projects that I don’t 100% feel artistically vested in.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The breweries in Houston are the absolute best! The food and beer at Karbach Brewing Co. is unreal! For the very best burger and onion rings in Harris Co., Andy’s Kitchen in Cypress is unmatched!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Who deserves the biggest, most crazy scream-it-from-the-rooftop shoutout? My hubby. So, so cliched, I know. But my goodness, there would be no Colette James Photography without that man. His support (and excellent wine pouring skills) have carried me through all of the crazy.
Colette James Photography