How low self esteem killed a perfectly good business.

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Once upon a time I had a photography business.

It was really good. I was really good.

Except I just couldn’t see it.

It all started by accident in 2008.

I never intended to become a photographer.

Not a professional one anyway.

It started as a tool to remember my life.

I was sick and tired of never remembering the wonderful things I did.

My brain just felt like a magnet for negative thoughts.

Clinging on to the bad things and never the good.

So photography became my way to remember.

Good things, good times, good people.

It also became a way to explore emotions I didn’t really know how to cope with.

I never expected events to lead to where they did.

To me – being self-employed and running a business all by myself.

I called my photography business



No one really teaches you how to run a business; it’s something you learn on the fly.

You make mistake after mistake and eventually you find your groove.

The only thing that is certain – you are not cut out for the 9-5.

You have to make it work.

But you don’t know what you’re doing.

Nobody teaches you how to run a business.

So you get yourself out there.

You take advice from every person you meet.

Obviously they know what they’re doing.

You haven’t got a clue.

You go to workshops.

You attend seminars.

You chat to people at networking.

And read oh so many fucking blogs.

Marketing, PR, Book keeping, Accounts, SEO, Time Management, Blogging.

There’s so much to do.

You started out on a shoe-string.

You can’t afford to become someone else’s customer just to get your own.

So as your to do list grows, so does your anxiety.

There’s so much you should be doing.

You can’t do enough.

You’re not enough.

You might as well give up.

You’ll never be good enough.

You start to look to people you admire.

See how well they’re doing.

You mimic them.

You get mentored.

You get coached.

They know what they’re doing.

You don’t.

You don’t trust yourself.

You put your trust in someone else.

You can’t see if they’re the right person to help you.

You just want someone to make it all better.

There’s so much you should be doing.

You can’t do enough.

You’re not good enough.

Suddenly you’re doing things that aren’t right for you.

It doesn’t fit.

It all feels so heavy.

This isn’t what you wanted.

You feel like you’re working for someone else again.

All these things, to do, they’re not what you wanted to do.

It feels like hard work.

You don’t feel like you can do it.

No wonder they say self-employment isn’t for everyone.

Where’s the time to do what you wanted to do?

Over time you start working out what works for you.

You start to listen.

To yourself.

You work out what you need.

What you want.

You do it.

Things are going well.

But then you go ahead and fuck it up.

That cunty voice.

In your head.

Eating you alive.

From the inside out.

You’re not good enough.

This isn’t what you should be doing.

Who do you think you are?

You procrastinate.

You avoid doing things.

You don’t finish things.

You don’t follow up and connect with people you met.

You don’t ask for the fucking money.

You let yourself down when you were oh so close.

You try to talk.

But no one gets it.

You take everything personally.

The price bartering – makes you question your worth.

The well-meaning friend or family – clouding you with their fears.

It’s like none of them believe in you.

The head cunt is having a feast.

Lapping up your anxiety, your doubt, your fears.

It’s a cycle.

You get yourself back up.

Everyone else has got it together.

But you haven’t.

You’re a useless failure.




I had no fucking idea that setting up a business would be the biggest.personal.growth.tool you could ever possibly imagine – taking you to the heart of who you are and what is possible.

You have to listen to yourself, at long, long last. You work out what’s bullshit – all the lies you’ve been telling yourself and the invisible force fields you’ve knocked up around your super hero shaped ass, just to keep yourself safe and small – shrinking down because god forbid you shine, unintentionally pissing people off as you go about your day.

You have to work out where it came from and let it go. Master the art of forgiving yourself and those around you. Regroup. Refocus. Take some time out if you need and come back to what you want. Pick yourself back up.

FlukePhotography was never my purpose, my end goal. Photography as an entity, not just a business, has been my tool – taking me on an introspective journey towards valuing myself, shining a light on old wounds and learning to express myself and finally dropping the mask, coming out of my self constructed shell and learning to connect to people.

A journey. Full circle.

Back to me.

And I’ve realised I can inspire, help and empower others, just by being my honest, messy self.

So here you have it, this is how low self esteem killed a perfectly good business.

And it’s ok.

It was meant to be.

I’m a completely different person today than I was back then.

I am me. This is my business.

And it sure as hell ain’t no fucking fluke.

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want to do something about it, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!


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13 replies
  1. Polly
    Polly says:

    You wrote EXACTLY about me and my business. EXACTLY what I fucking needed to hear. My business is struggling for the same reasons. I have to get over it and push the hell forward,

  2. Maja
    Maja says:

    This has been such a welcome read. I’m reading it and the voice inside me is going “This” Exactly this!”. Thank you.

  3. Procrastinator
    Procrastinator says:

    Gosh, feel like someone peered into my soul. I freelanced for a year – successfully – and woke every day feeling unemployed. Ended up doing the same stuff for someone else. Powerful piece.

    • Marie-Claire
      Marie-Claire says:

      It’s a tough one isn’t it? Having no one to answer to can make you feel ‘unemployed’ – it’s fine when someone is expecting something from you, or you have to be somewhere but doing something for yourself can be a right test of what you feel about yourself and how much you respect your own wishes and desires. Sometimes I wish I worked for someone else but then I have probably gone past the point of no return now haha!

    • Marie-Claire
      Marie-Claire says:

      Thanks for your comment Graham. Yes, I think it’s super important for people to not feel alone and hopefully feel safe to talk a bit more x


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