We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Curtis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance can be tough and it did take some time to get this down to a science. When it comes to our photography business and wedding business, its important to keep a schedule of everything. Work, photography, weddings, client meetings and any other obligations or plans we make has to go on this. Its exciting to get booked for photo shoots but there is nothing worse than double booking. It creates for incredibly long hours and stress.
I keep myself on a schedule everyday. I check my emails, respond to clients, touch base with bookings to make sure we are all on the same page. Inquiries happen in both businesses throughout the day so I do feel obligated to answer them when they come in. Even if that is at 10:30 at night. It took me a good year to understand that its okay to get back with my clients the next day if it becomes too late in the day. I take two times a day to respond to all the inquiries and take time to do maintenance on clients and client questions.
Editing photos and post edit work is a hard topic for work life balance. Its very easy to want to get right into a project because of the excitement we feel about the shots we got! We give ourselves a few editing hours a day, and have learned to put down the computer. Not only does mass editing take up so much personal time, but its also not what’s best for the client at times. When you are too deep into a clients album, sometimes you don’t put in your best work because you are excited to get it done. But its best to come back to it with fresh eyes the next day.
Giving yourself a work life balance is important so you don’t get burnt out or have the magic of owning your own business fade. Its okay to take time for yourself and away from projects.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I joke that I am a Jack of 73 trades. I believe that humans should always be learning and challenging themselves. When I was younger I started work as a little teller at a credit union and through 8 years of my banking career I became a consumer loan underwriter. I never thought I would have climbed the ranks in the credit union world and with a lot of hard work, I achieved my goal of being an underwriter. I was happy doing what I was doing, but my brain is way too creative to sit behind a desk from 9-5 and work with numbers all day long. It was mentally exhausting and I realized that I wasn’t feeling rewarded how I wanted to be.
I was challenged to move into the mortgage world, where I would have freedom in my schedule and depending how many loans I did I would be given quite an amazing commission. I was completely sold and confidently cocky in myself to say, this will be easy. I can probably do 10 loans a month! Boy, was I wrong. Being a Mortgage loan officer was HARD. It was hard to find business, to have people trust you with their finances, to have support since this world is so cut throat. I did this venture for a year, and by the end, I was working 15-18 hours a day at 5 different jobs and just not making enough money to live… It was a hard time in my life. I had to make the leap back to being an underwriter and even though I knew my job was good, I felt like a complete failure.
Kristen Saito and I worked together at the bank. She saw my potential and had me start officiating and helping with her wedding business. I was learning how to be confident with clients, being kind but assertive, and allowing me to have this creative outlet that I craved. As Kristen made her transition, I took over the wedding business and from there, things started to take off. I am now officiating 70-100 weddings a year. I had my husband as my photographer for our elopements. He wasn’t completely sold on doing this with me our first year, then we had a particular wedding that caused us to really fall in love with the art of Photography. We had a beautiful elopement in Boulder, and the weather was chilly with clouds coming over the mountain. our bride loved the weather and said “The only thing that would make this better is if we had snowy pictures”… Sure enough as we started walking back to our cars, it started to dump huge snowflakes! We took a lot of amazing pictures and the joy on the brides face was priceless. We saw the joy that these photos brought to her and we knew we needed to continue taking photos and capturing moments.
Long story short, fast forward to now, I am back in the mortgage world and thriving due to my confidence in my work. I am running the wedding officiant business, and last but not least we are official with our photography business and have just started our website about a month ago! What have I learned through this? Hard work goes a long way and having the confidence in myself that I can do hard things has got me to where I am today. Follow your passions and trust your own process. It took a few failed attempts in my life and career to get where I am now, but every fall back has taught me something. Every day can be a learning experience and sometimes we fumble but we learn from each fumble. Knowing that mistakes are going to be made is realistic, and okay. I am human and I have to let myself be just that.
Our brand, whether it be mortgage, photography or Weddings, wants you to know that our goal is to put you in the best position possible for you, and to help you feel the confidence in yourself and who you are. No one is perfect but imperfect is beautiful. Our goal with every client is to see a smile on your face, but to also give you a positive beautiful memory that will last a lifetime.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Boulder is one of my most favorite places on this planet! I would take them on the best Boulder tour I could. Spend a day hiking Bear Canyon Trail, or El Dorado Canyon. Head over to the Boulder Falls for some great photos and beautiful sights! From there I would take them back to town and spend a day on Pearl Street. We would have to go to the Rio for Rooftop Margs with the views of the Flatirons. I would take them for a lovely little brewery tour to Oskar Blues, West Flanders, Avery and Sanitas. A tube down Boulder Creek would be a great experience. If we spent the weekend up there I would recommend that we stay at the Hotel Boulderado for the beautiful views and history. We would have breakfast and the Dushanbe Tea House and hit the eclectic Boulder Farmers Market. There are so many things to do in Boulder!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely want to dedicate this shout out to my dear friend and counterpart, Kristen Saito. She is the primary owner of Colorado Commitments. Kristen had faith in me to handle her wedding business while she worked on her daytime career. She taught me everything there is to know about weddings, time management, organizational skills and how to continue to love what I do. My husband, David Tatham has been by my side through this venture working alongside me. One of our packages includes photography. David is our main photographer when I am officiating and thanks to Kristen, this has gone from hobby, to a full blown business. Because of Kristen, I am a successful Mortgage Broker, Wedding officiant, and own a successful photography business. I couldn’t have gotten where I am if it wasn’t for her and her faith in me! She is the best cheerleader and mentor anyone could ask for.
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