Oh, Anna and Ryan, where do we begin? Getting to meet our online course students in person is always such a gift, but you two are the kind of people that we’d met for two minutes and felt like we’d known you for two years. That must be how your photography clients feel, too. It must be why your business has gone so far, so fast. You’re both so warm, and so kind. There’s a genuineness to you that’s so present when people are with you, that it’s palpable. You can’t get enough of it. You just want more of it. Because it makes you feel better… just being around it. Maybe it’s the southern charm. Maybe it’s your relationship with the Lord. Maybe it’s a disposition you’re born with. The truth is, it’s probably all three. But please don’t lose it. Because the world desperately needs it.
While we were walking between locations, you told us a story that we won’t forget. It was two years ago, and you were standing in your kitchen. You were both working full-time day jobs as teachers while building your photography business on nights and weekends. Ryan was driving the school bus in the early mornings and late afternoons to make extra money. You’d been running and gunning so hard, for what felt like so long, that you weren’t sure how much gas you had left in your emotional tank. You were tired. In that moment, in that instant, it would’ve been easy to give up. Most people do. You didn’t. You signed up for our free online photography class. You told us with a laugh you were both positive you were NOT going to enroll in the full course. In fact, you told us Anna ended up quietly enrolling “behind Ryan’s back” because she knew in her gut it was what you needed to do. And it was hard for him to be mad. In that moment, you re-committed to your dream. You doubled down. You took that CrossFit drive and determination, applied it to everything you learned and kept going. You kept pushing and pulling that figurative rowing machine until you didn’t anything left. Then you pushed and pulled some more. You went from making $21,000 in your photography business last year to, this year, bringing in over $100,000! Next year? You have close to $200,000 already on the books (!!) You’ve quit your day jobs. No more driving school buses. Now you get to work from home together, loving and serving people the way you always dreamed.
We’re so glad you took the risk when it was scary. Because as you shared with us, your life will never be the same. Your marriage will never be the same. Your future children’s lives will be so different. Please have lots of them, by the way! We need your big happy smiles on more humans! Thank you for asking us to do this session. Your joy is infectious and it made our time together not feel like “work” at all. Thank you for letting us play a small part in your story, and in your journey to success –– even though we both know you are the ones who did the hard work, and who get all the credit. Even though we just met you in real life, we’re already looking forward to seeing you again at next year’s United conference. Until then, keep loving and serving each other (and everyone around you) with your whole heart. We know you will. Because it comes as naturally to you as breathing. We hope you love these anniversary photos as much as we do. It turns out that southerners in the Southwest make a pretty special combination.