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A week and a half ago, I landed another new client.  In the world of entrepreneurship, new clients are a blessing and a challenge.  The blessing is, of course, more income.  The challenge is being able to deliver more product.  In my case, the product is photo and/or video work and my creativity and time.  This crazy little business I started in June 2015 has exponentially exploded in the past few months, the payoff for calculated risks, hard work and lots of patience.  But, the problem I have had since the beginning has been space.

When I started in 2015, photos were all taken in natural light in my poorly lit, unattractive, 1980s kitchen.  We had plans to renovate it in early 2015, but if you know the story, I quit my job.  The funds that were going to remodel our kitchen went toward keeping us afloat as Ryan transitioned back into residential real estate and I focused on recovery and my blog.  I made do with what I had and got down to the business of being creative.

In this past year, I have added lighting, video gear, TV staging props and lots of food styling tools to my business.  I put a huge focus on YouTube and learning video.  Obviously, with that has come more “stuff” but also a greater frequency of filming, which, when there are two small children running around the kitchen, becomes difficult.  I remember the stress of filming the Pizza Lasagna Roll Ups video.  Ryan was holed up in the playroom with two unhappy kids, attempting to keep them quiet while I knocked out the video as quickly as possible.  If you want to test a marriage, start a YouTube channel.  Subsequently, that’s also how I’ve honed my skills as a “one-take wonder.”

Eventually, the stress of all that became too much, so I relocated filming and all of my business to a bedroom in the house in August. We moved the boys into one room together, which thankfully, was met with enthusiasm.  What kids don’t love bunkbeds? My new space was small for what I was trying to do, but it had a door I could shut.  I would haul food from the kitchen to my mini studio across the house, evidenced by the food stains on the carpet in the hallway.  That setup lasted up until a week and a half ago, when I landed the new client.

I was in the kitchen, racking my brain for how I would make things work.  Though I was thankful to have my little office space, I knew that I had outgrown it.  Between all the lights, tripods and shipments of clients’ products, there was room for only one butt.  Upcoming projects, requiring additional people and shot angles would be unachievable.  Ryan walked into the kitchen and I asked him, “can I have your laboratory?”

Backstory on the laboratory:  Our house has a built-in garage which has been Ryan’s man cave / laboratory / office since we moved into our home in 2011.  Ryan, aside from being an incredible father and rockstar Realtor, is really a mad scientist and a supreme tinkerer-with-things.  The lab has been the home to his 3D printer, welding tools, workbench and a myriad of nuts, bolts and robots…at least I’m pretty sure there were robots in there.

I was asking to take over Ryan’s sacred space.  This, the man to whom I credit my recovery, who puts up with my hair-brained ideas, talks me off of drama-fueled ledges, watches the kids while I film YouTube episodes, helps wash the dishes, always takes out the trash, folds the laundry while I edit photos.  And now, I’m asking him to give up his space?  Hadn’t he given me enough?

Without a flinch, but with a bit of gravity in his voice, he said, “yep, we can do that.”

“Love is an infinite spiritual force that gives without restraint.” – Phil Stutz

Not two hours later, he was already in the lab, getting organized and packing boxes.  I told him, “No rush.  I know this is asking a lot.”  But, he was a man on a mission and I was moving in the next day.

That was a week ago and already, work is one million times easier to execute.  I’ve got dedicated space for my photos, another space for creating “Tasty” videos.  Ryan still has a few things to move out, but right now, it’s a content creation factory, allowing for streamlined production and exponential business growth opportunity.

Don’t mind the mess, still plenty of work to be done, but it’s functional, and Antonio loves it.  *if you haven’t met my cutout of Antonio Banderas, he loves Snapchat and is my body double for filming.

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But, the biggest and best part of the new studio space hit my inbox yesterday afternoon in a 3D rendering.  Yep, we’re building a studio kitchen!!!!

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So, now the only battle is to stop pinching myself.  Can you imagine the videos that will come out of here?  That I can produce new YouTube episodes that actually look like what I’ve dreamed in my head for the past year and a half?  It will have outlets galore for appliances, a working cooktop, a swappable table top and moveable island! Too, it will make photo shoots for clients even more fun so that I can incorporate more of a kitchen feel.  I’m beyond thrilled.

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The building of this kitchen is also proof to me that I’m headed in the right direction.  It’s a difficult task to pursue your dreams and take big risks in your career.  Doubt creeps around every corner, hoping you’ll second guess yourself and dash back to what appears to be safe.  I continually worry that I’m being frivolous, unrealistic, irresponsible.  But, I’ve also been given this insatiable desire to share food and stories with the world, which continues to propel me forward.  At least for now, that voice of doubt is being drowned out by the sounds of construction.

Thank you so much for being a part of this story.  You showing up is a part of why I can build this kitchen.  I look forward to bringing you more recipes, videos and even better content as I move into this new space and new chapter.

Much love and big hugs <3

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4 comments

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  • So very excited for you Joanie! I already love your videos and recipes and look forward to all the food art that will come from your beautiful studio! And major props to Ryan giving up his space! What a guy!

  • Joanie, you are incredible! I never cease to be amazed by your creativity and endurance, you are an inspiration to all of us.
    And Ryan, to give up your man cave, your space in the house, not to mention your never-ending good nature, you are truly amazing. What a fabulous duo, I can’t express how very proud I am of you both. My prayers and blessing to both of you as your take on this new venture, I can hardly wait to see the results! Love as always!

  • Wow. So I guess this means the two of you have figured out which career to give more focus to?
    I began to weep as I read your description of Ryan’s reaction to your bold request. I thought, “here is a guy who truly embodies Jesus: he gives and gives and gives, all for and always in love.” I am so honored and blessed to know both of you (and Blaise & Calvin, of course)! 💕

Hi! I’m Joanie.

I'm a pro food photographer living in Phoenix, AZ with my hubby and two little dudes. Join me on YouTube for photography and cooking tutorials.

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