Studio Opening and Thoughts on Being Self-employed

So… the studio opening happened and it went off without a hitch and actually matched up to our (what some may say, way-too-high) expectations we had for the night.
Yes–we ran around like crazy people both setting up for the opening as well as diligently covering a lovely weekday wedding at one of our fave Charlotte venues, The Morehead Inn….more on that later this week…  (It was such a fun/crazy day….Stephen actually missed most of the night as he stayed to cover the reception for our lovely bride and groom.  But of course…our clients always come first and we would not have had it any other way…)
Very similar to a wedding, we hardly remember the details of the night.  I forgot to eat, carried the same glass of wine around all night and without the ‘help’ of photos to jog the memory–I would not have known much of what actually transpired (thank goodness for Brian’s lovely sister, Allison Bradley, who was kind enough to take images for us all night long which will be posted below)  I just recall being happy and talking to lots of people…both friends, and clients and industry folks who have become so…)
The bits I do recall include: the music by Chris Holder being EXACTLY what we had in mind…a little ‘David Gray/Jack Johnson-ish and laid-back and lovely…  Flowers sent over by our friends at Nectar were stunning and smelled like heaven.  The vino our sweet friend Jennifer donated to the event from the winery she owned in her ‘former life’ was wonderful along with the ‘blue velvet’ cupcakes that disappeared faster than I would have imagined.
Folks mixed and mingled and nearly everyone that had RSVP’ed attended (and then some.) and some stayed very, very late losing track of time with us while I finally enjoyed a few glasses of vino/Stephen finally joined the party (including grabbing one of Chris’ guitars and playing/signing right along with him…) and we had a minute to take in the past 8 weeks of getting our sweet little studio in order.  We could not be more excited to be exactly where we are right now!   And with sweet anticipation…we can’t wait to see exactly where we will go from here. (We are thinking BIG…;-)
Since many folks had asked on opening night ‘what it is like to now be officially,  self-employed’  (though BlueSky is 2 years old…until recently, other businesses were in the mix and helped supplement income while we were building) I thought I would share my take thus far: (um, can you say ‘reality check??’ 😉

  • All the ‘extra hours’ I thought I would have to FINALLY get all of the ideas swimming in my head out and into action are still locked in there in many cases.  It’s amazing how the hours fly in a day and how many things I had not contemplated needing to do in a work day that have taken up tons of time.  (These ideas will in fact make their way to the party…but it may in fact take longer than I had thought.)
  • People will amaze you, both in the ‘good’ kind of way and in the not-so-good kind of way and you will take it far more personally and it will impact you more deeply than you had ever imagined.  (A client whom you adored/loved your work and moved the sun moon and stars to please…will use someone else and you will see it on facebook.  Friends will not understand that to you–this is as important as any other life-altering event (having babies…getting married…yep..sorry, but its up there.) And they will not support you in the way you had hoped and still think this is your ‘hobby.’  And others will both surprise and delight you in their support (a client from a year ago who brings you Swedish fish with a big blue bow on opening night because you had mentioned you love them.   Folks will send amazing cards of support from near and far and there are those that can’t stop speaking volumes on your work and ‘how proud they are of you’ and with an almost desperate conviction sing your praises and help you make the ‘dream’ of owning your own biz ­come to fruition.  –You know who you are:-)
  • Figuring out things like health insurance, taxes and the like really sucks with a capital ‘S’ and you will look fondly on the days when you worked for a fortune 500 company from that perspective (and for the most part..from that perspective only.  Well, that and the big, stable salary. ha)
  • You freak out just a bit each month when you pay your lease
  • You realize that having a ‘more flexible schedule only means you are even more flexible with your ability to meet clients on evening/weekends and you have not seen a weekend at the beach all summer..and now it’s September.
  • You can no longer take on a client/job because it will be fun…you have to charge what the work is ‘worth’ and sometimes say ‘no’ and be told ‘no’ and  you learn quickly every clients is NOT a fit (boo…)
  • You can keep beer/wine IN THE ‘OFFICE!’
  • However,  a day of slacking off for an early cocktail, a few hour lunch are so O_V_E_R (well, mostly)
  • People will drop in unannounced to the studio and though you are so excited to just chat and hang out…you can’t.  (Well, mostly.)
  • It will always be you to have to run home and let the dogs out at lunch because your schedule is more ‘flexible’ and you are 1 mile closer than your other half to the house.  (and when you get tied up and can’t make it for 7 hours… you feel so, so guilty!)
BUT..for all of the not-so-awesome ‘surprises’ that have come with being self-employed; waking up  *every* *single* *day* actually WANTING to go to work and knowing that what you do for a living makes people laugh/cry/remember a loved one they lost/and truly ‘stops time’  *every* *single* *day* is in a word…amazing.  And we can not imagine having it any other way.(…and ‘Lord willing and the creek don’t rise’ as the Southerners say…we will never have to again.)


  1. Jessica J says:

    love this! So sad that I had to miss it – you look great and the space looks awesome! Maybe I can come by sometime soon for a belated happy opening drink? 🙂 Congratulations! You deserve it!

  2. Ashton says:

    Hey Cassandra!
    Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to photograph our wedding. Alistair and I are so thankful that y’all were there for us, and I must say, you made me feel so calm when usually I am a complete and utter mess. I’m so glad y’all had a successful night and can’t wait to see the pictures of our wedding! 🙂

  3. Stacy Filicko-Sliwinski says:

    Sooo happy for you! We can’t stop singing your praises! Congratulations! Love, Stacy and Dave Sliwinski

  4. Lana says:

    What can I say? What you wrote in your blog was very heartfelt. There will be ups and there will be downs but I’ve never known you to ever get knocked down and not get back up with full force. Determination and never taking no for an answer (I think this started when you were about 12 months) is what has made you who you are today. That determination will always keep making you successful.

  5. Steffie says:

    What a lovely event it was, thank you so much for inviting us. We are so happy for you! And as a fellow-self employed person, I +1 this blog! My secret is lots of coffee and under-eye concealer. 😉
    Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

  6. Michelle says:

    Oh WOW Cass, I am sooooooo excited for you! I just got back from vacay and was catching up on a bit of blogging and FB, what a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t be happier for someone as lovely and deserving as you! TONS OF HUGS!!!

  7. […] if you’d like to read more on my experience as an entrepreneur–you can check out my post here or […]

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