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Where do you want to be 5-10 years from now?

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If you can answer the questions, “what do you want to be doing in 5 years?” or “where do you want your business to be in 10 years?” then you and I have little in common, at least as it relates to planning my business and my life.

Prior to my life as a Photoshop Trainer and Actions Designer, and long before I did Product Photography and Photo Editing, I was an HR Manager.  Yep – me.  I hired people, unfortunately fired people, and had the job of running a Human Resources Department. When conducting interviews I always avoided asking “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” It may be one of the most popular interview questions of all times, but to me it was cruel.  I could not bring myself to ask.  And when I applied for jobs, I hated answering it more than any other question.

I did not have a clue where I wanted to be in the future, and I still do not.  I am not a lost soul, not even a little bit. I also do not believe that my entire life is mapped out and that I am just moving along fulfilling it.  I have a different philosophy as far as the future.  I believe that every decision, every choice I make and experience I have leads me to the next step.  My business has evolved in exactly this way. After having kids I started buying and selling kids’ clothing on eBay.  I wanted my pictures to look better so that I could sell items for more money.  I ran my venture as a business.  And the skills I learned both about photography, photoshop, and marketing, still help me today.  Did I know then, 8 years ago, that I would own a popular web site selling Photoshop products and services?  Did I have dreams of training others in Photoshop?  It never crossed my mind.  Not once.

But then time went on and I started taking pictures for some web sites and then for print publications.  And I was asked to do professional photo editing for a few children’s clothing companies.  All of the sudden I was doing Product Photography and Editing professionally. I started doing training for online web companies on using Photoshop.

All of these experiences built to lead me to my current business focus of training and providing Photoshop resources for photographers.  It was not planned.  I doubt I could have planned it out this way if I had tried.  It just happened as I worked hard and let one step grow into the next.

If you are a planner and if you like to dream or map a plan of where you will be in X number of years, by all means do not let me stop you.  But if you are not, do not feel bad. 

Without knowing your destination, you may never reach it. But without having a destination you may go places that you never dreamed possible…

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  1. Jennifer Mendoza Stanelle on November 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    When I was graduating from high school, we were supposed to write our future plans under our yearbook pictures. Mine read: not to have a plan. There have been bumps in the road, but so far it's working out pretty well!

  2. Stacey Eason Rainer on November 23, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    There is no way, 5 years ago, I would have seen myself doing photography. I was working as a L&D nurse, helping women have babies. I would have sworn up and down that I did not have a creative bone in my body. I still wonder about that part. I think I just know what I like and work to get what I like. In 5 years, I think I'd like to be running a very profitable, successful senior portrait business. I guess we'll see how it goes.

  3. Jennifer O. on November 23, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Very inspiring! I’m not much of a planner either. I also started out on Ebay and had no ideal I’d be doing what I am today. I know that my business will continue to evolve and that is so exciting to me!

  4. Brad on November 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I’m in 100% agreement with you on this, Jodi! While at this point I am not a professional photographer (in other words, I don’t get paid for doing what I love), I nevertheless am trying to gear myself towards the direction where I can one day. The problem with making definite plans about the future is that you don’t know what the future holds. The truth of the matter is that opportunities you could never have dreamed of may be out there, but if you steer yourself so hard down a tiny road to get to a specific dream job destination without ever looking at the other streets you pass by in life, you don’t know what new opportunities you may have passed up. Now, I have personally seen God place me in places and put me in the paths of certain people that there is no way I would be where I’m at today otherwise; there is no way these were coincidences or have any other explanations; I’m taking advantage of the opportunities I have been given today, and looking ahead with anticipation of future opportunities I will be given. Planning with a narrow vision is too much of a limitation. Thanks again for sharing this post, Jodi!

  5. tracy on November 23, 2009 at 11:29 am

    love it jodi. love this post.

  6. Jen on November 23, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    this came at the PERFECT time for me. my photography has grown in a way that i never thought possible–even though some days i still doubt whether or not i should be doing it since i wasn’t “educated” in photography. but then i read encouraging words and have awesome client meetings and am convinced that i am right where i should be…at least for now! thanks 🙂

  7. Christy Lynn on November 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! This time of the year there are so many post, books, seminars, etc about planning out your business, goals, etc. While that is all fine and good, I believe God has a definite plan for me and I’m willing to let Him unfold it in His time. I certainly believe that had I created a long term plan and stuck only to it I would not have had some of the amazing experiences I’ve had this year. I think following your heart and instincts lead you in many wonderful directions but ultimately where you’re suppose to be. Thanks for the great products and training btw, can’t wait to take another workshop!

  8. Michelle Kane on November 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    So glad you wrote this. It’s exactly how I feel and it’s so refreshing to hear someone in your position saying it’s okay to not have a definitive plan and timetable. Thanks for sharing.

  9. amanda stratton on November 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Oh, Jodi, you are speaking my language! I remember there was a time in my life, not that along, when I thought that everything was settled and I knew exactly how my life was going to go. Besides being totally foolish, that thought was depressing! I would so much rather live my life not being sure what’s around the corner, and being open to finding out, than feeling like I’m locked in. I know sometimes that can be what keeps me from making what other people would think of as progress, but when the right opportunities come, I’m always ready and waiting to take them. Great post, Jodi!!!

  10. Wendy Mayo on November 24, 2009 at 2:29 am

    In five years, I would like to be doing more weddings. In ten years, I would like to be doing more weddings in Uruguay. That's the long-range goal for hubby and me. Move to Uruguay and do what we love!

  11. Laurie on November 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Jodi,Fellow HR person here! I’m learning all I can and letting things happen as they may. I don’t have any plans and am waiting to see where things go. Great post and evidence that you never know where life will lead. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  12. Christy Combs - Inspired by christy on November 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    wow…that last sentence is very refreshing. I would have never dreamed that people would be asking me to photograph their families but I’m enjoying the journey. I’ll do my best to further the momentum but it has been exciting to see where this passion has led me…

  13. Carol on November 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Wow! Great post…I, too, am a former HR professional (along with spending 7 years owning a temporary staffing company – don’t EVEN get me started…). I’m now embracing my inner artist (glass fusing, photography, digital & abstract (watercolor) painting, flamework beads) while building a chocolate imaging business (edible images), travel consulting and just enjoying what comes next! I have always HATED all variations of that question: where do you see yourself, where do you want to be, what roll do you see yourself in, blah-blah-blah!!! Just found your site and can’t wait to take a class – use photoshop for my chocolates and want to learn all I can!

  14. Amanda Johnson on November 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    I am so glad to hear someone else say that, lol. Since I have started a photography business I have worried about what the future holds…….if I’ll make it or if I’ll fail. Finally I just had to tell myself to stop worrying and if it’s meant to happen then it will happen. I love doing what I do and look forward to seeing where it will take me.

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