The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

An Anniversary of Change

The 18th of May marks the anniversary of two major changes in our lives.

The first was 14 years ago when, aged 31, I signed off the dole for the final time and became self-employed. Up until this point I had spent almost my entire life in education, unemployment or government training schemes.

I set up Ayres Fine Art with the idea of selling limited edition prints of my father’s artwork. I had no track record, no money, no business experience and it took me 4 different banks before I found one prepared to give me a £5,000 overdraft facility in order to launch the business. But my business plan looked good. I read over it again not too long ago, and it’s almost difficult to believe it didn’t work - I should have been a millionaire within 3 years.

What I utterly failed to take into consideration, however, was my personality. The whole plan was not built around my strengths, but many of my weaknesses. Of course I didn’t realise I had several of those weaknesses until it was too late, so it was something of a voyage of discovery as the business fell apart.

Learning as much as I could from the ordeal, I built my second business on the rubble of the first and E-Scope Web Design was much more successful.

But ultimately it was my personality again, which got in the way of taking it to its full potential. And when I finally understood that I just hated wearing the mask of being a businessman, we set about changing our lives and I sold the business.

So 7 years ago today we moved to Castle Douglas in SW Scotland, leaving the world of suits, firm handshakes while exchanging business cards, and business breakfast meetings, far behind. Instead we embraced a life of creativity.

My original desire to be a writer fell apart with the onset of the CFS, although I can now see it was a stupid idea anyway. Not because I can’t write, but because it once again utterly failed to take into consideration key personality traits – specifically that I’m very much a people person and derive most enjoyment interacting with others, while writing is an incredibly solitary activity.

And now I’m a portrait photographer – a creative profession where empowering people and making them feel good about themselves is an integral part of what I do.

Both events – becoming self employed, and moving to this corner of Scotland - were key points in the culmination of efforts put in over the previous year to retake control of our lives when we had felt trapped in situations we’d been desperately unhappy with.

Although there is no party or popping of champagne on this day, I always do take the time on May 18th to remind myself we do have the ability to make changes. We don’t have to believe the voices (from others or from within) that tell us there is no escape and we have to put up with miserable lives.

16 comments

Brave Astronaut said...

Happy Anniversary!

You have clearly succeeded in a number of ways and if I had a dram of the courage and fortitude you have shown - I would join you.

Congratulations on blazing your own trail.

Brave Astronaut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hope said...

Standing ovation! Change can be hard and I admire your determination to find what YOU wanted out of life.

Last month, while we were discussing if we could really make a new charity work well, the phrase which popped into my head was, "Leap of faith." I repeated it all day long to myself, sort of like a Mama bird about to push the chick out of a comfy nest.

The next day I heard that phrase no less than 5 times from 5 different sources.

Hopefully, I'll learn to flap hard enough to one day escape my current job to let charity become my goal.

Thanks for reminding me that sometimes our biggest critic (and obstacle) can be our own hesitation.

Best wishes for many more years of successful photos!

angryparsnip said...

Congratulations !
You had an idea and worked towards it, learning as you tackled each new step.
Sometimes making your own way is indeed a "Leap of Faith" as @hope said.

cheers, parsnip

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Success is Sweet. Enjoy it and here's to you riding its waves.

savannah said...

all the best to you and yours, sugar! much love and respect form your pals across the pond! *cheers* xoxoxoxox

Kim Ayres said...

BA - I'm no more courageous than the next person - it's a question of if you want something enough then you'll try and make it happen. The biggest problem tends to be we don't actually know what we want most of the time

Hope - If you haven't seen it already, pop the kettle on and make yourself a cuppa, and sit and watch this - http://vimeo.com/42372767

Parsnip - I think making a leap tends to come from the idea that not making the leap is just too awful...

Gillian - success is maybe too strong a word, but it's certainly not stagnation :)

Savannah - your words are always appreciated :)

hope said...

It was well worth the time to watch..thanks!

katierobertsart said...

Congratulations then Kim - Katie :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Thank you so much for this. We do not have to listen to those negative voices.

You're right about knowing ourselves and what would and wouldn't work.

I think your honesty is what's helped you...some people would keep digging away, not admitting that they need to stop, re-think, move on.

Jonathan Chant said...

Just the thing I needed to read. Very inspiring, thank you.

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - thought you might like it :)

Katie - thank you :)

Guyana-Gyal - the ancient oracle at Delphi said "know thyself" - a bit of universal advice needed for anyone who is human :)

Jonathan - glad to be of help :)

rosneath said...

well done Kim ... I came here from dear Pat and was intrigued and astounded by your courage. Well done! ... And funnily enough, I was in Castle Douglas at the weekend with a group of people racing around in 1960s Triumph sports cars, perhaps you heard us! ...

rosneath said...

well done Kim ... I came here from dear Pat and was intrigued and astounded by your courage. Well done! ... And funnily enough, I was in Castle Douglas at the weekend with a group of people racing around in 1960s Triumph sports cars, perhaps you heard us! ...

Kim Ayres said...

Rosneath - welcome to my rambings :)

I was out for a wee walk around town and did see a lot of Triumph sports cars about. Perhaps you even drove past me :)

rosneath said...

that was the Clyde Valley TR Group's Border Weekend ... there were about 15 cars all told including ours which is a TR4A ... thought Castle Douglas couldn't miss us!

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