Let’s Get Personal: Entrepreneurship & Depression

Image: This Rad Love

Last week my sister forwarded me an email from Circular Board (a weekly round-up of the entrepreneurship ecosystem for women) with some astounding statistics around depression and entrepreneurs. Did you know that 1 out of 3 entrepreneurs suffers from depression and that entrepreneurs are 4 times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population? I didn’t.

But the more I thought about it, the more it made so much sense – being an entrepreneur or small business owner, is freakin’ hard. It can feel isolating, and lonely, it can feel like there’s too much work to be done & the pressure is just too much, and it often feels like everything related to the business falls all on you. And while there’s a lot of joy that comes from being an entrepreneur too, the highs and lows are volatile, unpredictable, and therefore stressful.

Let me say that while I do not consider myself to be depressed, I can understand how a lot of this business could lead to depression. For me, the 3 main areas where I could see depression grow would be: the isolation, the pressure, & the measurement (comparison?) of success.

Isolation | When I started Capitol Romance in 2011, it was just me, my newly created gmail inbox, and a really ugly (free!) WordPress template. My friend Steve (my IT guru, who still keeps this ship afloat), got me set up on all things IT and then … off I went, entirely alone, from behind a computer screen. Fast forward 6 years and this blog is much more than a blog (a full blown business!). I’ve met SO MANY AWESOME people & vendors on this journey and have 3 ah-mazing rockstars working for Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination on #TeamCapRo, but most of the ‘business’ side of things are done primarily by yours truly, still from behind a computer screen. And that can feel rather lonely. I’d even go so far as to say that I think that is really one of the main reasons I keep my day job – because I like going to a place full of people and coworkers each day, working together in person, talking both personally & professionally with coworkers and clients. I am not sure I could do CapRo full time & primarily work alone & from home, I really don’t! I already feel isolated enough!

Pressure | Because I am mostly a one-woman show, I feel a lot of pressure these days. Pressure to my readers, to the vendors that advertise with me, to my clients, and to the women that work for CapRo Coordination. When you run your own business or company, it feels like it’s ALL on you … and well, that’s because it really & mostly is. The advertising, the PR, the marketing, the business, the BOOK-KEEPING, the client satisfaction … it’s all me! And I constantly feel like I am in a never-ending doggy paddle, just trying to keep my head above. Let’s not even talk about the pressure brought in from your personal life – the scheduling of meetings around your family’s schedules, the lack of weekends available due to working weddings. It’s a lot. The highs and the lows of running your own business feel like they are 100% your fault.

Success  | I save the best for last. And by best I mean, the hardest. Judging and measuring your own success as an entrepreneur and small business owner is really, really hard and it’s something I majorly struggle with. As I mentioned on the Founders Nextdoor Podcast, I think as an entrepreneur you never fully feel like you’ve succeeded because you are constantly looking for the next goal, the next growth point, the next problem to solve – it’s what makes your mind an entrepreneurial one. From a monetary stand point, I’d say my business is successful: I’ve grown both my revenue and my income each year since 2012, I’ve grown my blog readers from 5 to over 2,000 avg pageviews a day, and I’ve grown the blog into 3 business functions, including having 3 other ’employees’ work for me. However I can almost never escape the feeling of failure when I compare myself to the other businesses I follow online. How come that kick-ass wedding wasn’t submitted to my blog? How come I wasn’t invited to speak on that panel? Man they seem to be crushing it / doing so much better than me. The old “comparison is the thief of joy” amiright? I think for me, I need to stop measuring myself against the social media platform of others and instead set up my own goals & metrics to track my success. Easier said than done though, right?

So yeah, running a business & being an entrepreneur is tough stuff and it’s really easy to see why entrepreneurs are 4 times more likely to be depressed. If this post resonates with you in ANY WAY, than know that you are not alone and there is help. Please do not be ashamed to get the help you may need!

For immediate support visit 7cups.com, a website that provides free 24/7 counseling, and even has a special section for startup employees and founders. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. (*Thanks again to Circular Board for sharing these statistics and resources*).

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Jaymie & Preston’s Romantic, Black & Red Maryland Mansion Wedding

Images: Photography by Tracie

Getting back into the blogging groove with this stunner of a Maryland wedding up at the Mansion at Valley Country Club. Jaymie & Preston used bright red, black and glitz as their color palette and the LOVE of this day totally shines through in the pictures. I love how they went total glamour with the wedding, but still found ways to incorporate their personal preferences, namely a superhero themed wedding cake & some sick kicks for the reception. Check out their beautiful wedding day & let’s get this week started!

Let’s Get Personal: There Is A Lot Going On Right Now

Image: This Rad Love

Hi my name is Bree and it’s been three weeks since my last blog post.

Guys. I don’t really even know where to begin. I’ve been trying for weeks to get back into the routine of blogging, but between a light submission intake (of the types of couples & posts I actually want to share), my focus being anywhere but this blog, and Andy traveling a lot for work, well, it’s been more bare bones than usual around this site. I know I always apologize and then promise to make it better (and I will try again) but there’s just SO MUCH going on right now outside of this blog, that I am really struggling, more than ever, to get off Twitter & Facebook, and get back to blogging.

Why does it feel harder lately? I don’t honestly know … but things just feel EXTRA right now between life, politics, and the news.

Personally, the day job has been a bit more demanding than usual, and the days it’s not, well I am struggling to focus and not just spend time devouring think piece after think piece, op-ed after op-ed, about everything going on in the world. My Secret Feminist Bookclub used to give me comfort & felt a bit like group therapy at first, but after reading Feminism Is Everyone, I feel less therapy and a lot more anger & frustration. Maybe that is what happens when you get enlightened & more educated … you start to see, feel, and live all of the injustice that is occurring beneath the capitalistic white supremacist patriarchy. And for me personally, it manifests itself in trying to fight every person on Facebook that I can handle.

The Hurricanes are another weight for me, as I digested so much of the coverage of the storms, including the desperate pleas for rescues and the onslaught of so much destruction. My coworkers’ mom lived through Harvey in Houston (her home luckily, somehow, did not flood), and my husband’s family mostly survived Irma in Florida (minus not having power since the storm …) but our dear friends moved to St. Thomas a few years ago and their island, their home, has been decimated. The destruction in the Virgin Islands & Caribbean is catastrophic (not a hyperbole) and this once lush, paradise, looks like an end-of-the-Lorax, post-war zone. My friend Mel set up a website to help with the clean-up efforts (please check it out: http://irmaaftermath.com/) but the amount of need and clean-up feels suffocating and I hate being so far away that I cannot do much more than donate.

Lastly (well, for this blog post anyway), there has been a slew of local violence in our community & area and it’s weighing on me greatly. A young, pregnant teacher was found murdered by her boyfriend, after going missing, the killer of the local DC yoga teacher that I shared some mutual friends with, was given a plea deal, a young black girl was found dead in a hotel freezer, and a construction worker in our neighborhood was recently murdered (his wife & two young children just recently having immigrated to America) & one identified suspect is 14. I don’t even know where to begin with all of these stories except for extreme sadness.

Let’s not even talk about Trump or all the regurgitated misogyny happening with HRC going on her book tour…

So yeah, there’s about 800 other things on my mind these days too, but these things have been weighing on me greatly as of late, and I don’t want to use them as an excuse for my lack of blogging, but more of an explanation. I’ve struggled before with seeing the value of a wedding blog, when there are so many other things that could use my time & talent, but I am constantly brought back to the love & joy that this site not only brings my clients, but me too. This business I’ve created & grown has given me a platform and an avenue to connect with so many amazing people and that is a GOOD thing. It is a necessary thing and it is one way to combat the ugly depicted here.

I already use my social media as much as possible to elevate causes and things I believe in, but I plan to spend some time these next few months using this blog or my networks I’ve built, to try and do more. I hope you’ll understand if we have some breaks in posting or if it’s a little less weddings, and a little more “hey this cause could use your help” – because I am driven by a sense to HELP and right now, this seems like the best way I know how.

Erik & Kelsey’s Engagement Session Turned Surprise Wedding in Richmond, VA

Images: Denise Van

Meant to blog this for Monday, but here we are. We spent the weekend in Pittsburgh with two of our very best friends, meeting their new son (he’s adorbs). It’s taken me longer than expected to get back into the swing of the daily routine, but here’s hoping it gets back on track soon. We’re gearing up for Fall wedding season and 2018 booking season – while renovations continue on the Brookland home. I have a feeling it’s going to be a crazy few months. Here’s an adorable engagement session in a Richmond, VA park that turned into an intimate, surprise wedding ceremony!

From the photographer:

I was so excited to shoot Erik and Kelsey’s engagement photos turned surprise wedding ceremony! I’ve known Erik since even before my husband and I started dating. Erik is my husband’s best friend, and he was the best man at our wedding. When I first met Erik’s girlfriend Kelsey (long, long ago), she was introduced to me as “train girl”. Soon after, I found out why.

Kelsey and Erik met in the waiting room of an Amtrak station traveling from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA. A mischievous woman offered him the seat she had her luggage on and it happened to be beside her. Erik gathered up his courage, made a terrible pun about the TV show CSI she was watching, and struck up a train-ride long conversation with Kelsey and from there, it was history.

Alonna & Stephon’s Romantic Engagement Pictures at Gaylord National in Maryland

Images: Megapixels Media

Attempting to return to the normalcy of blogging with a super gorgeous engagement session at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, Maryland. I’m in LOVE with the green lace dress that Alonna wore for the session, and the way it plays off the tropical greens in the interior of the convention center’s lobby. These two are gorgeous but also full of smiles. I was happy to see some great shots of the two of them laughing together in the submitted set – I almost ALWAYS opt to publish those kinds of pictures here, than too many posed ones. They are SO much more infectious in my opinion. Ok enough from here, here’s some love for your Wednesday.

From the photographer: They danced through a tropical indoor garden, although we were in the midst of winter they kept each other very cozy.

We met as kids when we both attended the same Middle School! We met again as adults at Our Godson’s basketball game! How crazy is it that we share a Godson and hadn’t seen each other since middle school!

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