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Musings

What happens after marriage?

Ever felt like life before the wedding is just PACKED with relationship advice and then it gets real quiet after? Think about it. Before the wedding you get all kinds of advice from your peers and other married couples, family members who generously share their thoughts on your partner or dating life, and of course – whatever social media directly or indirectly says about what a wedding and a “perfect marriage” should look like. Then the both of you say your vows, post up honeymoon photos, and come home to your new shared home. Before you know it, everyone has gone back to their routines and you both start to wonder where the support is when you need it most.

Talking to someone else about your marriage can be tricky. You always want to protect your partner’s feelings and reputation. People also tend to assume that whatever happens between a husband and wife “is to be managed privately” because “we are adults and can manage on our own.”

But nobody immediately turns into a mature adult on their 18th or 21st birthday, and nobody turns into a marriage expert or “perfect spouse” on the wedding day (or ever).

Yes, marriage is a journey between two committed persons, but as long as you’re Person, you will always need a good support circle no matter what season of life you’re in. Never be ashamed or afraid to reach out to someone whom you can trust, together. Whether it’s a peer, another senior married couple, your parents, a trusted mentor, or even a professional counsellor. In fact, don’t even wait for a tough day before you both share your lives with others. Include your community even on smooth-sailing days and they will know you’ve trusted them to keep the conversation going. It doesn’t have to stop at the wedding.

// Sarah has been married for over two years and both she and her husband enjoy spending time outdoors together.//

Follow our marriage and parenting site, Comma – Rethink Life for nuggets of wisdom on how to navigate these 2 areas of life.

Female Standing Poses: Tips & Tricks

There are many ways to pose a person so that they will look good in front of the camera. Naturally, our clients are not models, and they rely on us as the photographers to guide them on how to stand. Watch our video for some basic tips on female standing poses and see how your images can be much better by just applying some of these simple principles!

Female Standing Poses: Basic Tips & Tricks

  1.  Stand at a 45 degree angle to the camera to give some shape to your body. If our body faces the camera directly, the shoulders appear square and the entire body looks wider.
  2. Bend your arms and knees to create shape. The female body is full of curves, even if you are plus sized! Arms that lie flat against the body look squished and makes it look even bigger than it actually is. So, go ahead and bend any limbs that can be bent!
  3. Push your hips to one side of the other. If you are standing at a 45 degree angle, one leg will be forward. Put your weight on your back leg and push your butt and hips to the back so that it will make your hips look smaller.

Go ahead and get beautiful images of yourself!

Make-A-Wish Trip to A Famosa Water Theme Park

In March & April 2019, we raised funds for Make-A-Wish, whose mission is to create life changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. As the result of this fund raising, we managed to sponsor Ammar’s wish to go to a water park with his family. Ammar, 11 has acute lymphoblastic leukemia since 2017 and travels from Port Dickson to HUKM Cheras twice a month for his treatment. The doctors in public hospitals usually work with Make-A-Wish to identify families whose children are critically ill and come from a lower income group as part of the wish-fulfilment criteria.

A few of us from the Stories team managed to head over to A Famosa Water Theme Park to meet the family. Ammar’s dad is the sole bread winner of the family with 6 children (1 was away studying), and the last time he came to A Famosa Water Park was during his honeymoon! There were 3 volunteers from Make-A-Wish who made the whole event go so smoothly. We presented gifts from Make-A-Wish to the family and had a good chat getting to know them. After a day of fun in the sun, we headed to Malacca town (Grace’s hometown!) to walk down Jonker Street and eat delicious food!

We’re glad to be part of such a meaningful event with Make-A-Wish.

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5 business lessons as a creative entrepreneur

At the beginning of May this year, I felt that I needed to take a short personal sabbatical from running my business that has been in operations for 11 years now. I thought I could use the extra time to learn new skills, spend time with my kids, catch up with people but in reality, I realized that I could never really disconnect from my work.

In the middle of May, I attended the National Achievers Congress and that event made me think about how I have been running my business all these years. As a result of conversations with so many other friends, family and entrepreneurs, I’ve written down some of my reflections regarding business as a creative entrepreneur.

1. Self-employed vs Business owner

Even though I have staff working with me, my mindset has not moved beyond a solo self-employed entrepreneur to a business owner. A self-employed person would dabble in everything, from marketing to sales to operations… the list goes on. Basically, in Malaysia, we say, “one leg kick all”. According to this website, it has the definition of “Perhaps a direct translation of the Cantonese phrase, yat kiok tek, it describes a job or situation where one has to do everything, and not usually by choice.” If everything in your business depends on you, you’re self-employed. To me, this is a sure-fire way to be trapped for a long time. To transition to a business owner, I need to have scalability. Part of this involves automations.

Part of my dream would be to have financial freedom within the next 5-10 years so that I can be free to make choices about how I would like to spend my time daily. Over the years, I’ve automated some of my processes, so that’s great, but I need to be more intentional about thinking how to work with amazing individuals so that they can take the business to a different level. Which brings me to another point.

2. Get the right person on the bus

I heard about this principle through Cavemen, a group of amazingly talented business coaches who dress in crazy outfits and run life changing programs. The principle runs around the idea that you need the right people on your bus (the business) that are going in the right direction as you and on the right seats. Unfortunately, you also have to get the wrong people off. As I discovered, some people are extremely talented, but they are not doing the right job. Some people, over time, decide that their direction is no longer the same direction as yours, and that’s ok because people change and they move on. But the most challenging and difficult of it all would be to identify people who are wrong for the business and politely showing them the door (no kicking involved!). Get the right people doing the right job and the bus will move efficiently.

3. Communicate your ‘why’

So how do you get the right people on board? You need to communicate your why – why are you doing what you do? Why should this person join alongside you in this journey? Learning to communicate this why took me years to perfect. I only wrote my vision and mission statement last year (after 10 years of running my business). As I did more self-reflection, the why became clearer and clearer. But sometimes I fail to share my thought process with the team. So I am running this business and I think everyone is running behind me, but in reality, they might be clueless.

4. Stop being a perfectionist and too ‘creative’

Years ago, I couldn’t bear the thought of hiring a digital artist to edit my photos because nobody could do it as well as I could (or so I thought). In my mind, I had to control the entire creative process and my way was really the ‘best’. But my practical husband told me that I had to change this mindset. After I released control, I realized that other people can do a better job and that I now had time to do other things! (look at point number 1 above). Naturally, I had to think of ways to ensure quality is maintained through the years even with different people on the team. When I opened my mind, I found that other people’s ideas added so much value to the company.

5. Always learn. Always innovate.

10 years ago, I could count the number of female photographers in one hand. Things change. Instagram became popular. The students I taught in college when I was a freelance lecturer suddenly grew up and became my new competitors. I could choose to be bitter or choose to collaborate. I could choose to moan about the economic situation and how it affects my business badly, or choose to think of ways to innovate. One of my values in life is being hardworking. It probably came from my mum who sold did direct sales of Pyrex during the day and baked cookies in the wee hours of the morning so that she could earn enough for our future. But working hard needs to be coupled with working smart. Keep moving. Keep learning. Keep implementing fresh ideas.

It’s still a journey. There’s so much to learn. But journalling my lessons down this way helps keep me on track. Onwards, to a better and greater future!

The Stories Experience: Our Workflow

It’s our 11th year of operations and since the first day we opened our doors, we have refined our processes through the years. From the moment our clients connect with us, to thinking about the ease of transaction, online payments via credit cards… we only want the best for our clients! I also just recently counted, we have hit our mark of 100+ FIVE STAR reviews on Google and Facebook! It is really amazing and exciting to see that our clients love our work!

Please have a look at our video to see what we usually do for our clients, from the start till the end of your interaction with Stories.my.