20-Something Entrepreneur: Natalie Puls

This post is part of a series: Slow Cooking, 20-something Entrepreneurs, which I created to shed light on what it's like to start your own business in your 20s. Meet the other beauties here

Happy cyber-Monday, slash are you still full from Thanksgiving Monday, friends! I am very excited to introduce you to my friend, Natalie Puls, a wedding photographer and 20-something entrepreneur

Natalie is best friends with my sister-in-law, Abbey. Per Abbey's recommendation, we hired Natalie as our wedding photographer. And, alas, we fell in love. She lives in Oregon, but flies all over the world shooting weddings. She's a gem! 

Below, Natalie shares a little bit about her experience as a slow-cooking, 20-something entrepreneur. She has wisdom beyond her years and she reminds me that there are so many ways we can go about this process. For some of us, it's with a five year plan; for others, that doesn't work. I love her perspective and I hope you enjoy getting to know her! 

Let's start with an easy one. What is your morning routine? How do you get the day going? Do you snooze? Do you drink coffee? Walk us through it. 

On days when I don't have to set my alarm for bible study, a sunrise shoot or a wedding, I let myself wake up naturally and then I get up and run or get ready to go work at a coffee shop! I don't have much of a routine. I just wake up and decide where I want to work that day!

You travel all over the world taking photos. It seems like you have it all together when it comes to knowing what you want to do with your life. Has it always been that way?

Definitely not. I graduated college with a graphic design degree but a photography passion. I stumbled into wedding photography by a couple people asking if I would second shoot for them. Then all of a sudden, I was shooting my own weddings and getting my own clients. There was no 5-year plan involved. And there still isn't! I love shooting weddings but even today, if you ask me what I'll be doing in 2 years, in 5 years, in 10 years. I will not have an answer for you.

Now that you're in the latter half of your 20s (!), if you could, what would you tell yourself at 22? What do you wish you'd known? 

Some of the best advice I've ever heard is a mixture of "don't compare your beginning to someone's middle" (it's okay to be a novice while other people are experts) AND "there's room for everyone at the top." Basically, just because someone is better at something you do doesn't devalue your own work, your ideas, or your contribution. They are valid and you are valid in whatever stage you are in.

What was the most influential book you read in your 20s (so far)?

Last year I read Donald Miller's Scary Close. So good, you guys. It was so honest and real, like reading Donald Miller's diary. It taught me a lot about myself and relationships. Talking about it makes me want to read it again!

What's the biggest misconception people may have about you from social media?

I guess that every day is exciting and easy. It's a hard balance because followers expect to see something exciting and that's worth their time. So while I'm not out hiking and shooting every single day, it might look like it.

For so many of us, our 20s can be one big comparison trap. How do you keep yourself from constant comparison? The internet makes it so hard! 

That is a difficult one! You will always be able to find someone who is doing better than you. Someone who seems to have a better life, who is doing your job better, etc. First, always remember that no one's life is perfect. Social media is usually a "highlight reel" where people broadcast the BEST things that are happening. Of course someone's best portrayal is going to make everything you know about your life (good and bad) seem inferior. I follow a lot of photographers who have more followers, are getting paid more, etc. but instead of comparison, I try to let their work inspire me.

What do you consider play? And! What are your creative outlets, if any besides photography.

I love rock climbing, hiking and traveling but you can also find me watching a movie with friends, dog sitting or enjoying Oregon's natural hot springs!! Basically anything with friends (not much of an introvert) :)