A good question

A little while ago I got a message on FB from someone. Their questions had me thinking for a couple days.

Here’s what they asked:

Hey Hailey,

I know your time is valuable but please allow me a short question.

I am impressed and happy for you of becoming very successful in making films in such a short time and travel around the world. I’m wondering how you get clients all over the world. Is it just the network marketing you talked about on CL (Creative Live) or is there more? Are your clients coming to you or do you reach out and ask them? Or do you even have a sort of agent?

I love filming and do it quite good IMO but I’m still struggling with paying my bills (since it’s my only income) and that feels like it’s killing my energies.

Thanks for your time and keep up the great work!


These are great questions and I’ve decided to share the answers here. Maybe it is something we can all chat about.

Let’s start with being ‘successful in such a short time’… To be honest, I think sometimes we misunderstand how long it has taken people to get somewhere. Also the things going on behind the scenes. Few people post on their business blog all the mistakes they have made or the things that didn’t work… 😉

I have been making short films since 2006. I didn’t even own a video camera for a long time – I borrowed one. I learnt to edit on the fly and slowly built up my skills in film making, photography and with my husbands help, the business. It felt pretty slow going most days. 😉 Actually to be honest it still feels slow.

In terms of success, I still feel far, far from my end goals. (It feels like I might be about 1/3rd of the way… ahahha!)

I know a young guy who started making films way, way after me and is much further along the journey! Directing amazing award-winning films already and he is only in his 20’s. If we look around we will always feel way behind.

‘The thief of joy is comparison’ and I now try not to look to others lives, wondering how they got there and why am I not there…. it only serves to make me miserable!

This journey I am on is amazing. I get hired to make films! A dream come true! I also get hired to be a director for TV commercials and promo films and documentaries.

I get to travel too! A lot of this comes down to priorities. We travel as a family lots, but on the flip side we don‘t own a house.

We have chosen some things over others. I choose work I LOVE to do and on the flip side sometimes that means earning less.

We choose to not send our kids to school which we love, but on the flip side means we are always juggling.

I am successful in that I have a gorgeous family and have built a business and a lifestyle I love. As far as finishing my own films or heading toward my end game though, it still feels far away. 😉

Many times paying bills has been tricky. That’s the journey sometimes. Many times I have wondered if I can do this for a living. To be honest sometimes I still wonder how we will make it all work.

Sometimes it all works together amazingly and sometimes it is just plain hard work sustained by a passion for the work you are doing.

If you love, LOVE what you’re doing, the ONLY choice you have is to keep going. One small step at a time. I LOVE, LOVE what I am doing and I think for me passion for this is what keeps me going – even when it gets hard.

In terms of marketing, I am insanely lucky with the people I have worked for and with. The caliber of client I have has spread my work and provided many wonderful travel opportunities.

People like Sue Bryce championing me and spreading my work has helped a lot, and to her I am so grateful! I get to travel a lot with the aid organisation I work with, but this work has come out of relationships. Relationships built over time that eventually – in some cases – leads to work as well as friendship.

I don’t have an agent and I am not great at marketing myself (Sue Bryce will attest to this!). I am working on this… But right now work comes through word-of-mouth and delivering what I intend to, client after client. Sometimes it comes from writing emails and putting myself out there, and often it’s just someone finding me randomly! Each and every one of my interactions both from my personal projects and professional projects go toward building something.

For directing and TV commercial work I am signed with a production company here in Brisbane, one in Sydney and another in LA. This is still a fairly small part of our work but one that is growing.

The purpose of me sharing this is to encourage you that if you are doing what you love to do, you have to keep going!


Finally, here is a little story of one of my projects that has taken a long time but I just keep going – one. step. at. a. time.

I made a short film in 2008 with a friend. ‘Ruby Who?’ We used my daughters and friends as actors, borrowed a camera, begged for time and locations and props. I barely knew what I was doing but I knew I had something to say. I also knew I wanted to turn the film into a kids book. It took me another four years to get that made (special thanks goes to Alarna Zinn for that)! I also had a plan to make a kids workbook that goes with the film and book. Andrew is just putting the finishing touches on that now. It has taken us, all up, about six years on-and-off work. When we have spare $ and spare time we invest them into our passion. Six years for this project to be what I had in my head to create. Seems pretty long for a six minute short film, a kids book and a little workbook – that’s because it is long!! ha!

The thing is, like lots of people I am juggling work and kids and passion and love and relationships and the ups and downs of life and business. One thing I do know is that I have to keep going on what I love because it leads me to where I am meant to be.


Here are some resources I have found to be invaluable. I hope you do, too!

The war of art.
Marie Forleo has great videos for free on her site.
this is a good one on this subject!
TED talks especially this one
and this one


Hugs from us for the journey and thanks Jens for your awesome question!



  • http://www.ursulaschmitz.com/ Ursula

    Hailey, thank you so much! It´s so good to set things into perspective and that everything doesn´t happen open overnight! “The purpose of me sharing this is to encourage you that if you are doing what you love to do, you have to keep going!
    ONE. STEP. AT. A. TIME.” – I love this quote!

  • http://www.ginibee.fr gin

    Thanks for that one Hailey! I totally relate to that too. Passion, it’s all about passion! Keep up with the great positive energies xxxx

  • http://saymonkeyphotography.com Te Ratahi

    Thank you so much for sharing Hailey. Some days I feel like it takes everything I have to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other others are like treasures that come easy and are filled with joy. It’s so true that comparison is the thief of joy. I’m teaching myself to stop doing that. Reading your perspective helps. That you’ve made it this far doing what you do the best way you can really inspires me. Thank you again. You always pick me up with your posts

  • Julie Elliott

    Thanks for sharing Hailey! I love your honesty about what success means for you and your family and the struggles you go through to be able to do what you LOVE to do! This is really helpful. I just came from a friend’s beautiful home today with her beautiful husband and family and thinking, why don’t I have that? Your post was just what I needed to read!

  • http://www.christinebeckstedimages.com Christine

    This was such a great question and a superb response. The TED talk links are ones that I have seen before but, boy, did I need to hear them again! So thanks for having the courage to ask the question Jens, and a big thank you Hailey, for taking the time to craft such a thoughtful and complete response.

  • http://www.happilysituated.com Amy

    Hailey, Have I mentioned, “I love you”? You are such a source of encouragement and information, and always generous and full of grace. Living in this time of instant gratification, it’s difficult to keep perspective sometimes- journeys should be short and success should be instantaneous. I have the “Comparison is the thief of joy” quote written HUGE on my kitchen chalkboard and I stare at it during each meal. I need that reminder daily. Thank you for sharing this post. I needed it. Shine on friend. Amy (ps I’d love to read more of your thoughts on unschooling).

  • http://www.maandgrandy.com Tala

    So true!!!! Thanks for sharing your heart and life in business. I soaked up all you said to me on the weekend – it was gold. Can’t thank you enough. You never cease to inspire and encourage and make everyday life a joy. Thank you dear friend! Never stop being you! xo

  • http://www.shootphotoinc.com Julie

    Hailey, I feel blessed to have recently found your work and I’m just floored by your spirit. Thanks for sharing so openly with all of us and sharing your resources & inspiration. My inspirational thought for today is: return to my heart, especially after my head has taken me on a rough detour.

  • http://rosalindgracedesigns.blogspot.com/ Rosalind

    Thanks for this post! Always great to get perspective and just some background on you ‘journey’!

  • http://www.inspiredbyemma.com Emma

    Hailey…Thank you so much… for your honesty, for your encouragement, and for doing what you love – which has encouraged me to pursue doing what I love!!! Before seeing your presentation about fusion storytelling… I didn’t even know it was a possibility for me… and now I am pushing into brand new territory… ONE STEP AT A TIME! And I’m loving it!