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        Having found Marina (@marina.cosic) on Instagram a few years back was a clear sign that my efforts toward living a more fulfilled, authentic life were supported by the Universe. With her by my side, I felt more aligned in my intentions to bring my dreams to life, and for a change -did not feel alone to dream in the first place. Very few people I know are so awake in their experience, so committed to fulfilling their potential, and even fewer so eager to pass that gift forward.

        Her devotion to nurturing the creative spark within herself, as much as within others is as inspiring as it is binding; one can not go intact having been exposed to her abundant, generous energy. By pursuing her photography and empowerment of other creatives via Oil on paper blog she not only walks the path of heart but also chooses to hold that light on that path for others. Even when feeling uncomfortable, bare and vulnerable for that is what stepping outside of a comfort zone is all about; there is the only space where growth happens. And here is how…

        I would love it if you would share bits of your story as an introduction to the conversation. Just a short paragraph on who you are, where and how you live?

        Yes, thank you for inviting me and having me as a guest on your blog. I’m very excited :), but beyond that, I am a photographer, or a brand photographer if you like, and a creative online business owner. I like empowering other creatives and business owners on their journey of following their hearts and guts and doing what they love or what they feel drawn to and making money that way because I too have been there and I love sharing what I learned to support others. I believe we are the creators of our own realities every single day and that we get to choose how we want to show up. So, I chose inspiration, alignment, trust, love, beauty and light to be a part of my days and I’m incorporating that in every aspect of my life. As short as possible. 🙂 I live in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, but will be moving with my family to new countryside horizons of the most magical part of our country sometime next year. That will be a whole new world.

        Then I hope you would also share about your life credo and what is it that drives you, be it from the outside of you -or inside of you in terms of beliefs and mindset in general?

        I believe that letting your heart lead you and using your head as a tool to help you create what you desire in this physical world is a combination for good things. I like the thought that being me – whatever that means at any point in my life, you know, however it manifests in certain phases – is what ultimately brings fulfilment. And freedom, of course, in some sense. I feel the power that we all have inside, I see potential in everything and everyone, and I understand why many people fear going inside and meeting one’s Self. Because it’s so powerful that we hardly can comprehend it. 

        So, with this in mind, I am aware that I can overcome, or better yet deal with anything that comes my way. I can exist with whatever challenge comes my way, internal or external, and still live fully embodying what I choose to, as I mentioned earlier. Inspiration, alignment, trust and so on. 

        Our purpose is to live a life of love and light, and for that, we need to acknowledge the power we hold within, and this way we can overcome whatever life has put us into.

        Life is a gift, it truly is a beautiful gift if we choose to see it that way. I know some people have it harder than others, but at our deepest core, at the heart of what we are – we are all the same. Our purpose is to live a life of love and light, and for that, we need to acknowledge the power we hold within, and this way we can overcome whatever life has put us into. 

        And I guess this is what moves me. The fact that we do not need to do anything to become, or reach something to become – there are no wishes and aspirations for they create tension. We just get to be, and that is so beautiful and freeing. Observing the life around me, from nature to relationships and spaces, inputs and outputs, I truly feel blessed that I get to live this life. And on the outside, I chose to pursue art and create from inspiration, whether that is writing, photography, my business or something else. 

        When I’m having “hard” days, I return to these thoughts. 

        What is it that inspires you?

        Lately, I think it’s the fact that I don’t have to get anywhere. That I just get to do what I love to do. I really wanted to be surrounded by beauty every day, so I brought beauty into my life, which is a nice place to be in. Also, feeling connected to everything and everyone makes me want to be a better part of the Whole. When I started my creative business adventure a few years ago, I had plans and ideas that differ from today. However, I was open to the outside to flow at its own pace, but remaining loyal to following my heart no matter what. Today, I feel mature to show up as I am, both personally and in my creative endeavours, and that too is inspiring. I feel free and I feel safe, and it gives me wings to broaden my horizons. 

        And finally, I invite you to share your experience in photography and other beautiful things you do? Where does it come from? Is it something you dreamt of when considering your professional path, or did you stumble upon it while uncovering your path?

        I started doing analogue photography at the end of high school. I was just introduced to a whole new perspective of this world at the time, and as I was diving deeper I got to know myself on different levels, from different lenses in a way.

        What I was drawn to, I was experiencing it. There were quite some things I was trying, such as rock climbing, mountaineering, reiki, yoga, painting and drawing, with a lot of cooking, and photography of course, throughout my twenties only to learn where my connection with Nature lies. It was a natural flow of me collecting the pieces of the puzzle, and today is no different, except the topics of my interest have slightly changed. 🙂 It still has to do with personal growth, creativity, conscious living and since not a long ago, creative business and online marketing. Crazy combo. But, things change you know. I wonder what I will be pursuing in the decades to come. 

        So, photography has been around ever since I first started doing it, and the way I have used photography to express my inner and outer worlds have changed and is changing. I love the medium, I got intertwined with the camera over the years, and I always find new ways to explore it, which I love. Although I love photographing nature and creating self-portraits the most, last year I saw a chance to offer something new in my place and started doing brand photography for creatives on their way to making a living doing what they love. Here’s how that happened. 

        I was determined to live my life not more or less than anything I feel I like, desire, deserve, whatever. I was also determined not to be an employee anymore since I realised with my previous experiences that I don’t fit in that realm. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. Right feels good. Really good. So that’s where I went. As I opened myself in that direction, opportunities came my way. I was inspired by the work of Beth Kirby, and I know I sound like a broken record by now with mentioning her all the time, but she really did open a whole new world to me, giving me a perspective in which I get to be who I am, do what I love doing and what I’m good at, make money by doing so, and just enjoying the process. Looking at her made me see that anything I can imagine is possible. Unicorns too. 🙂

        photo by Marina Ćošić

        And now I am making it, changing the world by changing myself. In between all of it, I just like the process and the path I’m walking.

        It was a huge jump for me when I realised how she can make money in a whole new way. It wasn’t new in the marketing realm, but it was to me. At this point, it all made sense. My computer science engineer degree, my love for beauty and life and capturing it, my inner growth, my teenage wish to change the world… 

        I wanted to combine everything that I am and that I genuinely care about into my unique way of self-presentation I guess. Brand photography took me unexpectedly, as learning and implementing about creative online business did. This was the point where my broad interests came narrowed or niched down, and I was able to start a specific orientation. I realised there is a space in the market where I could implement what I know, express my sensibility and get to do the things I’m interested in, and find ways to monetise it.

        Now I see what I didn’t see when I had my first small business in my twenties, and I know many creatives don’t know how to get to where I got. And now it’s like a mission for me to share what has led me to become confident in what I do and keep being confident in whatever next comes my way. I’d love to pass on the knowledge and experience I have to those who are ready to be who they came here to be. I like that.

        And now I am making it, changing the world by changing myself. In between all of it, I just like the process and the path I’m walking.

        What was it that eventually made you choose to dive into this life you dreamt of?
        I can imagine you had it on your mind for some time before you felt ready to manifest it. And I can also imagine you must have had some doubts so I would appreciate learning how did you manage to overcome them. I believe it might be what interests our readers the most, as the obstacles of a limiting mindset are those we most often come across on our journey of self-discovery. Matters of self-esteem and other fragilities of self-perception, so if you have something to say on this topic please do so. 

        It wasn’t like ‘I’ll go and see what happens”. It was like – “I’m in.” 

        That’s it. I made a decision. 

        photo by Marina Ćošić

        Once I made the decision, once I was in – I made my way, as expected. I knew it wasn’t going to look as I imagined it, I just let that part flow. I was concentrated on figuring out the system needed to support what I wanted to create. What am I going to offer, what I am going to sell, what I want to look like in the outside world, how I want to show up, what to talk about, how to channel these energies, how to integrate different aspects of myself, how to implement strategies, writing, photography, art, websites, products, services, income streams… I didn’t have a firm something I was going for, but rather using my ideas as starting points and developing from there.

        Did I have doubts? Of course, I did. I still don’t know if I took teachable payments as I was supposed to legally. I still don’t know if my next project is going to get me what I’m thinking it could. But whatever it brings, I know it’s taking me to the next level, or the next phase. This is how I see it. 

        There is no out there – there is only here, now, what you create at this moment, in the next, and the next. We create our worlds with every step we make, with every thought we think, with how our heartbeats.

        There are always doubts, it just doesn’t mean that I have to enter the space in which doubts or fears take me over. I rise above that. This is what kept me going. I knew I was going to make it since I decided it. There was no other option. It was just a matter of how it would manifest, how it would physically show up. I never doubted reaching the finish line. At some point on this journey, I realised there is no finish line, it’s a never-ending journey of self-discovery and play.

        I know it will sound weird to some, all of this, but the only obstacles we face are in fact only in our heads. Not mostly, but only in our heads. There is no out there – there is only here, now, what you create at this moment, in the next, and the next. We create our worlds with every step we make, with every thought we think, with how our heartbeats. We are the building material and the builder at the same time. It’s crazy and mesmerising.

        You see, it’s all connected. If you further yourself from the experience, a feeling of doubt or fear, for example, see it, acknowledge it, let it move through you – you overcome it. When it comes again, you do the same again. You don’t have to fight it and create tension that way. As a Chinese proverb says, tension is who you want to be, relaxation is who you are. Life can be relaxed. You can live with fear and doubt, and move through them. It is not as easy and beautiful as when things are going well and when we are full of energy and inspiration, but who says it has to be. Our shadow is a beautiful chance to learn more about who we are. It’s why it was given to us. I mean, it’s not that you can train yourself to avoid uneasy feelings. You can only learn how to deal with them when they come. 

        Everything in this life wants to be seen, acknowledged, accepted in a way. It is the same with emotions. When they arise, let them be. It’s as simple as it sounds. 😀 You still gotta know where you’re headed and where your heart is.

        Our minds and our mindsets are not fragile at all, but extremely powerful, shapeable, resilient and flexible. It can powerfully lead you in fear and doubt, or it can powerfully lead you through abundance and love. It’s up to you.

        And if you feel brave enough to share, I believe it would also be valuable to our readers if you revealed how it felt at the very beginning? When you were waiting for an outside confirmation that you choose wisely; for your first, second client, feedback of any kind? I truly believe our readers would benefit from this honest insight as it may very well speak about something they fear themselves.

        I love your questions, Tanja. Thank you once again, I’m happy I get to share my own experience and perhaps be a light for someone out there. It’s a blessing. 

        First of all, we are more than our physical beings, and therefore have more than just these physical realities. When it comes to my creative business journey, I came to learn and to understand the difference between the upper realms of heart and soul which are inspiration and creation itself, and the physical aspect of creating a business such as a tech, prices, marketing, clients and everything else.

        photo by Marina Ćošić

        On the physical level I went through everything every creative out there goes through, I think. When I set the price for my brand photo sessions and send it out into the world, I doubted. I doubted that some people could afford it. In the upper realm, I knew that it was the right price because I felt it. It wasn’t coming from ego, but from learning how a price is formed and what needs to be taken into consideration. I knew what level I wanted to operate on and I knew what kind of clients I would attract with the price I have set. I learned enough about branding, marketing and myself, that I knew how I wanted to show up and who I wanted to work with.

        And yes, there was waiting for approval or feedback, only to learn to trust my inner feeling more. There was the anticipation of long-term feedback and connections, only to realise that it truly is safe to be who I am. In a way, nothing changes, no one cares. People look, people, talk, and they will continue to do whether you do something or not.

        There is no place to reach where you will finally feel safe. That place doesn’t exist. What happens is that you start getting confident in your own skin over time.

        Everyone will go through all of this, more or less. It is normal not to know things when you just start doing something. I had no idea how to be a mum, but I started learning, and I still learn and re-learn every single day. I still don’t know how to be a mama, since the little guy changes from day to day. It’s the same with a creative business. 

        There is no place to reach where you will finally feel safe. That place doesn’t exist. What happens is that you start getting confident in your own skin over time. Once you reach a certain point, when you climb a hill, a new one has already been created on the way up, and you’re not able to see it until you go up there. But now you just have more confidence to go for it. That’s it. It builds over time. 🙂 It just takes practice, really, that is it. 

        You create a vision of what you want to see in your life, what you want to be, how you want to live, and you start living it, day by day. It’s bumpy at first, expect that. It’s a nice ride, though, despite the inconsistency. 

        And yes, please do remember that you don’t have to wait to become. You get to be it today.

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