Now that the holidays are winding down and we’re headed into the new year, I wanted to wrap up the second part of this post from a few weeks back! First things first, if you haven’t read Part 1, take a moment to read that before jumping into this one. All caught up? Scroll on, and enjoy J
6. Community > Competition
We all start somewhere. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in this business is the importance of community. We can all get caught up in comparing our work, talent, and “feed” to others around us and it can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out. Some of the most helpful things I’ve learned have been from other photographers who took the time to pour into me when I was less experienced. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge, wisdom, and encouragement they shared with me. This doesn’t mean that you need to give away all of your hard earned knowledge to any photographer who comes your way (see #7), but it might mean sharing some resources or classes that have helped you grow, answering a few questions, or just encouraging them. Remember, you were there once, too!
7. Invest in your business
I can’t stress this one enough! I think when you’re first starting out, you want that instant gratification. You want to see instant growth, gain a following, and have picture perfect images that look like those you see around you. But the fact of the matter is, these things take time and effort. Whether it’s a class, workshop, or just putting time into something that you can offer your clients that sets you apart from others – it will help your business grow. The amount of knowledge I’ve gained from a few courses and workshops here and there, has been invaluable. When you look around and see others who are excelling in their business or craft, know that they didn’t get there right away. It took time (LOTS of time), trial and error, and being poured into by others who have been at it for longer than they have. So – invest. Invest your time, heart and money (yes, you’ll need some of that too), and you will get it back ten fold.
8. Value your time
When you’re first starting out and trying to build a client base, you’ll often offer some free sessions or do work for much less than your ideal rate. This is totally fine! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving out a few freebies to get on your feet, but it can be easy to get stuck in that mindset and continue down that road even once you’re running a well established business.
I was all too guilty of this (Hello, people pleaser/enneagram 9!) When it came time to raise my prices or stop giving discounts, it was hard. I had been doing it for so long that I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, let alone possibly lose some of my returning clients. However, when I took a look at my business and the growth I had seen, I came to value my worth and my time. Your time is the only thing in your life that you cannot get more of. With a growing family, and need for a work life balance, it was important to set those boundaries and value my time for what it was. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth, and for your time. If your client values you, then they’ll stick around.
9. Step Outside of your Comfort Zone
Whether it be enrolling in a class, attending an in-person workshop, or raising your prices – stepping outside of your comfort zone is critical to your growth. For me, it’s usually the fear of failure that holds me back from stepping outside of my bubble and trying something new. Over the years, I’ve learned that the risk of possible failure is SO worth the reward in the end. Even if you fail, you won’t have to sit and wonder “what if” – and in my experience, the outcome has always been positive, not negative.
10. Set tangible Goals
Goal setting! I talked about the importance of this in a recent post. I’ve found that when I don’t set goals, I tend to spin my wheels and get stuck in being complacent and comfortable in my business. Setting several small, or large goals can help light a fire under you and give you something to work toward. Maybe it’s better time management, hitting a certain number, or working on your client experience. Whatever it is, set tangible goals for yourself and it will give you something to work towards. And what better time to start than the New Year?!
There you have it!
I hope this post was helpful to those of you who may be a new photographer, or just starting out in your business. Let me know if any of these resonated with you. If you’ve been in business for awhile, feel free to share what you’ve learned along the way – I would love to hear from others!