So right now, I’m trying to multitask and actually write my blog while commuting to and from my full time job. I’m actually in the car, using this good ol’ voice software to record my blog and type this up for me. Then, I can be a good little mommy when I get home and play with my kiddos. So, brace yourselves, because you will probably read a lot of Umm’s and Huh’s because that’s just how I talk.
To those of you ladies and gentlemen who are blogging every day, “kudos to you”. I have tried to record this blog for the last hour and it just keeps sounding more and more ridiculous each time I start over. If I were directing a movie right now, I would be smacking that little thing shouting, “Take 25 aaaannnnd BLOG”, because this is hard. In my head, the words sound much more eloquent than I am sounding on this recording.
Anyway, this blog is probably more for myself than to share with everyone else, but what do I have to lose by wearing my heart on my sleeve and sharing my darkest secrets. Maybe you’re a newbie photographer, even newer than me, and you can find some inspiration. If you’re a seasoned photographer, maybe you’ll read this and begin to nod your head that you found this true for yourself. So, here is goes…
I had eye opening epiphany. I realized that over the last year and a half, while starting my business, I tried so hard to put myself and my business into this little mold I created. This was based on all my research, all the opinions, all the Facebook photography boards filled with people’s sound advice on what worked best in their business. These are things from what specialty of photography to pursue, what products to offer, how to sell them, when and what to blog, etc. I had wrapped all these ideas into this pretty little box and I just knew that if I implemented all of them, that my business would be successful. I started to realize that a lot of these concepts or opinions that worked for other photographers and the masses, just didn’t quite fit me.
While gathering information and hearing other people’s experiences is a great way to figure out where to begin your research, the
epiphany I had is that the best way to run your business is from your heart. It may not work for someone else, and it may goes against the grain of the industry standard, but I promise you, if you are doing something that you absolutely love, you stand behind it, have integrity and it excites you every day, you will find success.
THE MOLD I COULDN’T FIT
Blogging. I was actually going to write a blog about why I’m not blogging J, but it’s not that I’m not. (Say that 3 times fast.) It’s just that right now my thoughts are random. I can’t tell you on Monday that I’m going to blog about my weekend, because let’s be honest, some of the recaps would involve my kids having meltdowns or me running out of coffee creamer and having a meltdown. Since those things aren’t exactly exciting enough to force you into reading, my blogging topics aren’t going to be consistent. I’m going to blog when I have something interested to say, aaaand the other days I’m just going to keep my mouth shut, or pen from writing/fingers from typing. I know that mentality isn’t going to help my SEO rankings, but I’ll take that consequence.
Sales. I let a lot of opinions weigh in on how I should present my products to my clients and what I should offer. I kept hearing all these raving reviews about in person sales that made it very enticing. However, the more I looked into it, the more I realized that it just wasn’t for me at this time. I am still juggling a full time job. I said “still”. I AM juggling a full time career during the week, and that’s not something that’s going to change anytime soon. Actually, I don’t know if that ever will change. I have to create a business model that
allows me to do what makes sense for my family and me. I just want to get out there and meet people and build those client relationships and photograph their babies and weddings. If I required a pre-consultation and an in person reveal session for every client, more of my time would be set aside for sales meetings. That’s taking me away from the part of the business that I am in love with: photographing. I am still educating my clients about products and willing to meet with them to show them samples, but at this time in my business, it’s not something I’m going to make mandatory.
Specializing. Another aspect of my business that I wasn’t quite following the norm, was what type of photography to offer. What am I going to specialize in? I heard a lot of opinions on why I should only offer newborns and families OR boudoir and weddings. For me, I would hear that and I would keep telling myself that. I was hoping the more I said it to myself, the more I would start to believing and feeling that way, and that hasn’t happened. I am loving that one month is filled with babies and then Valentine’s day comes around and my weekends are booked with boudoir sessions for those gifting to their loved ones. Then, the next month it’s back to wedding season. Maybe my opinion of this will change next year or the following year, but for now, I’m shooting what makes me happy, what I am motivated and finding creativity in. Can’t I just build my little clientele and be their personal storyteller with photographs for all of their major events?
If you are still trying to find your way in this business, keep soul searching. I have been on the other end. I’m still on the other end as newbie. I’ve been an open book to other photographers. If you want to know all the bumps in the road I’ve come across, I will be the first to raise my hand and share my experience. If I can help you to make one less mistake that’s awesome, but I’ll be the first one to say that just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it’s going to have the same results for you.
It’s crazy that as I say/write this, I realize how absurd it is that I didn’t do anything other than follow my instincts over the last year and a half. If you know me on a personal level, you know that I am headstrong. When I make a decision, I’m confident to stand by my convictions. Why was it so difficult to find my own way through starting my photography business? Maybe because the stakes are high?
Now, that I’ve just done what has made sense to me, my business has flourished, because my heart is in it. My business is genuine to who I am, and it’s an amazing feeling. I’m getting the clients that make having a second job and being away from my family, less difficult because they are just the most kind-hearted, happy, photo enthusiastic friend/clients, I could ever hope for.
I don’t think a lot of people would pick the life of juggling being a wife, and a mommy to two little ones, working a full time job that involves a 3-4 hour commute each day, plus editing at night when everyone else is asleep and then shooting on the weekends. I’m doing this because my heart is in it. I have this amazing opportunity, with the support of my family, to follow my dreams.
If you are considering starting your own photography business, you definitely want to research the heck out of everything. Learn how others are running their business successfully. Ask questions. Attend workshops. It’s crucial to have a sound business model in place and not just go out and start taking pictures and charging people. However, if you find that the business model that works for someone else doesn’t quite work fit you, that is OKAY. Don’t try to mold yourself and business into something you can’t wholeheartedly get behind. We are all in different situations and have our own factors to consider. It’s when you truly believe in what you are doing, every aspect, that you will find that success is much closer than failure.