Love Stories

Running a Small Business – The Hustle is Real

Carla Lutz Photography Southern Maryland Wedding Photographer_0231

Today’s the day I call myself out.

That’s really nothing new since I’m an open book to those that know me well, but to hit PUBLISH on this post is a little scary.  I’m guessing you’ll either walk away a Judgey McJudger, refreshed in my honesty, or maybe, just maybe, you will have learned something new from my mistakes.  So, here it goes…

When I first started my photography business, I was naïve, and had A LOT TO LEARN, not just technically with my gear, but the entire business process. I lacked the knowledge and the confidence (which really go hand and hand) and I thought starting my business was done merely by creating a FaceBook page.  DID I JUST ADMIT THAT?!  I even recall once saying how I was going to offer “affordable photography not like all these super expensive photographers”.  (Feel free to come slap me.  I would do it myself if I could.)  I had no idea all the things that happen behind the scenes and just how much time and effort (and actual dollars) go into running a small business.  I’m going to just call it like it is.  This is how the industry gets saturated and for those doing it right, can get frustrated.  I get it.  I totally get it now, and once that epiphany happened, it was game on. Time to do things the right way and build a business I could be proud of.

I am so fortunate that early on I made friends with others in the business that really pointed me in the right direction, answered a lot of my questions and knew exactly when to give tough love. I spent countless hours researching every little aspect of the running a photography business and how to do it the right way.  What gear do I need?  How to use it?  How to become legit?  What lab should I use?  What products should I sell?  How much should I charge?  Contracts, questionnaires and invoices, oh my!  Where do I even begin with a website?  The list goes on and on and on and on.  Annoyed that there wasn’t an App or Etsy item for sale that was for a “Photography Business in a Box”, but now I get it.  No two businesses are ever alike.  No two photographers are ever alike and the hustle is what makes or breaks us.  If it all came easy and wrapped in a pretty little package, my business wouldn’t truly represent ME.

With my second year wrapping up, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic on how far I’ve come artistically and professionally. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing in detail more of the tough lessons I learned along the way and some of the really fun stuff too.  If you are venturing into photography, personally or professionally, my first piece of advice is to make friends with someone who shares that passion and will give advice, let you bounce ideas off of and give constructive criticism.  I may not have all the answers, but I’m happy to share from my own experiences.

Photo Credit to Angela at Powell Woulfe Photography
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