I spent all week trying to think of what to write in this weeks Faith + Full Time Focus post. Normally I feel inspired and know exactly what I want to share with you all, but this week I have been a bit distracted. Yesterday was my final day as a full time corporate employee. As of today, I am officially a part time banker and a full time phototographer! (YAY!) I am seriously so excited for this new chapter in life and I am so beyond grateful! It causes me to randomly get teary eyed for no reason other than the fact that I feel abundantly blessed. With that being said, my mind has been preoccupied and while thinking of this week’s post, I continued to draw a blank about today’s topic.
I realized yesterday afternoon that today’s topic was right in front of me all along. The fact is, it wasn’t easy to get to this point in my business. I am not going to lie to y’all and say that its been a breeze getting to this point. Quite frankly friends, it took a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifices, and a lot of pure hearted determination to get me here today. So, I thought what better thing to write about today than the actions steps I took that led me to where I am in my business right now!!
6 Actions I Took That Changed My Business For The Better
1. Practice, Practice, Practice and Build Your Portfolio!
In order to book your ideal client (or any clients at all) you need to have a portfolio for prospects to see! In my experience, building my portfolio meant that I did a lot of shoots for free when first starting out! And guess what- that is ok!! When I wasn’t charging for a session, I felt better about being able to take my time and get the shots right. I wasn’t as nervous as I would have been if I had a paying client sitting in front of me with expectations! Utilize your family, utilize your friends, and take advantage of every opportunity to work with your camera. The more you use it, the more natural it will all come to you! The more I shot, the less I found myself panicking and automatically switching to Auto. The constant practice made me feel confident in my ability to use my camera properly! That allowed me to focus more on building a genuine connection with my clients during their shoot and begin mastering the art of posing those clients!
2. Be Active on Social Media
People want to see your work. They love to follow your journey. Allow your future clients the opportunity to watch you grow! There is nothing to be ashamed of when you are just starting out! As I said, we all start somewhere so don’t be ashamed to share the beginning of your story! Post images of your most recent sessions. Post images of your behind the scenes moments. Post about your new website creation or your new business cards! Let people in to your life and they will allow you into theirs! One way to also think about this is- Out of Sight, Out of Mind. If clients don’t actively see your business, they may not be as quick to think about your business when the time comes that they want to book a photographer! The flip side to that is- the more you post, the more you allow people to fall in love with you! Trust me friends, if you are opening your heart to them and being genuine, the right people will find you and those people will in fact love you!!
3. Stop Following Those That Make You Feel Unworthy
This is a big one, friends! You know those people that you follow on social media and every time you see their latest post, you kind of hang your head a little feeling discouraged and feeling as though you aren’t good enough?? Yeah those people… Stop Following Them!!! Seriously, go to your Facebook and Instagram account and unfollow them!! I don’t meant this in an ugly way, but I followed quite a few accounts that made me feel that way. Each time that these people posted something, I automatically feel discouraged and as if I wasn’t good enough because they were doing something better. Here’s the secret… They aren’t doing something better, they are just simply in a different season of life! They too were in your shoes once and just because their season of life is not the same as yours, does not mean that you are not worthy of your dreams. You are so much more deserving of this than you may believe. Once I stopped following those accounts that made me second guess myself, I immediately felt better about my ability as a business owner and more confident as a photographer! I was able to stop comparing myself to what everyone else was doing and was able to embrace my own version of what was right for my business!
4. Believe in Your Talent
You are capable of more than you may think that you are. I cannot begin to tell you how many job opportunities I lost because I didn’t have faith in myself! I once had someone contact me about a family session that would include a mom, dad, and their little 6 month only baby girl. Instead of jumping on the opportunity and believing in myself, I emailed her back saying that “I didn’t have any experience with children that were that age and that I wouldn’t be offended if she wanted to instead hire someone more advanced in their career that had experience in children of that age”. What?!?! Yeah, that happened… The problem here was not that I didn’t have experience in family sessions. I had experience in newborn sessions and sessions with children that were one year or older, but I didn’t have experience with an exact 6 month old and I therefore felt as though I would disappoint my client if I took their pictures. This is the biggest lie that I let myself believe for entirely too long. Just because you don’t have experience in a certain field, doesn’t mean that you are incapable of doing a good job! It just means that you are accepting a new challenge and that you’re probably going to rock it! Sometimes, however, there are instances where you may not be the best fit for a client. It is always nice to refer those clients to another photographer that may be a better fit. I am a huge fan of networking and I believe that we should always help each other out! The point here is that you should absolutely always believe in yourself, believe in your talent, and accept the opportunity for growth if it’s a type of photography that you would like to be in!
5. Stop Trying To Do It All
This may sound like the exact opposite of #4 but it is something that I just recently learned myself. I had reached a point in my business where I wanted to say yes to every session opportunity that came my way! I had a gentleman interested in having me photograph merchandise for his website. I said yes and began compiling my action plan of how I was going to get these shots perfected for this client. After a few day however, I realized something very important. I am a wedding and portrait photographer. I am not a wedding, portrait, merchandise, and everything under the moon photographer. I want my business to grow from portrait sessions. The connections that I build with my clients is what keeps me going in this business! Photographing watches and military merchandise was not where I wanted my business to grow and I was stressed already just thinking about this shoot! That is when I decided that it was time to say no. Saying no does not mean that you are a failure, it means that you are allowing yourself to focus on the types of sessions that you do want to grow and specialize in! The great thing about saying no to this job was the fact that I was able to refer this client to another local photographer that was interested in this job! Its a win win all the way around when you think about it! I was able to keep my schedule open for portrait sessions and my photographer friend now has a new client to work with! (Sometimes there are cases where we need to do the “not so ideal” shoots in order to pay the bills, but know when to listen to your heart and your gut and know when to say no.)
6. Stop Making Excuses
Its easy to say you are unable to shoot, unable to edit, unable to blog, unable to post your images onto social media… the list goes on. I allowed myself to do this for years. The truth is that there will always be an excuse. You just have to do it! There will always be an optical in the way. There will always be another hurdle to jump over. But it is your choice whether you allow that to stop you. I will be the first to tell you that there are sacrifices that you make. I sacrificed a lot of beautiful weekends this summer that were spent sitting inside at the table editing photos. I sacrificed a lot of time relaxing in front of the tv to instead go out and shoot a session. I sacrificed a lot of sleep to instead stay up way too late working on photos and creating tomorrow’s blog post…I am still making those sacrifices every day. Sometimes you have to make these sacrifices in order to allow yourself the opportunity for growth! Don’t get me wrong, there are still days that I go out with friends, nights that I spent cuddled on the couch with my husband, days where I decide that the blog will be there tomorrow and it just isn’t happening that night. You need to dedicate time to the things that will make your heart happy and leave you feeling refreshed. But know that it is not always going to be easy, and sometimes you will in fact feel like you are spinning your wheels and chasing your tail, but if you continue to push through, continue to have a positive attitude, and continue to stay focused on your goals and dreams while hustling with all your might- you will reach those goals and those dreams will come true!
I hope that this post helps my fellow photographers and creative friends out there! If you ever have questions or need some advice as you are starting to grow your business, please know that I am here. You are welcome to head over to the contact page and shoot me a message! I would love to chat with you!
P.S. For those of you following this journey with me, the new website is coming along fabulously and I will soon be announcing the launch date for my new brand!! Stay tuned!