Ooof this is pushing me out of my comfort zone. I don’t share a great deal of personal stuff on my website. I’ve never really thought it was a necessary thing to do but actually I love reading other photographer’s websites and learning more about them as people. The other day I met with a client who told me she had enjoyed watching me grow. It struck a chord. There’s another reason I’ve decided to bare all (so to speak) -at the beginning of 2015 I decided I didn’t just want a photography business – I wanted a really kick ass photography business. I didn’t just want to be ticking along – I wanted a diary jammed packed with beautiful weddings. I wanted to be featured on my favourite wedding blogs. I wanted to be really successful.
So, of course I firstly bought a new notebook for Project ‘Make a Kickass Business’ because you always need a new notebook and the 79 I already own didn’t quite cut it. I started reading marketing blogs, learning SEO tactics (that’s how to get up there on google if you didn’t know) and writing a business plan. I joined an online course for female photographers, which sadly doesn’t exist now, but was a real eye opener for me. I learnt about mindset, goal setting and being authentic. I learned, very importantly, what my ideal customer looks like and how to find them. But most of all I learnt quite a lot about myself. I’ve procrastinated about sharing this for a while. I’ve already said, it’s really not my thing. I’m one of those people who are Facebook all the time but rarely post anything because I’m pretty sure no one will be interested (I probably wouldn’t be interested). So it’s hard to start writing about my life and business. But I decided to do it anyway.
Some of the other photographers I’ve met in the journey have shared really moving and inspirational tales from their lives on their blogs and I know it was a massive deal for them to ‘go public’ with their stories. Stories of traumatic pasts, chronic pain conditions, mental illness, tragedies and hardship. It’s so incredible to read those things and realise that these women are still running their own business and amazingly so at that. I’ve none of that. I’ve had a blessed life. Two brilliant parents who have been supportive of me always, taught me the value of money and a good work ethic whilst at the same time buying me a pony – quite an achievement, a lovely, kind, hardworking husband who I have loved since I was 16, two beautiful healthy children who were conceived and born without any complications or drama and a small but wonderful circle of friends. So yep, apart from needing to lose some weight, I have literally nothing to complain about. And I don’t complain (I don’t think so anyway – the hubster might tell a different tale).
But here was my massive realisation – this complacency – this easy, blessed life has held me back in my first years of business. I felt like I have so much to be thankful for that I shouldn’t want more. I have close friends going through truly difficult times and yet I was unsatisfied with my business and life. Not unhappy, not miserable by any means. Just not quite satisfied. That felt so ungrateful. I didn’t even realise I felt this way until I read a great booked called ‘Get Rich Lucky Bitch’ where one of the earliest tasks is to look at your money blocks. When I realised for the first time this was how I felt I could let go of it. It’s ok to want more. It’s ok to want a killer business and a better income for my family. Even if what I have at the moment is pretty sweet- it’s ok to try and make it even better. My friends wont resent me, I wont suddenly become too busy to spend time with people I love. It wont make me less thankful for what I have. I wont become a total knobber. Boom. Revelation. Maybe not a massive revelation but still a pretty big deal for me to share.
I’ve decided to start a blog series about the early days of running a photography business. I know there’s a few photographers who follow my blog but I also know that some of you, my lovely customers, are creatives yourself, or dream of running your own business or are maybe already doing it. I hope you’ll relate to these blogs. I hope even more that you’ll find them helpful.
A couple of months ago I celebrated my fifth birthday business. That is definitely something worth celebrating. Any excuse for cake right? When I first published my facebook page back in May 2013 and set up my first (really crappy) website, I knew absolutely nothing about running my own business. I had left university and gone straight into jobs in the civil service and then local government and whilst these roles did teach me lots of skills I’ve now come to use daily, they didn’t teach me anything about being my own boss. And yet, within 12 months I was able to hand in my notice and leave the comfortable local goverment job (you know – the one with sick pay, a pension and all those other lovely perks) and become my own boss. And on the whole it’s been flipping amazing. Without a doubt the best thing I’ve ever done. But it’s not easy. It’s not all flouncing around taking creating beautiful images. It’s 90% sat behind a desk. You have to learn marketing, accounting, admin and everything else in between. And here’s the secret. I bloody love it. I love being a business woman as much as I love being a photographer. And that is why I’m confident that I will achieve the relatively lofty goals I’ve set myself for this year. Because when you love it this much, it’s not work.
Please keep popping back to this blog – I’m going to be sharing marketing tips and hints and also telling you about my mentoring sessions.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do leave a comment below.