This time last year I was thinking about starting to take my photography seriously again. I wasn’t sure if I still possessed the limited talent I once had, I wasn’t sure if I had the gumption to learn what I would need to know to be successful, I didn’t know if I could hack it in the competitive Los Angeles market. I was scared, and to top it all off I didn’t even have a camera, in fact I hadn’t picked one up in almost 4 years.
Now, I don’t want to imply that today, I have my ish 100% together, but when I look at how far I have come & the incredible amount of knowledge I have gained & use on a daily basis, I feel proud. (Literally, I didn’t know that I was posting 8MG images on my blog let alone that it was even an issue. True story!)
In the last year I have blown through 3 brands, 4 websites, and 3 attempts at a blog. I have been a family photographer, a wedding photographer, an event photographer, a head shot photographer, and finally discovered my true calling as a branding photographer (I love it so much!). I have become an expert at begging, borrowing, and bartering to get the things I needed for my business but didn’t have the moola to spend. I have learned that quality is both worth paying for and waiting for. I have learned that I still have a lot to learn and that its a good thing.
In honor of my 1 year anniversary, the following are a few tips for people like me who KNOW they are meant to start something, something big & meaningful but who are pretty sure they don’t have what it takes. Because here’s the truth: no one has what it takes when they begin, BUT you DO have what it takes to keep on going & learning & growing, and sooner than later, succeeding! Here goes:
- SET MANAGEABLE GOALS FOR YOURSELF: For me (the girl who never wanted to try harder or go further than what was necessary to get the job done) I started off with a commitment to do one thing every day that had to do with photography. Whether it was blogging, shooting, uploading photos, researching other photographers, or reading one of my various business and photography books. It didn’t matter what it was or how long it took, I just had to start building the habit of building a business. It wasn’t long before I started wanting more!
- EVERYONE STARTED NOWHERE: We all have an acute impulse to compare ourselves to everyone else and I don’t care what anybody says, its NOT ok! Certainly we can gain inspiration and ideas from others, & better yet, collaborate with them, but the truth is that they all started somewhere & it was probably surprisingly close to where you are now -nowhere. So ask questions, read books, & Google, Google, GOOGLE! There is a wealth of free knowledge available on the internet from blog posts like this to video tutorials that will show you step by step how to crop a photo, or resize an image, or make a beautiful composition in your camera. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re probably not the only one with that questions (and even if you are, so what!:)
- INVEST WISELY: There are literally a billion zillion things to spend your money on when starting a business. So, make sure to take the time to evaluate what you really NEED to spend money on and what can wait (because it can!). More than likely you will need a good looking & functional website, social media, business cards, & some descent photos of yourself to get started. Past the essentials, let your business start working before you blow huge amounts of denero because you won’t truly know what you need until you do.
- FAST TRACK PHOTOGRAPHER: This little book I downloaded on my Kindle changed everything for me. Dane Sanders (the author) has a beautiful philosophy that we are all “better together”. That those of us with a little bit more experience should share our knowledge freely & will gain as much if not more than we give. While his book does focus on starting a photography business, you can literally read it and mentally replace the word “photography” with whatever type of business you are starting. The content is that good. It was Dane who first introduced me to the concept of building my business around my brand. Obviously, it stuck;-).
The trick to success is simple: perseverance & accepting the journey. I have so many more thoughts and tips to share, but those will have to wait for another blog post on another day. Today I am just content and thankful that I have come so far.