As most of you know by now, I’ve been a photographer for seven years but I completely revamped my business last summer after I attended the Creative @ Heart Conference. Without going into all of the details, I switched from general portrait photography to specializing in brand and real estate photography. I also went full-time in my business in January when my youngest nanny child went off to preschool. Some pretty big changes all in one year! Who knew that in one year I’d learn more than I had in the past six years. So in light of my one year business revamp anniversary coming up, I want to share with you 8 things that I learned in my “first” year of business:
- Prepare the horse for battle…or rather, prepare your business for actual clients! Get your contracts in place, have a monetary system (how you’ll be receiving payment & paying for business expenses), practice your elevator pitch (“Hi, I’m _____ and I’m a ______….), etc.
- Stay organized & simple. Not just organized in your office or work space but also in your systems. It’s so easy to fall into wanting to be professional and having 10 different systems for every little thing. Have one monetary system. One booking system. One online gallery host. There’s no need to be complicated!
- Don’t isolate. Dive into your expertise but connect with others around you! It really doesn’t pay to compare and exclude yourself from others. Community plays a huge part in being a business owner!
- Try different things. If one marketing tactic doesn’t work, try a different one! You’ll get stuck sometimes but it doesn’t mean you have to quit.
- Be authentically inspired! In a world FULL of creatives, it’s easy to get lost and feel uninspired. What inspires you? I’m not talking about on social media. If horses inspire you, spend time with horses a few times a month! If carpet inspires you, go carpet browsing at a store. Everyone is so uniquely inspired, it’s important to spend time feeding into your creativity.
- Be open to learning. Just because you specialize in something doesn’t mean you have to be closed off to others and their skill sets! I also encourage you to keep learning and developing in your own niche – there’s always room to grow!
- Be confident! This is something I struggle with. As creatives, a lot of us are also perfectionists and think that if we don’t do a job perfectly we’ve failed ourselves and our client. But I’ve learned over the years that a confident (not cocky) business owner or craftsman puts clients and customers at peace by mentally assuring them that you’re an expert and you’ll service them well.
- Slow down. This is HUGE. There are times for hustling but there are also seasons for resting… not stopping altogether, just slowing down and mentally cleansing your mind. Enjoy living in the present moment and not rushing off to the “next big thing”. Plants don’t grow in a day…well maybe some do…but most take time to root, to sprout, and to bloom. Slow down and enjoy the season you’re in!
This was a heck of a hard year for me but I don’t regret it because I’ve learned so many things already. There were hard seasons and there were moments to celebrate. I’m thankful because I know that if I’m learning lessons it means I’m growing! These are all lessons I can take with me and utilize in the future, wherever and in whatever I do. I hope the things I’ve learned can help you as well!
Comment below if you’ve learned a tough lesson this year as a creative-preneur!