Take a second real fast and go read this six year old blog post from 2012.
Maybe you read it six years ago, or you’re one of my workshop attendees and I pointed you to that blog when you sat in front of me, a drained photographer/wife/mother. Maybe that was your first time reading it but let me tell you, it changed not only my business (for the better) but it changed my life.
If you didn’t read it, read this excerpt:
“My sweet boy would want to show me something and I would mindlessly say, “Uh-huh, cool, bud” while not taking my eyes off the family pictures I was editing. His plea? “Mommy! Look with your EYES!“
Ugh. I can see 5 year old Nicholas standing there with a picture he drew for me now. Feeling like whatever was on that computer in front of me was a thousand times more important than him and his artwork. He’s eleven years old now, a little man-child who doesn’t draw pictures for me anymore, and if I could go back ten years and slap myself upside the head to SLOW DOWN, I would.
Today, my schedule looks nearly exactly like it did six years ago even though my business has grown into something that now employs a team of amazingly talented individuals and my husband who was able to leave his corporate job to join up with mine. And you know what? I don’t think any of this would have happened if I was working 60-70 hours a week, no real business hours and undercharging my work.
I preach something at workshops that I hope you guys listen up for a second…
If you treat photography like a hobby or a part time gig,
if you undervalue yourself-your time and your art,
if you value someone else’s budget over your time away from your quickly growing children or your spouse who desperately needs connection,
if you are answering emails in bed at 2 am and are sleep deprived the next day
…your business will not thrive.
No successful business is a one man show. If you think it is, guess again because there is usually a team working behind the scenes. You can’t be the photographer, editor, marketer, social media manager, customer service, finance manager and still have time to live. And if you are trying to do all of those, something is going to suffer. Maybe it’s how energetic you are at a shoot, maybe it’s a sloppily edited session, maybe it’s not posting on Facebook/Instagram/blogging for weeks, not replying to emails or dropping the ball on filing for taxes.
Growing a business takes investments, and maybe for some of you just having a little extra income while doing something you love is enough, but more and more I’m getting messages wondering “How I got so big in the industry” and the answer is always the same.
Treat this with the same amount of dedication that you would ANY job. Put in eight hours a day. Charge what your worth. Educate yourself. And if you can invest in a $900+ workshop, you most likely can invest in someone to answer your emails 10 hours a week. Then be the absolute BEST version of yourself you can be for your clients. Get your life back and grow your business.
Now remember that three year old in the vintage dress? So glad I cut back and spent the last six years watching her evolve into the beautiful young lady she is today.