Updated: Feb 12, 2021
I started my photography business in September of 2018. This is when I officially had the necessary pieces to start such as business cards, a website and a studio. I haven't been running my business that long but had the opportunity to shoot headshots for a Vice President of a company. I also currently have a few families interested in fall photoshoot. Although I've just started my business, I am getting a lot of interest in it right away. It's perhaps because I talk about it a lot more at various places I frequent. Business is hard, but rewarding when you put in the hardwork. I am learning a bunch of new skills each and day. I am learning about what my business needs and wants, much like having a child? Here are my top 10 things I have learned so far.
1) Running a business is a lot of hard work
Running a business is a lot of hard work. I currently work full-time as a graphic designer and I find myself still working when I come home. There is currently no downtime. I am always on the computer either editing images, posting something on social media or thinking about my next photoshoot or promotion.
2) I am not just a photographer
Photography is probably about 20% of the work required. Most of the time I am doing paper work. I'm drafting contracts or trying to come up with content for my next blog post or promotion. I'm spending time doing accounting and keeping track of receipts. I'm working in the background to schedule initial calls with potential clients.
I am developing skills I've never had before. Accounting is nowhere in my skill set. I had to learn quickly about invoicing and keeping track of my transactions. Although this has been my biggest learning curve, it has been the most rewarding and the most liberating skill.
3) It's exciting but overwhelming
Pretty self-explanatory... Learning new skills and seeing the fruits of your efforts pay off is really darn fun.
4) You have to be forward-thinking
My brain is always on overdrive. I'm always thinking about what next and how to achieve certain goals with my business. You have to be thinking outside of the box constantly to attract new clients. I am still working on this skill as I read and watch other photographers market their business. I'm excited to see where all of this will go and how I will change in the weeks and months to come.
5) Networking, networking, networking
The biggest thing I want to work on right now and not just for business is networking. When I was younger I never understood the value of networking. Through my various schooling and gym activities, I've met a vast amount of people that are in different lines of work. It's so important to me to be able to have these people in my life. I find that I am often recommending them to others or using their services myself.
With the experiences that I have, I've met people in Real Estate, Interior Decorating, Make-Up Artists, Models, fellow photographers and the list goes on. It's crazy to think how these people are valued and valuable in your life. It's amazing how people are connected by these little things. An Interior Decorator can help a photographer decorate their studio. A MUA can help with a photography shoot or even hire a photographer to advertise their services.
6) I actually like photographing people
I've heard from other photographers that they do not like photographing people and prefer other subject matter whether that is pets, landscape, still life, etc. I've come to realize in the last little bit in my photography journey, that I love to shoot people. I love working with models in a fashion shoot or shooting families or couples. There is something exciting and intriguing about shooting people that I seem to quite enjoy.
7) Pushing past my comfort zone
This one is a big one that I am learning. There is a voice of doubt that always seems to creep in at times. But there is also this voice of reason that tells me I am capable of running a business and that I should ignore the voice of doubt. This voice of reason led me to register my photography business earlier on and speak to a vendor for custom framing!
I'm trying to push past what I am comfortable with to scarier things in my business. If I don't push past my comfort zone, I won't be able to be successful in my ventures.
It is completely creepy that I find myself wanting to talk to random strangers about my business or approach farmers and other scenic venue owners to see if I can shoot on their premise? Maybe.
8) Have a strong workflow
As you get busier and busier in any job, you'll need to work out some sort of efficiencies. The first photography job I did was a learning curve for me in terms of my workflow to figure out what I liked doing and in what order. I've made charts and lists to keep me on top of my work.
9) It's okay to make mistakes
I've made them; we've all made them. There is no way you can get better in life without making a few along the way. For me, this is an absolute struggle. I am a perfectionist at heart so when I don't get something right the first time, it bothers me. I am learning that it is okay to make mistakes, but the most important thing is not to blame and be hard on myself; It's needed to grow.
10) Schedule rest
I'm a workaholic. There I said it. I like being busy and get antsy when I don't. I find myself checking my phone constantly for an email or trying to figure out my next social media post. I am actively trying to tell myself I need rest before I burn out. It does happen a lot as I try to live my life as full as possible.
My life consists of working full-time as a graphic designer, my side business, gym life, family time, financial fitness and I try to have a social life (emphasis on try). It's important to schedule some rest time in between all of this just to do absolutely nothing. I am not sure I am comfortable with doing absolutely nothing... but I am going to give it a shot. Rest is important to come up with creative ideas. The brain needs a break every so often and mine certainly does!
There you have it. My top ten list for what I've learned about my photography business. What have you learned about your business so far? Are you still learning anything new? Comment below.
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