Being the new kid in an industry where there are so many movers and shakers can be intimidating! While you may gain inspiration from leaders, you also may find yourself feeling inferior or completely overwhelmed with all there is to know. This post isn’t the typical tricks you’ll find in a simple Google search for “tips for new photographers”. I want you to know the secrets I wish I knew when I started and not just the part where everyone tells you to make sure you know how to use your camera in Manual. I’m getting down to the nitty gritty and the real stuff I wish I knew when I first started a creative business. If you are new to entrepreneurship, this post is for you!
Your Brand = YOU
So many new creatives worry about their brand. They worry about the colors they choose, the packaging, and the logo. Your brand is SO much more than a pretty logo and great color scheme. Your brand is YOU. Your brand is how you make other people feel. You brand is your customer experience and your service. Branding is more than a logo! As your business grows, you will find your brand. I think discovering your brand is part of finding your own identity and figuring out what your why is and who you are. The message you want to send. The legacy you want to leave. If you are on the hunt for your style and your brand, do a little less brand boarding and a lil more self discovery!
Stop Asking To Get Coffee
Ok, let’s talk about this. It’s not that we don’t want to get coffee and we don’t want to meet up with you. I love meeting new people, especially when we have so much in common and are passionate about the same things. However, the truth is, we don’t always have the time. If we met up with every single person that wanted to grab coffee or go on a photo walk, there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day! Instead, ask people you admire in the industry if there is anything you can do for them or ways you can help them help you! For example, ask if you can tag along at a wedding to assist them, ask if you can help them on a session, ask them if you can provide them a service in exchange for their knowledge. Some industry leaders will love this, some will not and that is OK. However, when you start asking people what you can do for them, instead of what they can do for you – you start building rapport and relationships that will last longer than a rushed coffee date will!
Get Closer to the Fire
Stole this one from the fabulous Mary Marantz because I love it so much! Basically, you have a choice. When you see someone else killing it you can either want to stand closer to them OR you can be intimidated by them because they are shining so bright and want to extinguish their fire! Which one do you want to do? Hint: Go stand near the fire. Do everything you can to fuel someone else’s flames. And just see if you don’t feel that light in you grow brighter too.
We hear a lot about life/work balance and a lot about “hustle” just being a buzzword. I disagree. I think we need to hustle to see results. Everyday I tell myself: “work hard now, so later you don’t have to”. Work and hustle to build your empire. Create the life you want. Make the sacrifices now to get to where you want to be. Be willing to live a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. There are so many seasons of life and right now this is my season to hustle!
Price for Profit or Not at All
This is one I wish I would have followed from the beginning. I wish I would have worked for free (that’s right, FREE!) and then priced myself competitively for profit. Let me break this down, I’m not saying to always work for free – I’m saying to set yourself up for profit and success from the beginning. Run your business as an actual business, not a hobby. If I could start over I would actually use the first year I started to pursue photography as a portfolio building time. I would have shot for free and then once I had the experience and work to show, I would have set up my pricing structure to sustain my lifestyle. Instead, I floundered around for a few years and priced myself below the industry standard. I didn’t charge enough and I didn’t charge what I was worth. I actually lost more money than I made! It’s fun to know you can make a few extra bucks doing something you love, but if you want to feel valued and attract your ideal client from the start you have to price for profit not popularity. When we price ourselves too low, we hurt the entire industry and it makes establishing your business in a new market that much harder. Remember, no one will take you seriously until you do!
My number one tip in business and in life! Stay humble. No matter how successful we become, we must stay humble. We will always be learning and will never know it all. Someone else will always be ahead of us and there will always be other people that can teach us something we don’t know. Stay humble. Work hard. Be kind.
This relates to the point about standing closer to the fire. If you want success in your life I have one simple trick – celebrate others! This is what TuesdaysTogether of the Rising Tide Society is all about. Our local group meets every month and I have met some of my best friends from connecting and networking with others through this group. #communityovercompetition is our hashtag and “a rising tide lifts all boats” is our motto. It doesn’t get any better than this! Let go of any bitterness in your heart towards others in your industry and know that we are all in this together! Business and entrepreneurship can be hard and lonely, but it doesn’t have to be!
Show Up Everyday
Along with hustling, we need to show up everyday. If we want to be leaders in our industry, we must show up. What does this mean? It means being consistent and using your voice. Whether it be on social media, through your blog, or the customer service you provide – you have to show up every single time and bring your A game. Whether you consider yourself a leader or not yet, people are watching you. Your posts matter. Your message matters. Being authentic matters. If we start getting lazy, start procrastinating, or drop the ball too many times people take note. Whether you have 5 followers or 500 – show up for them!
What do you think? What do you wish you would have known when you first started your creative business? Comment below!
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