Expect and Plan For Times of Uncertainty
When you’re your own boss of a photography business, you’re going to be doing multiple jobs until you are in a secure enough place financially to support the payroll of a staff member or two. If you want to succeed as a professional it going to be inevitable, you will lose casual shooting time, time spent with friends and family. The world will rest on your shoulders, you will have to continuously be on the look out for work, trend changes, handling follow-up with potential clients, make sales, planning jobs, doing the job your hired to do, process the job and finish it up with a final invoices and payments. Once that is complete you need to find creative ways to keep your brand in the minds of your past clients as well as your potential clients. This is not a complaint on my part at all; it’s liberating in some ways and extremely terrifying in others. Fear can either be an amazing motivational tool or a detrimental factor of your decisions; me I choose to use it as a motivator.
When you’re making your best work and putting yourself out there everyday, the work will come. The work maybe slow at first, but it will come. One key factor that I feel is important for any artist to remember is that art and photography is a secondary desire; meaning its not needed for survival. This statement may be hard for the Selfie Queens out there but no one has ever died from not having their photograph taken or from the lack of a piece of art hanging on their walls. People buy art because it makes them feel good, it matches their decor, it “speaks” to them. People buy photographic services to document or sell things but it’s never needed like food, shelter, or clothing, so people think differently about it than other products or services. Your job as a business owner is to keep your brand out there visible constantly until the time they are ready to fulfill there “want” for art.
There will be many moments of uncertainty during the entire process, there will be some months that the phone rings off the hook and then others months you will be picking up your phone just to see if there is still a dial tone. These low points are the moments that the uncertainty starts to creep into your mindset. Regardless of how often your phone rings, you must stay consistent in your efforts if you feel a lag in productivity or you have to push harder on calls. One of the most significant things I have done for myself during the time of uncertainty was to add motivational sales training into my daily activities. If I’m not on the phone with a client or cold calls I have my books on audio playing in the background while I work on my computer, working out, cleaning my house…basically anytime I’m not holding a conversation with someone. My favorite is Grant Cardone, he has a no-nonsense kind of personality and some amazing ideas to keep anyone motivated during any endeavor. Right now I bounce between two of his audio books The 10X Rule and Sell or Be Sold, both are great eye openers for an emerging business owner.
There will always be things that feel (at the time) like a kind of sacrifice and there will be moments of uncertainty for your business but that feeling will pass if you stick it out and make honest efforts to persevere. I’m no where near my goal(s) for my business and in my life but I know without a doubt that I can make this work.