Today I realized that my business is my second...third....and fourth child. A very needy set of kids. But I love it so. AND it's why I don't want another baby right now, so stop asking when am I going to have #2.
MAD PROPS to those Mama's who own a business (or multiples businesses) with more than 1 kid! How about just mad props to anyone with multiple kids!
When you open a business for the first time from scratch you are like a new mother. Blissful and ignorant. These visions of what you could do down the road are grand. Then, well reality kicks in. You are beat down, stressed, frustrated, and exhausted. BUT, you are so proud of how your little baby is growing.
When you open a photography business you literally know nothing about (unless you've run a photography business in a past life). I came from nothing, no college degree in art or business. I have worked a lot of different types of jobs searching for that ONE! My passion in life. When I found it I was young and not ready to be serious about my business. If was kinda fun, but as I really started to switch gears and move into, "I think I like this enough to try and make money......" It takes on a whole new form. The "make it or break it" form!
Aren't we all just trying to make it. We want to live the life, enjoy it, love others, and be happy. This is what life is about.
But.....to make it you have to work your ass of for it. Most of the time, anyways.
So for the past 3 years, I've been working so hard. I took anything that contacted me to book. I needed to practice. Remember, I didn't attend school, so I did "on the job" training. But IF I charged anything......It was really nothing. Not sustainable. Just enough to put the gas in my car and maybe buy a prop or save for a piece of gear. When you start from scratch you are scrounging the ground for anything and everything you can find. Then you evolve and grow because when you are taking it all, there are bound to be some serious learning experiences. So you either demonstrate insanity or you grow.
I chose to grow. So was born contracts. A calendar. An email. The things I needed to get me a tad bit more organized. Then.....well the inevitable "serious learning experiences" happened again I added new procedures and policies to prevent that for ever happening again! Because, who actually knew that someone could get mad that their clothes (THEY PICKED OUT) didn't match or look good in the photo, their hair looked awful that day and wanted to reshoot, their kid wouldn't smile, or the DJ isn't here can you MC the wedding for us. Then oh man, I decided that weddings we not for me. Neither were seniors and boudoir. It wasn't "fun" for me anymore. And although deciding to specialize in something was hard, I hated turning down the inquiries but I NEEDED to focus my energy on learning what I did love.
The growing pains of a business are freaking rough. I've edited until 4am, worked a 12 hours wedding for $200 (oh god, what was I thinking!!!), and most of all spent an exponential amount of time away from my family and life. If you think you can just open a business and be busy and popular, my friend, you are wrong. You gotta work your ass off. Like until it just falls off.
You must nurture it and love it. Spend an extreme amount of time and devotion towards it. If, of course you want it to be a prosperous business.
I'm telling you all this because I see soooooo many people down about their business. Sooooo many who are working hard but in all the wrong places. Who own amazing equipment and don't know how to use it. Sooo many who just are suffering because they are stuck.
I'm not saying I have all the answers because I hit walls too, and cry in the shower while drinking a margarita. But if I try one thing and it doesn't work well I change it. I do not keep the same process if it isn't successful. If you aren't making money change your pricing structure. If you aren't booking client market more and get out and talk to people who you can network with. If your repeat client base is down (in business more that 2 years) then look at why? If clients are constantly upset with you for any reason or if they have to ask a million questions, look at your communication with them and fix it. If you aren't busy and profitable you need to look at yourself as the owner and say "what am I doing wrong that I can change and how can I change it NOW?"
STOP. Wasting. TIME!
Ok.....back to work :)
Remove yourself from things that won't help you make it. Don't look at others work. Focus on YOU!
If you want it, you will go get it. That's of course, if you WANT it bad enough.
(haha oh man I'm quoting cartoons now!)
Take these words and know that we all started somewhere and we all struggled....and still do struggle. But I'm happy to say I'm living my dream, doing what I love and taking care of my family doing it all. Excited to see where I go next in my journey. Cheers to your journey too!