10 Lessons in Business
Photography isn’t just about capturing moments; it’s also about seizing opportunities and navigating the world of business. As a personal brand photographer and visual brand mentor in Edmonton, I’ve embarked on an incredible journey that’s taught me far more than just how to frame the perfect shot.
Looking back over the years, I feel like I’ve learned a lot.
AKA made a lot of mistakes.
Seriously, I should write a book called What Not to Do When You Quit Your Job to Start Your Biz. 🙈
In this blog post, I’m excited to share with you the 10 invaluable lessons I’ve learned in business – lessons that have shaped my career, expanded my horizons and showed me what was really important.
Hopefully this will either inspire you to keep going (or get started) or make you feel less alone in your struggles.
1. Your time is valuable ⏱
It’s easy starting out thinking you’re making SO much profit because your costs are low. This isn’t true. Your time is worth money, too!
So if you’re doing a lot of networking, setting up coffee meetings, or people are often reaching out to ‘pick your brain’ I encourage you to track that and see if it’s a worthy investment of your time.
I did a lot of in person networking for years after I quit my job and after a while, I realized that some of the meetings I attended weren’t worth the investment of my time. Between driving half an hour each way to the location, paying for a mediocre lunch, and then spending 2 hours trying desperately to connect with people, I no longer enjoyed it or found it a worthy investment of my time. I’m not saying that networking is bad, in fact, I think it helped my business, but just be aware if you like it or and if it’s worth it for you.
2. Be yourself 🙋🏼♀️
Show up as yourself online and in person.
Don’t try and fit into some mold or be something you aren’t.
I know it’s easier to show the pretty parts of your life and biz on Insta, but what I’ve observed is that people feel much more connected to your flaws vs your curated perfection.
Think about it: when someone shares the same struggles that you’re going through, don’t you feel so much less alone? You feel seen in a way. It really humanizes the person you’re following online. So don’t forget to show those not-so-glamorous parts of your life because we all have them.
3. Find your people 👯♀️
Being self employed can be very lonely, so find your people that get it. Maybe you have a supportive partner, but do they really know what it feels like? Probably not.
Look for groups on Meetup, Facebook or even IG. There are tons of places to find people to connect with online and in your local area.
I wouldn’t have survived 2020 without my people. Even just writing that gives me goosebumps because I’m so appreciative of the women in biz I’ve connected with over the years who have become lifelong friends. They’re in the trenches with me and can completely relate. This is priceless.
4. Ups and downs are inevitable 〰️
I hate to say it, but it’s true. You will experience ups and downs no matter how long you’ve been in business.
Does it get a little easier to ride the waves?
But please know that it’s normal.
5. It’s about who you know 🤝
Okay, so I know I just mentioned that I have slowed down a ton on in-person networking, but it most definitely helped my business when I first quit my 9-5.
Fun story… I quit my job with the plan of building a great, new, beautiful website and figured that would solve all my problems and bring in biz.
Totally a good plan, right?!
While building my SEO over the years has definitely helped with inquiries from Google searches, it’s really the people that I met (either in person or online) that helped move the needle. Whether I connected with someone who immediately needed my services, or they passed along my name, it led to lots of great clients.
6. Make systems and automations your BFF 🏻
If you’re a service based business and you find yourself writing out the same emails, losing track of documents, double booking yourself, or dropping the ball with clients then this one’s for you. I found 17Hats
in 2017 and never looked back.
I cannot recommend setting up systems and automations in your business enough. It saves so much time and makes sure your clients feel taken care of. I have a way better handle on invoices to setting up bookings and everything in between!
If you’re interested in 17Hats use code nfrhvcrgtc for 50% off.
7. Hire a coach 👩🏽🏫
Raise your hand if you burned through all your savings in 6 months after quitting your job 🙋🏼♀️
No? Just me?
This one is tricky as when you’re starting out, you might not have the budget to invest quite yet. However, I would definitely make it a top priority. Find someone who is an expert in exactly what you need help with AND who is further along in business than you and learn from their mistakes.
If you’re looking for a personal brand coach, check out my amazing coach Kat.
Tell her I sent ya!
8. Have a life outside of biz 🧗🏻♀️
I almost didn’t include this one on the list, because I am guilty of not doing this. I love my job and what I do. It is such a huge part of my life. I used to make it a priority over almost everything else. Slowly over the years I’ve learned that I can actually do things outside of my business.
I am more than a photographer and mentor.
Shocking concept, I know!
So if you’re feeling a little out of balance lately, here’s your reminder it’s okay to take a weekend off.
9. Set boundaries 🙅🏼♀️
Once again, this can be tough when starting out because you could feel desperate to make that sale or sign that client so you just make yourself available at any time.
Sit down and think about how you want your week to look and what boundaries you want to put in place.
Don’t want to work evenings or weekends?
Want to make that Wednesday yoga class every week?
Block it off!
Important for you to walk your kids to school every day?
Start your day later!
You want to find clients that actually respect your boundaries. People that challenge your boundaries to take advantage of you aren’t your ideal client anyway.
A few years ago, I decided to stop booking photoshoots on Mondays. I’ll still take phone calls and Zoom meetings, but I needed a day where I didn’t have to leave my house. I thought that would hurt my business, but it didn’t at all! I’m also not big into early mornings. The earliest you can book me is for 10am.
Can I make exceptions to these rules? Absolutely! But *I* get to choose when to do that.
10. There is no magic pill 💊
Do you know how many email opt-ins I’ve signed up for, $27 PDFs I’ve purchased and masterclasses I’ve signed up for thinking they would be my golden ticket to success and wealth?
sigh… too many.
While all of those things were full of great information, there was still work required behind them. I know that one is a hard pill to swallow (pun intended 😝) but the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can move on.