Happy Monday everyone. This blog post is for anyone who is struggling with feelings of inadequacy today. Often times in this business, or in anyone’s career for that matter, we determine our success by weather our accomplishments measure up to others we admire, who are seemingly accomplishing what we are dreaming of doing. While some healthy motivation is good for us all, we have to be careful of the comparing game. For example, when I was first starting out in the photo biz I would spend hours looking online at other Photographers and wonder what they had that I didn’t? Why did everyone love them so much? ”Oh Man they are sooo talented, no wonder I don’t have my summer booked yet.” I would tell myself I was just looking to get motivated to better by own business, when really I was just feeding my feelings of jealousy and entitlement, “I went to photography college for goodness sake, why are THEY so successful and they JUST picked up a Camera this year?!” Needless to say my first few years in business were not healthy ones, and ones filled with high expectations, disappointment, and feelings of intense inadequacy. The funny thing is I KNEW those feelings were not right but I felt them all the same. And the hard truth is I just wasn’t really working on my business at all, I was complaining. It wasn’t until I got up and WORKED MY BUTT OFF that my business started to grow.
Here are the three things that I had to realize and believe to get me over the hump, that took me to the next level:
1. My success is defined by doing MY best work possible.
2. Comparing myself to others does NOTHING for my business, the people I was comparing myself to had probably worked really hard to get there.
3. Running an art based business has little to do with the craft and most to do with, big surprise, BUSINESS!
So here is what I did, instead of cyber stalking other photographers and businesses, I reached out and got to know people, and asked lots of questions. It turns out, a lot of those who I thought had it all together were struggling with the same things I was. And those who were on top of their game where really helpful and encouraging. SO I took their advice and actually got up and did something to work towards my own success.
The 3 BEST things I did for my business:
1. I got educated on running my business
Know your cost of goods, overhead, make income goals, you have to know WHY you have to charge what you do. Meet with an accountant, insurance company, take a business class, do whatever it takes to understand the business of running your own business
2. I worked hard to make connections.
Be purposful about meeting one new person a week you can network with. Send your existing clients notes to make sure they know how important they are to you.
3. I stopped measuring my success by what my peers were doing and focused on creating a list of goals for my self.
We don’t want to be cookie cutter photographers/businesses who follow the trends of everyone else, instead make a plan for your business strategy. What will you offer that others are not? And please STAY OFFLINE, don’t play the comparing game, instead take that time to actually WORK on your business, and work hard.
That is my story of how I started and how I got to where I am. I don’t claim to have done it the best or right way, but I hope this can encourage at least one person today. I know how easy it can be to feel inadequate and insignificant in the photography/business world, but know you are not alone, and that YOU are the only one who can define your success. Please leave a comment below if you would like to talk more about this topic, I would love to get to know you!