Things I Wish I Knew in Business
I started taking portraits back in 2007 when friends and neighbors were deploying to Iraq left and right. The value of a portrait was foremost in our minds but for me the concept of running a business was not. I was a middle school art teacher at the time and if you had told me that I would become a wedding photographer, I would have laughed. It has taken me almost ten years to get where I am and in doing so there have been a lot of mistakes and wasted resources along the way. I hope to shed a little light on helping you avoid pitfalls that I have fallen into as well as how to move a business successfully. Grab a cup of coffee and lets get to work.
Invest in Education
No amount of fancy equipment will make your products better without the knowledge behind how it works. Do your research and hire the best possible mentor you can. There are great free resources out there but they only got me so far. The moment I started investing back into my business and my education, I started reaping huge rewards. However, don’t become a workshop junky which leads me to the next thing I wish I had known.
I can’t tell you how many times not researching something at the beginning of my business bit me in the butt later. I have untold amounts of templates and actions that I no longer use. I purchased a camera body only to turn around a year later and upgrade because what I had was not truly what I needed to have. I have been fortunate enough to have access to multiple workshops that I did not pay for either because I won a contest or it was a gift. Not all workshops are created equal and while I love them, often times it is the same thing recycled and rehashed again. This can leave you feeling like you wasted your money instead of investing it. Ask past workshop attendees what they thought. Do the ground work and know yourself and what you need.
I started out just wanting to take pretty pictures as a creative outlet for myself and I didn’t take myself or my business seriously. It has taken me far to long to find what my business stands for, what my goals are with it, and who I want to serve. Take time to know who you are and what you stand for. In the long run knowing this will make your business stand out more quickly because your message is clear.
Invest in Your Brand
I have rebranded several times from a self made logo to two different professionally made logos and a brand rename. This goes back to all the other three points, that if I had done the research, educated myself, and known who I was serving and why, I would have saved myself countless hours of redoing, reworking, and remaking everything to do with my brand. Down to the colors and look of your brand can express to someone an idea or even a value of worth. Your brand is the first impression, your website is your storefront, and your images are the final dealmaker or breaker.
This took me way to long to figure out. I spent countless hours doing my own SEO, editing, and website design. I am ever so grateful for our family photographer who shared the name of her personal editor and gave me back countless hours of family time. It is hard to let go and allow someone else to do something that we feel we need to control but is it worth managing those tasks when you could be out on a date with your husband or snuggling your kiddos?
Do you dream of having a successful business that makes you want to embrace Mondays with joy and excitement? You can, even if you move every three years! You can, even if you are a busy momma or a brand new wife!