Today, I want to share with you the most valuable thing you can do to build your photography business. You might be surprised at where this blog post goes. Building a photography business isn’t necessarily about your skills, knowing accounting or marketing yourself. It’s about being confident in yourself and your pursuits.
I have strong business skills inherited from my mother. I knew exactly what to do when starting my own business because growing up, I watched her build hers.
Check out my mom (in the scarf) + her team in front of her first company. Hello shoulder pads.
What I learned is: the “business” parts of growing a business are quite easy.
Business cards, website, a logo, bookkeeping, etc. I think the systems and tangible parts are straight-forward. You can go online now and learn that in a day. The hardest part for me was developing the courage and confidence to put myself out into the world, because who you are at the core is going to affect every single thing you do within your business.
The most valuable thing I did to build my business was work on myself.
I’m talking personal growth. The most valuable thing I did to build my brand, not to mention catapult my business into success, was attend seminars, read books, and go to therapy so that I could be the best version of me.
At first I was reluctant because my ego didn’t want to ask for help. I thought therapy was for people who were weak, and classes were for people who were dumb.
Two important things I’ve learned about building your photography business, or about life in general:
1. The people who are strongest are those who are vulnerable and willing to seek help. A wise person always seeks to learn, no matter how much they know.
2. NO ONE knows what the hell they are doing. If someone claims to know everything, they are the last person to listen to. Why do all famous philosophers ask so many damn questions? Because they know what’s up.
At a seminar I attended, some people were there to resolve personal problems (i.e. rekindling a relationship with their spouse); others wanted to excel in their professional career. By the end of the seminar, the thing it came down to for EVERY single person was a personal story they had created about themselves that caused them to be “stuck.” Something happened to them in the past and their reality was created around it.
Don’t Believe the Lies we Tell Ourselves
I’ll share with you one of my stories. For the longest time I thought I was stupid. Literally. I got called stupid a few times as a kid, and from then on, I believed it. It made me tremendously insecure.
It didn’t matter if I was getting straight A’s or excelling, I looked for all the ways to confirm I wasn’t good enough. This underlying story is common among over achievers.
Letting Go of the False Narrative
After letting go of this story about myself, I began seeing and hearing things differently. I showed up… confident! What fueled my confidence even more was being able to hear it from others.
“My favorite thing about you is how smart you are.” “Hm, who can I set you up with? He has to be really smart, because you are.” “I think sometimes you’re too smart for your own good.”
And it’s true. Sometimes I do think I’m too smart for my own good. Haha!
That is just one example. By doing the emotional work, I opened up and gained courage to be authentic and transparent. And interestingly enough, THAT is the strongest asset of my photography brand.
Not only that, but I’m also able to see set backs and unexpected events as opportunities.
At the time I didn’t know that doing this kind of thing would launch my career. I did it for personal growth, and concurrently catapulted my business without even knowing it.
Being confident in yourself is truly the most valuable way to build your photography business. If you do the inner work, you will build something you are proud of.
If you are interested in the specific books and seminars I attended, I share them here in this blog post. 🙂 All the best to you as you build your photography business (or any business)! You got this.