When I was fighting like a cornered weasel to become a full time photographer I used to constantly push myself to do things I didn’t particularly want to do.
I did them because I knew they would help my photography career.
- Approaching businesses to create alliances.
- Sending out regular email newsletters to my clients.
- Going to networking groups to build business alliances.
- Sending gifts and cards to wedding clients on their wedding anniversaries.
- Asking for testimonials.
- Asking for referrals.
- Approaching charities to see how we can work together.
- Creating Facebook adverts
- Approaching the organisers of charity balls to offer my family portrait sessions as an auction item.
- Working with other wedding professionals to create a styled shoot to help promote each other and build strong relationships.
- Writing regular blog posts.
- Contacting and meeting wedding planners and venues to explain how I can help them (so they’ll be willing to recommend me)
- Planning my days and scheduling important tasks that will help my business thrive.
- Writing up a detailed marketing plan for the whole year.
…the list goes on.
When I was part-time I somehow found time to do all these things and more.
I was hungry to succeed and break out of the rat-race.
I used every spare moment efficiently; always thinking about what I could do to bring the next client in, or improve my sales average, or booking-conversion rate.
I still do all these things, but not with the same regularity or tenacity that I did.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve gotten too comfortable and I need to kick my own ass every now and then.
I need new goals that I’m eager to achieve.
It was easy before – my goal was to become a full time photographer. It was a clear goal I was manically devoted to.
Now things are different.
I’m all content and living in my happy bubble. Too content!
If I don’t go get another alliance this month my phone will still ring tomorrow.
I could go a few months without writing a blog post and I’m confident my website will still be well ranked.
But pretty soon 6 months have gone and I’ve not done as many things as I should.
Perhaps a new competitor I’ve never heard of sneaks past me on Google.
Or I notice they’ve won a coveted award because their photography is putting mine to shame.
Suddenly the motivator is a negative one…
Now those motivators are pretty strong ones, but they’re not the healthiest!
So what’s the lesson for you in all this?
Firstly, is your desire to become a full time photographer as strong as mine was? So strong it makes you anxious just thinking about it. Without desire there’s rarely much action.
Are you doing things that scare you?
Are you doing things you can’t be bothered to do, but you’re doing them anyway?
Do you ever feel uncomfortable?
Are you worried about failing?
Are you scared of rejection or negative feedback?
Embrace the fear.
Run towards it.
If you’re nervous then it means you care.
It means you’re doing something that’s making you grow.
It means you’re probably doing something worthwhile.
If it’s difficult or bothersome it means 95% of other photographers probably aren’t doing it – so you’ll reap the rewards if you do.
Most of the important things you’ll ever do in your business come with an element of fear or discomfort.
But once you’ve done them over and over you’ll generally learn to enjoy them.
I hated networking for the first 3 months, but grew to love it.
I was awful at blogging when I started, now I can knock out a helpful or humorous post in no time.
The more scary stuff you do the better you get at it and the more you enjoy it…
…until it gets so comfortable you get lazy like me!
Which is one of the reasons I started my ManKIND project (where I’m doing a random act of kindness for someone from / with heritage from, every country on earth).
It’s one of the reasons I started Get Pro Photo Club – to push myself to keep learning and taking action and to make myself accountable.
We all need to challenge ourselves, otherwise we may as well just sit in a boring desk job – which was what we all wanted to escape in the first place!
If you’re not scared you’re not trying!
So tell me in the comments below, what’s the one thing that scares you the most, or that you’ve been putting off most?
I’ll do my best to help.