Ever since I went full time with photography in 2015 there are many things I’ve learned, and I’ve managed to miss or forget the anniversary of when I officially started this gig. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but it does strike me as kinda funny. I don’t the actual date, but when I was planning out content for this month, today seemed like as good a day as any – Happy Anniversary, Laura Glen Photography!
Five Things I’ve Learned Since Opening Laura Glen Photography
01 – The comparison game was dumb before I was a professional photographer, and it’s still dumb now that I am a professional photographer.
I don’t have to be this photographer or that photographer. I don’t need to choose or shoot in this style or that style. And, just because I’m not the right photographer for everyone, doesn’t make me a poor photographer. One-size-fits-all jeans don’t exist, and neither do one-size-fits-all photographers. I’m okay with that. I just need to be me.
02 – Running a business is just plain hard.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my family, “I’d love running a business if there wasn’t so much business involved.” There are so many hats to wear, so many jobs to do – some of which I am good at, many of which I am not. It gets very tiring being the photographer, designer, accountant, web, and marketing departments. Something is always breaking, and I am the only one who can fix it right now.
03 – Changing how people see photography is even harder than running the business.
You might be asking, “What’s there to change?” A lot actually. When people find out that I’m a photographer, the following question is usually somewhere along the lines of, “What do you photograph?” or “What’s your style?” My answer is always that I am a documentary and lifestyle family, newborn and wedding photographer.
Here’s where the confusion sets in and the hard work begins for me. Many people aren’t familiar with documentary, lifestyle photography. If they are, the majority have hard time stepping away from posed photography. They think they’ll be awkward, look uncomfortable, or what on earth would I ever photograph of them?
I’m not going to go into the answers to all of those questions and problems in this post (I’ve already done that in the posts below), but even with answering question after question, seeking out my clients’ pain points, demonstrating the benefits and differences, it’s hard to convince people that real is perfect and messy is okay. It’s hard to get people to step out of their comfort zones to try something just a little different to what they’re accustomed.
04 – Leave the house. Befriend other small business owners.
I used to think leaving the house on my runs or bike rides would suffice as ‘getting out of the house’ for the day. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. The longer I’ve done this whole work from home thing, the more it becomes the latter. This one really shouldn’t be surprising – people need people.
05 – Building a solid business is s l o w.
This is one of those things that everyone knows in their head going into starting a business, but the reality of it doesn’t sit in for several months. Somewhere in my head I thought and hoped I’d be at a place where I could outsource all of those business things I just can’t stand, be booked to the gills every week, and have all my business ducks in a row. Ha! Yea, right! Growing a business is hard work just like anything else. It’s trial and error, failing in some areas, succeeding in others. It’s not always fun, but I get to do what I love, and that is an incredible gift to me.