The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been huge on photographers around the world. With photographers largely considered ‘non-essential’ service providers, your work may have dried up and you may have had months stuck at home with no commissions or photography clients to serve.
As a result, you may have lost your mojo for your work. No doubt it’s been incredibly hard for you to keep positive, focused and productive. But here’s how to fall back in love with your photography business!
Rediscover the love for your photography business
To feel good about your work, and to love your photography business again, your mindset is crucial!
While temporarily circumstances have been out of your control, try to recognise that only YOU have the power to determine how you meet the current situation and face up the challenge of the new reality. A self-defeated mindset will get you no-where.
If you can get yourself back on a positive, productive and fully-focused path, you could well still smash your business goals for the year!
10 Steps to falling in love with your photography business again
Taking some time to stop and evaluate what’s going on in your photography business is a really important first step. Awareness is key.
If you’re feeling down about your business, why is that? What isn’t going so well, and what’s changed to make you feel this way?
The start of the new year is a great time to do a review of your business, although you can also do this at any time of the year as well. Why not today?
In this article about how to do an annual review of your photography business, I explain the process that I personally use to identify what’s worked well as well as areas for potential improvement. It may seem dull, and it does take some time to do it properly, but I gain real clarity and insight from this process and so I highly recommend it to you too.
Too often, as business owners, we run our work and lives in such a way that can leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. This hectic, unrelenting treadmill of activity can leave us struggling to see the wood from the trees.
So, I suggest, if you’re feeling like this, take some time out. Stop what you’re doing. Schedule in a day or two to take stock of what’s happening in your business. Listen to your thoughts and reflect on why you are feeling low. Allowing yourself the time and space to think outside of your to-do list can be really worthwhile.
Loving yourself is a vital step towards feeling the love for your photography business. We can be our own worst critics, and it’s very easy to start listening to the negative talk in our heads that then impacts how confident we feel about what we are doing in our day-to-day working lives.
Reminding yourself of just how awesome you are, ideally on a daily basis, can seem awkward. But I find that it’s really helpful for eliminating the negative voices and self-doubt.
Whenever I am about to give a presentation that I might be feeling nervous about, for example, I give myself a little pep talk. I also visualise the presentation going well and the crowd of people smiling and clapping in appreciation as I finish. It feels a bit silly to do this, but I’ve found that it really helps me.
Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel more confident on a daily basis. A lack of confidence can literally be crippling. Whether it’s reading or saying positive affirmations or listening to upbeat music or exercise, do what works for you and get those feel-good hormones flowing!
Related reading: Five ways to feel more confident about marketing your photography
I always maintained a ‘Successes’ document, a form of ‘gratitude’ journal. Anything that is positive goes on there, whether it’s the fact that I’ve won a new photography client, landed some fantastic press coverage or had some wonderful client feedback.
Reflecting on successes, rather than focusing on what didn’t go so well, can be really helpful for lifting your spirits and reminding yourself of all the great things you are achieving. It’s why I encourage photographers in my Facebook group to celebrate their wins on the ‘Saturday Celebrations’ thread too.
Even if things aren’t going brilliantly in business for you right now, I’m sure there’s something (however small) that you could find to celebrate every single day.
Surrounding yourself with positivity can also help you love your photography business more.
Why not print off positive client testimonials or praise from photography competition judges and mount them on the walls around your workspace or in your photography studio? Remind yourself that you are brilliant at what you do and that you can do this!
Stop the comparison game
Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game. While photography is an extremely competitive industry and you no doubt have lots of competitors, worrying about them, rather than focusing on your own business, can lead you down a path of negativity.
In any industry, there will be people who offer a similar service to you. But what you need to realise is that your unique value is inherent in you.
No-one can replicate exactly what you offer because even if they copy everything that you do, it will still not be the same as your work. Your style, your approach, your process, your personality, your relationship with your clients – these are all unique to you!
Rather than spying on the competition to see what they are doing and to discover how much more busy they are than you, focus on your own game. Letting yourself become paranoid about the competition is sure to make you feel inadequate and is a complete waste of your valuable time and resources.
It would be far better to spend that time proactively working to promote your photography business.
Focus on your own path
Similarly, having a plan based on your unique vision and goals for your photography business will mean that you are focused on what will help to move the needle in your business. This will be completely unique to you.
In this article, I explain why and how to set strategic goals for your photography business, so do have a read of that if you’re unsure of how to make a plan to follow.
If you’ve bothered to take the time to create a plan, you’ll be far more likely to achieve the success you desire. You’ll have identified what you want to achieve and when you want to have achieved it by. You’ll have set milestones that help keep you on the right path and will identify if you are keeping to the plan or moving away from it.
So, your competitor is smashing it on Tik Tok? So, what?! If that isn’t your focus right now, why should you care? If you are true to your own path and completely focused on what you want to achieve, then nothing else should matter.
You’ll be able to love your photography business more if you focus on your priorities and spend less time watching and worrying about what others are up to!
Surround yourself with the right people
Surrounding yourself with the right people is a key step in learning to love your photography business again. If you are active in Facebook groups that are full of bitchy, negative talk then it’s no surprise that you might start to feel negative.
Being supported by the right people can be a huge game-changer in your business.
Realising this early on, I’ve sought out people in both my personal life and in my professional life who are positive, proactive and achieving great things. I sought out a mentor early on in my business and I continually invest in training and coaching. I want to continually learn and develop into a better business person, and that will only happen if I learn from people who are a few steps ahead of me.
It’s also why I’ve ended friendships that were no longer serving me. Being surrounded by people who are negative, energy-drainers is doing you no favours. Being intentional with your energy, time and attention is so important, and it’s an incredibly powerful feeling taking back control over who you spend your time with.
As the saying goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.” Aim to surround yourself with people who will lift your spirit, give your ego a boost every now and then, and inspire you to try new things.
Ignore those limiting beliefs
A limiting belief is something that stops you from moving forward. It’s that niggling self-doubt and negative talk that tells you that you can’t do that, or you don’t deserve this.
Limiting beliefs can strike at any time and contribute to you falling out of love with yourself and your work. They literally can prevent you from taking the positive action that you need to take to move forward, and so can be your downfall (if you let them).
If you’re not putting up your prices because you’re telling yourself your work isn’t worth those new prices, or if you are holding back from submitting your photography into a competition because you’re telling yourself it isn’t good enough – these are two classic examples of limiting beliefs.
Learning to recognise and acknowledge them for what they are is important. From there, you can choose how to act.
Do you listen to the negative self-talk and let it prevent you from taking action? Or, do you acknowledge it, but recognise that it’s your body’s natural way of recognising fear, and then go ahead and do that thing anyway? I’d urge you to try and do the latter.
Commit to taking action
To develop a profitable and fulfilling photography business, you need to be taking action. You need to be constantly striving to learn new skills, try out new things and up your game in all aspects.
Certainly, when it comes to marketing, there is always something new to learn and try out. It’s why I love what I do – there’s never a point where you can say that you know it all. Learning new things is what keeps life as a business owner interesting.
But if you stop learning, keep doing the same-old-same-old, and don’t take action in a meaningful way, then it’s no surprise that you’ll begin to fall out of love with your photography business.
By committing to taking positive action every single day, you’ll soon find your mojo again. New ideas will inspire you, new challenges will test you, and new people will come into your world with potentially life-changing positive consequences.
Related reading: The fundamentals of successful photography marketing
If you’re feeling down about your work right now, it’s important to be able to look at the facts to reveal the truth about the situation.
Perhaps you aren’t doing as badly as you think? Or maybe growth in a certain area has been slower than normal, but you can attribute that to something specific and then make plans to avoid that happening in the future?
Knowing your numbers is a crucial asset in business. So, if you don’t already, I’d urge you to start measuring your business performance. Not just revenue, but also your marketing metrics.
Check out your Google Analytics to see how your website is performing month-on-month, year-on-year. Monitor the growth and engagement of your social media channels and your email marketing. Find out what’s working well and what’s not working so well.
A sense of despair can come from that feeling of being out of control, of not knowing what’s helping to drive revenue and what isn’t. By tracking the numbers and measuring the impact of what you’re doing, you’ll be in a far better position.
Strive for consistency
Finally, once you’ve set out a plan and have identified the action steps that you need to take to get to where you want to be, aim for consistency. It’s incredibly hard to be consistent all of the time, I know. But having a non-negotiable routine really helps.
I’m a fan of theming my week – for example, I do ‘Marketing Mondays’ and ‘Finance Fridays’ to ensure that I am scheduling in the time to do all the things in my business that I need to do around my client work.
If coming up with regular marketing content is your struggle, create a content calendar for your blog and social media.
Related reading: Content planning tips for photographers
Ready to love your photography business again?
Whether you’re new to the world of business or if you’ve been working for yourself for years, you’ll know that it takes a lot of motivation and drive to keep going day in day out, particularly when you’ve experienced setbacks.
One thing’s certain. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all of us and has changed life dramatically. It’s an unprecedented and uncertain time, yes, but I believe you still have reasons to feel positive about your photography business. Life will return to some form of normality in the future, and hopefully if you can ride this tough period, you WILL get back to doing the work you love.
Implement the ten steps I’ve outlined in this blog and I’m hopeful that they’ll help you to fall in love with your photography business again!
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