Working alone is tough! It’s highly likely that you’ll lose your mojo at some point. But here’s how to fall back in love with your photography business.
Whether this is applicable to you now, or at some point in the future when you’re feeling a bit low (Psst! Don’t forget to bookmark it for that day), I hope these tips help you.
Getting yourself back on a positive, productive and fully-focussed path towards smashing your business goals is the aim here. After all, a self-defeated mindset will get you no-where.
You need to be constantly moving forward in your business if you want to achieve the lifestyle you imagined when you first set up shop. I hope that these tips will help you get your head back into the game and motivate you once more.
Do this to fall in love with your photography business
Taking some time to stop and evaluate what’s going on in your photography business is a really important first step.
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.
This is a vital step. 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 business 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 shake all the limbs in my body to get the blood flowing and I say to myself “I am the expert”.
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 positive, upbeat music, do what works for you.
I’ve also found that being in good physical shape helps. If I’ve been avoiding my usual workout routine and eating too much of the naughty stuff (chocolate is my vice), this is when I start to feel rubbish. It’s amazing how restorative exercise really is for both the body and the mind.
So, move your body on a regular basis to get those feel-good hormones flowing!
In the PR agencies I used to work in, I always maintained a ‘Successes’ document, which I realise now is a form of gratitude journal. Anything that was positive went on there, whether it was the fact that we’d won a new client, landed some fantastic press coverage, hired a great new member to the team, or had some wonderful client feedback.
Reflecting on those wins, in both good times and bad, helped to remind me that I was on the right path and that this was a path worth pursuing. I was an expert in what I did, and I was achieving great things.
These days, I maintain a simple gratitude journal at the start and end of every day, and it’s really helping to banish any self-doubt. It’s a really powerful way to shift my mindset from focussing on things that may not be going so well in my life or business to focussing on the things, however small, that are worth celebrating.
Even if things aren’t going brilliantly right now, I’m sure there’s something you could celebrate every single day, yes? So, start celebrating even the smallest of achievements to help make you feel more positive overall.
Another trick is to surround yourself with positivity. If it helps, 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 hundreds of competitors local to you, worrying about your competitors rather than focussing 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.
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.
(Hint – those who regularly post on social media about how busy they are, rather than showing new work they have produced, are probably a lot more desperate for work than they are letting on anyway!)
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!
While I’m not suggesting that you completely ignore the competition, it would be far better to spend that time proactively working to promote your own business.
If you’re regularly checking out the competition, aim to curb your habit and focus on your own business. It’ll help you to love your photography business again, I’m sure of it.
Focus on your own path
Similarly, determining goals for business and focussing on your own path will also help you to curb any paranoia you have about the competition and will help you to beat the self-doubt.
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.
Having a plan, based on your unique vision and goals for your photography business, will mean that you are focussed on what will help to move the needle in your business. This will be completely unique to you.
If you’ve bothered to take the time to create a strategic 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 Instagram? 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.
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. I, for one, have sought out people in both my personal life and in my professional life who are positive, proactive and achieving great things. My husband is also the most positive person I know, and that’s no accident!
It’s why I sought out a mentor early on in my business and why I continually invest in professional 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 of your business.
Certainly, when it comes to marketing and promoting your business, 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.
If you’re feeling down about your work right now, it’s important to be able to look at the facts. What exactly is happening in your photography business?
In the light of day, facts can help you reveal the truth. 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?
I’m very much a words- rather than a numbers-person myself, but over the years I have learnt to love numbers more. I’ve realised that 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 strategies and tactics you put in place, you’ll be in a far better place to see the truth of what’s happening. And, you’ll be far more likely to stop yourself listening to the limiting beliefs and self-doubt that is making you feel bad about your business if you have cold hard facts that back up a counter-argument.
Strive for consistency
Finally, once you’ve set out a plan for your photography business 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.
I’ve learnt the hard way that ‘what gets scheduled gets done’. When I’ve been really busy with client work, for example, in the past, these important tasks have been cast aside. But with a regular schedule, I ensure I’m finding the time and you can do the same.
For example, 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
It’s a really great feeling ticking things off your to-do list and getting to the point where you feel in control and top of your workload. Consistent action will help you to achieve more, quicker.
So, I suggest that you fight to urge to revert to your old ways. Instead, make positive changes that, with time, eventually become habits. Doing things habitually and consistently is definitely a game-changer when it comes to growing a business.
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 and that working alone can be a real challenge.
Unless you have the mental strength of an ox, it can become easy to fall into a trap of self-doubt and paranoia.
The self-talk can rear its head and you can become convinced that your competitors are doing better than you, that they’re stealing all your clients, and that you are not doing as well as you should be.
I believe that implementing the ten steps I’ve outlined in this blog post, regularly and consistently, will make a big difference in how you feel about yourself and your work. In fact, I’m confident that they’ll help you to fall in love with your photography business again.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know in the comments below if any of these tips have helped you, or if you have any additional tips to share. And if you enjoyed this, please do share with someone else who may also find this useful. Every single share is greatly appreciated!
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