Crikey, is it nearly 12 months since I put my neck on the line and made my website live, posted my first business Facebook post and wrote my first ever blog post? Where has that time gone?!
The last year has consisted of mammoth learning curves and holding on tight to my belief that running my own photography business will succeed and it is the right thing to do for me. Here are some pointers that I believe helped me get through my first 12 months and they might help you too.
Being open to opportunity. I always promised myself I would be open to any opportunity that came my way. I didn't want to pigeon hole myself as a wedding photographer or family photographer as I needed to explore and find what I enjoyed the most. Plus, running my own business means there are no rules and I can go in whichever direction I choose.
Believe A word my Mum has just used in a text to me to keep me going and a word that I hold on to tightly.
Say 'No!' to your comfort zone. If you love your social media, especially instagram fans, there are a lot of posts about 'nothing comes of living in your comfort zone' and 'what you want is on the other side of fear'. Whilst this is true, it's also very hard to give yourself that pep talk and stop listening to that voice in your head that tells you 'you can't do it' or 'you're silly in thinking that you could achieve such a thing'. I've definitely hit this hurdle at times. It can paralyse you from doing what you really need to be doing in order to move forward. My advice, ignore that negative voice in your head and do it anyway. What's the worse thing that could happen?
Don't give up. When the chips are down and you haven't got oodles of work coming your way, you start to think 'what's the point' and 'why have I decided to do this'. That's when you need to start thinking outside the box and finding different ways to get work. It's definitely not the time to throw in the towel. Sometimes you need to dig a little deeper and get yourself out there. Whilst it's ever so slightly nerve wracking, it's got to be done.
This is also where my brother has really helped me recently. We often speak on the phone and he's given me so many new business ideas and also forced me to aim towards a deadline. One of which, I'm pretty sure I've failed to meet recently, but I will make it happen Phil, I promise! :)
Something will always come up. A wise piece of advice from a fellow tog, Amy-Rose, and it's actually true! When I felt I was heading towards a dead end and thinking when's the next piece of work going to come in, someone contacted me or I met someone who knew someone who needed a photographer. I'm not sure why or how this has happened, but it has.
Don't compare yourself to others. Another big one for me. In a world where we're bombarded with images and social media plays such a big part in how we interact with one another, it's so hard not to look at others and wish your life was like theirs. There are a lot of amazing photographers out there achieving some amazing things, and the less confident part of me says, 'why would anyone want me to do their photos when there are people who do a better job out there?' The truth is, everyone has to start somewhere and it's not solely about the work you produce. It's also about who you are as a person and how well you work with other people.
Support network. Believe it or not, other people believe in you too. I'm so lucky to have such a great network of friends, a super supportive family and partner. Without these people I'd be resting on my laurels, probably not achieving a great deal and burying my head in the sand. So really I have them to thank for where I find myself now.
Whilst reading all of the above sounds like I've managed to curb all those fears and cliches and I've found success, the truth is that I still have a long way to go. There will forever be hurdles, mistakes to be made and people's opinions to listen to, but I've learnt that you have to rise above them, turn it all into a positive and stay focused.
There are still so many things for me to learn, so many things I'd like to achieve and too many photo opportunities!
I wonder what the next 12 months will bring....
Happy Friday everyone!
by Emma Jane x:)