Last week, I wrote a post titled 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting my Photography Business and touched on the 4 biggest things I wish someone would’ve talked to me about before I dove head first into my business. So far, I’ve dug deeper into….
#1 – I wish I knew I’d work more than I did in Corporate America.
#2 – Investing in education would propel my business forward faster than the latest and greatest photography gadget.
#3 – I determine my self worth, not my competition or my clients.
And today is all about #4 – I wish I knew this could be a lonely job and the importance of finding a supportive community, locally and online. Finding your people is so important. The saying “It takes a village” applies to your business too.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending 3 days away in Charleston with 5 amazing photographers that I’m thankful to call friends. We talked shop, shared stories about the good, bad and the ugly, had dance parties and relaxed on the beach. When I first started my business in 2012, I assumed that’s what every day of my business would look like – hanging out with friends, other photographers, and clients, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. I knew I’d have a little work to do in the mornings or evenings but still have this amazing work life balance. Boy was I dead wrong!
There were times when days would pass and I didn’t see a soul, except my husband. The dream I created in my head from what I was seeing on other photographer’s pages wasn’t exactly how things were turning out. I saw friends and family on the weekends or nights when they weren’t working and if I could pull myself away from what I was doing. I’d see clients for an hour or so when I was photographing them BUT the majority of my time was spent in front of the computer trying to figure everything out from editing to how my website works to how to market and what in the world is SEO…
This is where community is SO important. Having other people that I can throw ideas around, vent to, share my successes and cry about my failures with, that I can learn from, listen to, share new techniques or SEO tricks with. It’s my safe place that totally gets it when friends and family have no idea what you’re talking about when you tell them you’re exhausted from staying up until 4am getting caught up on editing and you still have to blog that session. I encourage you to reach out to others locally and online. I have communities of photographers that I LOVE dearly but have never met in person. The internet is super cool like that. I also have a small group of lovely local ladies that I trust. It’s important to find people that bring you up and don’t tear you down. You will come across some relationships or groups that don’t have your best interests in mind, aren’t your style or just negative – I’d politely exit stage left and never look back. You have enough going on in your business that you don’t need added stress, anxiety or drama bringing you down.
Make sure you are being the kind of photographer and friend that you want to attract. There are others just like you looking to connect! Be vulnerable, take risks, grab coffee with someone, build your community. You never know where that new friendship in life and business will take you. Here is a little glimpse into what being open to new friendships and community has brought to my life.
Below are a few iPhone pictures from my weekend in Charleston with Melissa, Meredith, Sarah, Katie and Chelsea. All of us are from the Charlotte area and embrace the idea of community over competition. I’d hate to think I’d be missing out on these friendships because they are all my competition in business. My life and business are better because all of these women are a part of it.
Want to be a part of our community?! Melissa and I are so excited about our upcoming GPS Workshop in North Carolina. We’re passionate about helping photographers, like you, grow a genuinely successful business. Registration is now open for The GPS Workshop. Come stay with us October 6 & 7 in a gorgeous house overlooking Lake Norman, NC for a 2 day workshop to give your photography business the direction it so deserves. We will be sharing the heart of our businesses to help guide you to success in yours. No topic is off limits. Won’t you join us?! Check out all the details here !