I've written about this many times in the past, but owning a business is hard work. Nothing comes easy and building your brand is a never-ending process. Sadly there are too many photographers out there who got the gear, developed their skill set and then put it all on cruise-control! They wake up every morning thinking today's the day the Success Fairy or at the very least FedEx is going to leave them a box of success!
Well, I'm back again with the same topic and a reminder to get your business out of the "P" mode and start mixing things up. Success is relative, and the only person who matters is YOU!
- Start by defining success. What is it you want this business to be and bring to you? One thing I've learned as I've gotten older - success is constantly redefined. For me today, it's about being happy. I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead, things I'm working on, meeting new photographers and expanding my skill set. For example, the longer I'm involved in social media, the more I realize how much I still have to learn, and it's exciting!
- Set some goals. All of us have aspirations about our lives, but just living day to day and relaxing in complacency, thinking things are going to happen randomly, won't help you reach the level of success you want. Take the time to write down a few of your goals and put them on a timeline. Then review it now and then and see how you're doing.
- Progress isn't always obvious. Remember that Algebra class you first took in high school? If you were like me, you looked at the back of the textbook first and thought, "Holy crap, this is going to be hard!" By the end of the year, I understood it. My guess is while many of you still don't consistently produce/capture the kinds of images you want if you look back a couple of years you'll see a vast improvement. Pat yourself on the back for your growth as an artist, and don't slow down in your efforts to keep expanding your skill set.
- Take care of yourself! Success is about paying attention to yourself physically as well as mentally. Pay attention to your mood swings and recognize when you need a break. Owning a business is frustrating, and you'll often be battling things completely outside your control. Learn to know when you need time off and walk away from the business. Have respect for the need to recharge your battery.
- Establish your priorities. Owning a business and being successful means nothing if you lose the people you love in the process. The word "balance" is so overused, but it fits with what I'm talking about here. Most of us wear several different hats, and they all involve finding a balance between being a business owner, artist, friend, spouse, parent and don't forget lover!
Here's the bottom line - your success is about feeling good about what you're doing. If you're not, then nothing you're doing has to be forever. Take the time to think about what's missing in your life and business. Make the adjustments you need to appreciate the face looking back at you in the mirror each morning.
The doing is often more important than the outcome."