Almost five months ago I opened up the "SCU Diner" with a Friday special to get more photographers thinking about their business. There are so many more things you can be doing to help make 2018 your best year yet!
However, knowing most of you are right-brain creative types and hate doing left-brain operational fine-tuning, I've made each "blue plate special" as direct and easy to implement as possible.
Today's special is a little more complicated and isn't so much about specifics in fine-tuning a business but suggestions on building a stronger mindset. While my ideas aren't directed to everybody, we all know somebody who's always got an excuse for their disappointment.
Today's Fast Food Friday special started with a quote. If you've followed me on Twitter for even the shortest time, you know every morning I share a quote I've found to be inspirational. While it's great content to share, I really do it as much for my own benefit as my followers. All of us get so caught up in the challenges of running a business it's often hard to put things in perspective. These quotes have become my daily "vitamin" before I start each day.
Not too long ago I shared this quote from motivational speaker and author, Les Brown:
“Accept responsibility for your life.
Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.”
That quote got me thinking about the number of photographers and business owners I've met who have made finding a scapegoat for the challenges they have into an art form! They've got one excuse after another for a slow business, poor quality images, lack of recognition, etc. The list of excuses is endless, but here are the top five I hear most often:
"If I only had a bigger studio..."
"I can't wait until I can afford that new lens..."
"I"m already working a full time job. I just don't have the time to build my business..."
"I wish I could attend that webcast, but I don't know what to do with the kids!"
"I can't afford a second phone line. Besides, people are fine with an email address."
Let's Kill Those Excuses!
A bigger studio: Some of the best portraits I've ever had done were by my good buddy Don Blair in a trade show booth. Tony Corbell did my daughter's senior headshot in the Hasselblad warehouse - two lights and a backdrop. A studio, be it bigger or smaller, isn't going to change business by itself! Great portraits are about your skill set and your ability to interact with your subject.
New gear: A new lens won't always make a difference. Vincent LaForet talked about it a few years ago in a program at Skip's Summer School. He didn't have a long lens when he started, so he moved in closer. Yes, he really did define the challenge as that simplistic. Plus, if you need a new lens, then look into renting one or get involved in building your network and maybe you'll find somebody who might share the cost with you or lend you theirs.
No time: There's always time to build a new business, but blaming your day job is an excuse. I'm not saying it isn't tough to find the balance, but thousands of photographers do it every day. Remember, 50% of our industry, in the portrait/social categories, is made up of part-time photographers.
Other obligations: This is one of my favorites because you can always find something to do with the kids. It takes planning, and it's like finding time to build your business. Again, there are thousands of photographers who have figured it out. Don't get me wrong; whether you're a Mom or a Dad, I know how hard it is to find that balance. Sometimes you'll have no choice but to miss an event, but the minute you start to believe everything is working against you, you're caught in a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Email only: People are not okay with just an email contact! Give people a way to talk to you directly and seriously; if you can't afford a phone line for just your business, you shouldn't be in business! Think about your own reaction when you need to contact a company and can't find a phone number. Nobody can sell your skill set and the services you provide better than you. Give people other ways to contact you besides email!
The bottom line is you're the only one who can build your business. You're the primary person who has to believe in yourself. And, you're the only one who can recognize when you need help. You don't need to do everything yourself, except take responsibility!
And, if you know somebody who's always making excuses, feel free to pass this post on. It's time for everyone, including me now and then, to stop pointing the finger in any direction but the person in the mirror each morning.
Missed a previous "blue plate special?"
Just click on the menu to the right and check out all of the specials since February!
And if we're missing something on the menu to help you build a stronger business, just let me know. if I don't have the recipe, I've got an amazing network of "chefs" to draw from!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.