I’ve been dedicating my series of Business Tips for Photographers to SEO hints for the past couple of weeks, and while there is much more to cover, this week seemed like a good week to shift gears a little. One of the first requests I’ve received from a photographer seeking advice is with regards to confidence building. I think we all, especially as small business owners, relate to the challenge of making the leap from hobbyist to pro and building the confidence to perform our best. There is no secret recipe to confidence any more than there is a recipe to business success, but I can share with you a few things I’ve picked up along a way. Perhaps below, you’ll pick up a tidbit that benefits you.
Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. One of the most important things to remember as people, much less as professional creatives, is that you can’t compare your work where you are today to the work of someone who’s been doing it for longer or has had more training. Your beginning will always fall short of someone else’s middle. While you are at, remind yourself that THEY are still in the MIDDLE themselves. When create for living there is no end. You will always evolve and improve! You are in different places on the same road.
Be you own biggest fan! Feel like you need a pep talk? Some support? Look in the mirror. Love your own work. Frame if you need to! It’s easy to get up in watching those who inspire us, but don’t get so caught up in your inspirations that you forget to be your OWN biggest fan!
Walk before you run. If you’re anything like me, patience isn’t your strong suit! Is it really anyone’s, though? Don’t we all want to run instead of walk, let alone crawl? Well, it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, so lace up your walking your walking shoes! Take small weddings until you learn to manage the process or big weddings will be more than you can handle. Shoot mini sessions until you have your workflow down. Build your client list before you take on the overhead of a studio.
Set yourself up for success. Walking before you run sets you up for success! The biggest confidence builder in the entire world is SUCCESS! So set yourself up for it! Spend time really getting to know your own strengths and accepting your weaknesses. Then do what you do well until I do it even better. Be successful at what you’re good at to build up your confidence to take on what you aren’t.
Pat yourself on the back. Don’t feel good just about what you create, but also new things you learn and every new challenge you take on. Pat yourself on the back when a client is happy. Some days, you may just need to give yourself credit to keeping it up when others might have thrown in the towel.
Surround yourself with honest, but positive role models. No one improves without without honest critique, but learn the difference between criticism and critique and surround yourself with the type of role models! We never learn when people just tell what we want to hear. We need to know where we can do better, but just as you need to focus on what you do well to set you up for success, you also need to surround yourselves with the right support network full of those who will tell you what is RIGHT as much as they tell what could be better!
DON’T fake it till you make it. You know that old saying “fake it until you make it”? Well, don’t. People don’t business with businesses. They do business with PEOPLE and people are “faking it” aren’t going to be successful at building trust. Don’t promise more than you can deliver, and don’t exude a false confidence in order to take on more than you are prepared to do and do well. Memories can’t be re-captured! Make sure your clients know you value theirs.
Think POSITIVE! We are what we believe we are, and we become we believe we can be, and… all of those other positive sayings! If you ever need help with this one, join us on Facebook weekly for #feelgoodfriday !