Photographer or entrepreneur? Both. And I think the latter gets underestimated and forgotten about, but it’s just as important, if not more important, than the first.
The journey to understanding the meaning of entrepreneurship has been long. I’ve been doing photography full time for a few years now and it’s taken me a while to get it figured out. And I don’t have it completely figured out yet, but it has been a long process to learn to manage my time, to prioritize, to set goals. Holy moley.
And if I had to give a few tips on running your own photo business, three items come to mind:
1.) Start your week off with a staff meeting, even if it’s just with yourself. Talk about long term goals, and short terms goals. Write them down! Then plan your week accordingly. If you start everyday thinking, “Okay, what needs to get done today?” you waste so much time. It’s so helpful to be future minded, to look at the whole week, what’s coming up, when you’ll have shoots,etc. Here’s to planning your time more efficiently.
2.) Determine what tasks are “doing business” and what tasks are “working on the business.” It’s so easy to get stuck in the daily grind of editing, blogging, answering emails, etc. A big realization for me came after a year or so running this business full-time out of college. There is a huge difference between doing business and working on the business. Doing business is completing to-dos that need to get done, but don’t further the success of your business… i.e. editing and culling image, returning calls, answering emails, processing payments, burning CDs, etc. It’s busywork. Working on the business is completely different. It’s developing your mission statement, engaging with your strengths and weaknesses, taking time to perfect the client experience, meeting with vendors, etc. Working on the business entails more big picture projects that build your business.
3.) Find a mentor. Shooting images is the icing on the cake; there is so much more than goes into developing a business: managing calendars, self motivation, setting realistic goals and timelines, training and leading employees, being future minded about the industry. It’s a lot to juggle and too much stress for someone who has never done this before. Having a mentor who has is crucial. Accountability is crucial. Find someone who’s committed to navigating this journey with you. Because if it’s just you, it’s too easy to get lost in the daily grind. Don’t do this alone.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. 85% of small businesses fail within their first 5 years. This book tells you why.
Because we love this book so much, we want to give away a copy to one lucky person! Even if you’re not a photographer or entrepreneur, you can enter and give it to someone you know. :-)
Leave your comment in the box below and we’ll draw a winner next week!