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Photography Business SWOT Analysis

July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

By far, my most popular blog post ever was on the photography business SWOT analysis. So… being that today, July 1st, 2015,  is our 16th anniversary as a photography business, and also the first day of the 3rd quarter, I think it’s fitting to revisit the ever popular photography business SWOT.

In the fast paced industry of professional photography, where advances in imaging are occurring daily, and where more and more people are being attracted to becoming photographers themselves, a SWOT analysis is an invaluable tool for your photography business success! A SWOT analysis examines the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for your photography business.

Strengths: Or as I like to think of them, your unique selling proposition (USP), MUST be discovered, articulated and communicated clearly to your potential clients, and your current clients for your business to become, and stay, strong.

What makes you and your photography business different, special, unique? You do not have to be “better” than your competition, but you do have to stand out from them. Your photography business has to have something that calls to the clients who share your values. It’s not enough to be able to attract clients who “like pictures”, “value photography” or “enjoy fine art”. A huge percentage of the population likes pictures. That’s why cell phone cameras are so incredibly popular. You need to attract clients who value “professional photography”… pictures that they cannot capture themselves. You need to have a discernible style, so that your images stand out as unique to you. And you need to stand for something. What do you stand for? Do you stand for the belief that every person should be able to afford you and get great pictures? While I completely understand the intent of this stand (making a difference and serving your art and your fellow man) it is a recipe for disaster financially. Why? Because affordability is different for each and every person. You will never be able to have every single person be able to afford you. You can’t stay in business that way.

SWOT Analysis Step 1: So what are your Strengths? What skills, talents, passions, values, do you have going for you in your photography business? What makes you different? Why should a potential client come to you instead of the photographer two doors down?

Weaknesses: I would bet you can come up with a lot more of these than you can your photography business strengths. Why? Because, as humans, we are harder on ourselves than we need to be. It’s easier for us to see our weaknesses than our strengths. We often take for granted the things we are good at, because they come easy to us, but we constantly struggle with our weaknesses, so they are easier to see.

SWOT Analysis Step 2: What are your Weaknesses? How can you put steps in place to improve on your weaknesses? Where you can stop trying to do everything yourself, and hire out your weaknesses?

Opportunities: We all have opportunities that we are missing out on in our photography businesses. This is often due to overwhelm, and/or a refusal to let go of some of the jobs that we ought to be delegating. Opportunities arise every day. So sometimes we are taken by surprise by them, and don’t have our systems in place to be able to switch mid-stream… even if we wanted or needed to. Look around your business and see what can be improved, and where you can capitalize on your strengths to improve productivity, fulfillment and profit.

SWOT Analysis Step 3: What opportunities would you like to follow if you had the time? What can you delegate so that you can capitalize on those opportunities? What systems does your business need? What can you automate? Make a LIST.

Threats: Here’s an easy one. Right now, in the photography industry, sometimes all I think I can see are threats. Some of these are real, and some of them are imagined and created from my own fears and insecurities. You need to sort out the difference and make a list. Here are a few that you probably already know well about. 1. We are being inundated with new photographers entering the market… increasing competition, and driving down pricing. 2. Software has created a way for relatively inexperienced and unskilled photographers to create relatively good images… rather inexpensively (when compared to the time, effort and money that those of us with 25 years were up against). Again… more competition… lower pricing in the market 3. Everyone has a camera. Ugh! 4. The trend is moving more and more away from obtaining your photographs from professionals, and more and more toward taking them on your own. OK… this is the same as #3… but it’s a Biggie! 5. Instant gratification is growing in popularity over quality and craftsmanship. The general population seems to be more willing to accept “good enough” and less willing to pay for “professional”.

I won’t go on, because I will get myself going in the wrong direction. The point is that there are some very real threats out there. You may not agree that the examples I gave are even real… and maybe they aren’t. But they are on my list. Why? Because it is easier to overcome the evil we know, than it is to overcome the evil we don’t know about. Examining your photography businesses threats, and potential threats, is an important part of making a plan for business stability. I’m not going to lie to you. Being a professional photographer today is MUCH harder than it used to be! But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It does mean that you are going to have to work harder, smarter, and most importantly… more strategically.

SWOT Analysis Step 4: What are the threats your photography business is facing today? What threats are facing the photography industry… locally, nationally and internationally? What steps can you take in your photography business to deal with these threats?

Being a photography business owner today is not for the faint of heart. It is extremely competitive out there, and it requires commitment, determination, discipline, and passion. If you don’t love photography… get out. There are easier ways to earn a living. If you do… then decide if you are willing to fight hard for it. You CAN succeed in this industry! Doing a quarterly SWOT analysis of your business (maybe even monthly during these challenging times) will help keep you focused, and on the right path.

As always… Here’s to Your Success!  :-)

 

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Miracle Mornings Day 11

June 29, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, Uncategorized by admin

You may be happy to hear that on day 7 of my miracle mornings I discovered chapter 7, the chapter on making miracle mornings work for busy people. Yay! Boy was I glad to find out that you can get the benefits of the miracle morning in only 6 minutes a day. Woo Hoo! I haven’t tried the 6 minute method yet, as I have been finding there to be more time than that needed for me right now. But I am encouraged by the fact that, when needed, I can reduce my hour down to a much shorter time and still receive the results I am going for. What results are those, you may be asking? Well… here is what I have been gaining so far.

1. My morning meditations (Silence) are gently reminding me to avoid perfectionism, stay present and be good to myself. With the TPPA print competition occurring yesterday, and none of my prints scoring merits, I REALLY needed this reminder to keep from beating myself up yesterday.

2. My (Affirmations) have already started paying off, as I am seeing evidence in my life of the things I have been affirming. This is really fantastic! I remember using affirmations 25 years ago, when I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life. They were incredibly powerful for me then, but I never made a habit of using them after my life improved. This miracle morning project has shown me that using them every day is well worth the time and effort.

3. I started working out daily (Exercise) about two and a half years ago, so the exercise part of my miracle mornings is not new. However, I believe that my daily habit of exercise is one of the most important things that I do every day. It has gotten me through many difficult times, and kept me strong and full of energy to tackle each day.

4. My morning mind exercises on lumosity.com are not new either, but continuing them every morning always has me feeling sharp and ready to take on my next challenge.

5. Daily journaling (Scribing) has had many benefits for me… and also some challenges. While I don’t always like what I discover looking deep into my own psyche, I do expect that it’s going to be very good for me in the long run. Let’s call it “character building”.

6.  I have not gotten very good at the (Visualization) yet. I used to find this sort of thing quite effortless. But the older I get, and the more things I want to take on, the harder it is to choose between my options. So, I have been noticing that I am getting distracted and confused when trying to visualize outcomes. I may be over-complicating this one. I will try simplifying tomorrow and see how that goes.

5. And (Reading) has always paid big dividends for me in my business and my life. Audio books may have replaced books somewhat for me, but learning from experts has always helped me to skip over learning curves and implement what works much more quickly.

These are the SAVERS of the miracle mornings… the Life SAVERS. Whether you are currently in need of a life overhaul or just wish to implement a bit of preventive maintenance. A daily morning routine like the miracle morning could prove to be incredibly powerful for you. It is certainly showing great promise for me. :-)

 

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Miracle Mornings Day 6

June 24, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

After yesterday’s miracle morning’s deep dive into my own dark feelings, today’s morning was much more pleasant. Thank goodness! Today I tackle a new issue, a much more practical one, having the children home from school with me. You see… I have been blessed with early-rising kids. They are also night owls, believe it or not. So they go to bed late (during the summer anyway). And… they are also getting up early. So, I am running into challenges getting enough sleep myself, while maintaining some boundaries around my miracle mornings. To really get the benefits of the miracle mornings, I need silence. It’s the quiet reflection time and mental and emotional space that helps create the “miracle” of the miracle morning. So, early-rising, night owl, children has left me with a challenge. How do I get my boys to bed early enough, that I can get myself to bed in time, to rise early enough, for a silent morning, while still having gotten enough sleep to function? (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

While this is a bit of a challenge. I love the mundaness of this problem vs yesterday’s deep dive. I will gladly take this one on with a smile on my face.

I do still have to fight back the propensity to beat myself up for the fact that my miracle mornings have not been done perfectly… far from perfectly, actually. I have not been able to get a full, completely dedicated 60 minutes in, without interruptions yet. This is partly due to poor planning on my part… OK… mostly due to poor planning. But, I hadn’t counted on my boys both going to bed late, and getting up early. For some reason I believed they would need more sleep than that. But it seems like I am the only person who lives here that needs much sleep. I’ll save exploring why that is until tomorrow morning’s “miracle”.

Until then… I hope you have a great day! I’m heading upstairs for a workout. After I get my blood pumping, this sleep things should be a piece of cake to solve. :-)

By the way… I should let you know about my morning meditation. Today’s excerpt was on detachment, and it reminded me of something I learned from Sarah Petty, and have heard many other times during my life. Sarah recommends, when selling your portraiture, to be “committed, but not attached”.  What I have come to believe this means is, to be completely committed to serving the best interests of your photography clients, without any attachment to their buying decision. This sounds simple, but when trying to apply it, can be a challenge. I have found that the most difficult part of this is putting aside my own interpretation of what will “serve my client’s best interests”, and acknowledging my own agenda. In my mind, a wall portrait or album will best serve my photography clients. But that is not really always the case. I have found that to really follow this philosophy of detachment, what I really need to focus on is being present. If I am completely present with my client as they are viewing their portraits, and making their buying decision, then I can truly hear what they are telling me, and assist them in making choices that will be best for them. It’s very easy to get side-tracked by our own wants and needs in a sales session. After all, what we earn as photographers is directly linked to what our clients spend. But I have found that by getting my own wants and desires out of the way, I can truly hear what will best serve them. This can be really difficult when you have someone who cannot afford you in a sales session. And, I believe, this is one of the main reasons why photographers make concessions and discount their photography. I believe they really do want to serve their photography clients, and they believe their client cannot afford the pricing they have set. So, one of two things is going on here that needs to be worked on. 1. Your photography business is attracting clients who cannot afford you. or 2. You do not value your work enough to believe that it warrants what you are charging. Your job is to figure out which issue you have so that you can solve it. The solution to the first issue is to find ways to attract more appropriate clientele. The solution to the second one is to work on your own thoughts, feelings and beliefs about yourself, your art, and your pricing.

There is no better feeling than working with a client to get exactly what serves them best, and it perfectly aligns with the numbers you desire for your business.  There are a lot of components that go into making this happen, only one of which is the “committed but not attached” principle, but once you figure this out… your photography business will soar, and your purpose in life (from a photography business perspective) will be fulfilled.

What challenges are you experiencing in your photography business? Have you figured out how to be “committed, but not attached”?

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Miracle Mornings Day 5

June 23, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

Today is Day 5 of my Miracle Mornings project. I would love to tell you all that it’s been an amazing experience so far… but that would not be the truth. Well… maybe it would. Days one and two were certainly inspirational and freeing, but 3-5 has proven to open my eyes to some rather unfortunate realities. It’s not that I’ve been in complete denial about what I am seeing, but I have had my eyes closed enough to some things that daily meditation and journaling has revealed that I have some serious work to do. What work you ask? Well… I am probably not ready to share that quite yet. Besides I need to continue this process a little longer before it’s even going to come out making much sense.

But I can tell you this. Today’s meditation was on letting go of perfectionism. I seem to be receiving the exact information I need to be focusing on right now. I have, for some time now, known that I am way harder on myself than is healthy for me. However, today I saw this perfectionism exercise from a new angle. It became clear to me today that holding on to trying to have things be perfect … or, the way I hear it in my head is, “done right”, has kept me entangled in some rather unhealthy thought and behavior patterns that are not serving me. My hope is that as I look into this further, I will be able to be gentle with myself, and make the changes needed without judging myself too much. But for today… I am feeling rather like a schmuck. Ick! Wow! That is terribly difficult to admit. After all, I have a rather ingrained belief that I am an optimistic person. I am a person who works hard and tries to always do her best. But it turns out, I am also someone who wants to do everything right, because I also want people to like and admire me. So admitting that I am struggling with my feelings around having created a “prison of my own making”, is hard. And, while I am not one to shrink from things that are hard, I don’t like to look bad either. And, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I believe admitting I have weaknesses and struggles might do that. Intellectually, I know everyone has weaknesses and struggles in their lives, but my twisted thinking doesn’t always remember that.

So… there you have it, a messy day five of Miracle Mornings. This would probably be a great day to admit defeat and quit the project. But then there’s that commitment thing. Ugh! So on I press. I am confident this process is going to yield amazing results… and hopefully soon, before I lose my nerve.   :-)

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Miracle Mornings Day Four

June 22, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

Today is day four of my Miracle Mornings project. I have to admit, at this point, I have mixed feelings about the results. My thoughts are clear… this it is working, and is going to be good for me. But, from a feeling perspective, I am feeling a bit… uhmmm… uncomfortable. Yesterday, in my reading more in The Miracle Morning book, I learned that the missing piece, the last of the six practices, of the miracle morning is scribing. What’s funny is that I was already doing that. I had read another book years ago called “The Artist’s Way” that recommended “morning pages”. Morning pages are a way to clear out your mind chatter, get your thoughts and feelings on paper, so that you can look at them, and learn and grow from personal reflection. So, when I started The Miracle Morning, knowing it was based on developing myself each morning, I just assumed I should journal my thoughts and feelings. It was really cool yesterday to find out that was one of the 6 practices suggested.

Back to the uncomfortableness. I have never been one to delve into my feelings. I have been in therapy several times throughout my life. I did not have the most uneventful of childhoods. My life, while an exciting adventure, has also been splashed with traumatic events… not the least of which was being kidnapped at the age of 7. Add to that physical, emotional, psychological, religious and sexual abuse, and therapy seemed like a rather reasonable route to take. But before I discovered cognitive behavioral therapy… I discovered self help. And most of self help is focused on putting your focus on what you want and not on what you don’t want. So therapy, after years of self help, seemed like a dismal way to get healthy. Focusing on everything that had gone wrong in my life to “let go” of past events, never really felt right to me. I much preferred to ignore those bad feelings, and find ways to feel good. And, while that has worked on many levels, for many years, it has also created problems. Some of the ways I chose to “feel good” were NOT healthy for me, or the people around me.

So, I believe that’s why writing down my thoughts and feelings is a bit “uncomfortable” for me. But, this morning, like the past three mornings, I did it anyway. And, while looking deeply at myself, and how I create not only things I desire, but also things that are not healthy for me, has not been completely motivating and inspiring for me, as I had hoped it would be. It has, I believe, started to open me up to the possibility that I CAN feel the negative feelings too. I can let them in, and notice them, and extract lessons from them… and then… maybe even… “let them go”. Ignoring and suppressing them, while temporarily making me feel better, has led me down a path where now, I can be taken off guard by intense emotions bubbling up and taking over. So, journaling is probably going to be the hardest part of this journey for me. I will let you know how it goes.

In true Kate fashion, I shall now return to the parts I like better… affirmations and visualization. Whew! That’s MUCH better. :-)

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Miracle Mornings Day Two

June 20, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

I started a new project yesterday. It’s called Miracle Mornings, and it’s from the book by Hal Elrod, entitled “The Miracle Morning”. While not always one of my best qualities, I have a tendency to jump in head first on things, even when I don’t quite understand the ramifications of the action. And, jumping into a 30 day challenge with miracle mornings was no different. Well… it was a little different. This time I made a decision based almost exclusively on a recommendation by my coach and mentor Jeffrey Shaw. Jeff made the recommendation to read the book, and he said that he has been so inspired by it, that he has started his own miracle mornings project. Well… not to be out done (yes, I am VERY competitive) I jumped right in and bought the book. Well…. first I bought the audio book. (While listening to books audibly may seem like the lazy way out… I have found it to be quite to the contrary. When I listen to a book, I can combine activities, that otherwise may have been less productively spent… like driving my car, with learning something new). So… I bought the audio book, and I started it… the day before yesterday. I was so inspired that I made a commitment to complete a 30 day challenge before the end of the first chapter. Woo Hoo! Yay for me!

So here’s the thing about commitment. It creates a momentum all its own. What do I mean by that? There is a wonderful quote by William Huchison Murray that says, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” Whew! Doesn’t that get you all fired up and tingly inside? It sure does me. That’s why I like to make commitments. They have a ton of unseen energy and power, just waiting to assist me in my quest. So I committed… without even really knowing what I had committed to. Probably not a good idea usually, but this time, I think so.

Day One: Yesterday was day one of miracle mornings. I set my alarm clock for an hour early. And, I set aside that hour to do my miracle morning. What was I going to do for that hour? I didn’t know exactly. I had only gotten to chapter two of the book, and the whole plan isn’t laid out until chapter 9 or 10 ( I don’t even know which). What I did know, was that I was committed. I may not have taken big actions, but I HAD taken actions, and this time I would figure it out as I went along. You see, sometimes I overthink things. Sometimes I do, what I once heard of as, “squatting to rise”…

An old grandmother was cooking biscuits one day, and pulled them from the oven, only to find them terribly flat. When her grandchild asked what happened, she replied, “well, they squatted to rise, but they just got cooked in the squat”. I love that story! It reminds me to get a move on. It reminds me that waiting to make the changes that will dramatically alter my photography business or my life could end like a lifeless un-risen biscuit. That’s not what I want for my life or my photography business. It also reminds me NOT to start anything with a “last hoorah”. Like telling myself that this is the last piece of pie before I start my diet. That inevitably leads to adding ice cream… and probably some chocolate or caramel syrup as well. Waking up the following morning from such a binge can lead to feelings of guilt and shame… making me want to drown my sorrows in pancakes and syrup. This kind of “preparing” or “planning” to start a diet is a recipe for diet disaster… especially if you get “cooked in that squat”.

So… anyway, back to Day One: Thursday morning I awoke an hour early to fulfill my commitment. I didn’t really know what I was going to do for that hour, but I did know it was going to be GREAT! All I really knew about what to do, was to focus on personal development… physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, intellectual and psychological development. In the first chapter of his book, Hal referred to his first day. He had done some meditating, reading, exercise, affirmations, visualization… and something else I couldn’t remember. So, I figured, I would work with these ideas, and go from there. Since he had read, I decided that whatever time I had left after focusing on the other things, I would read as far as I could get in his book to get additional information on what adjustments to make to my miracle morning project tomorrow.

I started by reading a daily meditation book I have called “The language of letting go”. The topic was right on point for my life. “Life doesn’t have to be hard”. Whew! That was a lesson I could really pay attention to for the day. After reading my daily excerpt, I journaled about the topic. That helped me get in touch with my feelings about the subject, and how it applies to my life today. It gave me a sense of freedom to know that this concept I have had in my head, that life is hard, wasn’t really true, and that I could give it up. Journaling did something else though. It brought up something that has been causing problems for me in my growth… my perfectionism. I realized while getting ready to do my first miracle morning that I didn’t really know what I was doing yet. I had no plan. I didn’t know the rules. How was I going to do it “right”? It was interesting to notice these thoughts. Normally I would make my thoughts and feelings “wrong”, ignore them, or move on to something that made me feel better. But instead, this time I had my journal, and I was able to work through my thoughts and feelings about having to always follow the rules and do everything “right”. Realizing that life doesn’t have to be so hard is easier when you give up your perfectionism. I’m not saying that I have done that completely… I’m just saying my first miracle morning gave me a taste of that freedom.

After my journaling, I moved on to reading more from the book. I decided to skip a bunch of chapters to get to the “good part” on what to do, and found the chapter on affirmations. So I wrote down a few, and read them out loud. That made me feel hopeful. I have to say, it made me feel more hopeful than I have in a long time!

Going back to reading, I got additional information on my 30 day project, and I decided I ought to exercise my mind a bit before my hour was up. I went to www.lumosity.com, where I have an account to exercise my brain. I have already made a habit of working out on lumosity, but it was a lot more fun after the rest of my miracle morning.

Day One Complete! Woo Hoo! I felt great!

By this morning… Day Two… I had more information, so I felt a bit more secure with my project. Reading more in the book gave me more tips and suggestions for affirmations, and I added some visualization too. My meditation reminded me that I don’t have to force myself to interact with people who aren’t healthy for me. We all need to deal with difficult people sometimes, but we don’t need to make people like that an ongoing part of our lives. I journaled about that for a while, then did my lumosity and headed out for a quick sprint and jog session to exercise my body.

Wow! This miracle morning thing is pretty cool. I wonder what tomorrow will be like?

If you’d like to join me in the Miracle Mornings Project, you can get the book here at Amazon or the audio book here @ Audible.

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Texas School of Professional Photography – My inspiration

May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

I was so inspired by Julia Kelleher’s newborn photography class at Texas School of Professional Photography! I gotta tell you… that lady is brilliant! And, one of the things she said was really important, was to make our portrait studio space really inviting, with lots of eye candy. So… over the past few days I have been working on a project to beautify the newborn studio space. I found an amazing piece of unfinished furniture that is going to be perfect for storing my newborn wraps, hats, blankets, bowls etc. And, to make it really beautiful, I decided to stain, paint and distress it. Well… it was a ton of work, but it turned out GREAT! I just LOVE it!

Here are a few cell phone photographs of the process of creating my newborn prop station. When I get all my wraps and props into it, I will upload some real photographs, so that you can see how cool it is.

I also learned something in the process. If you are feeling a bit stuck in your creativity, try something creative that isn’t photography. I found it really rewarding to pour a bunch of energy and passion into this furniture. And just seeing it in my portrait studio space makes me feel fully self expressed and happy. Now I feel more inspired to go create some beautiful newborn images.

IMG_3684IMG_3685IMG_3687IMG_3686   IMG_3688

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Texas School of Professional Photography 2015

May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized by admin

I just returned from Texas School of Professional Photography 2015, and am totally inspired! Julia Kelleher’s class was amazing! She is not only one of the best newborn photographers in the US, but she is also a fabulous business woman! If you ever get a chance to take a class from Julia Kelleher, don’t pass it up!

Julia is also doing a new program on Creative Live in May, so attend that if you can. It’s the next best thing to being in her class live.

If you’ve ever spent a week in continuing education in photography, then you know how challenging it can be to implement everything that you learned when you return back to your photography studio. Texas School is no different. Not only did you just spend hours trying to soak up every little detail that your photography instructor, or instructors, taught you so that you can make big, impressive changes in your own photography business, but you also have an entire week’s worth of business to catch up on. For most of us that’s next to impossible to handle without becoming overwhelmed.

So… I have a gift for you. My “Cure for shiny object syndrome”, can help you avoid the overwhelm and get focused on making those ever-so-important changes to catapult your photography business forward.

And… IT”S FREE!

It’s really easy for us to get distracted on a daily basis in our businesses, but it’s even more challenging when you are trying to implement a big change… like incorporating a week’s worth of information from Texas School of Professional Photography.  So, download this tool, and get ready to see massive movement toward creating the photography business of your dreams!

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Photography Business Goal Setting – Leave a Legacy

April 15, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business by admin

Photography Business Goal Setting – Leave a Legacy

One of the best exercises I have ever participated in was one I learned many years ago when I was voraciously reading every book I could find on personal development. I was running a photography business for another company at the time, and I really wanted to succeed. I wish I could remember which book I was reading, because I would recommend it to you, but sadly… no. Anyway, in this amazing book, that I can’t remember the name of, there was an exercise on how to leave a legacy. You see, one of the biggest differences between successful and unsuccessful people is how long term their thinking is. Unsuccessful people, and business owners, think very short term… they have a paycheck to paycheck type of thinking (or mentality). They don’t really plan for the future. They let life happen to them (and their businesses). If you asked them what their 12 month goals were, they would probably tell you that they don’t even have goals for this week. But successful people, and business owners, think long term. And the more successful they are, the more long-term their thinking is. One reason why running a photography business can be so overwhelming is, that as artists, we tend to get easily distracted. “Squirrel” or “shiny object syndrome” seems to dominate many photography business owners thoughts. But this is mainly because most photographers, especially those without much business experience, are thinking way too short term. The solution to this problem is to take a long term approach to your photography business… which brings me back to my favorite exercise… the question of how to leave a legacy.

The way that you do this is to stop for a few minutes. Turn off all distractions, and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Then picture your funeral. Picture your loved ones around your casket. And then … imaging what they are saying. What are they remembering about you and the mark you left on the world? Were you loved? Did you love? How did you contribute to your family, your community and your friends? What do they remember as your best qualities? What legacy did you leave?

Now open your eyes and ask yourself if you are on track to becoming the person that you want to be remembered as. Are you designing your photography business and your life so that you can leave a wonderful and inspiring legacy? We only have so much time on this earth to be, do and have all that we were put here for. If you aren’t the path that you want to be on… then now is your chance. You get to decide the legacy you want to leave. Design that legacy now… and get to work… while you still can.

One of the reasons why I have not been blogging as much, or video blogging, like I was in 2014, is that I to have been designing the legacy I want to leave. I have been soul-searching to make sure that my photography business, and my coaching businesses are aligned with my long term goals. I have been working on developing ideas for courses and group coaching, so that I can impact more people’s lives and businesses. Stay tuned. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to add new and exciting dimensions to the blog, that I hope will have a positive impact on you and your photography business.

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My photography business philosophy – “Everything Counts”

March 29, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting by admin

I have a photography business philosophy that helps guide me and my photography business. It’s a philosophy that I learned from Jim Rohn, one of the pioneers in the personal and professional development field. I think, at my core, I always believed that perfection was the way to do things. Because of the way I was raised, in a fundamentalist Christian household, I often felt a lot of shame when I made mistakes. So, I grew up trying to be perfect. As you might guess, I failed at that, practically 100% of the time. OK… 100% of the time.

So when I heard Jim Rohn’s tapes (yes cassette tapes is how most of my personal development information was purchased in those days). I felt a significant amount of freedom from his business philosophy that “everything counts”. And, I began to incorporate it into my own photography business philosophy. What does “everything counts” mean? Well, for me, it is a reminder to focus on progress rather than perfection. You see, everything that you do in your life counts… either to move you, and your photography business, forward, or to move it backward. And, that was really good news to me. Because I was doing a lot to grow my photography business. But before I heard Jim speak, I wasn’t giving myself very much credit for that. Because, in my mind, it wasn’t perfect… Yet. After all, I fully expected that it would be one day. It had to be, because I needed it to be perfect. I didn’t realize that trying to make my photography business perfect was going to kill it. All that I could see was what was wrong with it. Since there is no way that we will ever attain perfection, something will always be wrong with it if we are measuring against that scale. So I stopped doing that. I became a proponent of good enough, in one-step-at-a-time, in the idea that everything counts. Every time I pick up that phone and call someone who is holding an event to enroll them in the idea of using my company for their photography… that counts. And, every time I don’t pick up that phone, when I know it is the thing to do, that counts too. We are always either moving forward, or moving backward. There is no such thing as standing still. But, since everything counts, all you need for progress is to do more things to move you forward than to move backward. That’s all. And, if you can incorporate some habits in each area that moves your photography business forward each day, then as soon as you have done those things… you are already ahead of the curve.

So what small steps can you take in your photography business today that will count toward progress? What potential partner can you approach today? What blog post can you write to serve your clients? What donation can you make to a non-profit organization that is close to your heart? What system can you put in place that will save you time tomorrow?

It doesn’t have to be big to count. It doesn’t have to be dramatic to count. And… it doesn’t have to be perfect. We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. So drop the pursuit of perfection, and embrace moving forward, one step at a time. Because in your photography business, as in mine… “Everything counts”.

Here’s a link to one of Jim Rohn’s videos on the topic of “measurable progress in reasonable time”. I LOVE listening to Jim Rohn.

 

 

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