ASK ME ANYTHING:
Whew. Talk about a heavy question. Failure is essential to growth and an exciting life. Here are a few mistakes I’ve made along the way and the lessons I’ve learned…
Not charging enough and taking on too much to make up for it.
Early in my career, I was barely breaking even. For a business to survive, you have to either: A/ Sell a lot of a cheap product/service (i.e. 300 of “x” at $1) or B/ Charge more, therefore, needing to sell less (3 of “x” at $100). In both scenarios, you are making the same amount of money. However, only needing to take on 3 weddings vs. 300 is a huge difference. I learned pretty early on that I couldn’t take on that kind of volume to provide the type of service I wanted to give my couples. I wanted it to be personal, genuine, and high quality. I didn’t want to turn into a factory, and I hated feeling burnt out. Staying on top of my accounting helped bring this into focus and pushed me to raise my prices + set limits for the number of weddings I take each season.
Thinking I knew it all.
I’m going to put it out there: you can learn something from everyone. If you’ve been in business for two months or twenty years, there is always room for improvement. Keeping a humble heart will get you so much farther than being cocky. Coming out of the journalism world, I kind of felt like I was above wedding photography. It was (and still is) the attitude of the industry at that time, but I was quickly humbled when I realized how important this work is and how difficult it is…not to mention, how much I adore it. This career has taken me places a newspaper job would never take me. It’s provided for my family for 10+ years. I don’t take it for granted anymore, and I’m so thankful the recession pushed me into this field.
Being afraid of change
Businesses must evolve to stay alive. Technology changes faster than you can blink. To stay relevant, you have to constantly analyze the direction you are heading in your work. Set goals each year to not become jaded. For the longest time, I hated my branding. I started my business young; therefore, the founding name was juvenile (it was Lime Green Photography). I did everything I could to adapt to make it work, but it became incredibly obvious that I had outgrown the name. I was scared to change, though. It was terrifying.
However, I poured into the new brand. I spent time and money making sure it would fit for the long haul. I made the leap, and my business flourished. Looking back, I’m a little bummed I didn’t jump sooner.
Trying to be like everyone else
Sometimes I wish my career had begun long before social media so that I could have a taste of what it was like to not have to compare yourself to other photographers 24/7. Social media is essential for running a business these days, but it also messes with your head. I can’t tell you how many times I made stupid decisions just because I was trying to be like someone else or because of my own insecurities. However, the more I embrace who I am, the more connected I’ve become to my couples and my work. It has made the journey much more meaningful.
I could list many, many other mistakes I’ve made over the years, but the main point I want to bring home is to embrace your mistakes. Learn from them. In fact, I want to encourage you to pin point what isn’t working in your business (or life) and set an intention to fix it. I’d love to help :)
I’d love to be a resource for you! I’m planning to address the questions I receive in the coming months on my blog + newsletter. Please ask anything that comes to mind!
Nothing is off the table. If I cannot answer it, I will find someone who will. Ask your question here >>