There are some days that growing my photography business is just plain hard. And I don't necessarily mean it in a bad way, it's just that, like most humans, I always prefer the victory over the challenges that it took to get there, the chocolate cake over the vegetables, the island breeze of Hawaii over the getting up early to meet a flight/dealing with flight layovers in order to get to the islands in the first place.
And because I am in the daily grind of continuing to build and push and persevere, I often forget to remember that this is normal, this is part of it, and that every day that I chip away at what seems like an iceberg is just as important as the day when the steps won't be as hard to take. I also often don't stop and ask myself what have I learned so far, what do I need to improve, and even, what have I been doing right that I can continue to do for the future?
I recently took the time one afternoon to take a bit of a drive with Kona and ended up taking a stroll around the beautiful campus of Stanford University. I know first hand that just as photography is my dream, this prestigious university is another kid's dream. The steps they needed to take to get into this school were filled with just as much blood, sweat, and tears as my journey has been thus far with building a photography business.
I think it's important to have dreams and aspirations - I really do. It pushes and grows a person in a way that very few life experiences can. I also think it's important to take the time to be thankful for each uphill/battle step, to remember each fear that was overcome, and to celebrate even the smallest victories no matter how insignificant they seem. Because in the end, the smallest victories were still very much a part of a huge journey and you can't step to the next big stone in a river without stepping on smaller stones first.
So what have I learned so far in this journey? Here goes...
- Saying no (politely, yet firmly) truly is liberating
- Knowing the worth of your services helps with determining the direction you want to go and the client you want
- Network, network, and network
- Help and encourage other women business owners - they are in the same boat as me
- Do what you say you are going to do when you say you were going to do it
- Write the big and small goals down with a timeline
- Invest in educating yourself about your industry and never, ever, ever stop being willing to learn. The best in the industry are also humble students even after so many years.
- Practice. Practice. And did I say practice?
- Take what you have and run with it. The fancy camera equipment doesn't make anyone a good photographer but the willingness to push and learn and create does.
- Do chip away at your goal even when you would rather peruse Facebook or eat ice cream. Again.
- Take a minute hug your dog even if you're frantically editing photos, backing up images, emailing to inquiries, recording receipts and mileage. Many, many, many a time has Kona sat there watching intently, willing me to stop typing away at my laptop and throw her pink tennis ball down the hallway.