Has anyone else noticed?
There are a TON of photographers in my area. Like.......when I say a ton, imagine if Africa tried to stuff it's self inside of Texas.....yeah, it's pretty much like that. And I was thinking the other day, ya know, I can't do anything about that. And why would I want to? All these amazingly talented photographers and creative entrepreneurs are just working towards the same goals that I am and who am I to try to stifle that in any way? So... with all my brain power, I came up with a game plan, a list of encouraging and motivating reminders, if you will, that I am excited to share with you. So, safety first, click your seat belts folks! Here we go: 4 things to tell yourself when you work in an oversaturated industry......
1: Community NOT competition. This is my favorite one. When you are working in an industry, it doesn't matter what it is, you enhance the general environment of that industry when you see each other as assets, not competition. Lifting each other up, recognizing each others talents and hard work, encouraging each other and teaching other only makes that certain line of work better. Better for business owners and better for the clients they serve. It's ok that yet another person picked up a camera and decided to be a photographer. It's really ok. Your clients are your clients because they love your style, work ethic and delivery of products. Their clients will be their clients for the same reason. There is room for everyone to learn and start at the beginning just like you/I did. And when I started, dang if I needed more people teaching me and encouraging me than I had. I love photography. It's my passion. It means so much to me. I want to make this art and it's industry mean something to others and impact my clients' lives in a gracious and positive manner. To do that I need you and you need me. You are not my competition. We are in the same ship navigating the same waters. It's exciting and I am so thankful for each and every photographer friend that I have and hope to meet and work with many many more. It only makes all of us better. It only makes our work better.
2: Tell yourself you're awesome...EVERDAY! You might think this one is unnecessary and dare I say......dumb. I tell you, it is not. And I'm going to get biblical on ya'll and say this; Verily verily I say unto thee....... It is essential! Your belief in yourself and your talents and abilities is the only thing that really matters because its your abilities that get clients in the door and its your talent that finishes your work load every week. It's really really cool when your husband believes in you (and mine does, love ya babe!). It's also nice when friends and family believe in you and your work. Hey, even when you have your industry peers chime in and cheer you on, it feels really good, right?. But none of that means anything and has no affect whatsoever on the progress of your business if you don't believe in yourself. You're doing the work. Your blood, your sweat and your tears.....many many tears. Your belief in your work is the heart of your business. To keep that heart beating, you have to do things that feed your faith in your abilities. For me, it's telling myself that I'm awesome. Even though somedays, I don't feel it. These words work for me in pushing me forward and persevering thru the sometimes rough waters of the photography industry. Do something that comes from within you that keeps your spark sparkin'. Keep that heart beating. It's YOU that has to do it.
3: Comparison kills! For reals. This one is super hard for me. There is a line between using other peoples work for inspiration and creative motivation. It's another to allow viewing other, more seasoned artists' work to weigh you down into a sludgy, grimey self-pity fest. That's not cute ya'll. First, you gotta remember...everyone started somewhere. Second....look at how much YOU have improved and celebrate that! That photographer that has work that takes your breath away, that photographer that has portraits that brings tears to your eyes, that business owner with the upscale office and high tech goodies and a client list as long as the Nile, has WORKED their booty off to get there. Give them props! And guess where you're headed too? Yes! You will get there! You're working hard. You're putting in the hours. You're passion and talent are soaring! One day, you will reach all your goals if you keep your eyes on your path. Keep your focus on your vision. Your business is unique and different than all the others. Constantly looking over at others crossing their finish lines and wondering when you will get there will get you of course, love. Keep your head down, and keep your vision alive, and I promise you, you will run across every finish line you ever set out to cross. Your vision is worth the work. Your work will improve. Focusing too much on what everyone else around you is doing will only detract from your process. Yes, ask for help. Yes, get inspired. But don't compare. You're worth too much.
4: Stay educated. If you don't stay in the know, you don't grow. I can't tell you guys how much I have had to learn this the hard way. Learning more about my craft AND my industry has become one of the most exciting parts of my work flow. Once a week, every week, I do something to increase my knowledge both about photography AND owning a small business. And it's awesome. How does this relate to an oversaturated industry? Well, what helps you stick out in the rapidly growing group is how knowledgeable you are about your craft. What helps you keep up with the ever progressive changes and advances in almost every industry is keeping yourself in the loop about new tools and upgrades you may be able to add as an asset to your biz. Not everything will be your thing. Not every business strategy will be yours. Not every new techie gadget will work with your creative style. But it is a major business muscle strength to educate yourself and also your clients about all that affects your small business. Once you start practicing this, you will see a major change in how you relate to other photographers, how your client base is widening, how you market your services and even your creative style being tightened up and even more secured. Do it. Keep doing it and you will gift yourself with the stamina it takes to stay alive in your industry.
Well my darlings, I hope there was at least one small piece of encouragement you received out of this post. I'm so glad I get to work among so many amazing and talented folks. I know we are all in this together and for the long haul. I wan to thank you all for helping to make my shine brighter and I hope I can do the same for you.