Hey there! How are you doing this beautiful fall day (hopefully it’s as beautiful where you are as it is here in NC) Fall has hit at least just for a few days and I’m loving it! Life has thrown this photographer a few loops lately and though I think I’m handling it all pretty well, as I’ve been journaling, I’ve realized a few things. As a small business owner, no one gives you this manual that says “do this, this and this” or at least I didnt get that. What was more like it, was that I was left reading blogs, much like this one, to gather info, to learn new things that are important and relevant! I would talk to whomever would talk with me, I would read whatever I could, but I still at times felt so lost. So I thought I would share a bit more about things that I thought are valuable and so needed for the solopranure.
- Community! I can not stress this enough! We all need a tribe that we can depend on, that we can share with, that we can vent to, that know what it means to be in the trenches of owning a small business. When I am with those people…my people, they get it! I don’t have to explain how hard the day to day is, I don’t have to explain what it means to feel that everything is on my shoulders, or what it is like to have to deal with a client that is not so happy. That group, that community get is, and you need it. So start looking for people who always have your back, who are not in it for their own ambition, who want you to succeed as much as you do. Who will be there for you when days are dark, but who will also be there cheering you on unabandidly when things are great! Find your community and work hard at it!
- A Plan! I am amazed at how many go in and just “wing it” You know the old saying “fail to plan, plan to fail” its so true, especially in small business. You must have a game plan, I would encourage a short term (3-6 months) and long term 1-2 years. There are loads of tools for helping you with this process. Here are a few. The Small Business Association or Goalenforcer take a day or two and really plan. Plan big goals, big dreams, but also plan small goals and how you are going to accomplish them and the steps, people and resources you are going to need.
- A Space! So you don’t need a store front or brick and mortar, but you do need to have a space, a space to create, to go to to think and process, where you will put on your “small business owner hat” . Where you can get down to business and be productive. It can be just a room, but you have to have a place! I know so many small business owners that started off with just making do, not having a place of their own, but once they did get that room or office, they felt offical, they felt validated, they felt that they were professional because it was a place to truly work. So find your nook, your room, your cubby and make it your own and use it!
- The Ability to Hustle! I can not tell you how important this is. At some point in time, when push comes to shove, you have to be able to hustle. To drum up business and to make things move. True story! Three years ago, in January when things were slow (really slow) and things were tight financially! I mean like bottom of barrel (which yes we have been there) I had to figure out a way to make things work, or we wouldn’t eat. So I thought I would teach a camera class….what do you know, that camera class not only has become one of the most popular things we offer January-March, but it got us through the dry times. You have to be able to do that…to find areas and people that you haven’t reached yet. SO many of our what are now “rocks” in our business started out from trying to hustle! Don’t be ashamed of it….all business owners have to do it at some point or another!
- Continuing Education! Its so easy to just work…and push through and follow the day to day, but must take time to stop and learn along the way! I try to attend continuing education in the following areas 1. my craft (so I can be a better photographer) 2. small business (not in my industry, but just small business in general) 3. creative community (a place where other creatives and small business owners are gathering to learn) 4. spiritual retreat (usually a woman’s or couples retreat) all of these help me grow. Help me take a step back and outside of the day to day and improve on what I am! Its so important, it’s what I owe my clients. My hearts desire to always keep growing and improving, but lets face it, it’s hard to do that in the middle of the daily grind. So carve out that time, that expense and feed yourself and your business!
I hope that wherever you are in your journey as a small business owner that you find at least one of these that you don’t have in your arsenal and you make it a goal to achieve it! Reach out to me if you need help…I’m here to support you in any way I can! You can do this!
I had the amazing opportunity to work with this beauty! Just look at that hair….if I could choose any type or color of hair…it would be hers. The color, the curls, it’s to die for. But then look at her beautiful complexion, her gorgous eyes…I mean wow! Thank you so much Riley for joining us…I loved every minute that you were in front of our camera and I hope that we can work together again! Keep shinning!