Is it worth it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So I wanted to take a small step away from photos and bring you up to date with my current "business" plans.

I am for real, y'all.

I think the message I've been hearing over the past few months is RECOGNIZE WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T BE DOING. Are you losing sleep? Do you dread your work flow? Are you... burned out? If you answered yes, my guess is that you are playing too many roles in your business.

Right now I'm at a point where I am still growing and establishing the foundation of my business. I would say it's pretty common for photographers to immediately begin investing in lenses (or other equipment) once their business starts growing. Not this girl. I can't tell you HOW badly I'd like to do that, but I'm forcing myself to rent.

Why? Because I recognize that I cannot play the role of accountant, financial planner, technician, and still be sane. Or heck, feel rested. And this is where I have to disagree with the famous Army slogan: Be All You Can Be.

THAT right there is the problem .. with small business owners.

We DO try to be all that we can be! So enter this burden that we suddenly start carrying, the roles that we try to fulfill, and we suddenly have a problem with releasing control of our business. And this brings me back to the same message over and over again:

I won't tell you what to, and not to do... I would simply like to share what I am doing.

I made a list of some of the tasks that I felt would impact my business greatly -- in baby steps. Finances. Packaging. Security.

Future thoughts: Hire or do a business trade with local photographer for album design.

And I hope y'all know I had to REALLY sit down and think about these steps. Start with making a list of goals and what 3, or even 2 things you can do right now to invest in your business professionally. You're a professional photographer -- not a professional accountant. (Or maybe you ARE and if so, holla atcha girl ;). And then, of course, it comes down to what you are willing to invest.

You either a) have plenty/just enough to invest or b) you would possibly LOSE money by outsourcing your top needs.

But this is what it REALLY comes down to...

I want to leave you with what Tamara Lackey asked during her Creative Live seminar. "Would it be worth it if you love what you do, you get more energy and time with your family/yourself, you are happier -- but possibly lose about a couple thousand for these initial investments?" And my guess is, by investing wisely in the beginning (with the risk of losing money) -- you will have a much higher chance of growing exponentially in your future that you will eventually make that initial loss back and some.

Remember, investment isn't only in cash/money. Your time, your energy, your happiness is investment. Well, to me they are. What about you? What would you outsource? Any thoughts on your top 3 needs? Or, what isn't worth sacrificing?


  1. GREAT post Ale... definitely something to think about. We should meet a couple times a year to chat photography, business, etc as a group! ;) ps- I just so happen to know an awesome album designer who would LOVE to do trade!!! ;) she also is familiar with QB if you need some help xo

  2. Oh my goodness, this is precisely what Taylor and I are figuring out right now. We're doing fairly well in our photo business, but Taylor is wanting to make that HIS full time job and we're trying to figure out how to get there without burning out (mostly ME burning out) due to the fact that I work a full-time job and outside of that, every available moment in the day is spent on shoots or editing.

    Taylor has a very "I want this and I want this now" personality and it's been very hard trying to get him to take baby steps to make sure we do this right :) I'll be sharing this post with him!

  3. I've been mulling over similar issues! I feel self concious because I don't offer design work (custom albums, greeting cards, invitations, etc.) like Other photographers do--but I figured out a solution to that one--my sister! She has little training but a great eye, and is at a point in her life where she can afford to work for fun, not for a living, so we've teamed up on a few projects. Thank the Lord for her, because I have neither talent nor training in this category! :)

    Also, I've been trying to figure out what sets me apart from the rest of the "I'm a female in my 20s so I have a photography business" crew, because I don't want to make investments based on what others can do, but rather on what will make me different through my strengths. I'm not the best poser, and I don't have gobs of creative ideas, but I AM good with people, and get th most business through word of mouth. I'd love to hear some suggestions of how to channel my investments towards highlighting that skill...if that makes sense! :)

    Right now, my priorities are having time to spend with my hubs when he's not working, cultivating relationships with clients so they will return regularly, and creating new relationships, expanding my clientelle.

    Not sure how to do any of that, and I'm afraid I'm wasting my time and other people's patience by using Facebook to advertise my blog. What to do, what to do?!

  4. Oohhh Stacey -- does her name start with an S and end with tacey?! Do tell! ;)

    Jenn -- the best way to do that is literally sit down, write your tasks and you both HONESTLY look at that list and say "This ______ is where I spend most of my time/energy on." Now, is that blank a strength or weakness? Start where it matters -- where it will make your business solid. For me that is finances (business plan).

    Becca-- GENIUS! That is EXACTLY what I am referring to. Using someone's strengths to improve YOUR weakness = strength in business.

    Now about your questions: I can definitely help you figure out ways to invest in your skills but I need more *depth* to your strengths. In what specific ways are you good with people? What do people love most about their session experience with you? ASK someone who was referred to you "what did so-and-so say about me that solidified your decision to hire me?" Don't be afraid to ask those questions, because trust me -- it will shed light and clarify what kinds of strengths you have!

    Then we'll go from there! Haha, clearly too long for comments, so e-mail me and I can seriously help you explore this ;)



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