There was a time when I thought that if I developed a good system, kept on top of my work, devoted hours to honing my craft and devoured every bit of useful information on creating a better business, I would slowly grow and grow until I reached the place I wanted my business to be.
Little did I know that it just doesn’t work like this, and after much heartache, trial and countless errors, I’ve come to realize that business growth is much less of a linear path and much more of a mountain hike, with rocks, boulders, jumps and a few crevasses thrown in for good measure.
We’re bombarded with how-to videos, tutorials and articles on every subject under the sun. There’s a good way to do everything and we have access to all the information in the world, the best experts, the coolest podcasts, the most inspiring writers.
There are rules in photography, rules in business, accepted rules, social conventions, cultural biases and generally accepted behaviour that we recognize in some way as either familiar to us or something to aspire to, something we would like to learn how to do, a position we’d like to be in. So we consume an incredible amount of information each day, in the never-ending quest to make ourselves better, our work stronger, and our business more profitable.
Does it work? Sometimes. But often not so much. Information is often conflicting, and then we’re afraid of making mistakes, of not quite knowing enough to pull it off, and we retreat into what we know. The safe zones.
I spent years (and lots of money) to learn and study everything I could get my hands on, to get my business off the ground. But in the end the biggest lessons I learnt were from either failures and disasters, or the times where I went my own way, took risks and succeeded in jumping to higher ground.
I’m all for learning from others, and indeed I believe we never should stop learning, but I never sat well within the standard or the norm. I always wanted to take something and then innovate, experiment, find new solutions. The world is changing so fast, how can we think that the same systems and techniques that worked ten years ago would still be valid now? Change is everywhere, and we just can’t afford to stay stuck while doing the same things over and over.
Our business starts with our individual self, in our case (for most of us) WE are the face of our brand. And our face is our fortune, I heard someone say the other day, and it’s so true!
Competition is something we need to get out of, but how? Certainly not by doing what everyone else does, using pre-set solutions and copying what everyone else says and does.
Breaking the rules of composition may be part of your unique style. We understand that about images, but we don’t quite see it the same way about running our business. We all have to work within the same parameters, in photography and in business, and once we learn to do it we can develop our unique style. Brand. Look. Character. Mood. Products. Service. All of that is US.
Finding your own way in business is as important as finding your style in photography, and it’s not as simple as following a bunch of free tutorials.
It comes with hours of work but most of all it comes from seeing a bigger picture and learning to move within a broader spectrum. Finding the space to create something that’s uniquely yours, that resonates with your clients, and not only makes your business thrive but your heart sing as well :)