These are my favourite kind of blogs to write. I love sharing my self-employment journey with people and in particular any ambitious photographers who are looking to make it on their own. I have managed to refine my HUGE list of things I have learnt so far to my top 5:
- Never Compare
Everyone’s journey in business is completely different, irrelevant of whether you are in the same industry or not. You will never gain anything from comparing because there are so many factors that determine levels of success. You may have started with zero money and someone else may have been fortunate enough to have a small sum of money to invest in initial marketing and equipment. So, remember the only person to compare to is your previous self.
2. Outsource where you can!
Now I am not saying outsource your skill but everything you can hand over – do! My biggest areas of time used to be spent on marketing, administration, invoicing and emails. I have managed to outsource 80% of this and it has allowed me to focus on the areas of my business that not only are most profitable but also are also most enjoyable.
3. Get networking
This may sound an obvious one but it has really been invaluable, in more ways than one. Not only has it provided me with an abundance of public speaking confidence but also life-long valuable business connections that I never dreamt I would make or even need! In the first year of business, networking provided me with 65% of my turnover and it is from this networking that referral tree grows externally. It is a worthwhile investment for anyone starting a business, particularly if you are doing it alone.
If you have never been in business before, like myself, it can be a little mind-blowing with how to manage your finances. The one thing I have learnt is to reinvest wherever I can. This can be on marketing, new equipment, a business coach or anything that may be of benefit to the business. There are several reasons for this; the first being that you can never go wrong investing money back into your business and allowing it room to grow and the second which some may find the most important! The higher your businesses expenses the less profit the dreaded tax man can get his hands on!!
5. Set Goals
This is a really important one for me. I like to have something to work towards as it provides me with extra motivation. Set goals and do not be afraid to make them big goals! I never thought I would be where I am today but I set myself a goal and I fortunately smashed it! They are also a way of measuring your success or providing some guidelines or where and why you may be failing. Aim high and you will achieve!
Just before I end this, I wanted to leave you with one thing that I believe has aided my career success so far and that is BE RECOGNISABLE. Particularly in the photography industry, it is essential to have something unique and quirky about your style and if your work can be spotted out of a crowd of 10-15 competitors then you are doing a good job!
Here is to the end of the first two years in business and to an exciting and colourful next two years!