I regularly read that our chances of success in the photography industry are very slim, and as a photography business coach I have seen many people begin a business and after a couple of years they have found it all too hard and found a “real job.”
The photography businesses failure rate is very high according to some statistics and Jodie Otte of Black Horse Studio in a recent article said that 95% will fail.
The stats of course don’t reveal the truth and the reality about what is really going on for photographers who want to have a successful photography business.
There is a lot more involved in the “behind the scenes” truth about the lonely, emotional rollercoaster ride of creating and building a successful photography business that most business owners go through.
Success is an exciting unpredictable journey, and part of the journey (including my own) can be filled with bad decisions and mistakes, lost money and often days of feeling worthless, and unloved.
As a photography business coach I believe that the decision to build a photography businesses, is a tough and courageous one. It can also be one of the few decisions in a photographer’s life that can fundamentally grow you as a person.
A photographer’s journey is generally filled with a mixture of positive and negative emotions, and here are a few of them that a photographer may encounter in their business life.
Excitement. The time you have been dreaming and working towards has finally arrived. The doors of your photography business are opening, the website for your new business is live and you launch into the unknown world of business.
You love taking photographs and starting your own photography business is your dream. You’re excited, as you visualise the floods of Newborns, Families, etc coming through the door. You are nervous, but you feel that your business will be a sure fire hit.
You have confidence and you just know that you have made the right decision.
When you start to get the first customers in front of your camera you experience a great overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.
You just know that you have made the right decision to “go it alone” even though a lot of family and friends thought you were crazy to do so!
Happiness. You are doing well, so you pay off your credit card, your business is finally in the black, and you are happy. You have achieved your goal of creating a profitable business and who you have become is a different person from who you were just three short years earlier.
Disappointment. After a while busyness becomes a trickle of low paying customers and reality hits you. Your excitement has been replaced by disappointment and a lot of questions. Why did they not book? Did I get this wrong? Have I set my prices too high? Was I too optimistic in my expectations? How am I going to get more sales? Is this really for me?
Fear. You can reach a point where you think that business is not as black and white as you thought it was. You have one or two bad customer experiences and doubt fills you mind. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but because your photography was good, you felt that people would happily pay for it.
You begin to doubt that you are not “good enough” to have a business.
Some poor sales weeks may drag into months and when the sales stay flat, and your initial disappointment begins to turn into fear. Fear that you’re not covering your costs, fear that you’re going backwards not forwards, and fear that this photography business that you have created, is looking more like a death sentence rather than a ticket to wealth, happiness and freedom. You don’t realise it at first but this fear can be helpful, as this fear is important, and it may be a galvanising force to find an inner strength and belief. Many photographers give up right here, when success could be just around the corner.
Inner Strength. Suddenly something changes, in your mindset and you decide to face the facts. You decide to stop avoiding the truth of your bad situation and you decide to confront the mess you’re in. Instead of repeating the same marketing strategies you used previously, that are now not working you start to implement new strategies. You start putting yourself on the front line and you even start asking for help. You make a decision to learn everything that you can about strategic marketing and selling.
You may even hire a photography business coach to accelerate your growth.
I am sure many of you reading this will be shaking your heads up and down and agreeing that you have been through some, if not all of the emotions above and more.
Understand that Success is not an event, it is a journey.
Sometimes we need failures at some part of the journey to drive us forward.
Here are some of Donald Trumps massive failures. http://time.com/4343030/donald-trump-failures/
I hope your passion and drive will create the photography business that you had hoped for.
Be your own person, believe in yourself, get help, stay positive and walk proudly to achieving your goals.
This life is not a dress rehearsal.
Go for it.
You were born to succeed !
photography business coach