5 Ways I INVESTED In My Business
I almost quit photography. It was late 2017, and I was just feeling uninspired and not really sure about the whole photography thing. I decided that I would either quit, or that I would go all out. There was no longer going to be an in-between. Like Ron Swanson says, “Don’t half-ass anything. Whole-ass one thing.” So, in January of last year I chose INVEST as my word for the year. I’m telling you, this word changed everything. I want to share with you guys the top 5 ways I invested in my business (and in myself) that turned my hobby-like photography into a thriving business that I am passionate about. So, let’s dive in!
1. KNOWING MY WHY
I’m a very goal-oriented person, so I need a good reason to do, well, anything. And I certainly needed a reason to throw myself into my job. I picked up a book entitled “Called To Create,” and guys, it completely changed the way I view work and its purpose. As humans we are made in the image of a creative God, and we create because He does. It’s not about making a paycheck to blow on the weekend, it’s about bringing beauty, meaning, and value to the world around you (aka continuing the creation process, like WOAH). Feeding myself and knowing why I was doing something led to the question, ok then how? I began listening to Jenna Kutcher’s “The Goal Digger Podcast,” which inspires and teaches me something new every single week. Setting aside time to receive outside inspiration and input was the first way I began investing, but I knew there was a lot more to learn!
Right around the time I decide to invest, I heard about a workshop that Alpine Northwest was putting on in Joshua Tree, CA. Anni Graham taught on what it takes to be a destination wedding photographer, and the days were divided between classes, live shoots, and getting to know the other girls there. Did I mention we were camping in tents in the desert?? This workshop gave me so much knowledge and inspiration, but more than that, it gave me community that I am still in touch with today. I decided going to workshops had to become apart of my business, and jumped on the opportunity to go to WRKSHP in NYC later in the year, where I got to meet a variety of people that inspire me so much, both teachers, and other photogs. If you’re a wedding photographer, I can’t recommend going to a workshop highly enough. If I had to point to one thing that helped me out the most, this was it!
3. SETTING UP A HOME OFFICE
I am the most easily distracted person, so sitting at my kitchen table doing work is hard. I will just start doing laundry, reading mail, snacking, etc. until I realize I did 1 hour of work in 8 hours. No joke. Working from home was a huge struggle until I created a HOME OFFICE (*cue angels singing). Mike and I went to IKEA, bought a desk and chair, and I even ordered a real monitor. I bought plants and hung photos on the wall (which I would show a photo of, but all my plants died because I killed them). I bought a planner and have a coaster for my morning tea. Just having a space that is designated for work makes me 100x more productive. Sometimes I get too focused now and Mike has to call me and tell me to eat lunch! It’s now a running joke, but it’s a night and day difference from when I had everything spread out on our dining room table. Dead plants and all ;)
I did a website revamp right after my first workshop, and decided to start blogging. It seemed so daunting at first, but after a few posts, I’ve come to absolutely love it! Not only is it a great way to boost SEO and help people find my work, but it’s also so fun to see a wedding day or an engagement session as a complete story. It’s not about that one cool photo, it’s about the whole day, from beginning to end. Including my couple’s stories brings the shoots to life, and is something super special to look back on. I hope it is for them as much as it is for me!
5. DOING CREATIVE SHOOTS
I think I just got stuck in a rut at the end of 2017, and forgot how much FUN photography can be. So I forced myself out of my comfort zone by asking friends to do creative shoots with me. Shoots where I could ask them to do ridiculous things just try out new prompts. I collaborated with stylists for bridal-inspired shoots. I shot in the rain and at night and in harsh sunlight. I just decided to try things that scared me, or that I thought I was bad at, and along the way found that I actually like doing some of those things! I needed to remember to have fun with my camera, and why I fell in love with photography in the first place.
Someone asked a question that has really stuck with me, “How can you ask people to invest in your business, if you’re not even willing to invest in yourself?” Woah. I needed that kick in the butt. And after putting my time and money where my mouth is, I can say that investing is so worth it. If you’re a fellow photographer who feels a little stuck, I hope this inspires you to get out there and just try something new! Go to a workshop (like, really, GO), create a space that eliminated distractions to work in, meet up with fellow creatives, put your heart and personality into what you do, and I promise you won’t regret it. I certainly don’t :)