One of my questions I hear most often is how did I get started? How did I find paying clients? It’s hard to know how to start a business and find paying clients – especially when it feels like everyone else has a thriving, successful business. Especially when you’re in a saturated market like photography. Especially when… It’s overwhelming, I know. I’m going to share 3 things that catapulted my business, enabled me to book 20 weddings, quit my retail job, and work for myself by the age of 22. Trust me, I used these 8 years ago and they are still useful to this day!
Nurture your network (personal and professional) like you care for your clients.
Both your personal network and professional network are SO critical. Investing your time and energy in pursuing like-minded professionals can lead to amazing results. In my first year, I set up simple shoots with the purpose of SEO that resulted in a professional relationship that’s yielded over $100k in the past 7 years. While that was unintentional, it taught me that nurturing your network WORKS. I second shot and hosted dinners with other photographers who I admired, learning about them so that we could SHARE business, not compete for it.
Invite some local industry people over for a glass of wine and potluck small plates. Or meet up at a local coffee shop or wine bar. Join a local Tuesdays Together or join your local Chamber of Commerce and go to an event.
Share your work and create a website. Striving for progress over perfection will lead to a breakthrough in your confidence, fears and business. Don’t hide your work because you don’t believe it’s good enough or it’s unique enough – it is enough.
Do you know how many people would happily model for you, let you practice on you, or accept your gift of creativity in exchange for your portfolio? Put a casting call out, do a giveaway, ask your coworkers, your sister and her boyfriend. Don’t know how to create a website? I would recommend using SquareSpace or ShowIt sites because they have great free templates to start and are user friendly.
Social media is FREE and it’s the best marketing you can invest (your time) in. AND IT’S FREE.
Seems obvious, right? Overwhelming maybe? Here’s some food for thought: What if someone you went to high school with is getting married and needs a calligrapher? Or your friend just started a business and needs signage but they had no idea you were so talented. Oh but then you ran into them at a local Chamber of Commerce mixer, which made them think to Google you so they can find your website. See what I did there? ;)
Don’t over think it. I repeat, do not overthink this. You are your greatest obstacle. You don’t need a fancy camera or a business Instagram or a thousand followers. You just need to hit “post” or RSVP that you’ll show up.
So, what do you think? Try committing to one of these things this week: share your current piece of work, sign up for a domain name, RSVP “going” to an upcoming networking group. Leave me a comment and tell me…what’s your next move?!
Keep reading because I’m here to help.
Don’t worry, my friend. I failed at a lot of things when I started my business and continue to do so all the time. Failure doesn’t define us but it does help us grow. That’s why I created a Free Download telling you just one of the many things I failed at in my first year of business. I even included a cheatsheet to help you avoid it too. “Failure is an event, people cannot be failures.”