It's become a standing joke with the people I work closely with, that each week when I'm struggling to think of content that people will find interesting on the blog, I always surprise myself by writing something that I actually think is awesome and probably even better than my last post. I try and keep ahead with my writing, but sometimes that falls short with other demands in the business so I often can find myself tying up loose ends a few days before a post is due to be published. Keeping with the theme of struggles today's blog post is all about viewing your business as a passion not just the 9-5 slog!
Work Your Socks Off
If you’re in the creative industry, especially if you’re self employed, working 12 hours day, drinking copious amounts of caffeine and a lack of sleep is the only way we’re told we will survive. Furthermore, we use these excuses to make us feel good about ourselves and defend ourselves when we have no time to socialise with family & friends. Capturing over 30 weddings a year has taught me to seek value in every hour I work when I’m not capturing images, as I don’t always have a lot of time. To put it simply, I love capturing weddings and I’m not so fascinated with the admin side, so I try and break free from the ideology that sitting in front of a computer means I’m ‘working’.. the world has so much more to offer than pretending to be working.
Skip Straight to the Point
I built my business on honesty, trust and truth. I’ve always been brutally honest when it comes to my photography and clients, there’s no point beating around the bush in a creative business, it will only come back to bite you. If you promote openness and transparency your clients are less likely to ask awkward questions or challenge your prices and work. If someone asks you for a discount or an added extra that you wouldn't offer to your existing paying customers don’t be afraid to say no, just kindly explain your reasons.
Fix Your Problems
As an expert in your industry, you’re expected by to be able to fix problems and work under pressure. Pointing the finger never helps anyone and like me, the only person I can point the finger at is myself. It’s important I always keep a cool head and be focused. Let’s take this situation: the night before you’re due to shoot a wedding your camera breaks and it’s your only body. Do you A. Spend the next 2 hours ranting your frustration over the phone to your camera company and posting your anger on social media or B. Immediately focus on the issue to hand and seek a new/borrowed camera body for the big day. Go with ‘B’ and there’s a good chance you will resolve the situation, look professional under pressure and keep your blood pressure low! Focus your analysis and problem solving until after you overcome the problem. You will make more executive decisions with a calm mind. (Top Tip: always have 2-3 back up camera bodies)
Demand a Lot of Yourself
You’re the only person who can push you to your limits, even if you have authority above you they can’t force you to demand the most of yourself. As a sole trader I constantly have to build my relationships and trust with people on a day to day basis. Whether it’s through networking, blogging or meeting clients, I put higher demands on myself than I would anyone else. The best workers are always the ones willing to get their hands dirty and ‘put a shift in’ as we call it in the UK.
Be a Good Listener and Don’t Be Too Serious
We all hate being ‘talked at’, learn to be a good listener and don’t just talk to people - make sure you learn something about them and show an interest in them. Don’t take yourself or the business too seriously, humour goes a long way, and no business is that serious, share your story with people!
I never take what I have for granted, we’re one of a lucky few in this world who work in an industry full of creative talent working on things they love. Whenever I’m not feeling like writing a blog post or editing a wedding I remind myself of those facts and how lucky I am.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment below.