No, it’s not by buying some expensive marketing package or showy website.
Those artistic & vintage photoshop actions that you love? They won’t get you there either. In fact, you’ll probably ditch them in a year or two. Trust me. Just like that “amazing” shirt you picked up awhile back that was so cute then, but is so very wrong for you now.
The things you need to guarantee your business will be a success cannot be bought in any store. I promise that if you have all these things, you will most certainly “make it”.
Can you guess what these things are?
Time, Perseverance, Desire to Grow, and Flexibility
I know, major letdown, right?
These four elements are SO not sexy or glamorous. In fact, they are downright boring.
But unless you’ve got some crazy following already (and I’m talking thousands of people who think you’re amazing) you’re most likely going to need all four of these things to find success in your business.
Becoming successful requires time. I’d wager to say that if you’re working a full-time job while trying to grow your photography business, it will take you about 4-5 years or more to get to the point where you consider your business truly successful.
Even if you are only doing photography and don’t have another job, it takes awhile to grow your client base large enough to have steady referrals. Referrals are one of the most important places to get new business, and you’re just starting from scratch.
Most “rockstar” photographers that crop up in a year or two either had a large number of followers already devoted to them, knew the right person who was able to pass a lot of business to them, or had some other lucky circumstance happen to them that simply can’t be recreated.
If you compare your progress to theirs, you’ll constantly be discouraged and feel like a failure.
Your photography business will take time to build. Be patient.
It’s a ton of work to run a photography business. Many people underestimate the huge amount of time it will take behind a computer screen doing editing, accounting, and emailing to run a successful photography business.
You’ll go through up times and down times, and some days you’ll just want to throw in the hat, but if you want to be a successful photographer you’ll have to keep moving forward. Running a business is hard work.
Desire to Grow
You’ll need to continue to grow as a photographer and as an entrepreneur as you continue throughout your career. Always keep striving to improve your work. Take seminars, go shooting with other photographers, and work on personal projects.
Photographers who are open to learning will have a far better chance of making it than those who do not.
You’ve got to stay mindful of where the industry is headed. Right now I feel like there’s a huge dichotomy between the new self-taught photographers and the old-school traditional photographers who can’t see past how things used to be done (and who don’t see the value in updating the website they threw together back in 1998).
The most successful photographers are the ones who see the tides changing and study how they can turn this change into a competitive advantage for their business. Being willing to have flexibility in your business model will be vital to your longevity.
This sounds like hard work!
It is. It’s not terribly glamorous either (unless you consider editing in your pajamas all day glamorous).
Yet it is so incredibly meaningful. You’re capturing the best parts of your customers’ lives and giving them a way to re-live it a bit each time they see your work. That’s a gift that few people can give.
It’s not an easy path to take, but it’s a rewarding one. Go for it, but go into it knowing that it’s not going to be quick and easy.
You can do it.
Now go do it.