1. When you care about your clients amazing things can happen.
It sounds super cheesy and a bit phoney but it’s true. I really care about my clients. I want to get them the best portraits I can so that they can look back at this time with their family and remember how amazing it was. But I also know having young kids can be really difficult and exhausting and not always the picture perfect image we show on social media. And so I try to put that vulnerable side of my family life into my work to let others know that it’s not just them that feels it.
From doing this I’ve gained loyal clients who have come back to the studio because they know they can show up as themselves. I’ve had clients come in that I would now describe as friends, if we bump into each other at Asda or at the gym we will stop and chat and we will regularly comment on one another’s statuses. Or I’ve had clients whop have opened up to me about feeling like they’re struggling with behaviour or sleepless night and it’s nice just to be able to reassure one another that it’s normal and it doesn’t last forever.
2. You can’t do it all
I’m trying my best to be a brilliant business woman. I’m also a Mum to three. I like to get to the gym 3-4 times a week. I like a clean and tidy house. I want a healthy tea for me and the kids every night. I have at least two wash loads to get in the machine, dry, fold and put away each day.
I am NEVER on top of it all.
If I have a good work week I feel terrible I’ve missed out on so much time with the kids. If I’m on top of my washing then you can almost guarantee I didn’t get to the gym much that week. I am THE QUEEN of chicken nuggets and waffles because I can’t manage a school run, three kids and cook tea.
You can’t do do it all. And you shouldn’t expect that of yourself-weather you own your own business, work for somebody else or are a stay at home Mum. It’s insane trying to juggle all of those balls.
And I didn’t even mention my attempt at a social life which just goes to show how much attention I am paying it at the moment.
3. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
This one is so difficult for me. Not everyone else will encourage you to take the risk of having your own business, and when things get tough they might encourage you to give up. It’s not that they don’t believe in you but they want to keep you safe. Working on your own and not having somebody authoritative telling you where to be and what to be doing can be one of the best perks of being self employed but also so hard.
YOU have to push yourself to be the best you can be. For me one of the hardest challenges I have in business is my mindset, and so I try to work on it daily. To do this I read personal development books and do mindfulness practices.
This has also transferred massively into my personal life. Every lesson I take from a business or personal development book I can also apply to my friendships, to home life and to bettering myself and believing in myself.
4. You need a business coach and other women who are also in business around you.
You need need need other women around you who know what you’re going through. This is true for all aspects of life I think and having your own business is no exception.
You need a safe space you can let off steam or share your wins with others who will lift you up and inspire you. You need to see other women smashing their goals so you can see that it’s possible for you too. And you need people reminding you of how incredibly far you’ve come in your journey when you don’t feel it yourself.
I’ve made some of my best friends through network meetings and coaching groups. They are always the first ones to clap when I’ve done well and the first to respond when I’ve had a bad day.
5. You get back what you put in.
I’ve been in business for six years and I’ve had three children within the last four years. I don’t enjoy pregnancy, it completely wipes me out. So I always took maternity leave as early on as I could and I didn’t work. I stopped posting on social media, I didn’t advertise and I turned work down. And people stopped messaging me asking about my packages and stopped calling the studio. At first I would worry it would never pick up but I knew it was a case of I wasn’t putting any effort in and so I wasn’t getting any enquires.
When I was ready to start putting the time and effort in again, my business would build back up pretty quickly. So now I look out for when business is slow, and ask myself what extra effort can I put in to let potential clients know that I am here for them?
6. You can’t be an expert in everything.
Nor should you want to. When I first started I advertised myself as a portrait photographer, a wedding photographer, a product photographer and I wasn’t really getting better at any of them. When you decide what part of your trade really lights you up and concentrate on that you can really hone in on it and get to be amazing in that one area instead of mediocre at it all.
For me it was family and children’s portraits. I love working with kids and I enjoy putting parents at ease, but most importantly I love being able to create something so insanely precious to that family that it will be cherished for years to come. The reaction I get at a viewing when the parents see the portraits of their kids or of them all as a family is priceless. And since I’ve been dedicated to just doing that I have grown and grown in that field.