In this article I’m going to talk about three mindset pitfalls… or rather, perspective pitfalls that can keep you from becoming successful. Sometimes having the right perspective about something, or a shift in perspective is all you need for things to really take off.
1. Having A Photographer-Centric Mindset
Think you’re primarily a photographer?
“Photographer” is just one of several hats you wear in your photography business and not necessarily the most important one.
Yes, that’s right. You would think running a photography business that being a photographer would be the most important part… but it’s not.
Okay, I’m sure you know of photographers out there who are mediocre, average, or below average who have a thriving business.
That’s proof right there that something else is going on… and that “something else” is probably marketing, referrals, and the experience they give people, also known as personality.
Being a savvy marketer, giving people a great experience (because of your personality), and gaining clients through referrals carries more water than you being a great photographer.
Don’t get me wrong, being a great photographer won’t hurt you… but it’s not necessarily going to help you to the degree you might think it will.
So don’t pour all your time and energy into being a great photographer to the extent that your marketing suffers. It’s fine to pursue being the best photographer you can, but it shouldn’t take time and energy away from becoming a great marketer.
What’s the point of being a great photographer if you have no one to shoot?
“Marketer” is probably the most important hat you can wear in your business.
You’re also a content creator whether you like it or not.
You’re obviously creating images, right? And some video? And a good percentage of that ends up on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest or whatever social media platform is currently trending.
Part of being a content creator (and marketer) is understanding how these platforms work, how to use them to get eyeballs on you and your work.
Creating different variations of content to suit different platforms is key in giving your content its greatest chance of success, which translates to eyeballs and engagement, and ultimately more business.
Perhaps content creator is just another form of marketer (see? the “M” word appears again).
That’s another hat you have to wear.
They used to call us small business owners but today we’re entrepreneurs.
You’re on your own figuring out how to operate a successful small business. There’s plenty of help out there on YouTube and following certain people who teach entrepreneurship but it’s up to you to put the work in — creating systems, streamlining where you can, being smart about how and how much money you invest into your business.
You have to be disciplined enough to seek out that which you don’t know, but is vital to having a successful business.
That’s right, another hat.
You have to know how to sell.
Being a good salesperson and knowing how to sell is just as important as all the other hats. Have you studied sales? Don’t think you need to? Think again. Knowing how to sell will increase your average sale dramatically.
I’m not talking more people here, I’m talking bigger sales per each individual client.
There are ways to do it that aren’t “sales-y” either… that are more subtle but extremely effective.
You should be using at least some of these techniques in your business because the less of these techniques you use, the less money you’ll make and the harder you have to work at everything else. (read that last sentence again)
Your goal should be maximum profit for minimum effort.
That’s the ratio we’re all striving for but the way to achieve that is through knowledge and hard work in wearing all these hats until you become at least competent in all of them.
Now granted, you can hire experts in some of these various areas to take care of some of this for you (especially with marketing) but it comes at a price.
There’s the cost, obviously, you have to pay these people, but there’s also the price you pay that you’re not learning first-hand how it all works. That’s a much higher price to pay in my opinion, but we each must decide what works best for us.
Anything can work, it’s about finding what works best for you.
2. Not Giving Yourself Enough Time To Learn Everything You Need To Learn
So number two goes hand-in-hand with number one.
It takes time to learn how to wear all these hats and to just get competent with them, or to hire the right people to wear some of these hats for you.
However, if you’re like most small business owners, I imagine you’ll be doing most of the heavy-lifting with all these yourself.
Starting out, you’re not going to be aware of these different hats until something rears its head as a problem in your business and you need to find a solution.
So I wouldn’t get ahead of myself but stick to what you absolutely need to learn right now for your business to advance to the next step.
If you’re still learning the basics of photography, there’s no point in learning how to market yourself at this point.
Think of your business like a set of stairs (going up, not down!). There’s no point worrying about the seventh step when you haven’t even made it to the third step yet.
Don’t worry, the seventh step will present itself at the exact moment when it’s needed (right after the sixth step by the way).
3. Thinking You’re Just Selling Your Photography
Thinking that you’re just selling “your photography” is the wrong way to look at things.
You’re also selling yourself, your personality, the experience you give clients (which includes price and value as well), your energy, and your outlook on life.
That’s a lot, I know, but people won’t buy from you if they don’t like you… or align with your philosophy on the proper way to live life (that’s deep, I know).
Because people don’t just want to buy products, they want to buy products from people they can align themselves with in some manner (today more so than ever).
That can work to your advantage, but also to your disadvantage.
The more you put out there about yourself, the more people will align with you but also against you. It’s a double-edged sword as they say… so pick wisely what you share about yourself.
It may be your photography that first attracts someone to you, but then they have to interact with you whether in person or on the phone.
It’s similar to a restaurant that serves really good food.
You’re not just buying the food but also the restaurant’s atmosphere, the personality of the hostess and wait staff, perhaps even the owner — the entire experience.
A restaurant that serves amazing food but whose atmosphere is uncomfortable or dirty with wait staff that comes to your table with a bad attitude will not be getting repeat business or referrals.
However, one with average food that provides an amazing atmosphere with fun and engaging wait staff will get repeat business and referrals.
So, stop thinking your business is just about your images because it’s not.
As you can see, all three of these points have to do with your mindset and how you view yourself in your business, which is all about having proper perspective.
A shift in perspective can be huge and set you on the proper road to success.
You see, you’re actually only a photographer when you’re shooting or processing images. The rest of the time you need to be wearing one of these other hats.
Thinking of yourself as primarily a photographer gives you the wrong… or rather, insufficient mindset for you to succeed.
Thanks for your time!
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