This blog post has been a long time in the making. It’s directed towards my clients and potential clients, but some of you photogs might benefit from it too.
It took me about 3 years to figure out what kind of photographer I wanted to be – not just what kind of pictures I wanted to take, but what I wanted to offer my clients. After a lot of trial and error, changing my products, changing my pricing structure and studio policies, and discovering what MY perspective is, what MY values and strengths are and ultimately what it is that I want to be able to achieve for each of the families I work for – I’ve finally created an experience for my clients that I’m in love with. (And I’m pretty sure my clients love it too.) I’m sure I’ll do some tweaking as the years go on and adjust with the ever-changing range of possibilities, but the foundation for the purpose of my business remains the same: To provide my clients with beautiful art of their beautiful families to be displayed in their home in beautiful form to enrich their every day. AND as an added bonus, those beautiful pieces of art will turn into keepsakes for future generations.
In the first couple of years of my business (going on 4 years now, WHAAA?) I was very often frustrated by the things my clients chose to purchase from me. Which, I realize, is dumb. Considering, I was the one to offer those products in the first place. And I was offering them for reasons like “this is what everyone else offers” and “this is what my clients seem to want”. The first reason being terrible, and the second reason, while less terrible – still very misguided as I came to realize they only wanted those things because that’s what they were used to purchasing. I knew that my clients weren’t being fulfilled in the way I wanted them to be – they didn’t seem to know it, but I knew that there could be more. Every time they’d come in for their next session they’d make a comment about how their last session was still sitting on their computer, they printed some for family members, but they’ve yet to hang any on their own walls. OR, they did purchase 1 or 2 pieces from me or printed them on their own, and now they can’t figure out how to display their current session with their old session, so they just don’t because they’re overwhelmed and can’t figure it out. And I was left banging my head against my desk wondering why they couldn’t take responsibility for getting their images into a form they could really enjoy, especially after having spent so much money on them! And then, *cue lightbulb*–>…. I realized that it wasn’t their responsibility. It was MINE. I couldn’t expect every client to be an interior decorator, I couldn’t expect every client to have an easy time making decisions, and I couldn’t expect every client (especially mine who are parents to small children) to be able to just sit down and get it done. It was MY responsibility to follow through to the very end, with their pictures hanging on their walls to tug at their heart every time they walk by.
And so I began piecing it together…taking every problem scenario that I’ve heard from my clients and starting to figure out a better way to go about this whole thing. I won’t take you through every pain-staking detail, but I’ll explain some of the problems my clients were running into and what we’ve done to remedy them. By “we” I mean, myself and my clients. The way I do things isn’t wildly popular, especially in this area – so it does take some open-mindedness and trust from your endBut hopefully this blog post will help you understand a little bit better.
So, one of the things I was running into was when a client had absolutely no idea how they wanted to display their images. They weren’t getting their pictures taken because they had wall space to fill, they were getting pictures taken because their family had reached a new milestone – maternity, newborn, birthdays, what-have-you. And after their session, because they had no plan for displaying their images in the first place – they just didn’t get displayed at all, save for maybe a 5×7 on the end table and an 8×10 awkwardly placed by itself in the hallway. So the biggest thing I’ve implemented is the “in-home ordering session”. This is the cure for most everything. I bring all of my product samples (canvases, boutique-framed prints, traditional framed prints, collage frames, etc) to your home and show you what they look like on your own walls. I walk through your home with you and give you suggestions of a.) where to hang frames/canvases, b.) how many of them in which sizes, c.) what configure to hang them in and d.) what colors of frames and images to use. Because of my experience and because I’m looking at your home through fresh eyes, I will be able to suggest things that you’ve never thought of doing, and I have special software to show you exactly what it will look like on your walls before you decide (for all you visual learners out there like me – and I have some examples of this software in use below.) Another great reason to do an in-home ordering session is to combat the hodgepodge look. Listen, I love eclectic style as much as the next person, but there’s got to be a line somewhere. What was happening with my clients is that they were (and had already been for years) taking away one or two random pieces of art from each session and then trying to put it all together and it just wasn’t working. Nothing was the same style, everything was from a different photographer (which is ok, and even necessary at times, I’m just saying it added to the differences), and the sizes weren’t complimentary to each other. An in-home ordering session can give you a fairly clean slate to work with. We design your wall galleries and layouts to compliment your home and your personal style (and I’m all about versatility, and getting the most bang for your buck, so I’ll cover that with you, too) and we design for as many spaces as we can so that your home feels complete and in order. You might not want your entire home decorated from this one session, but the beauty of framed prints is that you can switch out a few prints every time you have a session, or even add in some old pictures (you know, from those hodgepodge areas). So, with my help, your home can be always complete, always decorated – no half-way done, mismatched picture galleries, and you simply update your prints as you go which is inexpensive to do.
Extra nuggets of important info:
1. I do also have several clients who are canvas lovers – the thing about canvases is that they are permanent, forever, you can’t change the picture, BUT because of that – they do make the best keepsakes. So once you run out of room for updated canvases, you simply store them away and someday you’ll pull them out and sob and sob and sob over your beautiful, grown-up baby. Canvases are less expensive (from me – I’m not sure if this is an across the board photographer thing, so you’ll have to research your photographer for yourself), but it will be a consistent cost to keep updating them. Whereas framed prints are a more expensive investment upfront, but the upkeep of just switching out the prints is very inexpensive. So it all pretty much evens out no matter which way you go
2. Some of my clients express concerns about, “what if we get sick of these frames a few years from now? Or, what if we move and they no longer match our color scheme/style?” – The boutique frames I offer are very easily repainted, and while I recommend purchasing them in semi-neutral colors to make them even more versatile – sometimes a bold colored frame is exactly what you need for a particular space in your home. So, down the line – if you move or just rearrange your home or repaint, you can always repaint and reuse your boutique frames. For my traditional style frames – I usually sell these in collections. So, you’ll get a few or several frames in different, but complimentary sizes – these collections, or groupings might all fit perfectly on one wall when you purchase them, but even if you move or rearrange, these groupings are easily broken down to fit into smaller spaces, and even mix and match with different colored frames or other decor elements. Also, whatever you pick in the first place will most likely reflect your personal style – and your personal style will likely not stray too far.
3. Maybe you do have amazing plans for creating beautiful wall galleries in your home, and you think you’re going to get to it. Listen – I work for mothers of newborns. I KNOW that taking time out of your day to plan a wall gallery isn’t going to fly, at least for the next 18 years. So if you have an appointment set up to do it, with someone that can actually help you achieve what you want (and help you figure out what you want), THEN it will get done. And I’m perfectly happy to tote your babies around and keep them occupied while you sift through samples. I know, so selfless right?
4. When my newborn clients place an order for tangible product (framed prints, canvases, loose prints, etc) of over $800, they receive the gallery of digital images for free, which is a $500 value. My child/family clients receive the gallery of digital images for free (regularly $350) with a $600 product order. I do this because I WANT you to have the digital images for safe-keeping. I can’t keep everyone’s images forever, but each individual client can. BUT I want you to have printed product MORE.
There have been a few really great blog posts written recently about WHY it’s important that you have printed pictures in your home. One of the most recent I’ve seen is by Chris Cummins of Glow Imagery called “Can Family Pictures Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem? The Experts Speak” – you can read her whole article here - but the gist of what they’ve found is that when a child sees their picture in their home, on a very basic level they know that they are important, they are loved, and they have a very special place in their home, and even more profound – with family images, they know their place in the family unit. When they actually see themselves with their family, they know they have a place. Especially with the things going on in schools today, I know that for me personally, that will be a most important foundation to ground my children to.
Another great article that I LOVE is by Mike Yost, titled “The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!” Definitely take a minute to read this one in full as well – you can click here to get to it. This one freaks me right out. He explains how pictures have lost their value because we take them every second of the day – and then we delete them to make room for more, new ones! Parents especially, are taking dozens and dozens of pictures of their kids with their cell phones and because they are instant, and digital, they hold no real value. Think about how much more likely you are to delete a digital image to make room for a new one as opposed to DESTROYING, THROWING OUT a canvas of your children to make room for another on the wall. You would NEVER throw it out! You would always, always keep it because it’s tangible, irreplaceable, and thus valuable. Tangible images hold more emotional value than digital, always. Ahh, he talks about so many more things – so definitely read through that one.
Okay, back on track – are you still with me??
A lot of times my clients will choose to do an in-home ordering session only after they’ve got their pictures taken and viewed their gallery, which is fine and we get great results doing it that way as well, but here are some reasons why we love to do it *before* your session. 1. I give 15% off on any pre-ordered items up until the day of your session. (A lot of my clients find it easy enough to order their product on their session day (while getting their 15% off) – I’m usually able to help them choose the perfect pieces just by looking at pictures of their home from their cell phone – but many others are much more visual and need to see it actually on their walls.) 2. While we’re in your home and planning out your wall galleries – say we know that we want to put a large horizontal family picture and 1 vertical close-up of each of your children on either side over your couch because that would be the absolute best scenario for that particular space in your home. If I know that ahead of time, I know to get those specific shots for you during your session for that purpose. Another great reason is to plan your outfit colors – if you have turquoise accents in your living room where your couch is, we’ll know to put turquoise in your outfits to coordinate. *All of this prep-work might not be important to you for many different reasons (like, you’ll be moving soon and you have no idea what you want) – and that’s ok, the most important thing is for you to HAVE pictures. But if we can create the ideal session flow, why wouldn’t we do it?
Okay, after all of that – can you book a session with me and still only purchase the digital images. Yes, you can. But I might call you every week and stop by your house just to make sure they’re up on your walls. Okay, just kidding – but I will do everything I can, every step of the way, to help you make the absolute most out of your session with me because I believe it’s important, and I believe it’s my job. I know you’re not used to having your photographer come to your home and help you fill your walls, but it is *awesome* and fun and so rewarding. Not to mention an in-home ordering session is no extra charge, even for my out of town-ers. So, just think about it
Here are some testimonials from my clients about their in-home ordering experiences, I hope you find them helpful! And if you’re looking for another great resource for your upcoming session with me, you can read my “How to Get the Most out of Your Child/Family Session” post here - and there will be a Newborn version of that coming soon!
“We had Lindsay come to the house to help choose frames/colors, and thank goodness we did! We had started a wall with colors and styles that we thought fit perfectly, and once Lindsay came we realized had we kept going on our own, the wall would have looked like it was put together by a child. Thankfully, our wall wasn’t too far along so Lindsay helped save us before we were at a point that was too far to recover. Also, I had ideas for other areas in the house, and she was able to come up with the right size and frame, which far surpassed what I even had in mind. We are loving what she helped us pick out!” – Danielle T
“We absolutely loved having an at home ordering session. Lindsay we so incredibly helpful in suggesting what products and sizes worked in different areas in our home. I have always struggled with what to place where and it was helpful to know what sizes worked in my area. Having actual prints and canvas to view made it so much easier to make our selections. I highly suggest having Lindsay come out it made the ordering process so much easier we even were able to plan canvas/ prints for future sessions. We had an in home viewing session previously with another photographer and it was such a high pressure experience I was hesitant but felt zero pressure from Lindsay my only issue is her sessions always provide the most adorable images I want them all.” – Melissa P
“Lindsay did such an incredible job with our pictures!! We chose to do an in-home planning session before the picture day and I am so glad we did. She came to our house before the photo session to help us plan where we wanted to hang prints. She helped me decide where they would look good and had lots of samples for us to see exactly how it would look. Then she made sure to get all the right shots at our session to fill the frames we picked. Another bonus with the in home session was that my son got to meet her so he was more comfortable with her on picture day. On picture day she was a total photo ninja and somehow got dozens of great pictures of our rambunctious 19 month old and a ton of the whole family as well! She had a preview for us to see within a few days and then had all the pictures edited and ready to go just a few days after that! When it came time for me to pick which pictures to put in the frames we’d ordered, she was again really helpful and patient with me. She even put together a preview so I could see how the pics would look hanging together. I just picked up the finished products and I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve- I won’t be able to sleep until we get them hung!! I am SO glad I chose Lindsay as our photographer and am very thankful I chose to order prints and frames from her as well. The finished products are absolutely incredible!! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Lindsay!!! I look forward to working with you again when the new baby comes :)” – Lauren J
“Lindsay has a unique talent for capturing love, fun and laughter. Before our first photo shoot I had her come to my home and help me design my vision for a family mantle and picture wall. Then she took the most amazing photos/works of art to fulfill the vision. I recommend to have her help you with all of it….it is the gift that gives back ever day, seeing the beautiful, special family and child that is *yours* alone. Oh, and your husband and kid (s) actually like going to see Lindsay…no convincing required. Our family loves her and her amazing gifts and talents!!!!” – Michelle S
Here are some examples of the software I use to design your wall galleries:
I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and found them helpful! I’d love to talk with you about how we can create the ideal session experience for your family.
xoxo – Lindsay
This is precious Leo. <3
And Arthur! They were so good for their session today.
This rascally rabbit decided he was done sleeping for the day but we talked him into it for one more shot and he flashed this huge smile for us <3 Oh my heart.
There has been quite a lot of photographers coming out and talking about the problems within the “photography community” – mostly complaints of how “shoot and burn” photographers are ruining the industry and making it hard for “real” photographers to charge what they’re worth, and others complaining about the attitude and, “Why can’t we all just get along and support each other?” I have some thoughts on the topic and I feel like this perspective isn’t being shared. So feel free to disagree, as this is only my perspective and I’m not arrogant enough to believe that my perspective is an absolute truth.
For some reason, people in this industry have forgotten one really important detail: They are business owners.
If photography is really your passion and you do it just for fun and don’t need or want to rely on it to pay your bills, then the photography community is exactly where you belong. The photography community is for having your art praised and critiqued. It’s a place for artists to go to commune with other artists, it’s for friendship and lots of drama, it’s for your art – your deepest self to be seen and heard. You’ll either get built up or tore down. Sometimes chewed up and spit out.
IF, on the other hand, you are trying to build a legit business, a profitable business – one that will put food on your table instead of debt (oh yeah, have I mentioned this business is expensive?) IF you want to build yourself an actual photography business that will pay you in actual dollars and not in warm, fuzzy feelings – I believe you should RUN. Get your pretty little self so far away from this “photographer community” and do it fast because it will invade your life and distract you from ever making a single solid decision to add to the success and well-being of your business. Put your blinders on, get your head down, and get to work. Focus on YOUR business, YOUR goals, YOUR success. Art is art and business is business, keep it separate.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a Facebook Page or a website of a local photographer that has literally copied and pasted wording from my website or Facebook page – even something as stupid as a hashtag, and I bang my head against my keyboard in frustration. Not frustration for me, frustration for that photographer. I want to grab them by the shoulders, shake them and ask, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” What could they possibly have to gain by being the same as me? They should spend all of their time and energy being BETTER and DIFFERENT than me. Or maybe they’re just really that lazy. “Seems to be working for her, it’ll work for me too!” Here’s the thing, there is room for ALL in this industry, but there will be ZERO room for you if you’re imitating someone who already holds space here. Hence, the blinders. Take everyone local out of your news feeds. Now don’t be an idiot, you need to know what your market can bear and what your market is asking for. But you can’t dwell on what other photogs are doing – it will consume you. I remember when I first started to specialize in newborns I was using my “kit lens”, and this was apparently very bad. A sin, in fact, according to everyone else. And what everyone else said mattered greatly to me at the time. So I did some… “research”. Ok, not research. I found on the Facebook page of the goddess of newborn photography that she used a 50mm to photograph newborns. So, obviously – that’s what I was supposed to be using. I went out and got myself one. And I hated it. I knew it wasn’t wide enough for me and I was spending so much time editing to compensate for it. I didn’t like my work one bit, but I continued with it because I was supposed to. And then said goddess switched to a 35mm. Having not learned my lesson, I also switched. And holy mother of all good things, it was perfect. It was perfect for ME. I LOVED my work and my editing time was cut significantly. And then it hit me. If I had done actual research and rented a few different lenses to try to find the right fit for ME, I would have chosen the 35mm first, and I would have been so much further ahead than I was right then on MY journey to find MY style. Lesson learned.
Okay, I’m going to get back on “there’s room for ALL in this industry…” Your art, personality, style, branding, the way you word things, your pricing structure, policies, the products you offer, even your silly hashtags makes an impact on your market. It’s up to YOU who your market is. What you put out there is what you’ll attract. Every person is different – we all have different values, different priorities and different perspectives. You have to build your business on what those things are for you. You will be the only one that can exude those things well enough to make an excellent return on it because they are distinctive to YOU.
There is a market for $19.95 chain studio photographers, $60 shoot and burn photographers, $2,000 minimum purchase full service portrait photographers and everything in between. It’s because not every person holds the same value for photography – for lots of different reasons. Maybe they haven’t been exposed to “good” photography, maybe their money is actually needed elsewhere, maybe they just can’t tell the difference between the photographs that came from the person who just got their first camera for Christmas and my photographs – this is a real thing – some people just can’t tell. Or maybe just the fact that their adorable kid is in the photo is good enough for them. I have a friend who got her kids’ pictures taken by me a couple of years ago, before her littlest ones could walk. She loves my work, she tells me all the time – but for the last couple of years she’s been going to JCPenny’s to get her kids’ pictures taken. Why? She has 3 very active, not at all predictable, boys. Like, she dresses them all in the same bright color when they go out so she can find them. Maybe you can relate. She goes to Penny’s because she’s not at all an idiot. She hates going to Penny’s and tells me horror stories about it almost every time I see her, but at least there she knows that if her kids aren’t in the picture taking mood, no real harm was done. She’s not going to spend a few hundred dollars to bring them into my studio and maybe come out with nothing to show for it. Would I let that happen? No. But it gives her arrhythmia just thinking about it. Now her kids are a little older and I know that a family session with me would be perfect for them – the kids can be themselves, they won’t have to pose – they can just be together. And my friend is the type of person who appreciates the reality of her life, so I would include all of the “outtakes” of her kids not cooperating and she would love it. Because it’s her family, her world and she wouldn’t change it for anything. Now, if I gave her grief every time she took her kids to a chain studio instead of me, do you think that when she is ready for a “real” photographer she would choose me? No. She wouldn’t. The point is, you can’t expect everyone to think that your photography is a necessity. It’s not. At least, not for everyone, all the time.
Shoot and burn photographers are getting a lot of heat right now cause they’re supposedly ruining the industry by teaching the public to expect to be entitled to the rights to their digital gallery and usually for a really low price. There is also a lot of talk about “you can’t be a shoot and burn photographer and expect to pay your bills”. Usually photographers who are just starting out are shoot and burn photographers because there’s lower overhead and less hassle – maybe they haven’t discovered the right printing labs or products yet, they’re still finding their style, I don’t know – it took me a while to get my products where I wanted them to be. But have you heard of Rachel Vanoven? She’s one of the biggest names in newborn photography – has something like 60,000 followers and is the goddess from my previous anecdote. She is a shoot and burn photographer. She’s not cheap, but I wouldn’t label her as expensive either. I expect she could charge a lot more for her sessions because her name holds a lot of weight and she doesn’t have to rely on her immediate area – people come from all over America to use her services. Could she make more $$ by selling product too? Notttt necessarily…. She might be a terrible sales person, but regardless of whether she is or isn’t, that isn’t where her priorities and values lie. She likes to shoot and burn because it gives her more TIME to invest into the things that she does value. Spending time with her family, and teaching other newborn photographers (which I’m sure is where she makes most of her income). This business model works for her because it’s based on HER values, HER priorities and it plays to her strengths (teaching, posing, shooting) and leaves out her weaknesses (being cool with investing more time into sales, processing and delivering orders, and possibly sales in itself). Alright, please don’t go around saying Rachel is a terrible sales person because who knows if she is or isn’t – I was just using that as an example, but she does have some kind of weakness because she is human like the rest of us.
I, on the other hand, LOVE sales. I love everything to do with business actually, I’m a very results-oriented person, so business suits me well – except for taxes, you can come into my studio any time January 1st – April 15th and expect to see me in the corner of my office rocking back and forth in the fetal position with a calculator in my hand. I’m good at sales because I believe 100% in what I’m selling, not just my art or the products I’ve chosen to display that art, but I believe in my clients actually displaying their images in their home for them to enjoy instead of the digitals just hanging out on their usb. It’s a priority for me that I help my clients experience this because it’s a wonderful thing to get your pictures taken and then have them up on your walls in beautiful form just a couple of weeks later. Do my clients want the digitals? Yes, and I also want them to have them for safe-keeping, but I want them to have product MORE, so I give them the incentive: you purchase x amount of printed product, I’ll give you the digital gallery for free. It’s something I value, and therefore a strength and I play to it. I teach my clients the value of it, most conform and actually become addicted to the experience – a few don’t, but that’s ok – I understand that not every client will share my same values and I can’t expect them to. While I market to the ones that do value printed product by posting about my printed product, people also hire me for various other reasons. A few being: all of their friends recommended me, they just really love my pictures, or they can already tell that my customer service is above average. (Which isn’t hard to accomplish, cause average customer service usually sucks.) I’m also pretty competent at interior design, so I do in-home ordering sessions where I can design wall displays for my clients actual homes that they can’t say “no” to. I am NOT good at card or album design, however. I can do it, but it takes me forever and time is equal to money, so for the occasions where I HAVE to do it, I purchase templates that are ready made and beautiful so as to hide that weakness from my clients. They end up with a beautiful product they couldn’t have acquired on their own, and I’m not in the hole for spending 12 hours creating something that costs me $300 to print that I can only charge $600 for. (For those of you doing the math thinking I would still make $25 an hour – Ha, no, that’s not how it works.) I’m also not so good at sugar-coating things, maybe you’ve noticed. But I use that honesty to my advantage when I’m working my with clients. It doesn’t pay me to comply to my client’s every whim. ((WWHHHAAATT?? But the client is ALWAYS right!!)) They’re actually not. Not always. Before my clients start calling to cancel their sessions, let me give you an example of what I actually mean: I did an in-home ordering session for a client and when I walked in she ushered me to a space where she wanted to display one of her pictures, she knew exactly how she wanted it – she could see it in her head. The only problem was that the vision she had in her head did not at all line up with reality. That space was not meant for displaying a photograph, no matter what product we used to display it in. So I said, “Let me show you why you’re not going to like this.” And I showed her what it would look like by putting one of my samples up on the wall for her to see and you could see it in her eyes that her vision was shattered and her soul was crushed (okay, it wasn’t that bad – but it she was obviously disappointed). I then proceeded to explain why she hated it, why the space wasn’t fit for displaying a photograph. And I suggested another place to display her photograph, one that she had never thought of and I showed it to her in a LESS expensive product (because it happened to looked better in that specific space) – and it was perfect. She loved it. And she said “Thank God you talked me out of that!” Okay, could I have sold her a piece of art for both spaces in a more expensive product? Yes, and I would have made more money that day. But in the long run, I’ve made even more money (which is the purpose for my business because *surprise* I have bills to pay like everyone else) because I invested in that client. I’ve built a relationship with her. She not only trusts me as a person because she knows full well she would have wasted her money had I not stepped in, but she trusts me as an expert in my profession because her images are now displayed perfectly in her home. If I would have let her buy whatever she thought she wanted, she would have never bought any product from me again because she would have been dissatisfied with how it displayed in her home no matter whose fault it was. Since then, I’ve been to her home 2 more times for ordering sessions and those sales are 5 times more than the first sale would have been. Not to mention all of the clients I’ve gotten as a result of giving her an experience worth sharing. Now you also have to realized that every client’s personal taste and style will differ from yours, hopefully only a little if you’ve been marketing your style as you should, but still – everyone sees things a bit differently. Your job is to recognize and understand what they want and then execute it in the best possible way. It’s all about giving a good experience, and a good experience will be a little different from one client to the next. Same goes when creating the images themselves. Another thing that I value is excellence. I don’t do anything half way and I have very high standards for myself. It’s a compulsion of sorts that is tied to my personality, can’t get rid of it, drives me crazy most of the time, but I use it to my advantage and my clients benefit greatly, which in turn, rewards me.
Let me conclude with this: I am a business owner. Photography happens to be the service that I offer for the following reason: I’m good at it. Photography isn’t my “life” or my “passion”. (Oh boy, is the sky falling yet??) If I wasn’t running a photography business there would be a great many other things that I would be perfectly happy to do, and even prefer to do. Cooking, yoga, creative writing, traveling, quilting, crafting and keeping my house clean being a few of them. (And you’d better believe that I have business ideas for at least a couple of those.)
Now, that’s not to say I don’t like my job (you can put the pitchforks down now). I really love it. I love being around families with young children, it makes me happy and I can say that kids are definitely one of my “passions”. During a college & career class in high school we were all asked what it is that “drives our bus” – my answer was children. I think they’re hysterical and I love making a connection with them. It’s rewarding to me. It’s not as easy to make a connection with newborns – but I love them for what they are: tiny, squishy, sweet-smelling (mostly) humans that make adorable faces and there is literally no better sound than their breathing. Also, the way their eyes flutter when they dream and how each one of them, no matter what size, seems to fit perfectly in my arms… Ok, you get it, I love them. But I also love working with them because it satisfies my results-oriented personality. I know that if I keep them really, really warm and their bellies really full they’ll let me mold them by doing this, this and the other, and I will end up with a beautiful result. It’s a challenge that very few people are able to accomplish which also appeals to my particular personality. I play to my strengths, address my weaknesses, define my values and priorities and apply it all to my path to success. It won’t all be perfect, I will fail many times. The same will go for my next venture – I expect once I’ve accomplished all I can here I’ll move on to my next thing, that will undoubtedly have to do with children – after all, they drive my bus.
So it has to be asked: Are you committed to running a legitimate, profitable business? Are you committed to the investment it will take? Not just the money, but the time that you will spend in perfecting your craft, your approach, your style and creating your business model to reflect who you really are. If you are, welcome to the community of small business owners. You are not alone, you CAN find the right people to help, support, and teach you. Get your blinders on, focus, make intentional decisions, act with purpose.
If you’re not committed to that, own it. You’ll waste time and energy on something that wasn’t meant for you, and worse – miss out on what IS meant for you.
Of course it’s the dream to make a living doing what you love, but like my client – your vision doesn’t always line up with reality and that’s ok because there is something better and more fulfilling waiting for you.