If you’re a photographer running a business, you know that the industry can be tough. There’s a lot to think about; competition is fierce, and it can be challenging to make a living sometimes. If you work from home, then there are even more challenges to face: it can be really alienating and lonely. So, in the complicated world of professional photography, how can you increase your chances of success? One thing never fails: bet on yourself.
What does it mean to bet on yourself? In this video, Walid Azami will tell you more about it. His three components of success don’t involve hustling and grinding. Instead, they urge you to show up for yourself and be as kind to yourself as you’d like others to be.
1. Invest in yourself
Investing in yourself is always the best investment, if you ask me. I tend to say that psychotherapy, college, and courses I attend aren’t “spending” but “investing.” Walid talks about the same concept here. He suggests that you invest in your education, gear, and marketing. But it also means investing in your mental and physical health and being kind to yourself. It’s impressive how we can be kind and supportive to others but at the same time bash ourselves. We all need to learn to stop doing that and be our own best friends.
Here are some ways to invest in yourself:
- Take online courses or workshops to learn new skills
- Buy new gear or upgrade what you already have
- Invest in a good website and marketing materials
- Hire a mentor or coach to help you grow your business
- Take care of your mental and physical health: get enough sleep, eat well, engage in physical activity, and socialize with the people you love.
- Don’t push yourself too hard: rest when you feel like you need it!
2. Invest in community outreach
Building relationships with other photographers is a great way to learn new things, get support, and find new opportunities or potential clients. But since photography can be a solitary profession, it’s also an excellent way to get out there, socialize, and meet new people.
You can do this in numerous ways. Try getting involved in your local photography community, join a photography club, or attend a workshop. Personally, I was a member of a local photography club for about a year, and I met some wonderful people at club exhibitions and field trips. If you don’t feel like socializing with large groups, you can always reach out to other photographers on social media and connect with them. You can meet up, take photo walks, or collaborate on projects. In fact, this is my preferred way of meeting new photographers and creatives – in most cases, I avoid large groups.
3. Talk to yourself as if you were a baby
Okay, this doesn’t mean saying, “Who’s a wittle babyyy?” to yourself in the mirror. It means treating your inner child with the kindness and compassion it deserves, even when you make mistakes. It also means celebrating your successes, no matter how small they may seem. Remember when I said we need to be our own best friends? This is what I was talking about. And don’t worry, I’m still learning, too.
When you talk to yourself as if you were a baby, you’re creating a positive and supportive environment for yourself to grow and learn. You’re also building your self-confidence and self-esteem. Instead of saying “I’m so stupid” when you make mistakes, try being kind and saying something like, “Everyone makes mistakes; this is my chance to learn something and improve.” After all, would you tell your child or your best friend that they’re stupid if they make a mistake? I sure hope not.
When things are tough, encourage yourself to keep trying. But at the same time, be patient with yourself. Everyone moves at a different pace, so give yourself the time and space you need to grow and learn.
In the video, Walid shares some additional tips for betting on yourself and achieving success as a photographer:
- Find your niche: Ask yourself what kind of photography you are most passionate about. What kind(s) of photography are you best at? This will help you determine your niche, and once you find it, you can market yourself to potential clients more successfully.
- Set goals: Running a business without clear goals is almost always set to fail. So, if you haven’t done it so far, now’s the time. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your photography business. Set short-term and long-term goals and make them specific, relevant, measurable, time-bound, and realistic. Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a specific plan to achieve them.
- Be consistent: The key to success in any business is consistency. Walid suggests that you make sure to publish new work regularly and promote yourself on social media. If you hate it as much as I do – you can ask your friends to help out or hire a social media manager to do it for you.
- Don’t be afraid to fail: As I said, everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re first starting out. It is essential to learn from them, be kind to yourself, and keep moving forward.
I’m not saying betting on yourself is easy. It’s not, primarily because most of us got used to being overly critical of ourselves. It takes hard work, dedication, perseverance, and planning. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, it will pay off in the long run.