4 Mistakes I Made When I First Started

Over the years, I’ve built a really successful business as a personal brand photographer. In fact, part of my business is now also teaching *others* to be really successful personal brand photographers, too.

It’s the best.

But, lemme be the first to tell ya… I’ve made a heck of a lot of mistakes along the way, too.

And, while some of them weren’t really very fun while they were being made, they were all really, really necessary to growing this business of mine.

In fact, I don’t think I’d be where I am today without each and every one of ‘em.

So, here’s a reminder…

If you’re new to the personal branding photography game (or, heck, even if you’re NOT new), there’s something important to know: mistakes are essential. They’re part of it. They teach you. They give you a foundation to stand on more than absolutely anything else does.

So don’t be afraid to make them, okay? Because, here’s the thing: even if they make you feel terrified, or scared, or not good enough, you have to lean into them anyways. Without mistakes, none of us get anywhere.

Ever.

And, to prove it, I want to share some of the mistakes I’ve made in my business — because, I promise you… I’ve made ‘em.

Many of them, in fact.

 

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4 Mistakes I Made When I First Started

When I take a step back and look at my business from above, there are a few mistakes that shine through brighter than others. Have I made only 4 of them? Absolutely not. But, these are the 4 that have helped me learn the most lessons to spur my business forward.

Here they are:

  1. Pricing too low out of fear.

So, first up, raise your hands if you’ve ever priced lower than you’d like because you were scared no one would book you otherwise…

(My hands are both raised pretty dang high right now over here.)

This is a huge mistake I made — over and over again — when I first started my business, and one of the biggest ones I like to dig into with my students. Because, here’s the truth: when you charge what you’re worth (really and truly), it bleeds into every other aspect of your work. You elevate your processes, you produce even better art, and you have a better client experience.

I’ve seen it time and time again — but I know that it’s hard. I get it. It can be really scary to charge numbers and prices that really reflect your value, which is why you have to take the emotion out of it. Instead of feeling unworthy or fearful, strip it all down to numbers.

And then charge more. 😉

 

  1. DIYing > investing.

Another huge mistake I made was taking too long to actually invest in help. On one hand, I was convinced that I could do everything alone — and on the other hand, I was kind of scared to spend money on my business.

After all, what if it didn’t work out?!

But, lemme tell ya: it did. And here’s why.

When you invest in help, you’re allowing yourself to stay in your zone of genius. You’re clearing room that you’d been spending on things that drained you, and you’re opening up space to do the things you really want to do.

My recommendation? If you can afford it, hire a VA. Give yourself enough credit to grow *with* others. Then, as time goes on, you can continue adding people to your team and outsourcing the things you don’t want to do (like editing, for me! 😅).

  1. Not having clear boundaries and expectations.

As a photographer, I know you’ve likely had nice and blurred lines with client boundaries, huh? Because… same. But not anymore. When I was early on in my business, I had a hard time creating clear boundaries and expectations for my clients, and it led to a whole roster of wasted time and drama.

Here’s why: because boundaries and expectations are what give people a map to follow… and people like maps. When they know when to expect photos, how to contact you, and what your processes are, you create a clear map for those clients — and less questions for you.

It rules.

Plus, taking the time to set up those backend systems and processes in the first place? Oof. Friends, lemme tell ya… there’s nothing as impactful for you OR for your clients. 

  1. Doing it all.

When I was more of a newbie photographer, I was convinced that I had to do a little bit of everything to stay relevant. So, instead of photographing women like I wanted to, I was spending my time piecemealing together mini sessions, newborns, portraits, and everything in between…

…and I was getting burned out, fast. Plus, doing a little bit of everything genuinely just created an environment where I wasn’t seen as the best photographer in anything.

But, when I niched down to finally photograph the people I WANTED to photograph, everything changed. I was able to level the heck up with my client load, and I was able to be seen as an expert in my niche.

So, if you’ve been nervous to niche down a little, humor me — and see what happens.

And, before you click off of this page and go rock it in your business, let’s drive it home one more time: mistakes are a really good thing.

Stop being so scared to make them, okay?

I promise. 

If you’re ready to start diving deep into personal branding photography — with ALL of my tips to lead you along the way — I have the perfect option for you  – Sign up for  The 5 Keys to a Thriving Personal Branding Photography Business, my free workshop, and let’s make some moves together.

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