They say the first three years of self employment are the toughest. While this year has certainly been tough, it’s been an adventure that I would continue to choose, year after year.
This time last year, I shared my lessons from my first year of self employment (Tanya Jacobs Photography is actually 5 years old this year). You can read that post here.
I read it last night and I had to chuckle. While some of the lessons still apply now, there are so many more in my second year.
So here they are.
Real, honest lessons from my second year of self employment.
Master your workflow
I don’t have this down just yet, but I was forced to streamline my processes and get my workflow into some sort of arrangement when I was shooting back to back weddings and juggling late night editing, while being a mom and wife. Life with a busy toddler in the house and a business to run can be so hard, and yet, so rewarding.
It’s okay to be a mom first
I love spending mornings with Ella doing art classes, horse rides, ice skating or attending Baby Bright Stars or Clamber Club. So that’s what I do – I schedule mom hours into my day and I schedule work hours into my day. I’m a mom first, and that’s my most important role.
Believe in your worth
We all struggle with stuff. Confidence, habits, jealousy… Me? I struggle with believing in my worth. But with some mentoring and self teaching, I’ve worked through this and you know what… I’ve got this! I believe in myself. I believe I’m worth my prices. I believe I offer my clients a fantastic service and quality and I deserve to charge what I feel that’s worth. If you don’t believe in your own worth, how can you possibly expect clients to?
Give your clients an experience they’ll love
I’ve loved this – researching and refining my packages, my service, my offering to offer the very best of me and my products to my clients.
Forget about the likes
Facebook and Instagram are basically forcing you to think this way – unless you’re advertising with a bajillion Rand each week. Forget about the number of likes and the hearts. They’re not an indicator of how well your business is doing or how good your work is.
Be real. Like, Real, real.
I’ve received the most heartwarming interactions and connections with people online when I’ve shared openly, and honestly. I shared about my mom/entrepreneur struggles and other moms shared back. We joined forces and united and pushed each other along. I’ve found a tribe and I like my tribe. A lot.
Love your industry friends
I’ve been so fortunate to have amazing support all around me, and that includes the support of industry friends and colleagues. They were there to fall back on when I needed to rush to my mom’s side when she was in ICU and they were there when I hit an all time low in my career when I disappointed a client.
Which leads me to my next point…
Mistakes. They’re going to happen and they’re going to effing hurt.
Badly. But you have to, HAVE TO, get up and try again, no matter how hard it is. Mistakes in business are hard lessons that need to be learnt.
Community over competition
Sharing work you can’t take on, and sharing with people who believe in community over competition, is one of the most rewarding ways to help another person’s business grow. Choose community over competition, every time.
Set your intentions
If you’re going to succeed – succeed.
If you’re going to step up – step up.
If you’re going to do it – do it.
Intention is everything.
Invest in yourself
I’ve spent hard earned money on investing in courses, books, holidays and guides, all to better myself and my business. Investing in myself and my knowledge has been worth every cent.
Burn out is real.
Very real. There were days when I didn’t know how to face my workload and be a good mother and wife. Learn to help yourself, and learn when you need to reach out for help. Back to back weddings, no normal life balance, and a non-sleeping baby in the house is a recipe for some pretty ugly crying.
Completely un-photography related, but it was so necessary for me to function properly and to try regain control of my own balance. By sleep training, I mean sleep training Ella. 😉 It took her 21 months to finally sleep a straight 8 hours. Two nights ago, she pulled a 12 hour nighter with me (we had just arrived home after almost 23 hours of travelling). Sleep is important and Ella is a champ!
With every shoot, comes experience.
Your portfolio will grow, you’ll learn to co-ordinate your work to show only what you love, and want to shoot, and you’ll grow with time. Enjoy the journey.