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There are seven different stages in starting ANYTHING in life. It might be starting a new weight-loss plan. It might be starting a business. It might be finishing your education.
Pretty much anything that you must take a "leap of faith" is going to be difficult.
As an entrepreneur, I realized that my business needs to go through changes and stages. It's completely normal to feel this way.
I remember early on in my business (over 5 years ago), I wanted to take pictures of literally everything. If I was clicking the shutter button- then I was gold! Everything was amazing to me.
Any shoot that someone wanted me to do- I did. I was so desperate for experience that I put ads all over craigslist. And no surprise- I met some WEIRD people- like one guy from some mysterious phone call that wanted me to fly out to Michigan to do his wedding for only $600. HMM.
I was just so in love with what I did that I could do no wrong. This is STAGE ONE: "This is everything."
When stage TWO ("They are doing better than me.") hit 6 months later. I was growing out of my beginning level camera and lens and becoming dissatisfied with my current look. So, I did what any normal photographer would do: I started following the CRAP out of everyone on Facebook and Instagram to be inspired by other artists. The only problem is, I started to see my work compared to threes and realized, "I need to get the gear that they have," or "I need to shoot like them."
Then Stage THREE hit: "My Work Sucks." I have spent over 500 dollars on presets to make my photos look better to try to emulate another person's style. I have bought and sold over 10 lenses to try to get the "look" of another person.
I just end up with more images that don't have my heart and an empty bank account.
Stage FOUR ("I give up”) is a very real and hard stage to be in. A lot of entrepreneurs stop there. They give up. They stop doing what they love. They get discouraged. They stop creating content. They shut down. They stop thinking freely. They make excuses like, "My area is saturated." or "I don't have a voice."
I can tell you that there are 1,000 registers photographers in my town alone. Everyone is clamoring for the same types of shoots.
I want to be different- empower and work with out-of-the-norm people and situations so that I can make the most difference.
I am the secret of my business. Not my camera, not my equipment, not my bank account.
I am the only part of my craft that can't be copied or replicated. People can take my customers, my style, my locations, my props, my poses. But they can't take my story and my voice.
When you realize that YOU are your own secret weapon you began to open your eyes to see how you can use your gifts to effect change in the world. And that your business is not just to pay your bills. This is where you enter STAGE
FIVE: "Someone believes in me."
Now in STAGE SIX: "I THINK I CAN DO THIS" You began to find your voice. You begin to realize that your style doesn't have to be the "BEST" it just must be your best. You began to realize that you must keep hustling.
It's in this stage that you are actually going to increase in business because people will start to want to work with YOU!
You will be too busy to stop and look through random other photographer's sites to get "inspiration." They will begin to look at yours for their inspiration.
Now you are at STEP SEVEN: "I'm Awesome."
Forget the haters. Be YOU and do your t