Overcoming Fear in your Photo Business

Fear: it looms over all of us at some point or another, and as much as most of us would hate to admit, fear can totally ruin the plans and dreams we have for our lives!

When it comes to launching or growing your photography business, it’s so easy for fear to creep in. I’ve been through a few business launches in my life, from my wedding photography to the jump into portraits to my content creation business, Vizzso. So trust me when I say, I am fully aware of all the fears that pop in and keep you up at night!

Today, I’m sharing those fears and, more importantly, the do’s and don’ts that have worked for me, allowing me to push them to the side and grow my business confidently. Lets start with the big one…

Fear of Financial Instability

If you own your own business, I guarantee making money is one of your top priorities, and not making enough of it is one of your biggest fears – and for good reason! And while sometimes it’s good to dive into the deep end, money is one of those places where you REALLY don’t want dive in head first. In fact, you’ll feel so much more secure in your business if you take a few swimming lessons first – and learn the do’s and don’ts of how to set yourself up for success.

  • DO ease into things; good things take time and if you’re serious about making your business succeed, then take the time to do it right. It’s ok to build a side hustle that you go all in on one day. If fact, A study conducted by The Academy of Management Journal confirms that businesses grown gradually on the side while the business owner is still employed full-time at another company are 30% less likely to fail. I like those odds! When your side hustle starts to feel like you’re working 2 full time jobs, that’s a good sign that it’s time to let one of them go.
  • DON’T quit your full-time job until you’re 100% certain you can pay your bills before hand. Instead, take an extra few months and build up an emergency fund so that, when times are tight, you’ve got a cushion to fall back on.
  • DO know your numbers. This is so incredibly important. Make sure that you are fully aware of how much money you need to support yourself and set markers on what you need to do to make that happen. If you find yourself coming up short one month, run a promo to book more sessions.

Fear of Seeming Inexperienced

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: fake it ’til you make it! One of the big things holding us back is that vague feeling of not being ready. Maybe you don’t know all the ins and outs of the industry, don’t have a social media plan ironed out, or a million other things. But guess what? Even after you’ve been in business for a decade, you still won’t know it all!

A lot of overcoming the fear of seeming new or novice is going to be mental, and it will take some real work to remember and accept that everyone starts somewhere.

Nobody rises suddenly, not even the sun.

  • DO put the work in. If you’re unsure about how to shoot in low light or have no experience with in-home sessions, take the time to really practice and learn everything you can. Knowledge is power and feeling confident in your skills as a photographer will help you overcome any fears you may have.
  • DON’T be lazy about your education. Thinking that you’ll figure it out on the fly will end up biting you in the end by lost clients. Good work takes practice. Take the time to hone your craft so you can feel confident in any shooting situation you’re in.
  • DO plan for the worst. I know that sound crazy, but think of it this way… if things go perfectly, this and this will happen, but if x goes wrong, I can do this and this to fix it. You may not know it all, but you can definitely build out plans for different problems. Having these plans in place ahead of time will put your worries to rest and help you feel like a business pro. 

Fear of Failure

This is broad, but it’s a big one. Failure means different things to different people: not reaching a specific money goal, not getting 100 Instagram followers, or not booking out your calendar a month in advance. It’s important to remember that each photography business is unique,but everyone has a line that they will deem “failure.”

Just like the fear of seeming inexperienced, the fear of failure won’t disappear overnight, and if that fear has taken root in you, there may not be much I can say to erase that, but I’ll share what’s helped me:

  • DON’T take yourself too seriously. People don’t care about you as much as you think. I know – hard truth, but there it is! It’s human nature to think everyone is watching us, judging us, talking about us, but the truth is, most people are more concerned with themselves than others. There’s no one out there watching your business and waiting for it to fail. We’re all making mistakes, learning and growing.
  • DO monitor your thoughts. A positive mindset is a super power. Avoid letting negative thoughts and self doubt creep in and take over the beauty you’re trying to create. When you feel yourself slipping into a doomsday forecast of failure, stop and flip the script and focus on all the things that ARE working. In essence count your blessings! This is the sure fire way to take you out of fear and into gratitude.
  • DON’T give up. What you consider a failure is probably not the end of your business, but just one area that needs more time and attention. If something isn’t working or didn’t go as planned, don’t let that be the end – dust yourself off and try again!

Even after years of running a very successful photography business, there are moments when I have fear – and that probably won’t change! But what has changed is how I recognize when fear is taking over and what I do to kick it to the curb. As your confidence grows, your fear will fade, and I hope that you reach the point in your business where that first small moment of fear is all you let in.

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