I’m often approached by new photographers who are starting a business; I’m asked to give advice, share tricks of the trade and to “spill my secret” for success. I could go on for hours – or truthfully – days. I’ve learned so much in the years I’ve been in business and many of those lessons were learned the hard way. But if I had to boil it down to one thing, to one simply piece of advice for new entrepreneurs, it would be this…
… look for the answer yourself.
I didn’t get to where I am today by waiting for someone to simply provide me feedback on my images; I sat down, analyzed the image, figured out what I didn’t like and then learned how to make it better. I did this by searching for the answer myself.
I didn’t learn how to build and customize my website by accident – I learned how to do it myself by reading tutorial after tutorial and through trial and error.
If I wasn’t sure how to approach marketing – I looked for the answer myself. If I wasn’t sure where to advertise, I researched the answer myself. If I wasn’t sure where to buy my albums from, I looked for the answer myself.
You will learn so much about not only your own abilities but also about your industry if you just look for answers yourself!
Facebook groups are a lovely way of getting feedback on an image, asking for people’s opinions, connecting with other professionals and for sharing ideas. Facebook groups are not; however, a substitute for a search engine. Logging into a group and simply asking questions without attempting to solve your own problem is – in my opinion – the biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make. Don’t get me wrong – asking questions is great… when you have nowhere else to turn. There are, as I mentioned, awesome reasons to use a Facebook groups, but the more groups I belong to, the more groups I end up leaving because I’m seeing a growing trend in the replacement of self-directed research and learning with public cries for help in online groups.
So to all those out there starting a business, looking for advice on succeeding in business or for those who feel like they have no control in the direction of their business, I challenge you… the next time you have a problem – look for the answer yourself! Nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to fix your own problem. Not only will this help you learn more about yourself and your industry, but it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, too!