Do you ever get completely overwhelmed by trying to do or offer too much in your business? Too many services, too many choices, trying to do all-the-things? You know, that feeling of trying to juggle all the balls and knowing that deep down you aren’t actually able to give your 100% all the time as there is just too much going on?
You know what? This may shock you (maybe only just a little) but you ARE NOT ALONE! It is so easy to keep taking on more and more work, even when we know that we have reached our limit or when we know that it’s not even the sort of work we enjoy doing.
When I first started my photography business, I took on all the jobs I could. I mean here I was trying to build a business from scratch and that is damn hard work, so why on earth would I be saying NO to a potential new client, if it means turning away an income from the business? So I took on everything! Big or small jobs, ones I liked and ones I knew would totally stress me out… But I wanted my business to grow and be successful and in a naïve kind of way, I thought this was the way to do it. Ahhh – the power of hindsight….
One day a couple of years ago, after what can only be described as a ‘nightmare’ shoot with a client far from my ideal client, it dawned on me that this “take-on-everything” mentally was going to kill ME AND ruin MY business dreams. That was the day I knew I had to turn things around and make the hard decision to go more niche and choose to do the work that I truly loved and was passionate about.
There was some big changes I had to implement and they all involved changing my MINDSET!
Learn to Say NO
As a new small business owner, one of the hardest words to say is NO! In fact many of us find it hard to do on a day-to-day basis let alone when it comes to building your business. Probably THE biggest mindset change for me was to accept that it was OKAY TO SAY NO. Not because I didn’t care but because I care TOO MUCH. Ultimately I want my clients to have the best experience and the most amazing images to walk away with, no matter what their needs are.
So, though YES I can do a maternity shoot or a newborn capture or even cover a fancy event - there are incredibly talented photographers out there who ONLY focus on THESE styles of photography - its their jam. So I prefer to refer that client to someone whose niche is that style so they get the BEST result., while I put all my focus on what I know is MY photography style and passion, business branding and portraits.
Set Your Boundaries
Just like it is important to set limits to the type of work you want to do, it’s just as important to set up boundaries with your work days and hours and more importantly, allocating ‘me or self care’ time. I know for a fact, that when I have too much going on at once and get totally stressed out, it really affects my creativity. I find things just don’t flow naturally! I get too much in the zone of ‘getting it done’ and then I just get disappointed with the end result. Whether it is writing my newest blog post, creating content for social media or coming up with clever and fun ways of creating clients’ authentic brand imagery, lack of regular self-care in my routine doesn’t end well.
So one of the big steps I implemented this year was to make Sunday’s sacred. I mean, I could easily work 7 days a week, but I would be burnt out within weeks, constantly sick and producing work I am not proud of! Sound familiar? Ah-ha!!
Sundays I leave my calendar empty. Yep empty, nada, zilch!! I decide how I am feeling on the day and what I want to do. Some Sundays are all about spending time with my hubby, while others involve exercise in the fresh air, breakfast and coffee out at a local cafe, maybe a yoga class or some reading. And if the weather is totally awesome, a day trip out to explore somewhere new in Perth is always on the agenda. This ‘unplanned’ day off gives me the energy I need to recenter and to hit the road running again on Monday!
Do Work You Love
I love working with like-minded small business & entrepreneurial women who share the same passion for their business as I do for mine. It is a buzz that is really hard to explain but the one-on-one personal interactions with my clients are one of the best things about my business branding photography niche. I love learning all about my clients’ businesses and brands, while building lasting connections and personal relationships with my clients (some of which end up turning into friends :)) while being a part of their authentic branding vision.
Work With Your Ideal Client
By being able to say NO to work that doesn’t align with my passion, it allows me to work with my ideal clients ALL THE TIME! Ummm… hello? Why would you NOT want to do that?? If you stick to your guns, find your business niche and do the right things to attract your ideal client (more on that below) then you will always be working with the clients YOU WANT (and not ones like my nightmare client from 2 years ago who left me in tears and in need of new equipment and props!). Work out who your ideal client is and you will ALWAYS love to work in your business!
Invest in the Right Things
So here is the thing, when I first started my business one of the several styles of photography I was offering was ‘property and interiors’ but I was also doing family portraits, events AND business branding photography. And these different styles couldn’t really be further apart if you tried! Not only did I invest in a whole stack of camera gear that I know hardly ever use (flashes, tripods, diffusers, reflectors, backdrops and stands) but I also spent way too much time indoors! I love being outdoors, in the fresh air and using various backdrops both urban and natural to capture authentic brand images. I don’t want to work in a studio, stuck indoors all day!
Nail Your Marketing
By far one of the first things I noticed when I made the decision to go niche, was how much easier it became to market my business. From hashtag selection, to the copy on my website and social media, to the imagery I used across all my platforms, it was so easy to be consistent! And we all know that consistency is the KEY to marketing!! It is so much easier to market your business if you know exactly the sort of work you want to be doing, so if you are finding it hard to market your brand, have a think about whether you are trying to offer too much to too many types of ideal clients.
So as I found out, as hard as it was at first to realise and accept, making the huge leap to finding a niche for my business proved beneficial in so many ways. YOU will see the benefits too! From getting to work with your ideal clients and doing the work you want to do ALL THE TIME, to saving you money on equipment or tools, simplifying your marketing and decreasing stress involved with all the not-so-ideal-client jobs. The leap is HUGE but the rewards are EVEN bigger!
If you want to know how you can niche your business so it serves you better for the future, start by uncovering your authentic brand with The Woman Behind The Brand Worksheet HERE
Til next time,
Stay in Focus