Feeling stuck in your business can be frustrating and stop your growth. But here are 3 ways to get out of a rut as a photographer!
I know you’ve been there: stuck in a rut, feeling uninspired, not sure which direction to take your business, not sure what to post on social media. So you end up taking a month-long break because you’re feeling overwhelmed.
And the only reason I know you’ve probably been there is because I have too.. we all have been there. That’s just territory that comes along with being an entrepreneur.
I think the trick is to figure out how to navigate those certain times you do feel in a rut, uninspired, or unmotivated… because the truth is, it’s probably not going to be the last time you feel that way.
So what can we do when that does happen? How can we respect our boundaries and limitations, but also push through and continue on with our business and life? In today’s post, I’m going to give you 3 pieces of advice that will help you navigate those times.
3 Ways to Get Out of a Rut as a Photographer
Today’s post is one that I don’t give you the pieces of advice from a place of boast-fullness, they come from a place of – I have personally been deep down in that rut. And the reason I’m doing this post is because I even for myself find it happening more often than it used to.
So I’m hoping that I’m not alone on this, and this post can shed some light on things you can do to help pull you out of it with mindset and good ole strategy. Because you know I’m all about a healthy combination of the two of those things around here.
Before I dive into the tips I have for you today, I want to invite you to get a BTS sneak peek of my exact wedding workflow. I walk you through from start to finish what my wedding workflow looks like that has taken me years to nail down in a condensed and effective way. To watch the video I screen recorded for you, text the word “CONNECT” to 888-292-4864 and it will get sent directly to you!
Okay, now let’s dive in and talk about my 3 pieces of advice to photographers who are stuck in a rut!
Make decisions take action
You’ve probably heard me say before that you just need to make decisions and take action. Don’t spend too long on thinking over things, don’t wait until they’re perfect, just make a decision and take action.
I can say this because I personally sat on my first digital course idea for over 2 years before I finally launched it. I also waited about 4 years until I actually hosted my first workshop. And I also took a year to try and complete a new website before I gave in and had someone else help me with it.
The point is, action creates clarity. The more action you can take, the more clarity you’re going to get and the more you’re going to learn. But you might also be thinking: “Yeah, but I don’t really know which direction to take my business or my content or what to do with it.”
Which, YES I have also been there more times than not. My advice to you is to do the best with the information and feelings you have at the moment, and still make a decision. Because I say that from a point of experience that I over-analyzed what every outcome would be of my options, and when you get stuck in over-analyzing everything, trust me… you will not take any action at all.
Go for your decision!
So take my advice and just make the best decision you can with the information you have at the moment, and go for it. Think of it this way – if you take action and it ends up being the wrong decision, then worst case scenario, you learned from it. You grew from it. And you move on now having more knowledge than you did before.
But on the flip side, if you take action and it ends up being the right decision, you took action to move your business forward. You truly cannot go wrong either way the dice rolls. So post the reel, create the content, show up on your IG stories, hire the new team member, start your associate program, host the content day, set up the styled shoot, book the flights, just make the decision and do it.
Life is all about experiences and lessons, and I can assure you one of those two things will come from the decisions you make.
Fear is your biggest challenge or roadblock
It’s funny because when I remember the first conversation I had with my business coach telling her “I’m not really interested in the mindset, I don’t really need it, I just like strategy” she laughed and said okay, let’s just see how it goes for you. Typically the ones who say they don’t need it are the ones who actually need it the most.
And I’m here to report, I think she was kind of right. I push off my mindset so much because I think I don’t “need it” and I just want strategy. But I’ve found the truth to be, I can’t execute that strategy as well when I’m not in the right mindset.
And I’ve also found it to be true for some of my students too! I can give you strategy all day, but if you’re in a mental state of self sabotage, playing victim, in self doubt, you’re not going to allow yourself the results you want into your life and business.
And I know that might sound woowoo, but in my opinion a good mix of both is where the magic happens! But moving back to the fear part…
What holds us back
Usually what holds us back from achieving and reaching the goals we set out for ourselves stems back to fear:
- Fear of judgment
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of not being good enough
- Fear of lack of experience
- Fear of visibility for judgment
You name it.. it’s probably crossed my mind personally, and maybe yours too! Just know that when you let fear hold you back, you’re really doing yourself a disservice and setting back the potential growth and opportunity you have for yourself to achieve your dream life.
Where would I have been if I held back?
I think back to when I was in that windowless office in the cancer center at Mayo Clinic following protocols and taking care of terminal patients. Where would I be if I never pursued that little dream put on my heart working nights and weekends after I was done with my 9-5 job?
If I never worked up the courage to tell my boss it wasn’t the job for me?
What if I stayed in the place of fear and never put myself out there to network and connect with other people?
What if I listened to the lie in my head that I wasn’t smart enough to be teaching other photographers the roadmap I followed to my own success? If I simply would have let fear hold me back in all of these things, I simply wouldn’t be where I’m at today and that goes for everyone listening.
We’re all on our own journeys and we’re all right where we’re meant to be. BUT I also want to give you a little nudge… and that is: To do the thing you know you want to and need to do to make it happen.
Whatever comes to mind to you when I say that… think about that and what steps you need to do to make it happen!
Create a marketing plan
Okay and now this is my “action strategy” portion of the episode because you guys know I’m just a sucker for actionable strategy. You have the push to do what you know you need to do, now how are you going to map out how to do it?
It seems like all of my students are struggling on a constant basis (and myself included, I’m not excluding myself from this!) to find a consistent marketing game plan. And whenever my students are struggling with marketing and not knowing how to generate more momentum around their leads, we talk through what specific marketing plan they should do that will help move them toward their own personal goal based on their own personal business model.
Whether that be to get more inquiries, or to grow your social media, or to increase your revenue, or to book out your mini sessions. Whatever it may be, you can create a marketing plan around it.
And I think a lot of people get caught up in thinking Instagram is the only way to market their business (which don’t get me wrong I love Instagram it’s been the biggest blessing! But there are also so many different effective ways to do this too.)
So to break this down so maybe you can look at mapping yours out is to:
1. Start with your big end goal
What are you trying to achieve? What’s the big end goal?
2. Okay now when do you want to achieve that?
Set a deadline and a timeline for yourself. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit or achieve that goal by that time, but also be realistic. I like to set deadlines for myself because it motivates me and I work best under pressure when I have deadlines, but I also don’t beat myself up if I don’t reach them.
It’s not a big deal, it’s not a race or a sprint. I’m not a perfectionist, I’m a done is better than perfect type of person and I think that’s what helps me actually get shiz done. Okay now you have your big goal, and your deadline, now it’s time to break it down.
3. What do you need to do this quarter to move you closer to that goal?
And I mean actionable things, not just dreaming about it. Take the actual steps and do the actual things to make it happen.
4. Break it down even smaller
What do you need to do this month? This week? Today? I want you to think of working backwards from your big goal because oftentimes we write down our big goals and stop there. And then we feel bad about ourselves when we don’t reach them when in reality, we didn’t really do anything to help ourselves get there!
This will also break it down into bite size steps that are actually doable so it won’t feel overwhelming too.
5. Network network network
Make connections with people both in and outside your industry. This is kind of like a bonus tip because the intention behind networking and making connections shouldn’t be solely based on what YOU’RE getting out of it.
Although in many cases it ends up being mutually beneficial, but the point of it should be to make connections and relationships with people. The saying “it’s all about who you know” is so true and many opportunities that have happened for me have stemmed from me putting myself out there and from the connections I’ve made. And I’ve also been able to offer people opportunities based on just knowing them and having a relationship.
So it’s never a bad idea and you can never over-network in my opinion!
6. Be intentional about your steps and actions.
If your goal is to increase your revenue but all you’re worried about is what Reel you should create for Instagram, you might be spending precious time that could be put into energy toward your actual goal of bringing in more revenue. Now don’t get me wrong, social media can absolutely help you do that!
But are you prioritizing that before you’re digging deep into your numbers and studying your finances of where your money is going and where it’s coming in? Or what you’re going to do next to bring in more revenue and create a marketing plan around that?
Be intentional with your own specific goal and try your hardest not to get caught up in the shiny stuff of what everyone else is doing. Because it doesn’t matter and everyone’s marketing plans and strategies are vastly different.
Maybe one photographer needs to post on social media every single day to help bring in 1 inquiry a week. And maybe another photographer only needs to post on social media once per week to bring in 5 inquiries because she has put effort into other marketing avenues so she doesn’t have to fall victim to the algorithm.
Everyone is completely different and THIS is why the saying of “don’t compare yourself to others” is so popular. But no one explains why, and this is why. Your business model is different from anyone else’s.
So there’s power in knowing and having clear direction in what you need to be doing to not waste time and actually move the needle forward in your business. Which again is something I love helping my students do!
So let’s recap on 3 things to think about when you’re stuck:
- Make decisions, take action
- Letting fear being your biggest roadblock
- Creating a marketing plan
And given all of this information, I also want to reassure you that it is OKAY if you are in a rut whether that be in your motivation, in your creativity, in your inquiries, in your opportunities, etc.
As an entrepreneur, we have natural eb and flows to our work, and being in a rut is no different… it’s how you get yourself out of it when you’re ready to be pulled out that matters most to re-build that momentum.
And if that is something you think sounds amazing with some guidance and support, I encourage you to check out my coaching options here.
Be sure to check out more Gold Biz Podcast episodes for more tips!