As a photographer it’s important to stay true to yourself in your business. Here’s a photographer business plan to stay aligned!
We’re diving into the ins and outs of running an aligned business with Eden Strader. She guides us on the importance of staying true to ourselves and aligning our personal values with our business endeavors. Eden shares insights on how to maintain self-awareness, embrace authenticity, and foster a sense of community throughout this journey.
We’ll cover the frequency of self-check-ins, the benefits of staying in our own lane, and how these practices contribute to overall business success. Be prepared for an enlightening blog post!
Running an aligned business
In the pursuit of building an aligned business or brand, it is essential to understand the underlying motivation behind entrepreneurship. One should always start with the “why” before delving into the “how” of business strategies. The core reason for embarking on this journey is the desire to be one’s own boss, live the dream, and relish the freedom and enjoyment that comes with it.
However, veering away from alignment can lead to burnout, dissatisfaction, and a sense of dragging one’s feet through the business. If such feelings persist, it might be more worthwhile to return to an office job with the security of healthcare. Running a business should be an expression of love and passion, as true fulfillment arises from alignment.
Considering that humans dedicate a significant portion of their lives to work, it becomes crucial to find joy and purpose in what one does. Whether it’s a nine-to-five or an entrepreneurial venture, embracing a fulfilling path is essential, given the substantial time and energy devoted to work each day.
The power of being aligned
There are pitfalls when you begin to compare your journey with anyone and that is why staying true to your unique path and being aligned is best. There’s the common fear of being the only one experiencing the struggle of comparing oneself to others. It is vital to acknowledge that this journey of comparison is something many individuals have gone through.
Starting a business often involves looking at successful individuals and wondering how to replicate their achievements. The desire for success and the quest for measuring up to industry standards are natural starting points. It is common for creatives to fall into this pattern, seeking validation from the industry and attempting to conform to its expectations.
Eden shares her own experience of comparing herself to prominent photographers in her region, feeling the pressure to fit into a particular style that was in demand. This approach left her feeling unfulfilled and hindered her ability to book clients. Eden emphasizes that many small businesses fail within the first two years because they fail to prioritize alignment from the start. It is important to take the time to understand what truly aligns with one’s identity as both a human being and an artist and build the business around those core values.
How to stand out in a saturated market
Wedding photographers can be categorized into two groups: those who are passionate about the art and those who prioritize the human connection. Eden entered for art, growing up with artist parents and a love for photography. When she started her career, she noticed a prevailing trend in the industry: photographers striving to be their clients’ best friends. However, she realized that as an artist and individual, she possesses unique qualities that set her apart.
The clichés about individuality and uniqueness exist for a reason. For her, the key differentiator was her artwork. While she maintained professional relationships with her clients, she didn’t strive to be their best friend. She was content with being seen as a vendor rather than a close companion. She remained in touch with only a few clients, and she was okay with that.
Tips for newcomers in the industry
Newcomers in the industry can identify whether they are driven by the human experience and connection or the artistic aspect. This self-awareness provides a foundation for marketing, communicating about their business, and setting themselves apart from the competition. If someone is seeking a friendly and sociable photographer, Eden wants it clear that she may not fulfill that role.
Transparency is crucial in attracting the ideal clients while repelling those who may not resonate with her style. So emphasize personal strengths, such as creating an emotionally safe space for clients to express vulnerability or establishing deep connections through pre-session or pre-wedding outings. Photographers should identify what makes them unique as artists or individuals, or perhaps both. These distinctive qualities you should capitalize on and highlight to demonstrate what sets them apart.
While there are technically skilled photographers like Jose Via, who excels in executing precise shots, clients don’t necessarily hire him to have a radically different wedding experience.
Instead, they trust him to consistently deliver a luxurious and professional outcome. Recognizing one’s strengths as a human being and emphasizing them becomes essential if artistic excellence may not be the primary differentiating factor.
Ways to stay aligned with your brand and business
One important aspect is to stay attuned to your energy and emotions surrounding different aspects of your business. For Eden whenever she senses imposter syndrome, burnout, fatigue, or resistance towards certain tasks, she recognizes the need to check in with herself. Eden believes that there are no strict rules for running a business and that it is important to embrace the discomfort of change and question what feels authentic and exciting.
This may involve altering marketing strategies, and photography approaches, or even parting ways with clients who are not aligned with the vision. She also accepts both attraction and repulsion as natural consequences. She believes that aside from legal requirements, there are no strict rules for running a business and that it is important to embrace the discomfort of change and question what feels authentic and exciting.
To maintain alignment, conduct frequent check-ins to assess how you feel in all aspects of her business. This openness to change allows one to try new things, troubleshoot, and refine approaches continuously.
Navigating losing clients during a shift in alignment
One important aspect to consider is honoring the contracts and commitments made with clients. If there is a significant shift in the work, such as a change in editing style, you need to deliver what was originally agreed upon. Fulfilling the contracts under the style that clients booked for is a priority.
It is important to recognize that the sooner the shift is made, the better. Every aspect of marketing and representation should align with what one genuinely wants to book. It is essential to take responsibility and acknowledge that if current clients do not align with the desired direction, it may be due to unclear communication or inconsistent messaging. Losing clients during this process is inevitable but necessary.
It is more fulfilling to work with clients who share the same passion and enthusiasm for the art. It is better to have a dedicated following and attract those who love the work while accepting that there will always be individuals who dislike it. Building confidence in what one offers, specializing in their unique style, and being comfortable with losing clients is important. It’s important to remember that it’s not a reflection of one’s worth but simply a difference in taste and style, which is perfectly acceptable.
Taking a moment to separate yourself from the business aspect can be incredibly valuable. In a world focused on capitalism and financial obligations, decisions can easily influence the desire to pay bills. To begin, creatives should reflect on their strengths and what brings them fulfillment as human beings. They can consider how they make their friends and family feel and what naturally draws them as artists or individuals. For instance, personal preferences, such as a love for color and light, can serve as guiding principles.
After compiling this self-reflection, it’s time to bring these aspects into the business. The next step involves identifying how these strengths can be integrated into the business model. By clearly communicating these unique principles, one can attract clients who resonate with them while dissuading those seeking something different. This alignment ensures that the business is true to its core values and attracts the right audience.
An important aspect of this process is being honest with oneself. For example, if someone is seeking a coach who is blunt and pushes for improvement, they need to communicate that clearly. It’s important to avoid catering to every potential client and instead focus on attracting the right ones. Taking the time to journal or talk through these thoughts can help gather the necessary information for making adjustments.
Regular check-ins are vital to maintaining alignment. If someone finds themselves booking clients who are not aligned with their values or experiencing resistance in their business, they should reevaluate their alignment and make any necessary changes. Being truthful with oneself and making adjustments will lead to a more fulfilling business experience, working with clients who align with one’s values and goals.