This post has been on my mind for a while now. One thing that truly sets me apart from the rest of the photography industry is my age- whether that is for better or worse. If you didn't know, I started my business at the ripe old age of 12. It's been a little over a year so now I am 13:) If you're a young business owner, you most likely know how hard it is to gain the trust of your clients. I definitely do. One question friends often ask me sounds something like “Don't be offended by this, but… WHO would trust a teenager to photograph their wedding?!? Or for that matter....even their senior photos???” . I just laugh and agree, because honestly, I think it sounds crazy myself!
While being a young entrepreneur has been the most amazing adventure, it’s also brought up a unique set of challenges that I’ve had to work though to be taken seriously despite my age. There are many components to this, and I am DEFINITELY NOT completely qualified or some sort of pro with all the rules on running a business...but today I’m going to share just a few tips with you that I’ve found most helpful throughout my own journey!
1. Have confidence.
More confidence is something that almost everyone needs. Wouldn't you love it if you could just stock up on some from Amazon? I would! Finding self confidence and not doubting myself has been one of the hardest obstacles I've had to go through by far. Being thirteen years old competing against photographers twice or three times my age has been....not going to lie...hard. One of the biggest things I find helpful when it comes time to interact with my clients is to remember to be real and honest with them, instead of trying to fake my age or experience level. I have to remember that each of my clients booked ME for a reason and know my experience level and age, yet they still trust my capabilities. If you want people to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself first!
2. Be patient.
Things aren't going to happen overnight. When you spend so much time and effort working towards your goals, you'll want to achieve them as soon as you can...but it takes time. Don't concentrate so much on your business that you're constantly checking your email for inquiries, you feel like you've said something wrong when clients don't reply right away, you want to lower your prices because people aren't always booking...and your loosing yourself to your business. Remember to remember yourself, your needs, and take breaks. Slow and steady wins the race!!
February 2017 - March 2018
3. Highlight you, your passion, and your work.
When I first started my business, I would try so hard to hide my age and face. Looking back, it seems so pointless because age doesn’t have to define professionalism! Let your followers and clients know who YOU are and back up your age and experience with your work! Showcase you and your passion- people will be drawn that!
4. Stop trying to compare yourself.
Social media (particularly Instagram) is a great tool for marketing and sharing. Instagram is full of inspiration as well. But sometimes, “inspiration” becomes “comparison” and I often find myself feeling drained and unworthy scrolling through my feed, looking at photographers who are consistently creating new content and beautiful images. Don't let that happen to you. Maybe take a break from social media and remember not to loose yourself in comparison. As I mentioned before, be yourself and highlight YOU!
5. Constantly create and share content.
There was a time in my business where I just stopped creating and sharing. In that time, I didn't post anything for almost 3 weeks straight and basically disappeared of the face of the planet. As a result, I probably lost around 50 followers and had NO ONE inquire through my website. When you are trying to build up your business, you'll need to appear in demand...and to do that, you can't stop creating and sharing content like I did. As you are starting out, shoot your friends and family. Maybe offer your ideal clients free sessions and attend styled shoots to gain portfolio images. Make sure your business looks like it has been running for years, even if you started a week ago!
6. Keep learning and invest in education.
"Once you stop learning, you start dying" -Albert Einstein
Running a business is something I believe can never be mastered....and when you're starting out or in your early stages, always look for something to learn. Build up your knowledge in every aspect of your business. Read educational blog posts, catch webinars, download guides and purchase courses from your industry leaders! As young entrepreneurs, we don't need to worry about mortgages or crazy bills yet... so take advantage of the freedom you have to invest in education!
I hope you have enjoyed this post and have learned something new today!