2018 marks the start of my fourth year in business as a freelance product photographer. I thought this would be a good time for a quick round up of what I've learnt so far.
Be patient! - This is probably specific to my character as I like to run before I can walk; always have. To grow the business organically took much longer than I thought, but on reflection I think my initial views were unrealistic. When I first started I thought new clients would just find me and didn't think too much about the marketing side of things. I realised that after a year or so, when I had a few different projects to show, things started to snowball gradually. So hang in there, it will happen!
Learn from others - I was lucky enough to assist an established commercial photographer when I started out, which I couldn't recommend enough. I worked for him on a freelance basis and so I still had time to work on my own business, while having another source of income to help pay the rent! Watching how someone else worked and managed clients was vital to my progression as a photographer.
Don't undervalue yourself -This is a big mistake that I made when I started! I didn't have enough confidence in my own ability to feel I was worthy of the going rate for a photographer. This meant my rate of was so low that I made hardly any profit and it also made it harder for me to grow as a business.
Check in on your progress and celebrate those achievements - As I was always trying to power full steam ahead to achieve my goals as fast as possible, looking back at what I'd achieved was a rare occurrence. Occasionally, when sorting out my files I'd come across work that I'd produced when I first started. Seeing those images made me realise just how far I'd come. As an independent business owner it's hard to celebrate those business achievements when you're not surrounded by a team. It's so important to mark those occasions as it makes you recognise what you've achieved, even if you buy yourself a Friday treat to celebrate - why not?!
If you're a start-up with any questions that you think I could help with, then let me know! Drop me a message at email@example.com