A core subject that I help people with is clarity. The root of procrastination, of feeling like you're on the hamster wheel, of not knowing what to post or when to post, or what to say in your newsletter: it's a lack of clarity.
When you figure out your clarity, you'll be able to have everything spelled and you exactly what you have to do.
I started getting Jennings photo in 2010. For me, the struggle in the early days was just how much there was to know, and little I knew how to do. When I figured out my own clarity, that was huge.
I started with something that sounds a little trite: my why. This is so, so, so important because your “why” is what guides you throughout the whole process. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
In a business, everybody has crappy days, weeks, months. At some point, everybody wants to quit. Everybody doubts themselves. This is a normal thing when you're putting yourself out there, especially when you're putting yourself out there as a small business owner and a creative person. Creative work, for many of us, comes from our souls. It comes from a deeply personal place, which makes it all the more scary to share.
Knowing your “why” is what will carry you through those days when you don't have new bookings coming in. It will sustain you when it doesn't seem like anybody's ever going to email you ever again, or when nobody gives a crap what you're posting on social.
When you have the slow, doubtful, dark days, you have to go back to that why.
So what was my why? To have autonomy in my business and in my life.
Before I became a photographer, I had just finished up a very expensive master's degree in education. Literally— I graduated in May of 2010, and in August of 2010, I second shot my first wedding. That winter, I solo shot my first wedding.
I had been doing photos for a couple of years as a hobby, but that was really when I got serious. Everybody thought it was crazy person. They said things like “You just finished graduate school.” “You just started being a teacher.” “You just got your teaching license.” But I was able to make my decision with a level head, because I really, really felt a deep calling to do this work.
2010 was a new world when it came to business. Facebook was barely born and people first started getting like their own websites. This whole new world was accessible to me. I could be a photographer, without having to have a studio! It changed everything for me.
This job really fit with my why. That autonomy, that ability to travel, to sleep in, to make creative and business decisions without having to go through layers of bureaucracy in order to do it, there was so many things that appealed to me, and those were all wrapped up into my original why.
And when I had my moments of doubt, I reflected on that “why.” The thought of going back to teaching or going back to work for someone else was all I needed on the dark days to keep going.
I would suggest to you if you're in a little bit of a struggle spot, that you think a little bit more deeply about why it is you want to do this.
If you can't figure it out, that's okay. But noodle over it until you do understand that.
When I started really growing Jennings Photo and traveling the world, and sleeping in a lot, and getting up on Tuesday afternoon and going to the beach, that was when I realized this has completely changed my life.
This can be your life, too. I wanted to help other people who are drawn to photography in particular do the same thing. It is so awesome being my own boss. It is so wonderful running a small business. It's incredible working one-on-one with people and helping them.