Eye on Business | Are You Happily Married?

Key Canon in D.

I now pronounce you a business owner. You may kiss…your sanity goodbye.

Your love story may be like mine.

The first time I held that camera in my hands it was love at first sight. I just knew we were meant to be together. I had so many expectations for it. It was a highly talented device after all. All of those buttons and options…sexy.

I had always felt a connection to photos and I had always wanted to be in business for myself.

After a few months of snuggling my camera and taking sloppy images, I decided to marry my passion for photography with my desire to run my own business.

Like many real marriages, I jumped in way too soon (but that’s another post) and I had no idea what was about to happen after I announced to the world that I was Mrs. JP Ball Photography.

Now…don’t get me wrong. I love marriage. I love MY marriage. But, if you are or have ever been married, then you know that having a successful and happy one takes hard work. And lots of it.

When you started your photography business, you married your creative self to your business-minded self. Both components must work together, not against one another, to have a successful business. It’s easier said than done. One tends to be a strength and the other a weakness.

{Business minded: Organized, Profit-driven (admit or not), Client driven, Hours counted.

Art minded: Disorganized (organized chaos of course), Product-driven, Artist-driven, Lost hours not counted.}

Just like a real marriage…some days keeping a business together seems daunting. These two mindsets tend to argue with one another and then nothing gets accomplished.

Sure, running a business seems all fun in the beginning. Let’s call it the newlywed phase. You may have over shared your joy on Facebook. You couldn’t wait to shoot sessions and work with people. You were giddy at the smallest profit. I could go on.

But, over time, this newlywed joy fades and reality sets in. You have bills to pay. You have to cater to clients, not yourself. You realize that the sexy camera you once held so lovingly wasn’t as capable of functioning without you directing it. Again, I could go on.

Photography businesses have a high rate of failure. Why do you think that is? I think one reason may be that people have a professional discord. Either the creative side is dominating the business side or vice versa.

Do you have a happy business marriage?

Here are some tips to keep things sizzling…

* Feed your business side: Set apart time strictly to take care of business tasks (no Facebook hanky panky). This may even include working on client orders and proofing. If you catch yourself playing with an image too long, move on and come back to it when you’re finished with your tasks.

* Feed your artist side: Organize shoots that are designed for you to explore new techniques. Mini model shoots are great for these. For example, my other area of focus is weddings and my MUA and I are working planning a bridal fashion studio shoot. Just plain creative time.

* Develop an effective work flow from shooting to selling.  A more effective business side leaves more time for your artist side.

* Seek help when needed and talk with other photographers. Have your work critiqued. Get advice. SSG forum is perfect for this!

* Learn from others, but don’t try to be just like them. Trust me, they are having the same struggles in their business marriage as you are. You can’t compare your business to someone else’s. Yours will always seem worse because you know it’s ugly secrets.

* Keep a brain drain journal. Sometimes our artist mind clogs up our business mind and vice versa. This article was birthed from today’s brain drain. I had so much mumble jumble going on. Post its everywhere. Getting the words out helps create a clear way.

* Take time for you. I know this sounds corny. Think of it as date night. Get away from the reality of owning a creatively driven business. Enjoy life!

* And finally, don’t give up if you still have that passion to run a successful business. It takes time and effort for marriages to flourish.

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