Eye on Business | What Will Be Your “A-ha!” Moment?

Why, hello business owner!  Last week, if you’re following along, I shared some stats on owning a photography business and how if you’re not careful, it can take over your life.  I shared all the nitty gritty details on how this realization looked in my personal life and I vowed to get it together.  I asked you to take the challenge with me in taking small steps to change your perception of what you think owning a small business and living a “normal” life should look like.

Did you?!

In past attempts, I have jumped right on the bandwagon into an organizational overhaul, only a day into it, realizing that it just wouldn’t work for my life.  I don’t like getting out of bed early to take a two-mile run to clear my mind.  I’m a sleep-deprived mother who would rather curl down deeper into my covers.  I would love to sit down with my piles to try to consolidate but I get distracted with all the pretty notebooks and folders.  I could go on and on with what hasn’t worked for me.  Focusing on what doesn’t work will only keep me stuck with that overwhelming feeling of doom.

Over the past week, I slowed down to take mental notes (Ok, typed them in my notes app so I wouldn’t forget) on what DOES work for me.  Before any hardcore organization takes place (and it WILL), here are my “a-ha” moments from this week all compiled into a nice list.

1.  Support Network:  I belong to a few strong online groups that are amazing.  Critical, actually, to my success.  These folks get it, they get me.  I can pop in and out, ask questions, help others, and get honest feedback all while knowing they understand what it’s truly like to own a small business.  BUT…the secret to my success isn’t my online network, it’s my REAL LIFE network, the people that are always there for me.  Who in your life is critical to allowing you to grow your business?  Nurture these relationships as often as you can (spouses, children, friends…Have they forgotten what you look like?!).  Drop the toxic ones, online and real life.

2.  Good Enough is Good Enough:  This simple motto has changed my life.  I grew up in a spotless home with a mother who attended to our every need, cooked wonderful meals, and gathered us for special holiday traditions.  My childhood was spent on our own little piece of the world that was predictable, organized, and warm.  I’m smiling.  Obviously, that’s what I want for my own family.  But, my life doesn’t always unfold that way.  I could write a book on this but I’ll keep it quick.

  • My children do chores.  “Gasp!” Yep, they do dishes, clean the kitchen, clean their rooms, vacuum, care for animals and each other.  That frees up a TON of time for me all while allowing them to learn valuable life skills.
  • My decor is simple.  Stay with me.  I have come to crave a simple, calming, white style (yes, even with 4 children).  Easy to clean, calming to see, and I can tidy up my downstairs pretty quickly.  Each of my clients visit my home several times so I need to keep my home presentable each week.
  • Carve time out for what you love.  Yes, I knooooow, you LOVE photography, we all do 😉  But, what else?  I adore decorating and being a homemaker.  That welcoming feeling is what I crave.  Have you seen my PINTEREST boards?! If I don’t get the opportunity to get my decorating on, my mood and my work suffer.  What’s the lesson?  Make time for what you love to do, even if your behind on editing.  Believe me, taking an afternoon to decorate my home makes me so happy that I’ll bang out an editing marathon in no time flat.

3.  Set Boundaries for Your Business:  If you don’t, who will?  If you answer that text at midnight, you are telling your clients to contact you anytime.  Don’t get upset when they do.  If you bend over backwards to make a particular client happy, then please don’t complain when they keep making requests of you.  Set boundaries for yourself and your time.  If you want regular business hours, make sure it states that on everything associated with your business.  If you answer emails at midnight and are fine with that, keep doing it!  There are no set rules when you’re the boss.  Cool, right?!  Along these lines, you must keep your clients up to date on the boundaries.  Nicely, of course.  I find myself putting so much pressure on myself to impress my clients that when I actually took a step back, came to the conclusion that it’s all unnecessary.  Clients are more understanding than you may assume.  They are human, they know unexpected things come up that knock schedules off course.  Just keep them in the loop and tell them why you can’t make that delivery today or that the image reveal may have to wait a week.  Just be sure to make it up to them 😉

Invest the time this week to pinpoint what IS working in your business rather than what isn’t working.  I promise that your attitude of gratitude will be much more productive.  Do not let the enticement and ego-boosting of the photography industry take you over.