Eye on Business | The True Stats on Owning a Photography Business

It’s official.  Ok, not really.  I used a small sample size and there was a whole load of variables that would blow my statistics out of the muddy waters.  Hey, I do remember something from that STAT class in graduate school!  Money well spent 😉  So, I posed a question on the SSG facebook wall this week:

“What is your biggest challenge in being a business owner? Organization, stress busters, workflow? Are you overwhelmed or do you feel confident in how your business is running?”

TONS of responses!  And every.single.one them made me feel validated for what I am feeling.  No matter where you are in your business, feelings of stress and overwhelm can take over even the best of us.

Here are the stats:

55% – Time management and work/life balance:  Over half of us said that we are walking a fine line (and tripping) of being a good spouse/parent and being a good business owner.  We spend too much time on our business, thus taking precious time away from our loved ones.

37% – Organization and workflow:  A significant chunk of us said that because we are disorganized and not streamlined in our workflow, we are basically running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  Talented chickens, but chickens nonetheless.

19% – Marketing:  Isn’t this always an issue?  How to find, target, and entice the high school senior market is always at the top of my to-do list.

11% – Outsourcing:  Control freaks!  A few of us are a tad hesitant to outsource some business tasks, even though we know it would free up some valuable time.

7% – Confidence:  Some of us need a confidence boost in our skills and our abilities as business owners.

7% – Stress:  Stress could be the umbrella over all of the above.  Our stress levels are through the roof because these above areas of our business are suffering.

I already knew this is what our results would look like.  Truly.  Just a few days ago, I faced my two big sisters, with big crocodile tears in my eyes, and tried to justify how much time and stress my business is causing in my life at the moment.  Essentially, it was the time for me to verbally admit that I’d made the choice.  It was time to put my big kid pants on and make it work or shut it down.  I watch (sheepishly on FACEBOOK) as photographer after photographer seem SO productive, but then I reason that because my four young children are home with me 24/7 (we homeschool), it’s impossible for me to get anything accomplished efficiently.  I visit friends and family and see their spotless houses where their families eat a nice, home-cooked meal every night, but then I reason that I am on shoots and editing marathons and that is why I don’t have the time to clean my house as well as I want to or cook those meals for my family.

This is all true and I can mope around for a few more months (Um…guilty) but what am I going to do about it right now?  Am I going to let my business run me or am I going to be present?  I’m not about to shut down my BUSINESS but I’m also not going to be the parent whose children remember the time I was away instead of when I was there.  I’ve listened to some awesome webinars lately from photographers who share how they successfully and skillfully intertwine business and life.  I’m in awe.  But then I snap back to reality and realize that before I try ANY of the tips they recommend, I must CHANGE…MY…PERCEPTION.  Change your perception.  Homeschooling is amazing but messy.  My house will not be perfect because I have children here all the time.  What a blessing!  Our schedule will never be the same every day, but that’s awesome because we’re always late!  I choose it that way.

In the next few weeks, I am going to be taking small steps in the right direction and I encourage you to do the same if you are feeling overwhelmed.  The first step is to take a hard look at your life, almost as if you are looking at your best friend’s life and helping her to get a grip.  Maybe my house isn’t going to be BH&G ready every day.  Maybe we have pizza and spaghetti every week.  Maybe I will attempt to outsource a few tasks.  Maybe it’s time to stop shooting on the weekends.

I want to know what small step you are going to take after you change your perception.  Will you share it with all of us over on SSG’s wall?  Please?!  We all need the encouragement!