Back in 2007, I graduated college with a degree in art, specializing in photography. I was bright eyed, ready to take on work, and was interning at a commercial studio. As the years went on, I worked for more and more people who taught me wonderful things, but I had a dream, a dream to be my own boss and set my own hours. In 2010, I officially started my own business, Angela Divine Photography. The first three years were really tough. Trying to break out in an oversaturated industry isn’t easy, but my hard work paid off, and I am so blessed to feel successful in my industry. Here are a few mistakes I made as a young entrepreneur.
Undercharging. Let’s face it, when you quit your job to pursue your dream, it’s scary. The what if’s and fear start to take over. What if I can’t pay my mortgage, my bills, what if I can’t do this? Fear caused me to become very eager for work and once I got it, I was undercharging. I was willing to do sessions for half the price that I should have been and just wanted to get my name out there. It makes since in theory, but I never mapped it out in on paper. The first three years I started my business, there was little to no profit. I didn’t set myself up for success, and in the past year, have finally raised my prices to match my worth. Never sell yourself short, especially when what you do is valuable.
Not Branding Myself. It is so important to find your tribe and get your name out to your ideal clients. When I first started, again, I was eager, I didn’t know who I was trying to work for or who I even wanted to work for, so I worked for anyone. I met a lot of great people, but also wasn’t making art that was true to me. A lot of the people I was working for had different styles, so I was shooting all over the place and not developing who I was as a photographer. In the past year, I’ve started to brand my business toward ideal clients- clients who are a lot more like me and share my same passions and interests.
Overworking. When I was trying to get my business off the ground, I was working a lot. I mean three jobs a lot. At one point, I had a serving job, an internship with a photography studio and also taught yoga and it was a hot mess. I would sometimes work for 15 hours a day, and not that I still don’t do that once in a while, but I had my hand in a ton of different pots and working all these jobs that were so different became exhausting. I still struggle with balancing my work and social life, but one thing I have realized is that if you want to be there for your clients and give them 110%, you need to rest and recharge.
Lack of Patience. We live in an instant gratification world right now. We are so used to getting everything we want, that being patience becomes very challenging. When I first started, I wanted to it all so quick. I wanted to be making a lot of money, working less, and be the best in my field. I’m still working on all those things. Being patient when starting a new business is key. It will take time, and the journey is really just as important as the destination.
Becoming my own boss took a lot of dedication, but was well worth it. If you are looking to start your own, I hope you can learn from my mistakes. Remember, fear will always hold us back, so if you are looking for a little extra encouragement, know that with hard work anything is possible. Always be open to learn, always be open to fail, and never let anything stop you.