Rome wasn't built in a day
It’s been almost one year since I decided to formally turn my hobby into a business.
I will be honest, financially, it is not getting there yet. Since I am still just getting started, I am more likely to spend rather than earn money. Not that I am complaining, because even though I'm not yet seeing any revenue, I am still gaining valuable experience taking photos and running a business. I am learning about marketing, website management, and a whole lot more. I am looking at this period as a developing stage for myself as a photographer and an entrepreneur. I am investing this time in my business by investing in myself.
Whenever I view other photographers’ websites and see they have more clients than I do or see how wonderful their pictures are, I cannot help but to feel envy. Part of me wishes I had their market or even their styles of photographing people, but then again I pause and give myself a nudge not to feel that way. I am a work in progress, and any time not spent with clients should be time that I spend enhancing myself as an artist. My spare time, when I'm not working at my full-time job, should be invested in learning how to use my hardware and software, lighting and posing techniques, attending workshops, coming up with marketing strategies, working on my ads, updating my website and social media, writing blogs, creating vlogs, and last but not least, networking. I should not feel jealous about other photographers' talent, but instead I should be inspired and motivated to work even harder so that I can be if not as good than at least comparable.
Being in a saturated industry such as photography should not stop you from growing. Rather, this should push you to be more creative than the artist you were before. Your time not being with clients should give you a moment to re-evaluate yourself. Consider where you have room to improve, fill out the missing gaps in your work or business or both. We all experience times of doubt when we ask ourselves what's the point of spending money on all of this equipment and time learning all of these lessons if we don't get to see a return on those investments.
The answer is it takes time.
Working in the banking industry dealing with entrepreneurs, I learned that it can take quite a while to see the fruits of your labour. I know most of us measure a business's success by how much revenue and net income it generates, but you have to be patient. Building a successful business from the ground up does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and determination. You have to be smart too -- knowing where to invest in your business and making the most out of every dollar, especially if the cash flow is limited, is a must.
At the end of the day, I learned that I should stop comparing myself to other photographers out there. It's not bad at all to be inspired by their talent, but I should not beat myself up if they are better and more successful than I am. I read an article online about the hindrances some of these successful artists have encountered as well as the lessons they learned along the way since starting in the industry, and also how long it took them to really feel that their work is finally being recognized and in demand. Most of their experiences are identical to what I'm going through right now.
All I'm trying to say is we should take our time. I know it is a cliché but it's true: Rome was not built in a day. The same applies to a successful business. We have to keep learning from our mistakes and work on our flaws.
The only time that we are a failure is when we stop trying to be a better person than we were yesterday.