How I Started my Photography Business

inspiration personal
When I first began photography, and this entire journey, I remember going through and looking at other local photographers sites. Checking their work, their pricing, and reading their about me pages that ALL went something like, "hi, I'm a wife and Mom of 2, I love coffee and Starbucks and taking photos became a passion after my first baby was born!".
Meanwhile, mine should have read: Single Mother who lost job, living in a 570 square foot apartment infested with centipedes, an outdated crop sensor camera, and a laptop that barely works. Instead of getting another 'real job' has decided to do photography. 
AND YES, that computer....the letter E was broken and I had to copy and paste it each time I needed to write it. (true story, I fucking shit you not)
A normal person would have gone out and gotten another job. Target. Serving at a restaurant. Anything. Anywhere. I had just lost the only real stable job or income I had ever known, my health insurance, all security, and I had a one year old son to feed and rent to pay. 
But me? Yeah, not normal. I had big dreams. I felt it in my bones that there were better things out there for me. Better things that didn't involve working at dead end, miserable, life sucking jobs for the remainder of my life. Because I had been truly miserable for a while. And I felt stuck. Because logic said, "BE RESPONSIBLE!", but my spirit said, RUN.
But that push out the front door, turns out, was everything I needed. 
So, I took my passion for photography and decided to open up a business.
Now, this wasn’t my first stab at entrepreneurship. I got my first first book on business at the ripe old age of 10. The Kids Business Book, by Arlene Erlbach.
Oh, the things I could do! This was really the first time that owning a business, making your own money and rules really occurred to me. I was hooked on the idea of living a life filled with ideas, possibilities, and passion.
But, you know, adulthood and life happens. I ended up working at a job that made me hate waking up in the morning for a biweekly paycheck BUT it had decent health insurance benefits.
At 22 I lost that job (long story short, I was told I could resign or be fired, I took the resignation if you want the technicality, but I was leaving the building either way), cashed out my modest retirement and invested all of it into opening a photography business. I was all in.
And I worked my ass off. I worked harder than I had honestly ever worked in my entire life. And I've had a lot of jobs...but this...this I honestly didn't mind. Even when things got hard, when I wanted to quit, I truly loved what I was doing deep down and the idea of the freedom. The fear of going back to having a boss and having to clock in when someone told me, that fear was greater than my exhaustion. 
Within a few years, I doubled my previous income from working a full time job as a teacher's assistant that I hated.
Then...I tripled it.
I'm here to tell you that it wasn't because I had Earth shattering photography skills or because I was the master of my craft and celebrities were knocking down my door to photograph their babies for the cover of People magazine.
Oh, on the contrary, my friend.
I lived in Akron, Ohio with a median income of $56,000. And, I like to think I've gotten much better over the years, we all do, but I wasn't the top choice when I first started out. 
So, what's the secret? HOW did I do this?! With no degree, no business experience or education?
So, what was my secret? I was good at business.
I quickly realized that the "key" to success (and whatever that meant to me) were not in honing in on just bettering the skills of my craft, (aka in my case this was photography specifically) but in becoming better at business over all.
News Flash: Anyone can take a photograph and most people have access to some pretty decent cameras these days.
But knowing how to run a business, strategically develop a brand that attracts your dream clients, and hand over $2,500 checks for a single portrait session (true story!)...
That is all business.
Now, almost a decade into my photography career and I have a business that is like a well oiled machine.
Again, allow me to be clear here: The GROWTH wasn’t OVERNIGHT. I did WORK hard for what I have. Business and marketing are not INSTANT. It takes consistency, dedication and drive. But, it is ALL SO POSSIBLE, but NOT MAGIC. 
And it's still all so very possible if you're beginning story doesn't sound like everyone else's. That is okay. Lean in, let your mess become your message.
Now, in addition to still running a feel time portrait photography business (I think it's important I am still doing photography and running a business if I am teaching others how to run one!) I have a second business...teaching other women how to create, build, and scale their own dream businesses.
And that brings us here. 
However you have found me, I am so glad that you have.
And I'm excited to work with you.
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