I would like to tell you that overcoming self-doubt as a photographer is a one time thing… but that would be a lie. The truth is, as long as you are living your dreams… you are going to have to overcome self-doubt over and over and over again.
In fact, two days ago I cried on my stories, for all the world to see! I was crying because of this exact process 👆 (feel free to watch it in my highlights on Instagram). Why? Because I have a six-figure photography business, and in 2019 I decided to create something new, a marketing resource for photographers! I’ve created two online courses and launched a new blog/website. I long for it to be a place for photographers to go and have all their marketing questions answered in one spot! A place where they can feel community and know that they are not alone, where they are challenged to grow to not just a better photographer, business owner, or marketer… but a better human being. A place where I can connect people with purpose.
But as the sole bread winner for my family of 5. I STILL have to maintain my six figure photography business in a town where there are 13,000 people and the average income is $30,000. I’m creating content for two different audiences, writing blog posts, emails, budget, etc. for two different businesses. All while raising 3 toddlers and putting my husband through his masters.
I had just gotten off the phone with my business coach and I was so discouraged about all of my online courses & the lack of engagement from photographers on my social media. But mostly because I had spent the evening before looking at some other creative entrepreneurs websites that I didn’t even know existed and all of a sudden I felt like what I was doing was redundant, unimportant and unnecessary! Like the world no longer needed me because it had all of these other resources. So, why would I even try?
And odds are… If you are a photographer, creative, or even just a human being… you’ve experienced this process. The one that starts in excitement, followed by discouragement, frustration/anger, sadness, encouragement, and excitement again!
But the problem is that most of us never make it to the end! We are frustrated by how much time it takes to plan content and we quit! Or maybe we feel like the worst photographer ever because someone else posted this beautiful photo on IG and we can NEVER get our shots to look like that. We want to quit because our calendar is too empty, our pictures are too ______________, or whatever it is that is causing you to doubt yourself. And we just feel like we are not enough.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve felt as though I wasn’t enough. The amount of times I thought I needed to be doing more. The amount of times I looked at people in a similar field and felt like absolute CRAP in comparison. And it’s in these moments of self-doubt as a photographer, the ones that feel absolutely crushing, that you HAVE To remind yourself of these 4 things:
85% of photography businesses fail within the first three years. Not because they weren’t good enough. But because they never overcame self-doubt as a photographer or made it to their potential. They go from #3- This is crap to #4- I am crap and they get stuck there!
But you can’t let this normal part of the process leave you defeated! Discouraged, maybe, Frustrated, sure, but not defeated! Do not let your doubt lead you to avoidance, fear of failure, or procrastination.
Because we love our jobs it’s tempting to judge ourselves by that. But the truth is, you are SO MUCH MORE than your career. You have a purpose, your why, and photography is simply the method in which you’ve chosen to live out your why, FOR NOW! But measuring your self-worth on HOW you are living out your purpose is a slippery slope to go on! You are an incredible human being created with thought and intention, who has strengths and weaknesses that still needs growth but is just as valuable at every single stage of that process.
If you are unable to follow other people because their success dampens yours… this is obviously a mindset issue. However, until that mindset is addressed and healed, I encourage you to STOP FOLLOWING THESE PEOPLE! If their content doesn’t help you, encourage you, build you up then don’t look at it until you feel as though you can handle it.
I remember it like it was yesterday, I found my why, I marketed the freaking crap out of my business and I did all the things. But the growth was only happening in small increments. DROVE ME UP THE FREAKING WALL! But, I gave it time. And sure enough 6 months later, my business went from $1k-3k months to $10k+ months consistently. I had people engaging on social media and had built this incredible brand of wholistic photography.
But man that in-between period was rough. Continuing to post every single day, sometimes twice a day just to build engagement, refining my client experience, email templates, and all the things… it was brutal.
But all of it led me to my big picture plan! All of that work that felt meaningless LED ME TO THAT BIG THING I WANTED. Because success takes time.
If you want some more encouragement, truth, and tough love to fill your cup download this FREE Photographer’s Guide to Overcoming Self Doubt!