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So you’ve made the decision to go pro. You’ve made a plan (see Part 1 of this series) set a start-up budget (Part 2) and now you need to spread the word that you’re in business! If you’re just starting out, you likely don’t have a large amount of money for advertising. The good news is that there are plenty of free, or low-cost ways to market yourself! (For a great article on this, see the *link at the bottom) Thinking up creative ways to market wasn’t a huge obstacle to me though – it was worrying about people’s opinions of my work.
My biggest hurdle in starting my own business was that I was crippled with fear over putting up my images for public display. The odd thing was, it wasn’t my clients I was worried about. Their untrained eyes seemed to look past my minor struggles with nailing details (“the wrinkle in the baby blanket is making me crazy!” “what wrinkle?” my husband says) as I got to know my camera and felt more comfortable. No, they didn’t faze me – it was worrying about what other photogs thought that made me sick to my stomach. What if they looked at my website and laughed at my lack of images in my portfolio? What if my editing skills screamed “kindergartner with a crayon”?
I knew if I waited until I felt like everything looked perfect, I would never start collecting any money! I put my big-girl pants on, launched my website, and invited my friends to “like” my Facebook page. I continued to make minor edits and adjustments to my website as I collected more (and better) images, and grew more confident all the time. I still catch myself staring at established photographer’s websites and envying how incredible they look, but that’s when I have to remind myself that everyone has to start somewhere. I don’t believe any successful photographer would tell you that they haven’t improved or developed their style since they began.
What are YOU afraid of? Are you letting your fears get in the way of being successful? Do your homework, make a business plan, master your camera, and then BE CONFIDENT! People are drawn to confidence – not arrogance – but someone who is secure in his or her abilities. When I post images now, I tell myself “I like this. Everyone on earth doesn’t have to agree, and I am okay with that!”
Just remember, everyone has to start somewhere. What’s holding YOU back?
*Read 5 Simple Steps to Build a Solid Client base here.
Shannan Painter is a newbie photographer who has spent the last 5 years working on the left side of her brain helping small businesses organize their accounting and taxes. She decided to take the big step and pursue her dream of becoming a professional photographer in 2013 after adding a third boy to her house that was already full of superheroes, trucks, and sports equipment. She and her husband, who is a local TV meteorologist, play pick-up games of basketball in their free time and like to take road trips to Lake Minnetonka with all 3 boys, and their dog Growler.