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Starting Your Photography Business: Things Take Time to Grow

If you’re a mom with kids, chances are good that they’ve brought you home a plant for Mother’s Day at some point.  Just last week my 6 year-old brought me home a little sprout in a hand-made clay pot. I asked him what it was. 

“A flower”, he said. 

“But what kind of flower?” I asked.

“Who knows!” he replied.

Hmmm….I guess we’ll find out in a few months.

Patience may be a virtue – it’s just not one of mine. When I buy flowers, I go to a greenhouse and buy the kind that someone else has invested the time and energy into to mature so that they are already blooming by the time I get there. Don’t get me wrong – I TREASURE when my son brings me home gifts that he made – I just typically like the immediate gratification of buying plants that are already flowering when I work in my yard. 

Yesterday I was driving home from a newborn shoot (TWINS no less!) that went all wrong. I felt like crying. All the time, energy, emotions, money, brainstorming, dreaming, and planning that I have been putting into my photography business seems to be producing nothing. Then, I thought of my son’s seed. Imagine being a 6 year-old who has planted a seed: you shove it down in the dirt where it is unseen, and every day you water it and leave it in the sunlight – except that for a long time, NOTHING HAPPENS! Did you feel like that when you started your business? Do you feel like that now? I do. 

When you first start a business, you don’t just get to go buy an already-flowering plant. You have to start with a seed: that seed is your dream. You have to water your dream. You have to give it sunlight. You have to keep doing the things you know make businesses grow, just like you have to keep giving a seed the things that make it grow – even when you can’t see anything happening. Keep shooting. Keep learning. Keep marketing. Learn from your mistakes. Get better. Get back up when things don’t go right. Remember that it takes time, and take each day – and each session – as they come. 

Last year I planted a poppy. When I planted it, it had three blossoms that eventually flowered. This year, when my poppy came up, I counted 23 blossoms! Think about a year from now. What do you hope your business to be? Write down some goals, put a picture of your favorite flower by them and put in your time. Who knows….maybe your business will look like some prize-winning roses by this time in a year. ;-)

Be sure to check out the post last week, Identifying The "Weeds" In Your Business.  

Shannan Painter is a newbie photographer who has spent the last 5 years working with 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 super heroes, 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.  Visit her on Facebook!

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