(We don’t think so!)
There are a lot of photographers in the market and there were a lot of photographers when we started as well. There will be a lot of photographers tomorrow and 10 years from now, but they will not necessarily be the same people.
Why people get out of the industry is the very reason why you should stay in.
If you are good at your craft, have all your policies and procedures in place and are working hard then hold on tight and watch your competition fall by the wayside.
Take your eye off the ball for too long and you may become one of the statistics.
Realize that running a business is always a work in progress. You can’t remain stagnant. To be in it for the long term you have to learn from mistakes, update best practices, keep your systems working for you, energize your why and evolve your skills.
Here’s a simple example: a Milner makes one style of hat. His/her hat might be the most popular hat in the world at that exact moment. If he only makes one style of hat and never evolves or changes it, the rest of the world moves on to the next hat that another Milner made.
Maybe 10 people buy that original hat but the rest of the hat consumers have moved on. They want something new. The original Milner realizes that selling those handful of hats is not enough for their business to survive.
Because they never evolved, they are forced to pursue another revenue stream by selling real estate and driving a school bus in order to continue saying “I make that hat!”.
Staying relevant does not mean that have to be trendy.
Staying relevant means that every part of your business embraces the idea of moving forward while maintaining the core of who you are as a photographer.
A real life example is the French luxury brand Chanel.
Chanel has been around for over 100 years because they have consistently evolved what they offer yet remain consistently true to their brand.
When Coco Chanel came up with the idea to launch her dream, especially in Paris, she had to look around and think that “wow there are a lot of designers” but she felt she had something different, something that only she could offer the world.
Fast forward a century and their fashion is still completely recognizable and distinctly Chanel yet with a 21st century appeal.
There is a thread of who they are, who they will be that runs through their whole history as a brand.
Every season Chanel doesn’t throw everything into the trash and reinvent the fashion wheel.
They rely on their timeless designs, trademark suits and little black dresses as their core. Their style keeps evolving by the season yet you can trace their style from current times back to their beginnings.
You don’t look at Chanel’s latest collection and say to yourself, Chanel has not done anything new in 50 years. Yet anyone who looks at a Chanel collection can see that consistent thread of who they are.
If Coco Chanel were here today and looked back at who her direct competitors were then, are they still around? Maybe a few but I’m sure the vast majority have slipped away, out of our memories. If she had allowed her brand to stagnate, not learned from her mistakes and if she ran a poor business, is Chanel the fashion power house it is now?
Running a successful small business involves making a ton of mistakes but learning from them.
Not everyone was cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Some photographers will be forced out of the game because they can’t pay their bills, some will decide it’s easier to work for someone else, others will lose the passion that they once had, some will decide that they would enjoy pursuing an easier, more lucrative path and others will fade away because some other opportunity presented it self.
You will succeed because you want to.
Because you have planned on it.
Because you have done your homework.
Because you learn from your mistakes.
Because you understand your industry.
Because you have the passion for your art.
Because you thrive as an entrepreneur.
Because you aren’t afraid of waking up every day and knowing you can do this.
Because you recognize that running a successful photography business takes more than being a good photographer.
You accept that being an artist means you have to constantly evolve. You should always want to get better.
We know now, just like 25 years ago when we started, that we were both drawn to a photo journalistic, documentary style of photography that tells a story.
And that style is still at the core of our business. We’re just better at it today.
Trust me, you can and will run a successful photography business. What may seem a like a dream now will be a reality in no time.
And a sweet little note from my hubs on seeing a photo anywhere!