You are unique. You see situations differently than the next person. You have different preferences, skills and passions. That is what makes this world so interesting and what makes having your own business so exciting: no one does it quite like you.
It’s also what makes running a small business exhausting! All of those choices that you make day in and day out shape your business, and all of those choices are up to you! From the big choices like what your product or service will be, to smaller ones like the font design for your website; your business is a reflection of who you are and this can be a scary reality to face. So to avoid the weight of this, often we look to other people for questions only we can answer.
A few years into running her small business, Karina struggled with listening to her own voice as the authority on how to develop her business. She started Karina Louise Photography first and foremost because of the love of her craft. “I love taking photos of people. I like that every shoot is different. I like that moment when you show someone a natural and candid photo of themselves and it changes how they see themselves. I love when the light is just perfect.”
Of course, she also wanted to make money and support herself, but it all started with her passion for photographing people. Her goal was to grow her business to the point where she could quit her other side-jobs and just take photos full time. So when her business got to a certain size and she had a full schedule, she had to make a choice. “Do I keep my business the same size and just keep doing shoot after shoot and getting busier and busier? Or, do I change my business model and start hiring others to take photos or do photo editing for me?”
This might seem like a great problem to have, but it is still something important to decide. When you do good work and experience some success, then what? She really struggled with this, as there was both self-inflicted and external pressure to keep growing her business. But she knew deep down that she didn’t want to give up the parts of the work that she still found so energizing in exchange for other peoples definition of successful growth.
Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses.
“I just don’t like managing people. I can get behind hiring someone to do a particular task that I don’t know how to do. For example coding a website. This is not something I’m interested in learning or would probably be that good at even with a lot of training. However, hiring people to do something that I actually like to do and then making sure they do it properly isn’t how I want to spend my time! The potential for making more money was tempting, but there had to be another way.”
After feeling like she had plateaued, she started finding other ways to leverage her time. One of the perks of being in a creative business is that there is ALWAYS more than one way to do EVERYTHING!
Karina decided that doing more group shoots would be a good way to diversify her income stream without having to outsource help. So she set her eyes and efforts on corporate shoots. That way she could earn quite a bit more in one day and still get to enjoy her work with individuals as a natural headshot photographer.
In addition she also created some new packages, which attracted certain customers who were willing to pay her more for a more personalized photo shoot. By defining what success would look and feel like in her own life, she was able to increase her daily earnings, slightly increase her income and take even more time off for family and creative projects.
How do YOU define success?
More money doesn’t have to be the highest goal when running a business. For Karina, getting to take photos while supporting herself and having a flexible schedule was the measure of a success.
“I’m so glad that I dug a bit deeper and looked for ways to improve and expand my business that suited me personally. It wouldn’t have been the right choice for everyone, but it was the right choice for me.”
At the end of the day, the one who has to live in your life and business is you.
As your business grows, we encourage you to remember that you always have a choice and that bigger isn’t always better. Growing your small business to the right size for you is an important professional step to defining and experiencing success in your own life and on your own terms.