Episode 15: How To Make Decisions When You’re Stuck (Part 2)
with Sarah Petty
Welcome to part two of how to make decisions in your business when you’re stuck. Because there’s nothing worse than being stuck in indecision prison. Let’s be real, there’s not a photography business owner on earth who hasn’t experienced it. And it’s keeping you from doing a good job in ANY of your roles in life.
On part two of How to Make Decisions When You’re Stuck, I’m diving a little bit deeper into four more decision-making filters that help portrait photographers improve their photography businesses. So first, if you haven’t listened to part one, go back and do that here. Now let’s get started with part two.
Make Decisions to Put Family First in Your Photography Business
Number five. It’s a core value. It’s what drives me to be the person I want to be and is one of the most important things in my business. I put my #familyfirst. Family first is so important to me because we don’t leave the safety and stability of a job if there’s not a benefit bigger than money. We always want to put our family first.
Do I have guilt about leaving my photography business to go on a college visit with my youngest child recently? Heck no. That is why I work so hard. I’m addicted to college visits, so there is no way I would miss them. I put these things on my calendar and work around them.
Sometimes my kids want me to do something with them in the afternoon. It doesn’t happen often, but why have guilt about that? If my schedule is open and I don’t have to reschedule a client, I can go. If I had a boss, they’d laugh and say, “No, you have to be here at 9:00 AM and take lunch from 12:00 to 1:00. Don’t come a minute late.” I’ve been at those kinds of places. That is not a fun place to work. Take advantage of being your own boss and spend time with your kids. Remembering why you do what you do will bring you motivation to say yes to new opportunities when they come your way.
Family First is Not An Excuse To Slack Off
On the flip side of family first, here is my pet peeve. Family first is not an excuse to be a sloppy business person. When we’re boutique photographers, we serve our clients at the highest level. I remember a couple of years ago I had a meeting scheduled with someone. They had confirmed it, and I worked my day around it. I knew she was a mom who had small kids. We had a great connection. An hour before the meeting she emailed me that her sitter canceled and she didn’t have childcare. It was not professional. Canceling is disrespectful to people you are working with.
If you’re serving boutique clients at the highest level, you have to have backup plans. Canceling plans is how we get labeled as not a quality business owner. It’s not because we don’t have a fancy brick and mortar studio. It’s because we don’t have solid business practices.
If put your kiddos’ schedule on the calendar first and work around it, your life will be amazing. I have done that for the twenty-ish years I’ve been in business and I’ve rescheduled five clients due to personal reasons. My whole team knows that I do not reschedule. I don’t take it lightly, and I do anything I can so I don’t have to reschedule.
If you say, “My family doesn’t respect my business.” It’s because you don’t respect it and treat it like a business. If you start doing what you say you’re going to do, all of a sudden people won’t be asking you to babysit during the day because you don’t go to a job.
Change Your Perspective On Selling
Number six, selling is good serving. At the end of the day, when you’re a photography business owner you have sales goals. You have to go out there and make money. Maybe you’re short for the end of the month or you have to pay rent on your studio. You’re scared of selling your photos, and you’re paralyzed by moving forward with sales. Whenever I get in a sales situation that makes me feel uncomfortable, I remind myself that good selling is actually serving my photography clients.
Selling is About the Photography Client, Not You
Nobody likes someone being pushy and salesy. I have a mentor who always talks about being in a place of ‘needership’ instead of a place of leadership. If you’re looking at your photography business and you can’t pay the bills, you might consider getting a part-time job. Because if you’re desperate and freaking out to sell something that you created for someone who hired you as their photographer, that’s not good service. That’s about you, not about your photography clients.
When you meet with your photography clients, show them samples of your photography wall art and hold their hand from start to finish, you realize you are not being pushy or salesy. You are serving your photography clients at a high level. Selling is good serving when you make it about serving your clients, not about you needing money. Come from a place of leadership, not needership.
Your Decisions Create Results In Your Photography Business
Number seven, take personal responsibility for yourself and your results. When you try to blame someone else for your situation, realize that you are where you are in your business, because of the decisions you have made. Nobody made you, nobody forced you. If someone did, hopefully, you’re away from that person now.
Here’s what I want you to know: Nobody is going to come in and save you. You are the only one that has the power to do that. You will be stuck where you are as long as you blame other people. I know some of you have had to overcome major obstacles in your life and you were dealt a junky hand. There’s no way around that. But if you are stuck ask yourself, “Why am I stuck?”
Don’t Blame Others For What Goes Wrong
When you ask yourself why you are stuck and the answer points to someone else, there’s a problem. You’re not taking personal responsibility. As long as you’re not taking personal responsibility, you’re going to stay stuck. It’s paralyzing you from moving forward, from taking decisions, and from investing in making your life better.
Take that power back by saying yes to yourself. Tell yourself “I’m where I am, in my photography business, because of the decisions I have made. I have the power to get out of this situation by making the decision that is in front of me.” That’s how we get unstuck. We stop playing the shame and blame game.
Celebrate Yourself When Making Decisions in Your Photography Business
Number eight, celebrate after the yes. After you say yes to yourself, say, “I am a good decision-maker! I made this decision and I’m going to celebrate the fact that I made a decision. I may fail and I will learn from that. I’m going to feel better about myself than I ever have before.”
When you live in the ‘I’m going to think about it’ world, you’re attracting photography clients who can’t make decisions. You’ve got to be able to make a decision and celebrate it, so that you can help your photography clients make a decision they feel great about. If you tell yourself, “I stink at making decisions in my photography business,” your subconscious is hearing you.
Celebrate after the yes, so when you make a decision, you’re happy about it. You have to be good at making decisions in your photography business. The things we’re doing in our business are things we’re modeling for our children. They’re going to see us saying, “I’m going to think about it.” Then, when they get opportunities, they will say, “I’m going to think about it.”
Each Failure is a Learning Experience
Even when you’re scared, you’re learning when you’re failing. Does making better decisions happen overnight? Of course not, it takes time. Start by simplifying your life so you don’t have to make useless decisions, and every time you make a decision, reward yourself.
I’m a huge believer that to be able to get to where we want to go, we have to make decisions in our photography business. Whether it turns out in our favor or not, we’ve got to learn to praise ourselves for saying yes. We get so much criticism in our lives, that when we’re actually going for our dreams, we have to reward ourselves for taking any kind of action. Perfect action always beats imperfect action. I hope I’ve inspired you in these past two episodes to take action on something you are stuck on and move your life, and your photography business, forward.
I'm Sarah Petty
I’m a photographer living in the middle of a cornfield (central Illinois), momma of three teenage kiddos (plus a cat & dog) and an educator for all things photography business. Favorites: Earl Grey Tea (not coffee!), anything orange and clothes that are made for tall girls