Episode 21: Why Learning More Won’t Fix Your Photography Business

with Sarah Petty

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Remember when you learned to swap a head in Photoshop?

That was the best feeling.

What about learning how to run a profitable photography business?

That takes so much longer. Decades, even.

At least that’s what you’re telling yourself.

You’re saying that you can’t grow or start your photography business because you don’t know enough yet.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to stop learning.

That’s right!

As an entrepreneur, we have to solve problems.

There is no memorization and regurgitation because we are living it.

I invest so much in learning to grow my photography business, but for the learning to work, you can’t stop there.

Fail, Then Fix It

I know that for me to understand what I am learning in my photography business, I have to focus on implementing it. And when I implement, I’ll probably fail at some point.

When that happens, I have to fix it.

I have to figure it out and get it right.

And that’s when the real learning and growth for my photography business begins.

NOT when I invest in a course (that I may or may not ever consume).

Not when I sit back and watch a course online, watch videos, listen to podcasts, or read books. 

Here’s what I mean by that.

When I started the Joy of Marketing, I created course after course for people to go and learn.

There’s courses on 

  • Pricing
  • Marketing
  • Framing
  • Auctions
  • Branding

And lots of photographers would hop into those courses.

They were ready to solve their problem.

Then, they get stuck when it gets hard. They freeze up, get head trash and quit.

That’s what’s wrong with the courses out there today.

There are so many things out there that we can find information on, but information is not enough.

I know you are good at learning.

I see you.

You check the box and you move on to the next thing. But, you don’t get any results because you don’t apply yourself.

This holds back so many photographers from taking action because they tell themselves they haven’t learned it yet. 

You’re never going to learn it all.

Once you implement, fail, and learn a lesson, there’s another thing for you to change and fix.. 

Here’s the lie about learning in Your photography business.

If you don’t implement, learning is just glorified story time.

You have to make stuff happen.

For example, when learning to ride a bike, you failed over and over until one day, you succeeded. 

To learn, you have to fail.

The key is learning to manage the head trash when you fail. You have to decide that you’re willing to get through being bad at something, so you can become good at it.

Your business is worth sticking out.

Three Steps to Growing, Not Learning in Your Photography Business

Step One: Implement

Number one, implement.

You can’t just learn, you have to implement.

You've watched the video about how to ride a bike. 
You've read about it.
You've seen other people do it.
You've watched your parents and friends do it.
You know where to put your foot.
You know where to put your hands.
But you can't explain balance to somebody until you get on the bike.

I want you to do it.

I want you to get on the bike and implement what you learned. 

Step Two: Want to fail

Maybe you’re going to fail.

I want you to think about failure as learning.

That’s one of our core values.

Failure is learning.

Mistakes are nothing more than proof that you’re trying and making progress.

Who determined that failing is shameful? Those people that sit in their safe home, and don’t do anything risky. They’re living a boring, safe life, full of judgment.  

If you get 100 clients to pay you $1000 for your photography, you have a $100,000 business.

There are going to be haters.

If they want to talk about you because you made a mistake in your business, let them. They’re going to stay on that same sofa their whole boring life while you are growing as a person.

I want you to fail. I want you to fall off the bike.

But then, I want you to get back on.

Step Three: Get Feedback

Get feedback after you learn and implement.

This is where a lot of photographers go wrong.

They implement, fail, and stop again.

When you learned to ride a bike, your parents were saying, “Lean left. Lean right. Watch out, the car is coming.” They saved you from a bigger crash. They kept encouraging you to get back on the bike.

This is so important. Implementing, failing, getting feedback. 

This is how my photography business workshop called Boutique Breakthrough was born.

I was so tired of photographers learning about their photography business, but not implementing during these study at home courses where everyone could go at their own pace.

Some were getting amazing results, but I saw so many photographers making excuses and telling me why they couldn’t do what I laid out. 

So I put together this Boutique Breakthrough course with a group of photographers.

I made them do the steps together.

I made them fall and get feedback from me. It was fantastic. Each step, I would empty their head trash to keep them from getting stuck. 

They would create their pricing. I would look at it and I would say, “No, go back. Fix this. Tweak this. Change this.” They would come back again, and fix, tweak, change, until it was perfect and they were ready to go. 

Head Trash Comes When You Do Things Right

There’s head trash that comes with doing that.

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I can’t charge that.
  • My clients just want digital files.
  • All my competitors just give digital files.

I helped them work through that head trash in the Boutique Breakthrough workshop.

Each time we did the workshop, we’d make it better and better. And now, it’s my favorite thing I do because the photographers are seeing amazing results. 

They’re getting back on the bike when they fall off.

They’re not hiding behind a video at home, or reading a book, and not taking the risk. 

I want you to join us. Be a part of my amazing Boutique Breakthrough workshop.

It’s starting live Monday, October 5th.

This is the last one we’re doing in 2020.

Go through the whole thing, and if you aren’t thrilled, you can get your money back.

We scrub through your system, your pricing, your selling, and your marketing, so that you can have your own Boutique Breakthrough.

There’s no more hiding in the safety of learning.

That’s a lie you’ve been telling yourself, that you need to learn more.

You need to do more.

connect with portrait photographer Sarah Petty on instagram to help you with learning in your photography

Sarah Petty Podcast How To Save Your Photography Business

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 

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