It's the beginning of 2019 and you're reading this because you either have just started your biz, or you feel like you're in a rut and you want to learn how to move forward in your business. It's hard to believe, but I went full time with my business now more than five years ago (December 1st, woop)!
In the last five years, I've learned a slew of things that work and don't work when it comes to running a business; but no matter how much the industry has changed, or how much I have changed and grown in the last five years, these five things always remain the same and have helped me scale my business over the years....
1. Personalization Matters and will help you grow a LOYAL following over the years.
Personalization can mean a lot of different things when it comes to running a business...in these days, people are more conscious of who and what they buy from. People buy from someone who makes a product that aligns with their values and is good for the earth. They buy from someone who can relate to something you shared on social media. Or, perhaps the most common of all, they buy from a referral...because their friend bought from you and loved you so much. No matter what, it's important to get personal in your business. Knowing your clients and ways you can relate to them can help you grow tremendously this year and years to come.
2. "NO" is the best word you can adopt.
Oh how I wish so many more people understood the value in saying "NO". When you say no to the things that don't drive your business, you're saying yes to the things that do. Is there just something you find no fulfillment in? Chances are, you know what it is in your business that you'd like to continue with, and you also know what it is that you'd rather do without. By saying no to those things you'd rather do without, you're opening up the door to more opportunities for saying yes to the things that will drive the success of your business. You will do yourself and your clients a dis-service the more you say "YES" to the things that don't fuel you towards the future.
In 2017 I started saying NO to all portrait sessions, and only said YES to weddings and engagements. This has helped me to more than double my income, inquiries, and more. I'm now at the point where I am able to have an associate photographer and hope to bring on one more in 2019. I can now serve my clients well and with intention because I'm only serving one niche, and am no longer distracted by things that I never even loved to begin with.
3. Stories create experience, and experience matters more than the product or service you offer.
You might offer the most incredible product or service, but if you don't know how to tell the story of that product or service, and the stories of your clients....I hate to break it to ya, but you'll likely have a hard time getting a sale. This goes back to my point about conscious consumerism. These days, people would rather buy from someone who can relate to them, or someone who gave their friend the best experience ever. Since implementing stories into my business, I've been able to double my income and inquiries, and book clients who actually want me because of me and not just because they are price shopping.
4. Stay in your lane...it really doesn't matter what that other business owner is doing...I'll say it louder for the people in the back...IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THAT OTHER BUSINESS OWNER IS DOING!
I can promise you this: your best work will be the work that you do when you put your blinders on and don't notice what that other business owner is doing. I'll be honest, I've wasted too much time comparing myself to other small businesses, and nothing has come out of it. The times that I've succeeded the most are the times that I've trusted my gut, found out what worked best for me, and stopped looking at others. I want nothing more than the same for you in 2019.
5. Nike wasn't wrong. Just do it.
Ultimately, when you are running your own business, let's just get real for a sec, none of us have a clue what we're doing (ha). The only way to figure it out is to just do it. I'm ending on this point because I hope that this year you learn to just go for the things you've always wanted to try. I hope that you can learn what works best for YOU this year, and I hope that you can continue to grow by trusting your gut.
Happy New Year! Have a question you'd like me to dedicate a blog post to? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly write a blog post just for you :).
Have a great weekend!