Many photographers, artists, and other self-employed creative types start their small business because they love what they do. After grinding out years of work, so many of these creative business owners feel stretched thin, overwhelmed and underpaid. They don’t know how to get out of the hamster wheel. They want to do the work that has always brought them joy, but it’s not paying them enough. They look for more clients to get more money, and that just creates more work that doesn’t pay.
Does this sound familiar?
As a creative entrepreneur, you’re in love with your craft. But so often, the business side of the equation doesn’t add up. Creativity is not meant to make you suffer. You can definitely succeed in a creative business with some focused attention on the things that matter. The trick is figuring out what those “things that matter” are.
The starving artist myth is a story people tell; it doesn’t have to be your reality.
Years of trial and error might eventually pay off for your Seattle business, but with the expertise of a small business branding coach at your disposal, you can fast-track your way to creating a company that’s profitable, sustainable, and scalable. You’ll get more out of your business so you can fall in love with it and feel fulfilled by your work once again.
These aren’t just words, I know the truth of it. I’ve been where you are.
During my first 10 years as a self-employed photographer, my business was failing. During that time, I made no profit, and I rarely paid myself. For the first 5 years, I honestly didn’t realize what was happening. I had accidentally stumbled into my photography business and was mostly interested in having fun. When I eventually decided to implement some proper bookkeeping, the financial funk I had created came into focus. I was definitely not making money.
When I awoke to the reality of my situation, I became obsessed with business education. I devoured every piece of information I could find about creating a strong brand and running a successful solo business. I found hundreds of ideas to help me improve.
I improved my brand by implementing the tactics that resonated with me the most: running specials, offering free trials, giving big discounts to “get my name out there”, and sending clients thank you notes and gifts to express my appreciation. I worked hard to create genuine relationships and offer a fantastic experience for my clients. I knew that over time, it would generate a team of raving fans, which would attract more great clients to my products and services. How could I lose?
But it didn’t work. Years went by, and I was still broke.
Eventually, my husband left his well-paying job, and the success of my small business became essential. I had no choice but to succeed, and this was the moment when I went all-in and finally learned the business branding basics that had been elusive for so long.
I discovered that a business is like an ecosystem: every choice you make has an impact on the whole, and there are more aspect in play than you might realize. A weakness in one area of your business can weaken the entire system. If you don’t maintain the integrity of the whole, the business machine will sputter out and die.
With my new awareness, and my eagerness to create a healthy company, I hired a small business branding coach who could teach me which gaps to fill in, and my world was transformed.
I am now a successful self-employed professional photographer, earning 6-figures annually. My business still requires money and effort to keep it going, and there are always improvements to be made. But there is momentum going, and as long as I nurture the system, it will continue to run as designed.
Once I had deciphered the missing code for my business, I was so excited! I had been talking, reading, and obsessing over small business branding for many years, and I finally knew how to balance things properly to make a difference! I talked to everyone I knew about it, and taught what I know to anyone I could. I discovered that my knowledge made a difference for people, and I suddenly had another business brewing.
Today, I am not only a photographer, but I am also a small business branding coach for photographers and other small business owners in Seattle. I help people strengthen their business and elevate their brand so they can finally attract clients they love and make money that matters.
If you’re ready to turn a corner and finally be the thriving artist you’ve dreamed of, I would love to help you create the business you want. Send me a message today.