Can you be the one limiting your own business growth?
Do you feel like you’re constantly working, trying everything, spinning your wheels and yet seeing very slow growth (or worse, no growth at all? Are you a mom trying to run a business you love, but feeling overwhelmed that maybe you can’t continue if something changes, yet you have no idea how to get off the hamster wheel?
If you answered yes, stick around. This article is written just for you.
You may wonder who am I to give advice on running a business. I’m not a Fortune 500 CEO, no. But I am a mother of 5 who has grown her business, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but who figured out what systems work for my business and my family so that I’m not spinning on that hamster wheel. You see, I have been in your shoes and found a way through that glass ceiling stopping you’re hitting right now.
The next 4 things I’m about to share with you might be something you are doing right now. That is okay, you can become aware and start making changes so that you can start growing.
Ready? Let’s go.
Limiting Growth Action #1: You are treating your business like a side hustle.
Even if it really is a side hustle right now, stop thinking of it like one. It is a business, treat it like one. Side hustles are just that, something on the side, something that are often put on the back burner, and that come after everything else. It’s hard to grow something that isn’t a priority.
Even if your business is your only job but you stay home with the kids, are you saying “I’m a stay at home mom. Oh and I take photos of families?” STOP IT! (I did this for a long time). You’re not a stay at home mom, your a bad ass business owner who also happens to spend your days with your kids.
Again, this is a lot about the language you’re using. Start talking about your business like a business, not a side gig, something you do in your free time, or something to pass the time. That mindset is holding you back and thus, holding your business back.
So say it with me. “Hello, my name is (fill in your name) and I run a (type of photography) photography business.”
Repeat daily until you stop saying anything else that belittles your business.
Limiting Growth Action #2: You are not acting like a CEO.
This one might sound like the first, but this is more specific about how you’re running your business.
Now that you’re saying you run a business, time to start acting like it. A CEO puts in the work and has a plan.
Are you setting aside specific work hours each week? You should be. Once again, you cannot just wait for time to appear, you must make time. Are you focused on how to use that time?
Are you setting yearly, monthly, and weekly goals for your business? Have you revisited those goals regularly?
Once you start thinking like a CEO, treating your business like a business, and putting your business first, you can start to see growth.
Of course, I don’t mean work 60 hour work weeks, neglect your family, or put your kids in front of screens all day to get some work done. However, ensuring that you have focused and scheduled time while having purpose and goals for your business is a far cry from that. Trust me.
Limiting Growth Action #3: You are making excuses and blaming the competition for your lack of growth.
This is one of my favorites. I see it often. “There are too many photographers hardly charging anything, I can’t charge more.” Or all the “cheap” photographers are stealing all of my business.
I hate to break it to you, but they have nothing to do with your lack of business or lack of growth.
First, because those people paying $50 for a full family session is not your ideal client. A family that would pay $500 (or more) is not the same family that would pay $50. They are different people, see photography differently, and value the photographer differently. So stop that thinking first.
Second, there is plenty of business to go around. Let me repeat that. There is plenty of business to go around. How many sessions can you do in a year, really? How many families can you photograph? 100? MAYBE 150 (and that’s a lot of sessions). Okay, how many families are in your area? I’m betting that’s a lot more than 100. There is plenty of business to go around, so stop blaming your competition for your lack of growth.
Once again, once you get off that mindset you’ll see yourself grow. Focusing on your business, how you can best serve your clients and how you can reach new ideal clients should be where you put your effort. Stay off Facebook looking at other photographer’s rates and work, it isn’t serving you.
Limiting Growth Action #4: You’re not investing in yourself or your business.
There is a big difference between not wanting to take on any debt for your business (which I fully agree with, don’t take on debt) and not investing in your business.
In those early days you may have to scrape together every penny together you make and save by doing all of your accounting, invoicing, emails, editing, the list goes on. I get it. However, there comes a time when your time is too valuable to be doing those things you don’t enjoy and that take you too long. Find ways to invest in things like CRM (like HoneyBook) to save you time in sending emails, invoicing and collecting contracts. Dread updating your accounting books? I bet a bookkeeper could do the work faster, saving you time, headache and money in the long run.
In addition to not spending money on your business, you may not be spending money on yourself. You’re the CEO, remember. You need to invest in your own personal growth, business courses, photography courses to help you grow your art, or even courses for the mind, spirit and body. You need to be in a good place to run a business, don’t forget about you.
Which of these limiting actions are you doing?
How can you start to change these beliefs and start running your business like a business? When you do make these changes you will naturally begin to see growth in your business. You will feel relief that you’re off that hamster wheel of doing all the things all the time, yet going no where. You will also realize you’re a badass CEO of an amazing business that matters, that your voice matters, and that you love what you do when you treat it like it should be treated.
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