When I started my business, I was the one-woman amateur show
I was this one-woman amateur show. I literally did everything all by myself. I made my own logo and it changed quite frequently. I created my own website with Adobe Dreamweaver, which I would definitely not recommend to anyone in my shoes. I spent so much time wasted just trying to DIY everything, and it showed.
If I was doing what everyone else was doing, I was never going to stand out.
I was also a sheep. I was doing what everyone else was doing, because if they were successful, then that must mean that I could be successful if I was following along. A lot of business owners make the mistake of looking around to see what everyone else is doing and doing what they’re doing to catch up and see if it works.
Turns out when we do this, we’re all blindly following each other, doing what everyone else is doing without any strategy or any reason behind it.
It wasn’t until I started investing in education that I started realized I was doing it all wrong.
Let me tell you my first education experience about 7 years ago.
Every year there’s a huge photography convention in Las Vegas called WPPI. I decided to sign up for it with a bunch of local photographers in my area, but when the date came to get in the car and drive with them, I was too anxious to go because it was the first time I was leaving my baby. He was one. He was 13 months and it was the first time I was leaving him and I couldn’t get in the car. I could not do it. So I backed out even after I’d bought my conference pass.
By Saturday I was in full regret. I was like, “Oh my gosh, they’re already there. They’re having so much fun.” I’m looking on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and I’m seeing all my all time favorite photographers there, I’m seeing all my friends that I was supposed to be with rooming together. I know I could find education online in books and through local workshops, but the chance of meeting these photography idols and growing outside of my area and stop looking for what the locals are doing and the people next door are doing and going above and beyond that, this was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss.
So I woke up on Monday thinking and thought…now or never. I called my husband and my aunt to watch my son. And hours later I was literally on a plane to Las Vegas for a spontaneous trip. The hardest part was leaving Brody. I cried, he cried, but we both survived. And I realized that this trip that I spent investing in my business and myself and in my education really propelled me ahead so much further, and that was a benefit for not just me, but for my family and for Brody as well.
Investing in education was expensive but cut down my learning curve by years.
The next day I ate breakfast with Katelyn and Michael James and Matt Kennedy. I met and learned from Trevor Daley and Elizabeth Messina. I shook hands with Kenneth Klosterman and Susan Roderick from Creative Live. I said hi to Sue Bryce in the lobby.
I was able to try the new Sigma 50 f/1.4 A lens before it even came out. I got a hundred dollars pass credit. I got sample packaging. I won a book by Seth Godin.
If you’re not in the photography world, this doesn’t make sense to you. You have no idea what I’m talking about. But this conference propelled my business forward by years in just 48 hours.
I went in for one thing and I came out with a million things I never even considered I needed.
I came home knowing what community I belonged in. In an industry where there are so many styles and ways to do things, I was always yo-yoing all over the place, and I came home with a mission statement, a plan. I felt validated in the way I did my business. I left with educators that served me and I found my tribe.
A few things I didn’t realize…
- If I was doing what everyone else was doing, I was never going to stand out.
- Investing in education was expensive but cut down my learning curve by years which makes me more profitable
- The more I invest in learning new things, the faster I would grow.