It’s easy to be impatient when you’re starting/growing a business.. or anything else that takes long-term persistence. But the great part of the calendar rolling over is that it gives us a chance to look back and assess the things we need to change as well as bask in the glow of our accomplishments.
My big goal for 2021 was to get into a position where the studio was paying for itself. Not that I was amassing rockstar wealth. Not that my fame was spreading from coast to coast (although I wouldn’t have complained about either). I simply wanted to get better at my craft and pay for the roof over my head. And, the other day, as I was looking at my rent for the next year, I realized that I was going to be able to take an entire year’s rent out of my business checking account (as opposed to dipping into my personal account.. again).. and pay the coming year of rent. THAT is mission accomplished!
It seems like a small goal and I’m really glad I don’t have to rely on photography for all of my income (yet). But it’s a step. When fairly new businesses come into large amounts of money (in the form of bailouts, etc), I always have to question how they handled their money up to that point. It would seem that throwing a bunch of money into someone or something that doesn’t know how to deal with it well is just a recipe for repetition. Perhaps that’s why so many companies start, grow and then implode? There are lessons you learn along the way to growth that build a foundation of endurance and I’m just not sure those are in place when you become an overnight success. And don’t let them fool you! A photography business, whether it’s headshot photography or any other kind, is primarily BUSINESS and it’s not for the weakly committed.
So I’ll take my slow and steady growth. Next year, I’d like to do the same plus avoid paying for anything out of my own pocket. Steady as she goes!
This year also brought my first larger corporate shoots. Of course, I knew what I needed to do but, until you do them, it can be intimidating. But you go in and do what you know and it works out great. (I crushed them.) I also had someone come in and say that their agent referred them to me. What an amazing feeling THAT is! It tells me that the word’s getting out. That’s huge!
Of course, not everything was sunshine and roses. I started the year with COVID and wasn’t in the studio for the first two months. This fall, I had to postpone a trip to go shoot in Hollywood with my favorite actor headshot photographer. I was looking forward to that but.. circumstances. Maybe this year, I hope.
I’ve worked through all sorts of technical issues. Dealt with lighting challenges. Scheduling conflicts. One dead flash battery. A few no-shows. But I got to shoot SO many wonderful people. (Even well-known headshot guy, Peter Hurley, has commented several times that I know a lot of cool-looking people. Yeah.. I know, right?!) And I find that I look back on the problems here are there as things I overcame. Things that build a foundation of endurance. I’m validly kinda happy about them.
And if 2021 can be that amazing.. just wait!