10 YEARS SELF-EMPLOYED – 10 BUSINESS LESSONS
Today is my 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY of being self-employed! 10 whole years, a whole DECADE of working for myself doing photography, alongside bringing up my son by myself as a single mum. It’s flown by and felt a whole lifetime at the same time!
When I think back to those early days – the worry, the stress, the unknown I felt. Through the struggles and literal blood, sweat and tears, to having my work in magazines and on billboards world-wide, winning awards I held in high prestige, being flown around the globe to dream destinations, photographing shoots on private jets, under waterfalls, in random hotels in NYC, with celebrities, and to date 225 weddings. Honestly, it has not been easy and I’ve built all this with my own hands, from the ground up. So, *SO* many times I’ve wanted to just be done. But the passion and drive for what I love to do has always spurred me on, a deep hunger to always do and be better. For myself, my son, and those who trust in my vision and book me for photography. And goodness me the lessons I’ve learned along the way, to now where I have an established business earning a good living and choosing which clients I take on. What a rollercoaster it’s been! (I’m definitely not crying as I’m typing this!).
10 business lessons I’ve learned over 10 years of being self-employed
So I thought I’d put together 10 pieces of advice; 10 business lessons I’ve learned over 10 years of being self-employed, to help you if you need it…
1 – Learn to say NO early on. When you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re saying no to something else. I used to say yes to everything, just in case. But oftentimes it meant others benefitted from my time, and I lost out. Your time is precious. Only give your time to things that YOU see value in.
2 – YOU are more important than your business. My GOODNESS how I wish I’d learned this earlier! You must come first, you cannot help others when pouring from an empty cup! There is an ever struggle for a good work-life balance when you work for yourself, but always hold yourself and your own wellbeing of utmost importance!
3 – It’s NOT just about equipment. Another lesson I wish I’d learned early on! It’s not about buying the latest lens that will grow your business; it’s about mindset and LEARNING that will take everything to the next level. Always be open to learning and growing; being a better version of yourself.
4 – Don’t do things for ‘EXPOSURE’. Honestly, this never comes to anything. And believe me I’ve done enough of it over the years. Again, make sure you only put your time into things which are of value to YOU.
5 – You don’t need to do it ALL, right now. Every day, little by little, step by step you’re getting things done. If you focus on it all, then it can be overwhelming. Just focus on today and each step in turn.
6 – Set yourself GOALS. And from those goals break it down into smaller tasks and work out an action plan. It really helps to have a clear path for where you want to be and how to get there.
7 – People buy PEOPLE! When I started to put myself out there, show ME and behind the scenes of my business, it grew hugely. People like to see the face behind what you do, so let them in and show them how and why you do what you do.
8 – Always under-promise and OVERDELIVER. Always give that little bit extra than people expect, always put in the little bit more effort and heart. Your passion and dedication will shine through, and nothing is better for future business than a glowing testimonial!
9 – Diversify your income. It’s OK to adapt your business and have multiple income streams. I used to think I was only a ‘professional photographer’ if I ONLY did photography. But then I realised branching out into mentoring and education HELPED more people and actually GREW my business. Be open to adapt and diversify your business if need be.
10 – YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! It doesn’t matter what he or she is doing over there, it matters what YOU are doing right now, today. And know that it is enough!
I hope you’ve found this advice helpful and I hope your business thrives! Here’s to following your heart, feeling the fear but doing it anyway, and believing in yourself! Nx
The waiting list is currently open for my SUCCESS ACCELERATOR, 5-Week Group Mentoring Programme for Photographers… enrolment opens in November 2020 and the programme starts in January 2021. You can add your name to the waiting list here: https://njw.nataliejweddings.com/group_mentoring_waiting_list
Thank you for supporting this incredible journey!
Thank you to my son Danny (pictured above) for humouring me and helping me out to take these photographs. Love you loads!
If you are planning your wedding in London, or your wedding anywhere else in the world then I would love to be your photographer & capture the story of your celebration for you… Please get in touch HERE. Nx