Work harder...because I've earned it? Sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out.
When I first started my weddings business in 2003 I quit my day job and went full time with no safety net. In fact, my husband was between jobs at the time as well.
And because of a nice timing “right-time-right-place-right-girl” scenario I was first and best to the market. First and best usually wins out at least initially. And it did for me.
It came very easy. Too easy.
I was making money so fast that I kind of stopped working at it. Something was missing.
The key ingredient missing for me was innovation.
I was just doing the exact same thing to capture clients for many years. And then another photographer came along and did the same. And then another. And then another…and then…fast forward 10 years with little or no innovation and you get the picture.
No one, including me, was innovating any part of the business model.
No one was even asking the question “should I innovate” because photographers were in such demand.
Without innovation customers can easily find new and better alternatives.
And this should be a very recognizable scenario to you if you are a photographer.
Because while photographers will always be in demand - there are so darn many of them now. Stand back and take a look at choosing a photographer from a customer POV.
And is there anything REALLY that different between us all?
Is anyone doing anything so innovative that they stand out? It’s painful to say, but the answer is usually no.
So I've decided to innovate and never stop. Because I earned the right to work hard and make my business the best it can be. Gosh darn it.
Think you might need to innovate too? Here are 3 clear signs.
Three clear signs that a business model is not innovating (aka, working hard enough):
Everyone is copying each other will little or no improvements to the service or offerings.
Customers easily find, and are happy with, alternatives.
And the REAL clear sign is that you can’t raise your prices.
And here is another cold, hard fact and I know because #ILearnedTheHardWay #SoYouDontHave to:
Even if none of those apply to you RIGHT NOW, it probably means you are first/best of some kind. Which 100% will dry up if you don’t WORK HARD and INNOVATE. And if it dries up while you are in denial, it will be very hard to correct.
Think KODAK. No innovation, denial, death. (And if you said "Kodak who?” Yah. Try googling KODAK and see what comes up first).
But on the flip side, a success case story.
Look at Squarespace.
Worked very hard to innovate when they saw that html & flash sites were going to be obsolete with mobile technology. They obliterated all of the offerings they had (no matter how much money they had invested in them - argh - so hard!) and invested everything in mobile technology. Even a beloved brand like Squarespace can never stop innovating. Or else.
And if you think are different, dear photographer, you are not. Innovate. Do the very hard work, because you have earned it. You and your clients deserve the best.
Are you one of the unicorn photographers who is working hard & innovating and having it pay off? Tell me about it. I’m looking for case studies. I’ll make it worth your while.
Or are you like most talented photographers and having some success by just doing what everyone else is doing - but deep down you know you could be doing more, so much more? Tell me about that too. Let’s work it out together.