Living the American Dream

Living the American Dream

For some, working for yourself is the stuff of great dreams.  The satisfaction and freedom of working on your schedule and setting your own goals are what people refer to as living The Dream, right?  The freelance photography life can be hard.  It’s work like every other job. There are long hours for little pay. It can be isolating having no co-workers to speak to or have lunch with and it absolutely lacks the stability of a weekly paycheck.  You have to be dedicated and follow some well defined goals in order to make it work.  So in honor of the upcoming Independence Day holiday, we believe it’s a good time to revisit the guidelines that will help you succeed as an independent photographer.

1.Set Goals

It may seem simple,  but you need to sit down and figure out exactly what you want from your business.  Make attainable goals and give yourself a deadline to make those goals happen.  Decide on a brand and a style.  Figure out who you are as a photographer and as a business before asking people to invest in you.

2. Create A Business Plan that Matches Those Goals

Once you’ve figured out what you want and set some goals, create a plan that is going to help you get there.  It’s important to have a clear brand identity that can be used in marketing and advertising. It’s also extremely important to figure out how much startup capital you will need to be successful in reaching your goals and creating your brand.

3. Find Your Target Market

The next step is defining your target market. There are a number of tools on the internet that can help you find your market based on your goals and your interests. The more clearly defined brand you create, the easier it is to find the proper customer. It’s also important to understand what other businesses with similar branding are doing so that you can develop something different. For instance, if everyone else solely relies on social media, a nostalgic postcard will make you standout.  Trial and error will happen.  Expect it and embrace the failures as well as the triumphs.  You can learn a lot from failure and use it to adjust and adapt.

4. Invest Your Time

Time may seem obvious to you, but the market is flooded with people who think they can make a go of professional photography.  The difference will be how hard you work to get your name out there and get yourself noticed. It will take time and it will be hard, but for those willingly to work hard the rewards are great. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Remember that. Be patient and invest as much time as you can, but remember to have fun and do what inspires you too.  Enjoy the journey.

5. Focus on The Quality

Arguably one of the most important things in photography is the quality of your work. You can work hard and have all the goals in the world but if your photos aren’t good, it won’t matter.  Spend time shooting. Find your style and hone your craft. If you have to explain why your photos are better than your competitors, they aren’t. The photos should speak for themselves, especially in today’s market where anyone with an iPhone and home printer can take mediocre photos and sell them, it is important to find ways to make your photos stand out. Be yourself and do good work. Success will come.

Owning and running a photography business can be very rewarding and fun. Enjoy it. You are the American Dream.

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