Hey y’all and welcome!
We just wrapped up our “Make More Money as a Photographer” Series and I’d LOVE to hear which episode was your favorite! Hit me up on IG @_thebeautyinbirth_ to let me know! We’re going to dive into a new series all about mindset called “How I Changed my Thinking to Hit $10k Months with Photography” and today is all about questioning what everyone thinks is normal.
WHY SHOULD WE QUESTION THE NORM?
Because the truth is popular thinking brings average results. If it’s popular, it’s mostly normal. And normal is average. I mean really though – most people don’t want to be weird, right? People want to be normal. It’s almost like calling someone “normal” is a compliment and calling someone “weird” is an insult.
See, people want to blend in so they can be accepted.
But what is normal these days in the US?
Normal is stuck in a 9-5 you don’t like, to pay for stuff you don’t need that you bought (if you’re honest with yourself) to impress other people.
It’s normal to send your kids to public school without questioning it.
It’s normal to graduate high school and get a loan and go to college, even if you have NO idea what you want to major in or do with your life.
Normal is sedentary lifestyles with office jobs and fast food 10x a week.
Let me just say, I don’t think I’m better than you if we chose something different. But I do think it’s important for you to know WHY you made that choice.
How does this apply to your business? Well let’s start with this quote I actually really love from Warren Buffett,
“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
This is the epitome of being “weird” right? You’re doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
Now obviously I’m not condoning greed, but the concept here is that when others are turning away from something – that’s the time for you to take a second look at it. I believe this is a quote about investing but it rings true for business as well.
HOW CAN YOU ZIG WHEN OTHERS ZAG?
Let me give you a few examples of how I’ve done this. How I’ve gone against the grain and what was popular and had success with it.
- In-Person Sales
These days, In-Person Sales is pretty common and maybe becoming the norm. But when I started looking into In-Person Sales in 2014, everybody was still doing shoot and burn. So when I chose to do it, it felt very strange, very foreign, like I was going against the grain, but I saw a lot of opportunity there and I’m happy to say that I was right.
My very first in-person sale is around $2200-2400 (session fee not yet included) and I had previously been a $250-shoot and burn photographer. And it was that first in-person sale where I saw a better service for the client, better money for me—it’s a win for everybody.
- Niching Down to Birth
Niching down to birth specifically back in 2015-2016 was really challenging as well. That’s something where people weren’t really niching down, people weren’t really specializing in one thing. If you’ve listened to any episode of this podcast, you know what a fan I am of niching down and how much it has helped my business to niche down in the beginning, then broaden and expand as people start to get to know who I was.
- Renting Out My Studio
Most photographers normally would rent their own studio. However, it’s more expensive that way—the rent, furnishings, utilities are all expensive. So when I got my own studio space in 2015, I knew I couldn’t afford it on my own, but I wanted it so I go against the grain, brought in a partner that could share with me. Then we started renting it out to other photographers and we’ve been doing that for 5-6 years now.
Going against the grain looking at possibilities and not necessarily just following what everybody else is doing is so powerful.
THE 3 POWERFUL QUESTIONS I ASKED TO CHANGE MY THINKING
Question #1: “How can I value ideas other than my own?”
Y’all, this one is TOUGH for me because I like to be right. But what’s the point of being “right” if you’ve only ever heard one side of the story or one perspective? It’s common to want to prove your point and be right, but where is the growth or true understanding in that? And this can be a challenge because your brain is STRETCHING. Okay, maybe not physically, but it feels like my brain is stretching sometimes because I have to REALLY be critical with how I’m thinking in order to entertain an idea I’d never considered before.
You can practice this with politics, religion, race, business, money… all the things people don’t want to talk about right? How can you legitimately be open to hearing what someone else has to say and value and consider their ideas?
If you’d been a vegetarian for 20 years, and someone wanted to talk to you about the health benefits that came from eating meat… would you be willing to hear it and entertain the idea? Or shut down immediately? And flip that, if you’ve been a meat eater your whole life, would you be willing to hear about meat alternatives that have health benefits and could save the lives of animals?
At a minimum, you can keep your heart open to new ideas. Embrace the different ideas of the world because that is truly what makes the world a beautiful place! And what a gift it is to have brains that can think critically about anything, if we let them and grow this skill and ask the right questions.
Action Step: Look around at your friend groups, who you follow online and who you let speak into your life… are they willing to be challenged? If you spend time with people who think outside the box, you’re going to be much more likely to do the same yourself!
Question #2: “How can I ask better questions?”
What does it mean to ask a good, quality question?
So, when you’re trying to figure something out – ask yourself, “Do I want to know the answer to THIS question?”
Bad Quality Question: “Why isn’t anyone engaging with my posts?” (Do you REALLY want to know the answer to THAT question?)
Better Quality Question: “How can I get more engagement on my posts?”
Great Quality Question: “How can I get 5% engagement on my posts?”
See how the last one is super specific?
Let’s do another one! A common question I see pop up is,
Bad Quality Question: “Why won’t my inquiries hire me?” Or, “Why aren’t I booking clients?
Better Quality Question: “How can I find my ideal client?”
Great Quality Question: “How can I find 3 ideal clients to book me for birth photography in the month of August?”
Ok that might be a little too specific (maybe not) but you get the idea right?!
When you find yourself about to ask a question in a Facebook group or even text a friend or your spouse, just ask yourself, “Is this a question I really want to know the answer to?” Our brains can get us so much useful information when we can great questions!
Question #3: “How can I used to being uncomfortable?”
“Uhhh, Tavia WHY would I want to be uncomfortable?”
Just like you’re sore after a hard workout, when you’re uncomfortable in your business it means you’re growing! But it doesn’t always feel great in the moment, right?
I know I’m uncomfortable when fear and worry pop up. When I find myself feeling uncomfortable, I know there is a lesson to learn and growth just on the horizon. And that is the goal right? At least it is for me, to continue to grow and grow and grow. Which means I’m going to have to get used to this feeling of being uncomfortable.
So, how CAN you and I get used to feeling uncomfortable? By trying new things and “failing” at the new things.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanxx, said once in an interview that her dad would ask her to share her failures at the dinner table. Instead of being disappointed, he would applaud and celebrate the fact that they tried something new and got uncomfortable.
It’s time to get OK with being the “dumbest” person in the room. I SEEK out opportunities to be the dumbest person in the room. I’m VERY uncomfortable back at CrossFit y’all, I’m an introvert, I only know the friend that invited me and I’m most definitely one of the last to finish the workouts (which you Enneagram 3’s out there know how much we like to win). But I realize that in order to grow, I have to be okay with being uncomfortable! Not only okay with it, but actually invite that uncomfortable feeling!
Whew I needed to review some of this myself! These were great reminders for me too!
Remember, the things you’re after, whether it’s those $10k months, a booked calendar, charging full price or 10,000 followers on Instagram, start with your outlook, your mindset and your questions. If you change the way you think, change the words you say and the questions you ask, you’ll change your life & your business.
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My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves photography, or event planning, or real estate… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!