As our girls have come into adulthood, the questions are beginning.
“How did you get us to listen when we were little?”
“What did you do when we told you no?”
“Why did you make the choices that you made regarding your career?”
“How did you do this…or that…?”
“When I’m a mom…”
“I love how you went on field trips with us….”
“Wait, she went on field trips with us…” hahahahaha you can’t win them all…their memories of their childhood aren’t often as clear as ours are. However, I have pictures somewhere to prove that I was there!! hahahaha
But these questions have been so good to talk through life’s choices with them…and to offer a bit of reflection on my own life and career choices and my own personal brand as a photographer and coach.
While my own childhood had two working parents…my mom was in the bra-burning generation (although she would NEVER) and demanded equality for women in the workforce…however, when Kevin and I got married, I knew things might look a little different for me.
For starters, we wouldn’t raise our kids in the same town for their entire childhoods. As a military family, we would be required to move every 2-3 years. In fact, our girls would live in 12 houses throughout our Marine Corps years….from NC to Japan. They wouldn’t have cousins in town or weekend dinners at their grandparents’ homes. They would make new friends in each new place…and would learn to say goodbye many times over. And many of the goodbyes would be to their Daddy as he headed off to trainings, schools, and even Afghanistan twice.
The only constant in their lives would be ME! As a teacher…specializing in early childhood education, I knew the importance of the formative years, the impact of trauma and stress, and the need for some sort of constant caregiver in the life of a child. And while I taught in the classroom at several of our duty stations, we always made the decision based on what would work best for our girls. I needed to be the one taking them and picking them up from school. I needed to be available for field trips and doctor appointments and basically ALL THE THINGS because Kevin was in and out and we didn’t have an extended network of family to swoop in and help when the pieces would crumble from time to time.
And then I found business. Photography to be exact. What I loved about business was that I got to call the shots. I decided my schedule, I decided how much to take on, I decided how to love on people, I decided how to serve my community, I decided what my income goals were, I decided how to make those goals happen.
So many business owners, especially moms get into business partially because they want or need that flexibility. But also because they have an innate talent, passion or gift that is meant to be shared with the world. I came to my own realization of this later in life when I was in my 30’s and had kids in elementary school. Some people have always known they wanted to be in business. And some people never dreamt they’d own a business. And some people come to business because they have tried the corporate gig and realized that it simply isn’t for them.
No matter how you’ve come to business…your story matters. Your story impacts who you are, what you create, how you connect with your community, and how you ultimately serve your clients.
My personal brand has been built around being a mom. My motherhood is what opened the doors to being a business owner…it was the very reason I even have a business today. It’s what has helped me connect to so many of my clients over the years. I’ve openly shared our lives, our celebrations, our joys, our struggles, and each of our seasons.
When people say “it’s not personal, it’s business”…they have it all wrong. Because business these days is personal. And if you are a business owner and you aren’t making it personal…that might be your #1 roadblock.
Today’s buyers are interested in the personal factor. They want to do business with people they know, like and trust. I recently had a coaching client who is a photographer say to me “It’s amazing how much engagement I’ve gotten since I’ve been sharing more of my life”.
People want to do business with PEOPLE!
Be a people!!!! hahaha
And her booking success rate has shot through the roof since she’s been building out her personal brand!! The ROI to the time and thought put into creating a personal brand is unparalleled!!
So how do you begin creating a personal brand you ask?
Be authentically you and serve, serve, serve with generosity and heart!
Photography is a very personal act. It doesn’t matter if you are doing family photography, portrait photography, senior photography, brand photography, maternity photography, wedding photography…it’s ALL PERSONAL!!
Would you invite a perfect stranger off the sidewalk to grab a camera and come take pictures of your family or your high schooler or your beloved business?!?! NO!!!!
So if you aren’t building a strong personal brand where people feel like they know you or would refer you to their friends….they won’t hire you.
In fact, the last three branding inquiries I’ve had found me on google or instagram…went to my website…and said “this is the photographer I have to work with for my business photos”. Why?!?! Because there is connection there. There is story there. My voice is there. My picture is there. I’ve told the stories of other business owners there. They can see themselves there. And that’s where they want to be…in front of my camera, knowing that I will take good care of them, love them in big ways, and producing exactly what they are looking for. And that’s all told to them through my personal brand.
If you are a photographer and struggling in some area of business building…let me help you. I will walk you through your own story as a photographer, your unique value proposition, and how you can impact the world through what you offer. E.E. Cummings is quoted as saying “It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are…”
So let’s do that…let’s build a brand on who you REALLY are…and then the right people will connect and you will serve the heck out of them…and your business will EXPLODE!
You ready?!?!?! Let’s do this!!! Click Here