Where are you holding yourself back in your business?
For the last two years, I’ve limped my business along on—that’s right—just two separate hour-long photo shoots I had a friend do for me when I went full-time.
Oh, I had plenty of photos that I had taken. Photos of people and places that looked very eclectic together in my Instagram feed—everything from yoga poses to donuts to flowers to brain scans.
But I didn’t have any photos of me, my work process, how I help people. What I had available for blog posts and Facebook posts and email blasts and product launches was very limited, even for a person as creative and resourceful as I like to think I am.
This has been a dark little secret I’ve kept. Day in and day out, I remind my own clients of the power in having a wellspring of professional images to draw from throughout the year. “You can use them for your website,” I tell them. “Instagram, Facebook ads, e-books, your pop-up opt-in window…”
I tell them that the human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than it can read and process text. “When your ideal clients land on your website,” I tell them, “You want them to know they’re in the right place. Most people click off of new websites within 3 seconds. But you can keep them there with the right photograph.”
And yet, in the back of my mind, I’ve thought to myself, “Photography… that’s something I really need.”
So what held me back? As someone who truly understands the power of professional images, what reasons could I possibly have had for not refreshing my photo index every few months?
In the end, the reasons don’t really matter. What matters is that my belief that I could get along without them “just a little longer” ended up holding me back in my business.
Something similar happened for my business coach back in the day. Oh, she invested in photography—lots of it—but she forewent offering an opt-in incentive because she felt like the graphic designers she reached out to charged too much to create a writeable PDF. Basically, that means her email list stayed small, and she couldn’t scale her business.
What these two stories have in common is the lesson that sometimes, you as the owner of your business are the thing that’s holding your business back.
Maybe, like it was for me, your area of stagnation comes from photography. Maybe you’re waiting for someone good to come along who will do it for free. Maybe you just don’t have any idea how you would tell your brand story—or maybe you’re apprehensive about being on camera.
Or perhaps it isn’t photos. Perhaps it’s delegating something, like customer service or bookkeeping—or housekeeping!
Maybe you know that if you hired out one of the biggest time-sucks in your business and life, you’d be able to take more on as a business owner… but you’re afraid to hire out because you don’t want to have to train someone who will never do as well as you do, or because you think even if you free up that time, you won’t get enough work to fill it, and you’ll go bankrupt and have to close your doors and give up your car and your house—and while you’re at it, move out of town because it will all just be too humiliating.
The truth is, the saying “you have to spend money to make money” is actually true. It’s also true of investing your time; it’s true of educating yourself; it’s true of deciding for yourself what your priorities will be. You have to put in to draw out.
I finally invested in a professional photographer this spring. I got two half-day shoots. I created a shot list based on my social media plan and an upcoming product launch, and I signed the contract without really knowing if the money would come through. Just like I had to leave my day job in order to see that I could make it on my own, I had to say yes to something I valued, believing that I’d find a way to pay for it. And I did.
And you know what? That investment is going to turn into money for me! Because I can use those images for my website, for Facebook ads, for e-books… well, you know. All the things I’ve already mentioned.
They’re also going into a brand-new e-course coming out in just a couple weeks, and that, even if I break even, will be a wonderful, creative triumph, that allows me to move my business in the directions I’ve dreamed from the beginning. (Stay tuned to hear more about that!)
So I want to ask you right now: Where are you holding yourself back in your business? Can you make a leap—or even just a small step—in the right direction today, to release some of that pressure and create more breathing space?
Tell me about it over on Instagram, @alexisthegreek, or comment below with even just one word to describe where you’re holding yourself back. I cannot wait to have this dialogue with more people. It’s an important one!
Photos by Kelly Walsh Loss Photography