This time last year I was terrified. I had a few clients, and great reviews on my work, but I had no money. I couldn't even afford to pay myself. I couldn't upgrade my equipment or even insure the equipment I had. I had to borrow money from my personal account, the one I use to buy groceries, in order to keep my website running.
I knew my work was on par with other photographers who seemed to be having much more success than I was having, but I had NO idea why or where I was missing the mark.
The worst part is that I didn't even realize that I could do better. I thought this was just how things were going to be.
When I first heard about 28 Days With Sue, I had $200 in my business account, and no prospects for making more.
That is when I learned about Creative Live. I stumbled upon this fantastic site where anyone could learn from industry leaders in their field. Since I've always been a voracious learner, I was completely jazzed. I squeezed every free minute I had between taking care of my 1 year old, laundry, housework, and all the other motherly and wifely duties to sit myself down and watch every free episode I could find.
This is precisely when I happened upon a lady called Sue Bryce. I had never heard of her, but her course had great reviews and the free video labeled "fear" sounded intriguing...so I watched it.
My first thought was, "ah, she's a Kiwi! I love that accent." I could listen to it all day. But then she said something that struck me like a kick in the chest.
"The bottom line for everybody came down to one thing. 'I'm not worthy and I'm not good enough.' You are not worthy to...what, make an income? But you can get a job that makes an income. So you go and get a job that earns you what, 400 dollars a week? And that's what you think you're worth? So...it's okay to accept a wage but not make your own income? And then when you leave that wage you go and start your business and you know what you do? You do what my two photographers did; you create a business that turns over $400 a week because that, in your mentality, is what you think you're worth."
It was like someone turned a light on in my brain. I know that is an over-used metaphor but it's true! The light exposed this attitude/mindset that I had where I didn't think I was worth being paid for what I did. Despite the time I devoted to learning and practicing my craft, the time I spent away from my family to help other families document their lives, the money I invested in equipment, computers, software...the list goes on: weren't worth the same wage that I would have expected if I went to work at McDonald's. Less, in fact, because I wasn't even paying myself, much less paying for insurance or healthcare or anything else.
Where had this idea even come from? I began to recognize the same mentality in other artists that I knew. Even the most talented of them were afraid to charge money for what they did. They never once thought about all of the time and effort they put into perfecting their craft. Why? Because we enjoy what we do? And somehow that disqualifies us from earning a living?
That makes absolutely NO sense, and I had never even realized it.
I knew then that I needed to buy this class. Whatever this lady had to say, I wanted to hear it. The only problem was that it was going to cost me everything I had saved. That whole whopping $200. Which would leave me nothing but a big fat 0 in my bank account...but with more knowledge. And that, to me, was worth it. So a screwed up my courage and jumped in.
I bought the class and devoured it. Not only did it give me some great information about how to run a natural light photography studio but it completely changed the way I thought about having a business and making a living from what I love to do.
I wasn't making money in my job because I didn't think that I deserved to. Who told me that I wasn't worthy of earning money from my hard work? Me. I had to change the way that I thought, I had to change my inner monologue.
I took my business and demolished the entire thing and started over from scratch. I decided that not only was I going to get paid for the work I love doing (and don't be mistaken, it IS work and it's not easy) but I am going to give my clients the best service and the most beautiful images that I am capable of producing. I was absolutely reinvigorated.
I cleaned out our spare room, painted the walls, bought a desk (big thanks to my amazing husband for that one) and set up a small, in-home studio. Really small. But it works.
I changed my prices and increased what I was offering to my clients. As soon as the fear bubbled to the surface, that fear that no one would be willing to pay what I needed to earn in order to grow my business and pay myself, I smooshed it ruthlessly.
Some people may not value what I do.
But the people who DO value it...those are the people I will give my heart to serve. Those people will be willing. I just have to let them know that I am here.
Since spending my last 200 bucks on 28 Days with Sue, I have increased the amount of clients I serve. I have more than tripled my average sales and session fees. I have become internationally published. I have found absolutely beautiful products that I am proud to offer to people I am so blessed to work with. I am constantly learning how to run a better business and deliver more to the people who value what I do.
So, I want to say this: Thank you, Sue. Thank you for making it through the hard times in your life so that you would have the wisdom to share what you learned with people like me, who needed a swift kick in the butt. Thank you for speaking about what you love with the kind of passion that inspired people like me to get motivated and make a success out of what they love.
To anyone reading this who is sitting in the same place that I was sitting 1 year ago: do yourself a favor. Watch this class. It will take you a little more than an hour of your time, but it will change the way you think about what you're doing.
Stop telling yourself that you can't. Because as long as you say that to yourself, you never will.
Stop telling yourself that you aren't worthy. What proof do you have? You don't have any. It's that voice in your head. Shut it up.
Stop using fear as an excuse to TRY. And once you stop it, then stop trying and succeed.