Are you? How do you know? What does being successful mean to you in your business? I think its easy, as photographers, to get caught up in this picture of what it means to be succesful. I think it's easy to think that success = rockstar. I think it's easy to look at our industry and end up with a distorted, twisted concept of what it really means to be successful.
Is it about being sponsored by the "cool" lab? Is it about being featured on the "cool" blog? Is it about selling out a workshop, or building a following of photographers? Is it about having the most blog readers, or the newest and best camera gear? Is it about having a retail storefront?
There are a lot of ways you can define success, and there are just as many ways to run your photography business. How you choose to define success will determine where you spend your energy, and it will determine the type of business you will build.
For me, success means one thing - to add value to my family. That's why I do what I do. It's why I run a business, and it's why I choose to be a photographer. Everything else is just details. To be more specific, value means time, money or peace of mind. My business has to add those three things to my family, or it isn't successful.
Running a business is hard work - and a lot of it. It takes a lot of your time, but the trade off is that - for the most part - you have huge amounts of freedom in how you spend your time. You have the ability, and the luxury, to live the kind of life you want to live. For my business to be considered successful, it has to allow me the freedom to be with my family.
It has to make money. That's all there is to it. My business has to allow me to provide for my family. Photography isn't just a hobby for me, and if I'm giving my life to this, it better give us the financial return for the work I put into it.
PEACE OF MIND
I love what I do, and I love sharing that with my family. My responsibility is to be sure that the business is running solid - because a failing businesses doesn't help any of us sleep better at night. If I'm up nights worrying about clients, or jobs, or finding clients or jobs, then my business isn't successful.
Oh, and by the way - there's a difference between "being" successful and "appearing" successful. Too many people care far more about the later.
So, my question is: How do you define successful? Are you there? If not, how are you going to get there? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!