Photographers learn to see the light, but creatives also find themselves trapped in the darkness of doubt. If you’re stuck in your fear of starting a business, I’ll help you break through some myths and mental blocks to remind you that another word for fear is emotion. At the end of the day, would you rather be someone who faced their fears or gave in to them?
Obviously that is easier said than done. You can stand on a cliff trying to convince yourself and still struggle to step over the edge. However, it gets easier if you see someone else jump in and survive or have vital data like the depth of the water below.
Therefore, I am going to break down some steps that will help you overcome your fear of undertaking. You can learn from someone who has taken the leap as well as see some data on the validity of certain fears. Let’s go!
5 steps to overcome the fear of starting a business
Here are five steps you can take to overcome your fears and boldly enter the photography industry:
- Name your fears.
- Investigate and reduce fears.
- First steps and step sizes.
- Keep overhead low.
- Make a plan.
1. Name your fears
One of the first things you can do to help overcome your fear of starting a business is to name what those fears are. Write them on a piece of paper or better yet on a giant whiteboard. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Sometimes just writing down your fears helps you see more clearly. You may find that some of your fears are not even rational. Or you may determine that you need to address some of those fears in order to move forward.
Fear, like any of our emotions, has a job to do. Sometimes that job is to let us know that something is scary and that we should prepare for it by learning a skill or gathering information. Which brings us to step 2.
2. Investigate and reduce fears
Let’s say from your list of 15 fears, there are two very valid fears. Now, you can focus on those fears and find ways to reduce the fear. You can reduce your fears in a variety of ways, from taking baby steps to doing a little research.
Let’s start with the investigation. Sometimes your fear indicates a knowledge gap. You may need to learn skills to do something new.
If you are afraid of starting a business because you don’t know anything about business, then it’s time to learn something new. Make a list of the skills or requirements that would make you feel more confident about starting a business if you had them.
3. First steps and step sizes
Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. And sometimes the best way to overcome fear is to just jump. But I’m not saying start high fives and quit your day job while swimming in uncharted waters. However, as long as you get some new abilities, as mentioned in the previous section, you can go ahead and declare.
Take the first step and make the size of the first step appropriate based on how prepared you are. Putting up a website is quite easy and not scary. Telling your best friend about your plan is a great first step.
There are many steps you can take to start a business slowly and then build from there. You don’t have to go all out, just start with one client. Put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time, and before you know it you will have started.
Perhaps your business first starts out as a side hustle. Then once you have momentum, you can spend more time on it. You will most likely learn many lessons along the way, so it pays to build slowly to ensure your foundation is solid.
4. Keep overhead low
If you quit your job, take out a loan, and risk everything, you may find yourself in a situation way over your head. Instead, staying in line with the idea of taking baby steps is important to keep overhead low. The lower your expenses, the more of your income goes to profit.
You’d be surprised how cheap you can start a business. You can even rent equipment or studio space on a project-by-project basis. The best way to avoid going overboard is to keep your overhead low.
5. Make a plan
Action is important, so I want you to do one thing to get started before you get lost in building a business plan. Put up a website or tell a friend or book a job, do anything to get started. I know too many people who over analyze and never act.
However, once you get started, it’s important to think of some kind of business plan. You don’t need any kind of official business plan with high-tech graphics, though if your inner nerd wants it, go for it. Mainly, I want you to think about where you want to go and what steps you are going to take to get there.
If you have a goal or a sense of direction, then you can formulate a path to get where you intend to go. This could mean that you have returned to the research category where you are discovering the best way to do branding or marketing. It’s also a good time to find out how you’ll make a profit and where your money will come from.
Your plan may include a list of skills you need to develop or training you want to invest in. Inevitably, you’ll also need some marketing and accounting skills. Learn business, learn photography and get started.
Overcome your fears and start your business
This five-step process to help you overcome your fears and start your business involves seeing fear as a teacher. What do you need to learn and where do you need to grow? So starting your business means taking the leap, but remember, you can start with a small step.
What are you afraid of? Name it, stare at it, and then fill the gap with knowledge or data. There has never been an easier time to start a business and you can do it with little risk and minimal investment, as long as you do it the right way and start small, keep your overhead low and learn the necessary skills.
About the Author: Brenda Bergreen is a Colorado wedding photographer, videographer, yoga teacher, and writer who works with her husband at Bergreen Photography. With her mission and mantra “love. adventurously.” they are dedicated to telling stories of adventures in beautiful places.
Image credits: 123RF header photo. All other photography by Brenda Bergreen.