I spent a long time saying “yes” to things in my business that I shouldn’t have. At the time, I was grateful for work and was willing to discount my services and do sessions that didn’t bring me joy because I thought that they would give me the photography experience that I was desperate for. And more than that, I thought that the more experience I had (no matter the specific area) is what was going to make people think that I was a professional. It felt impossible for me to say “no” to any photo opportunity that came my way.
But where did it get me?
People were hiring me, but not for the work I wanted to be doing. No one was inquiring about the work that I truly wanted to photograph. And not only that, but I had priced myself so low that people weren’t valuing me or seeing me as a true professional. (More on that in another post.) I then had to spend ample time working to redefine the type of work that I wanted to create and the type of client I wanted to work with.
It was truly taking two steps forward and one step back. I had photography experience, but not the right kind. I had started to build a business, but didn’t have a clear image of where that business was going. It felt like my first professional identity crisis and I wanted more than anything to get back on track.
So why should you say “no” in your business?
The answer is actually really simple: Because it actually allows you to say “yes.” When you free yourself by saying “no” to things that don’t bring you joy or closer to the photographer that you want to be, you’re able to do the work that you want to do, take the the opportunities you want to take, and become the photographer you want to become.
Is it truly that simple? Kind of. It takes a lot of hard work and self-reflection. It was really hard at first to say “no” to paying jobs. And there were plenty of nights where I questioned the decision to stay focused on the direction I wanted to go. But then something amazing happened. Once I started to value my business for what I knew it could become, other people started seeing that vision. I started getting inquiries for the work that I wanted to do. With every job that I took that was work I wanted to do, it made it so much easier to say “no” to everything else.
I promise, once you start saying “no” in your business, you’re going to start seeing your business grow in unimaginable ways.
Are you a photographer looking to take your business from surviving to thriving? Let’s chat!