The economy isn’t good. The news can make you down right depressed. And business just isn’t what it used to be.

Will there ever be a recovery? Will you ever build your photography business up to match _________ (fill in the blank with your favorite superstar photographer)?

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The one thing that’s easy to do is get overwhelmed. I love attending seminars by the best. They fill you with hope, fill you up with ideas, and send you home. You’re excited for a day or two – until you realize the bills are still there, and the business isn’t coming in like they promised it would.

So what can you do about it? What can you do to stay on track?

Realize there are two different types of photographers to follow, and know what type of photographer you are “following” and how to follow them to success.

1. Choose an expert photographer as a mentor
We all need mentors. They are the superstars. They are the ones who are doing what you want to do. They are the ones who have achieved success and have paved the path for you to show you what is possible.

These types of mentors are important to you because they give you the ultimate goal. They teach you all about what they’ve achieved, and let you know what’s possible. These are the mentors that help you change your mind about what you are currently doing, and allow you to grow in an entirely new way.

When you find a mentor (or two, or three) like this, use them as your long term success model. Then find out the path they took to find success, and use it to create your own model. Attend their seminars. Read their books, blogs, articles, or training manuals.

Pay close attention to how long it took them to build success. Did they spend 2 years working for another photographer? Did they spend 4 years in school? Did they spend 5 years building the business before they became a recognizable name?

Use their words of advice as your own model.

2. Choose an equal photographer for comparison
The problem most start up photographers have when building their own business is success doesn’t come quick enough.

They’ll say something like, “I want to be just like ___________ and yet I just can’t find a client willing to spend thousands on a portrait sitting.”

Success takes time. Again, concentrate on how long it took your role model to achieve success. I’m willing to bet it wasn’t 30 days. It was probably closer to 5-10 years. That’s not saying they weren’t creating a good living with their photography much earlier. It’s the success you are admiring now took years to build.

While its important to surround yourself with successful mentors, its equally important to surround yourself with “the average photographers” that are also trying to build up their own form of success.

These photographers give you a realistic model of where you should be today. They allow you to talk about raising the bar on photography, learning what’s working right now in your marketplace, and helping each other with new ideas.

If you’re charging $500 for a wedding and your peers are closer to $1000, maybe its time to rethink your prices. Remember, it’s a lot harder to see yourself changing your prices from $500 you charge now to the $10,000 your mentor may be charging. Making gradual steps are easier for you and for your clients.

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