Doubt To Confidence: What Was Your Magical Moment?

When we first started out in photography, we worked full time jobs, and part time in our photography business on nights and weekends. We knew we wanted to run our own business together, but at that point we still depended on our full time income sources to survive.

Then Andrew lost three jobs in three years to “corporate downsizing”, and we decided to take the plunge. He worked in the studio full time, while I continued in corporate during the week.

That was our turning point when we knew we could do this. With focus, we could build this up to where we could sustain our lifestyle by working completely for ourselves. It took me a couple of years to take the plunge too, but that set us on the path towards entrepreneur success.

Our first goal was to specialize our business, and really focus in on “getting known” in one niche. I found our first wedding brochure this past month, (shown over on the right – its from the early 90’s so the images really made me smile) and it reminded me of how much dedication we put towards building a successful business. Our prices were great for our beginning wedding business – even though I look at them now and laugh.

What made the difference, and turned us from doubt to confidence is immediately after we created this brochure, we booked our top package. That was our “pie in the sky” package; something we created that really excited us, yet we had doubts whether anyone would purchase it.

Then we booked another. And another.

It taught us to have confidence in our skills, and to price our photography accordingly. The more confidence we had, the better we could sell. And the higher we could raise our prices.

That first “top package” sale put us on the track to success. We knew we could do it. We knew we could achieve more. And that’s exactly what we did, building a six figure business in under two years.

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What was your “doubt to confidence” moment? When did you know you were on the right path, and photography was in your future? When did you know you would turn professional? When did you know you would find success?

Are You Lacking The Right Level Of Confidence?

I’m working with a client who is building up a pretty large web presence. One of her goals is to start speaking, and wants to begin using a YouTube channel in order to give weekly tips, have video testimonials on her sites, and be able to showcase who she is all around the web.

We built her YouTube account up close to one year ago. We branded her channel, and it mimics the look she has on her site, her Facebook and her Twitter accounts. Yet to date, her YouTube channel remains empty.

As photographers, we tend to think of what we do in the form of stills. Yet I’m betting even with stills, you probably enjoy being behind the lens much more than you do being in front of it, right?

And when you add in the dimension of video, where you can see yourself move, laugh, speak and communicate, it becomes much more surreal … and scary.

The problem lies with how we normally see ourselves. In most cases, you see yourself daily in the mirror. Yet that is you in reverse. Its not the true you. So when you see yourself in video, which allows you to see yourself as others see you, it throws off your perspective. Your voice also changes. When you hear yourself talking every day, you hear it through your own filtering system. When you are recorded, it removes your filtering system, and you suddenly hear yourself as others do. In combination, that can overwhelm you, and cause you to doubt your true presentation.

If your goal is to showcase video on your sites, the only way to get passed it is to just do it. Create a video, and put it out there for the world to see. Just do it. You’ll always be able to find something wrong with it – you don’t like the background, or the way you look, or the clothes you wear, or the way you presented the message. Yet what you see isn’t what everyone else sees. They simply listen to your message without all the biases you have going into it.

When I was working on my degree, I needed a public speaking class in order to graduate. That class was my biggest fear, and I put it off until the very last semester. Being a public speaking class, we gave a ton of speeches. And with every speech we gave, every person in the class had to write down comments on a half sheet of paper, which we were given at the end of the class. Those pieces of paper taught me a lot about speaking. I expected my comments to be the worst: you have a terrible voice, what a dumb tip, your presentation was horrible. That’s what had built up in my mind over time. Instead, every sheet of paper had a positive comment: I loved the tip on ___, I love your necklace, great voice, speak up I really want to hear more about what you are saying. And by the end of class, my presentation skills improved a lot.

Today I speak regularly, and teach classes all over, including at a local community college. Trust me, I never would have predicted that back in college. I also can record a video with one or two takes, and look at it critically for the message I delivered, not for the way I look or sound. It takes practice. But once you stop looking at it from your insecurities, and get the general population to listen to what you have to say, you’ll be surprised at the results.

Finish watching today’s tip: