New Year’s Resolutions get a bad press: they’re often poorly formed, phrased in negative terms (“NO MORE CHOCOLATE!”) and are geared around guilt. Yet we persist – we claim we’re going to completely overhaul our diet, our exercise regime, our approach to the laundry basket (just me?) before those unrealistic ambitions get the better of us.
But we’re business owners – aren’t we supposed to be ambitious target-setters? Well, yes – without vision, fortitude and resilience in the first place, we probably wouldn’t have made it this far into our journey of creative entrepreneurship. So establishing some goals in January seems like a pretty natural thing to want to do. Personally, I love the ‘clean slate’ feeling the new year brings, and I’m not above setting myself some goals for 2019.
However, the problem with so-called ‘resolutions’ is that too often they’re not something we feel particularly resolute about. Instead, they’re borne out of a sense of obligation – focused around things we feel we ought to be doing rather than what we want to do. They’re often things we don’t feel passionately about (hands up who really, genuinely feels passionately about losing half a stone? Anyone…?) and that we find hard to visualise.
So here are my three top tips for making some positive changes for your photography business that will last – let’s revolutionise that depressing resolution-setting process!
- Go back to the start. I’m assuming that you weren’t always a photographer – many people make a change from another career to photography – but even if you’ve always taken pictures, you must have some early memories of what it was about the process that inspired and excited you. If you made notes or mind maps at that time, look back at them – try to recall how you saw your life and business looking when you started out. Now consider your day-to-day reality and consider how far apart your life today is from those early dreams. Pretty close? Miles apart? This will help focus your mind on changes you need to make.
- Language is important. Too often, our rules and resolutions are negative: don’t do this, no more of that. Instead of focusing on what you want to stop doing, frame your goal as a positive. ‘Spend an hour a week scheduling social media content and writing blog posts’ is better than saying ‘No aimless scrolling through Facebook during the day.’ See the difference?
- Be specific, measurable and all of those others things your careers advisor told you goals had to be. ‘Be more confident professionally’ is an example of a poor goal – it’s vague, and therefore easily dodged. But ‘attend a creative networking event’, ‘get some new branding photos taken’ and ‘start every client consultation with a big smile, a handshake and a ‘It’s so lovely to meet you!’ are clear, tangible – and much harder to avoid 😉
I’d love to hear your goals for your photography business in the comments – do let me know what you’ve got planned for this year!