I realize this is a very sensitive topic — but it’s extremely applicable to several people who have opened up with me about whether or not they are getting the BIGGEST thing they need when it comes to running their own business. More than the camera, the lens, the license..more than ALL of it, it has to start with one big thing.
Support from their closest loved one(s).
I run on emotional response like gas in a car, I push hard shooting because of my emotional connection to the art, to my clients, to my responsibilities. As a human running on emotional highs and lows all day– there is one thing I will tell you I need more than EVER, and that’s emotional support, especially from Mike. If Mike had said, “I don’t think you can do this” “It’s too expensive” “It needs to wait” — I couldn’t have made it. I wouldn’t have. And so today I want to tell ANY of you that have had someone they love dearly say any of this to them and they’ve even begun their business– CONGRATS! You deserve the utmost respect and credit because you’re already so much stronger than you realize! If you have made it this far…you are already incredible in my eyes!
Here’s where it gets tricky, however.
A strong willed and independent person can only go so long before they start to require the support of their husband/wife. When it comes to making financial decisions mutually, scheduling around the hobby-turning-business, etc..and the other person is physically and financially tied to the decisions to be made..it gets hard.
There is no quick and easy answer to this. There is no solution I can give except just speaking from my heart when I ask from the bottom of my heart to someone’s life partner if they will consider giving it a shot. CONSIDER that this might actually be something big. Something that makes your family money, yes, but even more importantly..something that fulfills your spouse’s soul. The thing that makes them free, independent, creative, WHOLE. Isn’t that enough? OBVIOUSLY I’m not saying to go out and buy them 5 L series lenses and two expensive camera bodies…but consider supporting them and coming to negotiations about the investment that goes into the goods and the business running side.
Also– there is a stigma attached to this industry nowadays that if you don’t succeed and book like crazy in year one, is it worth it? Making investments left and right and then you’re not booking enough to provide a generous income right away? You’re probably worried that your spouse will rush you in seeing results when it comes to this..
My answer? Heck YES. YES IT IS WORTH IT. Fighting for it, keeping it alive and making it grow because I will never forget Justin and Mary two years ago mentioning that slow growth can be healthy growth!! STRONG roots come from slow, steady growth!
Another thought is that approaching the business aspect of it with a determined and realistic mindset can help ease some of the tension in the house… for instance, I want to pursue being a wedding photographer, but I do realize that I may only be working “part time” and need either another supplemental income to bring in OR to reduce our spending and extracurricular activities (dining out, vacation, etc) until I am able to grow the business more, my talent more and be able to charge more. I may not be able to pull off quitting my full time job within a couple years, a year, right off the bat. Making slow and wise decisions together is great, but not so slow that the process is being deliberately halted and put off by the supporter trying to intentionally make it not happen all together because of the fear that financially it’s a mess waiting to happen.
It doesn’t have to be a mess, and it’s so important to communicate about the investment order and budget before diving in. One way the photographer can help is by making a list of WHAT they want, and prioritize that sucker by the order by which you want to make those purchases. For instance, I prioritized in the equipment department. I made SURE that I had the camera I wanted first. And one nice lens. And then one functional lens.
Year 1 – Mark II, 50 1.4, 24-104 4.0, 430ex flash, Canon rebel backup
^^^ THAT is minimal for a wedding photographer! Seriously, I got through a YEAR with that and I never rented one lens!! I think I did once, but I didn’t use it..see? You WORK with what you got!
Year 2- Mark II, Mark II, 500ex, 100 Macro, 70-200 2.8 II, 85mm 1.2 II, 50mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4, ETC
^ We didn’t go out to eat. We didn’t go on vacation. You didn’t see me running around with brand named things and big label purses. My husband, who has the most selfless heart ever didn’t buy video games, consoles, ANYTHING at all that year because we were willing to take a leap of faith for my passion! My heart breaks when I hear people have partners that don’t give them the benefit of the doubt and their full support, but I’m not in that relationship and I can’t understand it. It would make me so happy to see some people get that support they so deserve and aren’t getting.
I know it’s expensive. I know husbands (and wives) everywhere dread hearing the “just one more lens” thing hahah! The truth is you guys…I could be buying more. I would love love love a 24! And a 135. I love some primes! But I KNOW I don’t need them and I got what I felt I really needed for weddings. I wanted the 5 standard ones for my approach. I also know I needed a MacBook and we made that huge $$$ leap, too– but we forfeit a lot of other things to get what I need to run the business. We aren’t buying a brand new house or car any time soon, we aren’t spending lavishly. Material things don’t matter. Our happiness does, this business does and Mike not just encouraging me but INSISTING I pursue what I love is the reason I am able to do what I love for a living! Consider talking and putting together a game plan to get that support you so deserve to pursue what you love!!! 🙂
If I had told Amanda “No, we can’t purchase that, you’re crazy…”, or “You shouldn’t pursue this career because of x,y, and z”, I wouldn’t have been a good husband and friend. Amanda, from the get-go, was passionate about this career path. I bought her her first camera, a Canon Rebel T1-i. She picked it up and ran with it, purchasing every book she could (including “Canon Rebel T1-i for Dummies”!) and read them all cover to cover, pouring over each page, studying, even taking notes and reviewing them later (don’t ask…she’s crazy…). She was serious about this, about learning and getting into this field; who was I to shut her down? When she wanted to upgrade, as she started getting more interest and inquiries, we figured it out and made it work. The Mark II was an expensive camera; the lenses, flashes, battery grip and chargers, they were very pricey; the Mark III was a VERY expensive camera lol; but we made it work. We figured out what to do in order for my wife to succeed in her passion. She has always worked her butt off doing whatever she was doing at the time; she deserved, and still deserves, to do what she loves, and we will continue to figure it out to ensure she continues to succeed and enjoy it.