If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you can probably tell that I am a big sharer of INFO. Business advice, systems, software, camera settings…you name it! I give SO much away and it’s because I love to spread the joy of learning and growing in technical and business growth with others, and also to establish the fact that I’m doing things that WORK. I’m showcasing that “yeah, this little trick I’m about to do with our flashes may seem weird…but look at the results! You can do this, too!” Or “I know you may not normally think of organization in this regard, but try this!” I am showing people how things work for me and also wanting to let people know that we’ve figured a lot of over the years that have helped this business grow while we grow our family of waves.
So…there you have it. We share a LOT because we love to! Are you seeing every single other creative doing this? Probably not…but that’s because they don’t have to do it! And that is totally okay and understandable! Just because someone goes into a creative business doesn’t mean they have to answer questions or host workshops or share knowledge freely. We have a choice as business owners what we want our platform to look like. I personally love mine mixed with work, family life and education as well as life-bettering and business-changing systems. But there are some things to know about people who share and people who don’t and we’re highlighting them below in hopes that newer creatives and entrepreneurs can understand how they may be responded to when reaching out for help via email or messages. I think this is SO important to talk about during a #communityovercompetition revolution (one of the best things ever) where we’re seeing some people misuse the concept as a way to feel entitled in a way that’s deeply unfair to the people they are reaching out to.
People who do share freely:
- Are not obligated to do so.
- But they do it anyway!
- They may be able to answer individual emails for personal help or business related questions.
- But…. they may not and that is absolutely okay.
- They deserve to be compensated for their time and knowledge (workshops, mentoring, etc).
- Investing in them may seem tough because you have to spend money, but they can shortcut the heck of your creative journey which is VALUABLE.
- They have probably invested in their education and experienced workshops and mentoring, etc themselves!
- They take time from their business and family to help and share knowledge.
- Often times they have responded to help others in the past with no response or thank you for their time.
- They are building an empire, running business and running families which means less time for individual email responses.
- It can be overwhelming for someone with a business to stop and genuinely answer an email with a list of questions.
- Lots of these business owners have email templates that lead people to FAQ pages or helpful blog posts, which is a super kind gesture!
- If you think someone is doing a good job and running a successful business, it’s probably because they’re not stopping to help and answer every single email that comes in fully and personally when it comes to “help me out” emails. Successful business owners spend time with their families and serve their clients well in addition to making wise decisions on where to spend their time. They give their BEST YES all the time.
- They are busy creating content that answers a lot of these emails in bulk! Freebies and digital downloads for purchase are beneficial to the person sharing and creating them to get much deserved compensation AND the people who inquire asking the questions that will be answered within the shared content.
People who don’t share freely:
- Like said above, they are NOT obligated to do so!
- We have received emails that said “I emailed so many people and no one responded” — and honestly, we don’t mean to burst your bubble but you have to ditch that entitled expectation! Guys, those people running their business do not have to stop and take time from paying clients to help guide your way. That is one of the crushing effects of our industry lately, non-sharers get compared to sharers and you simply can’t lump them together that way.
- Have chosen to not share either because it’s not their jam or they don’t believe in sharing their practices and secrets, and that’s okay!
- Some simply don’t have time to do so.
- They may have previously shared and been burned (I know that feeling!) by people who come back over and over and over for more questions, never invest in mentoring or workshops and lastly…never say thank you.
- Are not MEAN because they don’t want to create an educational platform on their business.
- May not be comfortable sharing things about their personal business practices which is totally their prerogative.
- These people are STILL capable of being all about #communityovercompetition and kindness! You don’t have to share your info freely to be a believer in supporting your fellow creatives. Don’t confuse “not giving away content for free” for “unfriendly and competitive”. They’re NOT the same.
We’re in a super AMAZING yet super awkward time in our industry right now. I have a lineup of these incredible women coming to the workshop in October and I’m going to pour so much into them — and ANYONE who has mentored with me knows they can send me a detailed email asking about settings, software, etc and I will answer them. They’ve invested in me, so I’m going to always pour back into them. I will tell them things that I won’t ever share on social media or blog posts, business secrets and ways we’ve changed our family and business for the better…because they’re investing in us.
What I’m worried about is that people feel extremely entitled for quick info and a quick fix to everything. They want to grow FAST and they think that they can shoot a couple of emails around and get all the answers they need, and that people who have built for years working so hard should pause from their business and families and give this away. That’s not fair. And it’s not going to happen on this end because we have blogged SO much for other photographers and business owners and are in the middle of creating tons of digital download content to share how we are running a business and raising three girls five and under.
One of my favorite blog posts on this subject is by my dear friend Abby, who highlights some of the issues photographers and other creatives are experiencing. I read it and thought to myself…OKAY…she gets it, and I’m NOT alone! I actually felt weight dropping from my shoulders reading and I think she had the huge, positive response to it that she did because we are all sitting here thinking the same thing…”since when are we not nice for not sharing every single thing for free, just because someone asks?”
When someone in the past has asked me questions, and I’ve not been able to take time for them to answer everything, some of their answers have been a big indicator of the exact reason why I shouldn’t have taken the time. Some have expressed disappointment, some haven’t responded at all and that’s how I know I made a wonderful decision for me…because they wouldn’t have been thankful anyway!
Don’t feel bad if you are a non-sharer. You don’t have to be.
Don’t feel bad if you’re a sharer who doesn’t take time to help every single person individually. You don’t have to do that.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve been the person to reach out before to ask questions, you may not have known!
Just remember that slow and steady growth is healthy. STRONG, deep roots are the foundation for something really incredible. We all want to fast track and there’s nothing wrong with doing your own research, investing in mentoring and always remembering to thank the ones who did answer or even who share freely on their blog, newsletters and social media 🙂
Want to keep up with an Outer Banks mama of three sweet (and oh so wild!) little girls shooting weddings & small business photography while making time for the things that matter most? Click on the links below and let’s connect!🙂