Newsflash- Running a photography business can be challenging. And that is putting it very lightly.
The general public thinks that all you need to make it in this industry is a love of photos. Sure, that is a big part of it but the business side of this industry is really where photographers spend the most time. Being creative and taking pretty photos is just not enough to make it in this industry. That is why only 40% make it beyond the one year mark! (let that statistic sit with you for a minute)
Most aspiring photographers (and clients for that matter) think that “being a photographer” looks like the graph on the left. But in reality, the graph on the right is much more accurate.
So whether you are dreaming of making it as a professional photographer or you are already in deep and struggling, hiring a mentor might be a good idea for you.
Before we go any farther, yes, I offer mentoring services but please don’t see this as a sales pitch. I really do want you to succeed in this industry. And for many that will mean hiring a mentor. The key is hiring one that is a good fit for you and maybe that isn’t me. And that is totally okay! Just promise me that you will do the research and hire someone who can help you get to where you want to go.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s dive into a few reasons why I think hiring a photography mentor can be a total game-changer for you and your business.
Guidance– There is something to be said about learning from someone who is more experienced than you are. They have been where you are. They have walked the road. They have made mistakes and recovered. A good mentor will be willing to share all the parts of their story- not just the highlights. A good mentor will help direct you on the right path to hopefully avoid the same mistakes that they made. A good mentor will be a sounding board to your ideas and will actually want you to succeed.
See how it is done– No matter how many sessions you have had and how many online classes you have taken, there is no substitute for watching an expert at work. When you hire a photography mentor, many of them offer an in-person option where you will get to shoot a session together in addition to all of the business talk. Speaking from experience as someone who has been both the student and the teacher in this situation, this experience can be completely transformational. The value that comes from working alongside an experienced professional is immeasurable. You get to see them engage with real clients. You get to learn how to troubleshoot and problem solve. on the fly. You will also likely get to learn about lighting, posing and possibly even a few special tricks of the trade.
Confidence– As crazy as it sounds, one big thing that a lot of my students walk away with after a mentoring session is confidence. They have walked through the experience with me and picked up some new techniques and nuggets of information but the biggest takeaway is learning that they are already doing things right. Students walk away saying, “Hey, I run sessions the same way” or “I use the same products and platforms” or “I have the same posing tricks”. This may sound like a really silly thing to gain in mentoring but when confidence is holding you back and you instantly gain that confidence, it can be a game-changer.
Surprises– If you are like many, you jumped into this industry and are figuring things out along the way. If that is you, then you have probably got most of the obvious things figured out. And that is great. But there are a LOT of things that you don’t even know you need until someone opens your eyes. Whether this be time hacks, supporting software, technical secrets, tips, work arounds or things that help you simply work better, they are INSANELY valuable. And you won’t learn them until someone more knowledgeable than you teaches you their ways.
Support- A huge takeaway from hiring a mentor is that you gain access and support from a leader in your field. A good mentor will be a long time cheerleader for you and your business. A good mentor will not bail on you once your session is over. A good mentor will continue to be there for questions and support for the long run. And a good mentor really will be cheering you on and hoping for your success. In an industry that can be so lonely at times, this is so important.
Have I convinced you yet? Are you ready to start looking for a mentor to hire? I bet I know what you are thinking now, “Sabrina, I TOTALLY see the value in this. But mentors are SO EXPENSIVE”.
Yep, I knew it. I have heard it a million times over the years. I also used to think the same thing. Before I actually hired one. When I hit a wall and realized that I could not go a single step farther in the industry without hiring someone to mentor me, that is when I swallowed my fear and forked over a lot of money. I was really scared at first. I was terrified that I threw a bunch of cash down the drain. I was nervous that I would regret my decision big time.
After the mentoring session was over, I was literally shaking with excitement. I immediately knew that I had made the right choice. I immediately saw the value. Since that experience, I have NOT ONCE been afraid to invest in my business growth. To this day, I still work with a mentor every 12-18 months. Why? To keep me on track. To help me reach new goals. To continue to better and grow my business.
I PROMISE you that while it is an investment that you need to plan for, you will not regret making the sacrifice. If you want to be in this industry for the long haul, do yourself a favor and start researching mentoring today. Reach out to them and start communicating. Start saving your money and if you don’t hire them this year, make a promise to yourself that you will in 2021.
If after all of this, you want to check out what mentoring options I have available, you can do so here. Or you can send me an email to see who else I recommend in the industry.