Jenna Henderson is a photographer and coach with more than 16 years of experience in the photography industry. She believes deeply in helping women confidently to create a business on their terms and having fun while doing it! Her superpowers are giving creative women permission to feel empowered within their business journey by giving them action steps to make their business feel right for them.
Her thoughts on sustainability
Sustainability means longevity to Jenna. It’s about building a business that lasts. She loves watching families grow over the years and being involved in her client’s lives for a long period of time. She wants her clients to want to come back time and time again. While doing that, she’s also careful not to people-please and to create a balance so that she’s not overextending and burning out.
She’s driven by having control over her time and doing what she loves. Being able to earn money from her passion is a driving force. This is why for photographers like us, having a flexible lifestyle is worth so much! And whether that means taking time off, having slow mornings, or feeling the urge to work long hours some days.
“How you spend your days is how you spend your life.”
In creative professions, it can feel hard to charge for doing work that you love. Many times, you’re told that you shouldn’t be able to make a living doing something that used to be, or is, your hobby. And while being able to make a decent wage is important, but so is the ability to structure your days as you wish.
You might want to learn more about how to deal with business as a creative and make it sustainable; in the below episode, you will find the key aspects you should focus on to build a sustainable and profitable business out of your passion.
How your business evolves
Mistakes are what you learn the most from. And one of Jenna’s mistakes was thinking that she needed to reach a specific place in her business and then she will be happy. But the truth is, there’s always something to do and something to reach for. You always have to put in the work and there isn’t an end goal; there is not a specific place to reach and be done with it.
There is an ebb and flow and your business will evolve over time. Maybe you’ll want a season for booking elopements or a season for doing in-person sales. Also, our lives change so it makes sense for our business to change along with it. Remember that you should build your business around your life instead of trying to make your life fit into your business.
There are so many resources out there. And it can be hard to choose. You are allowed to try different things and there is no right answer for what’s right for you. Be open-minded.
Showing your personality and who you are can make such a difference. Recognize the value of what you have to offer.
In episode four, we talked about how to build your personal brand around who you are and what drives you as a photographer; remember that your unique skills, personality & vision are the key to success in your business.
Creating balance is a big thing in what Jenna teaches. Balance is different for everybody. A combination of productivity and rest. For many people, how it looks may be different. Most photographers get caught up in thinking that the stakes are high. Feeling the pressure to make the business work. Having a fear and scarcity mindset is common. If you don’t do this or that you might be missing out. Like responding to inquiries or engaging on social media. You might think “If I stop my business will come crashing” down and that’s not the case.
There are things you can do to make sure you will be ok. It can be putting on an autoresponder which is a good start. Or you can hire a virtual assistant.
Indeed, our phones are always so close to us at all times, making us really accessible. If we’re not setting boundaries it can easily be overwhelming. Turning off all notifications can really help.
Trusting that there are enough clients for you and being clear about how much you actually need is important to know. You probably only need a handful of weddings every year. And not hundreds or thousands. But being aware that there are some that are a better fit than others is important.
If not, you might end up resentful, feeling overworked, not doing your best, etc.
Be clear on what is important to you!
Dealing with overwhelm
Oftentimes, being overwhelmed is a huge obstacle when it comes to balance. It can stand in the way of getting things done. You can’t make everyone happy. You can only control yourself and your own feelings. There are so many variables that go into other people’s daily lives that you don’t know anything about. How people respond is not our responsibility. Being aware of this can help with the emotional overwhelm.
Think about all the things that are overwhelming you. And why? Stop using the word “should” or, even worse, “have to”. Do you have or should you do something? Or do you just think you do? Most of the time, the answer is actually “no”. Perfection is not possible to achieve. It’s in the eye of the beholder. Stop searching for perfection. Usually, when we look for perfection all the time is because we are afraid of something. What are you afraid of? Fear is at the center of it all.
Center your business around your values and your terms.
As a photographer, you spend so much time doing non-photography stuff. Just focus on what you value, such as your creative time. Do you value spending your time doing x or why? If creativity is what you value, then you should prioritize that. Do you actually have to do all the other things you think you have to do? What can you streamline and simplify? Getting out there is what’s going to build your business. Some things take time to set up, but those might save you so much time in the long run.
Saying no takes practice. You can try some things and next time it’s easier to know that you should say no. You can check out Jenna’s course Confident Communicator if you want to learn more about saying no. Why do you feel compelled to say yes? By saying no, you’re saying yes to something else.
To be honest, nothing has done more for my business than saying “no”, especially as a wedding photographer. Everyone wants a Saturday in the summer. It is when you say “yes”, you’re blocking your dates, getting more of the wrong type of client through referrals, and building the wrong type of portfolio. You deserve to work with your ideal client and feel comfortable with the people you are working with. If not, you might burn out and lose focus on what you truly want, and this is a key part of a sustainable business.
You have to create a business fully on your terms to build a sustainable business. Understand your terms and your values. Building confidence and standing your ground. Knowing who you are!. It can take time and you’re allowed to try new things to figure it out. Ask yourself questions and learn from your mistakes.
I hope you find all of these helpful and find your balance between your business and personal life. Remember that the concept of balance is different for every person, so you don’t have to be exactly the same as the influencer on Instagram.
For this reason, I’d like to introduce you to The Sustainable Photography mentor program, where we build your business strategy and create a profitable photography business by diving into who YOU are as an individual so that you can do what works best for YOU.
Make your business profitable and sustainable in the long run. Keep doing what you love and make a living from it because it is possible!
hi, i'm ingvild
This podcast is all about education and inspiration for photographers. A sustainable business is profitable and lasting. Instead of short-term wins you want to make sure you’re doing things that matter. Both to yourself, and to create the business you want. The goal of this podcast is that it will help you build and structure your business around your life, instead of the other way around.
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