The Key to being a Happier Photographer – Podcast Episode 1

What is the key to being a happier photographer? If we want to enjoy our work as photographers and be happy running our businesses then we need to understand our motivators. When our key motivators are not being catered for we can feel frustrated and unhappy. Spending some time working out what motivates us can help us to get a clearer sense of direction. We can structure our work more around those things that help us feel like our work is worth doing. Yes, we might have to make sacrifices at times in business. But, if we can find ways for our business to work for both ourselves and our clients then we can lead a much happier life. This first episode of the Focused Professional podcast starts to explore what these motivating factors might be.

Key motivators:

  • Recognition From Others

  • Money

  • Sense of Achievement

  • Creativity

  • Relationships

  • Helping Others

  • Freedom & Control

  • Fun & Enjoyment

Which of these are most important to you? Some will have more influence over us than others and this can change at different stages in life. The key to being a happier photographer is to understand your motivators and how to satisfy them through your work.

Transcript - The Key to being a Happier Photographer

Welcome to the Focused Professional podcast. This is episode one, and I’m Joe Lenton. Focused Professional is here to support professional photographers. And as this is the first episode of our podcast, I’ll tell you a little bit about what we do to support professional photographers and a little bit about our values. We build on the three strands of business, passion, and photography. What that means is we spend time looking at how you can run your business better, how you can make the business more profitable, looking at marketing, sales, things like websites, SEO, social media, and so on that help run the business side of your photography work. We also look at photography skills, photography ideas, including composition, and ways in which we can create more effective collective images for our clients. But at the heart of all of that, we’ve got passion. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, passion, first and foremost, being what really you connect with, what you’re passionate about for your business, for your photography. Behind everything we do, we need to have some passion like that. Otherwise, it’s easy to get fed up. It’s easy to lose motivation, and our work can become more and more difficult.

In amongst passion, we’ve also got our personality. Each of us is different. So what we look at in Focused Professional is how to run a photography business in a way that suits each individual. So rather than going for a one-size-fits-all approach, rather than having a fixed set of steps that everybody has to go through, we look at helping people to create and run businesses that fit with their personality. Yes, we need to look at our target markets. Yes, we need to make sure that we’re reaching out to our target markets in the right way. But it’s also important that, especially because we tend to be doing business on our own as professional photographers, that we connect with our own personalities, that we use marketing channels that, yes, our target market are there, but also that it’s something that we believe in, and it’s something that we can connect with and express ourselves well go through. And that is not the same for everybody. So Focused Professional helps people to match up their passion, their personality, with the business that they want to build, and the photography skills that they want to acquire. We also have a key set of values at the heart of the business, which can be summed up in the three words respect, equip, and support.

Now, it’s vital, we believe, that every individual is valued and respected and given a safe environment to look at their business and their own personal development. And that’s exactly what we try to provide – a safe environment to discuss ideas, to do some self-reflection, and to facilitate growth, both in our actual practical photography, but also in our business and beyond that. We will be open and honest. If we don’t think that we can help you, then we’ll say so. We won’t impose systems, we won’t make you follow set methods. We will help you to build the business around you and on your personality. We will encourage creativity, fresh approaches, and also an ethical business development. If you would like to see all of our values and explore them a bit further, then please do look at the website under the frequently asked questions section, and you’ll find our values listed in there. These are very important to us, and they are key to all of the coaching and training that we provide. In the podcast, what we’re going to be aiming to give you is informative sessions where you might perhaps be able to learn something from it, find inspiration, just refresh your ideas a little bit.

And to do that, we’re going to be looking at our photography, our business, our passion and personality from various different angles. Sometimes it will be just me, and other times we’ll be doing that with guests as well, with a little bit more of a discussion.

Now we’re going to move on to look at today’s key topic, which is motivation. So why start with motivation? Why is motivation important? Motivation is what helps us to get out of bed in the morning. It’s the reason why we do things, and it can be linked to our satisfaction, our job satisfaction. We can have particular things that motivate us, and if we’re not getting those fulfilled in our work, then it can lead to mental health problems. We can end up feeling down, frustrated. So, understanding what it is that motivates us is important. It’s part of that growing self-awareness in the passion and personality side of our work. By becoming aware of what it is that actually motivates us, we can check and see, is our business providing that? If it’s lacking something that we need to motivate us, then is there a way that we can bring that into the business?

Is there a way that we can make our work more motivating, more interesting, more enjoyable? When we first start out, especially, of course, the motivation can simply be getting the business to a stage where we’re earning enough money that we can work just in the business and not have to do other things or whatever other financial goal you might particularly have. Money tends to be the primary motivator because we’ve all got bills to pay. And if we want to run this as a business, we want to be able to put time into it, we might need to drop other things that have been paying us money in the past. So if we don’t get that money coming in, we can feel demotivated. But money is not necessarily the only motivator. And I’ve drawn up a list of eight motivators that I’m just going to take you through now. And I’d like you to just think whether you feel that any of these might apply to you. If you want to try out and discover which of these motivators are likely to be key to your going forward in your business, you might like to try the motivators quiz on our website.

If you go to the free resources page, there’s a button that you can click that will take you to the motivators quiz. And when you go through those questions, it will then give you a response that highlights, based on how you’ve answered it, what it thinks are your key motivators. So it’s just a fun way of starting to dig into that self-reflection that can help you to run a business that’s actually going to be more fulfilling and more enjoyable for you. So here are the eight motivators. We’ve got number one, recognition from others. Now, recognition from others, it’s an external source validating what we do. So that could be something like winning awards, it could be something like gaining qualifications, It could be our peers or our clients saying how grateful they are for what we’ve done and how much they love our work. That can be an important motivating factor for some people – getting other people to give recognition, to give validation for the work that they do. Number two is money. Money comes back again because it can be an ongoing motivator for us. It might be that we’ve got the business to the point where we’re making enough money, but it might be that we have other goals, other targets in mind for levels of income, things we’d like to be able to afford and so on.

And it might be, therefore, that money remains an important motivating factor So it doesn’t necessarily disappear once we start earning reasonably well. Number three is a sense of achievement. Now, this might sound similar to the first one, recognition from others, in that you might feel a sense of achievement through similar things such as awards or praise from others, good feedback from social media to an extent. But what sense of achievement is about instead that differentiates it is it’s more something that comes from within rather than outside. So it’s more about you feeling that you’ve achieved something rather than somebody else saying that you’ve achieved something. So it’s a slightly different approach to similar thing. Do you need perhaps the validation, the recognition from others, as we talked about in number one, or do you feel that need to feel satisfied in yourself to feel that you are achieving something, that perhaps you’re ticking off goals that you wanted to get to. And some of the steps might be similar to number one. But yes, this is something more from within rather than from outside.

Now, the next one, number four, is creativity. For many people, when they go into photography as a business, it’s because they enjoy the creative side of making images and trying techniques and doing creative edits and exploring all the different possibilities that can be on offer. And it can happen with some businesses that we do the same thing over and over again in order to make a living, that things can become very repetitive and the creative side of it might get lost. In which case, if we need creativity as a key motivator, then that loss of creativity, that repetition, could become frustrating and difficult to deal with. So we would need to find ways of bringing creativity back into the business, back into our photography, so we don’t lose that motivation.

So, so far we’ve had these four motivators: recognition from others, money, sense of achievement, and creativity. The next one, number 5, is about relationships. Some people are more motivated by the the relationships that they have and the relationships that they can form through the business. It might be that your business, your work is to fuel time with family, with friends, that that is what’s most important to you, that actually, rather than earning that little bit of extra money that you could from another gig on the side, you’d rather go out with your family or your friends, perhaps. Maybe that’s more important to you. So if you find that your work is just eating into your time and you’re feeling frustrated, perhaps for you, your relationships need more time. If that’s a key motivator for you, then it’s worth looking at. And similarly, you might like to gain relationships through your suppliers, through your clients. You might be the person that loves social photography because you’ve got the opportunity to form relationships with people. So, that, relationships, can be another key motivator.

Number six, helping others. Now, Perhaps you started out doing work for charities or groups locally that you wanted to support with your photography. When we’re trying to earn money, it might be that some of this goes to one side, that we don’t spend so much time on those other types of jobs because they don’t pay us anything. And they can be quite demanding and involve quite a lot of work. But at the same time, if helping others really matters to us, if that is a key motivator for us, then we need to make time for it to make sure that it happens, because otherwise we become disconnected from that motivation. We can become disconnected from that thing that brings us joy. And that can then mean our business can suffer.

Number seven, freedom and control. Some people like to be self-employed so they haven’t got somebody constantly telling them what to do. They like to be in control. They like to be able to choose what they’re going to do when. They like to choose their own structure for their business. In which case, if you’ve got a lot of demanding clients, and these demanding clients are perhaps trying to change your contracts, trying to change the way you work, trying to force you down a certain direction, if you don’t need to work with them, if you don’t need the money from them, then perhaps stepping back from that will give you a greater sense sense of freedom and control back in your business. It can be something that can be quite empowering, having that freedom and control over your own business. So if it feels as though someone else is impinging on that, as though you’re losing that, then that might be something that can demotivate you.

We’ve had recognition from others, money, sense of achievement, creativity, relationships, helping others, freedom and control, and now, finally, we’ve got fun and enjoyment. Sometimes a key motivator is just that we’re having fun. It’s just that we’re enjoying what we’re doing. And yes, that might come through creativity, for example. It’s not necessarily purely isolated on its own. But if the business becomes just about being a business and we don’t enjoy it anymore, perhaps we’ve gone from having photography as a hobby to doing it professionally, and we find that the fun of photography is gone, that can be a problem. It might be that we need to find ways of just picking up the camera having a bit of fun, doing something a little bit different, just to keep our love for photography. If for you, your fun and enjoyment are important motivators, then you need to find a way of building that into the business. So it’s not all just serious business work, but there is stuff there that brings you some fun, brings you enjoyment, brings you satisfaction.

So with all of these motivators, we can have ones that are a bit more important to us. We might have one that’s the overarching one or perhaps a couple, and then the others will all come in in relative degrees. It’s unlikely that all of them will be equally important, and it’s unlikely that all of them will be equally unimportant. Pretty much all of those are likely to feature to some degree for most of us. It’s just a case of identifying the key ones to begin with so that we can make sure that the way in which we’re doing business and what we’re doing with our photography is reaching what matters for us, what’s going to enable us to keep motivated, what’s going to enable us to get enjoyment from what we do, what’s going to enable us to feel connected to the business and that it’s a genuine expression of ourselves.

So as a reminder, do try the motivators quiz on the website through the free resources page, and that might help you if you’re struggling to identify what are your key motivators. If you’re in a position where you’re still perhaps struggling to earn as much money as you would like or you need, then one interesting approach that you can do is to try and take the quiz imagining that you already have reached that stage. So take the need for money out of the equation and see if it is actually then still a motivator for you. It may be, it may not be.

So, part of what we do in that passion bit at the heart of our training for our businesses, for our photography, is looking at what drives us, looking at our personalities. And we will be providing various resources through the podcast, but also there are book reviews on the website, taking you through some books that can help you explore these topics in more detail. And if you’d like to discuss these things with other members, then you can join the Facebook group and have discussions in there. And you can also book one-to-one coaching or mentoring, where we can go through these things in greater detail. And you’ve obviously then got total confidentiality and privacy. You can say what you like and we can explore these things to really help you dive into finding what’s going to help you to move forward with your business, what’s going to help you to be successful and happy.

In the meantime, please do send in any questions that you might like to have discussed on the podcast. I’d like to thank you very much for listening so far and encourage you to please subscribe to the podcast so that you can keep up to date as new episodes get posted. I’m Joe Lenton, and you have been listening to the Focused Professional podcast.

© Focused Professional, 2024

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