Josh & Danielle Files | Our Best Advice to Small Business Owner Creatives

It’s getting real on our blog today. We’re about to admit something we’re not very proud of in hopes that it’ll help another small business owner out there either just getting started or looking to make the most out of their business that has been around for a while.

When we first started our photography business, we were inexperienced, still working our other full-time jobs, and didn’t know anyone else running their own small businesses in the area. We were sort of closed off and in our own little world. We hadn’t met any other creatives in our area. The fact that we were closed off & hadn’t met anyone else in our area helped to perpetuate a crazy idea in our minds: that other creatives wouldn’t be welcoming to us, that we were in competition with them, that we should compare our work to theirs, or that we weren’t “good enough” to fit in with the creative crowd since we were new.  Those assumptions weren’t helping anyone! Thankfully, it wasn’t very long before we figured out that we needed to change our outlook.

We realized that we had absolutely nothing to base our assumptions on. None of the other small business owners in our area had been rude to us. In fact, we simply hadn’t met them yet! So why in the heck were we sitting behind our computer screen at odd hours of the night during editing breaks thinking that they were “our competitors” or people we should avoid or compare ourselves to? Well, to be honest, we were insecure. We had just started out in the business. We had no formal training so that sometimes made us feel “less than” or inferior. But do you know what? WE were doing that to ourselves. WE were making ourselves feel inferior. No one else had done that. No one else had even insinuated that we weren’t good enough.

Thankfully, we were able to quiet those voices in our own heads. We realized that God gave us talents that He wanted us to use & if we allowed ourselves to be held back by these useless thoughts, we wouldn’t be able to fulfill any purpose He had for us. So we went out and met other small business owners. We even went out and met other photographers in our area. You may be thinking “GASP! Aren’t you competing with them to book the same weddings?!” I suppose sometimes we are. But that’s not important. The friendships we’ve formed with other creatives in the area are invaluable to us. We can now honestly rejoice with them and congratulate them sincerely when they win awards or when they photograph beautiful weddings wonderfully. These friendships allow us to get out from behind our computer screens occasionally and talk with other people who get us. Owning your own business can sometimes get lonely. You don’t go to a workplace and have co-workers to talk with like “normal” (haha) people. Sometimes you can spend an entire day in your pajamas behind a computer and have absolutely zero interaction face-to-face with other humans. Living like that every day just ain’t right! Even if you’re introverted, you still need meaningful human contact from time to time.

If you’re struggling with feeling alone, in competition with others, insecure, or inferior, know this: it may seem counterintuitive, but forming friendships and connections with your so-called competitors is the very best thing for your business. You’ll make friends. You’ll feel connected. You’ll help one another grow. Only YOU can make yourself feel inferior. And you don’t have time for that noise. You’re unique. What you have to offer the world is YOU & no one else can pull that off. So give yourself a pep talk, get out from behind that screen, and connect with others in your area.Youngstown creatives networking

Please feel free to connect with us if you haven’t! We’d love to chat over a mug of coffee. If we can go from two people who had never photographed a wedding and had zero connections in this business who felt intimidated and inferior to other photographers in this area who had more experience to two people who are now full time in this business, have photographed over 100 weddings, and have great connections with other photographers in the area. . . then ANYONE who wants to WORK HARD can! Believe us on that!

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