What is my purpose?


As the summer gets started, it always makes me rethink my business and how I’m doing things.

  • Am I reaching my target market?
  • Am I booking clients that are right for me?
  • Am I the right photographer for my clients?
  • What can I do to increase my bookings?
  • Do I need to change my pricing or update my website in order to reach more people?
  • Do I keep shooting weddings and seniors or just specialize in one?
  • Should I upgrade my camera or buy a new lens or two?
  • Do I need to purchase that new amazing software that will make my business better?

While these things are important, I sometimes let these questions get in the way.  It’s easy to get side tracked thinking about all the things I want to do in my business and not concentrate on BUILDING my business.  Building something that serves me as well as my clients.  In the book The E-Myth, author Michael Gerber says “The main purpose of our life is not to serve our business, but the main purpose of our business IS to serve our life.” It’s easy to get this reversed.  I start to spread out and start to do all kinds of things that just take up my time.  I have to stop and remind myself what I’m about and what my purpose is.  I have to stop and remind myself that my purpose is helping people.

An old friend of mine, David Jay, once said that when he was 16 his father sat him down and told him “David, if you truly make your business about helping other people, you’ll always have plenty of work.”  This is so true, and one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard.  I have to stop and remind myself to stop focusing so much on the things in my business that don’t matter and remind myself that my business is about helping people.  If I fail to do that, my business will also fail.

I don’t have employees, but a lot of you might. so this is just a side note.  If your business isn’t about building up your employees and taking care of them financially and professionally, your business will also fail.  I’ve seen it happen myself.  More than once. Employee moral is the one thing that will build your business up, or tear it down.  Without your employees (the people who REALLY run your business), you have nothing.  Just like my business, your business is also about helping people.  Helping your employees succeed and rewarding them when they do.  They are the reason you have your home, your car, your boat, your summer home, or maybe even your airplane.  “If you truly make your business about helping other people, you’ll always have plenty of work.”

So as a self-employed business owner, I have to remind myself of all of these things.  I read a quote one time (I don’t remember where) that said “People don’t pay you for how good you are at what you do, they pay you for how good you are at WHO you are.”  This is very true in the photography industry.  I know that my clients can go anywhere and get pretty pictures and sometimes get them at a better price.  There are a ton of talented photographers around.  They can never go anywhere else and get me.  I am the one thing that is unique about my business and the one thing that no one else will ever have. Because of this truth, I know I don’t have any competition.  This allows me to not only help my clients, but also help my fellow photographers.  “If you truly make your business about helping other people, you’ll always have plenty of work.”  This applies to helping my clients as well as other photographers.  If you’re a photographer, and you’re not reaching out and helping other photographers, you are missing the boat.  I’ve heard it called “succeeding together”.  Will helping other photographers sometimes come back to bite you?  Yes.  It will.  However, this is rare.  There are people out there who will take advantage of you but you can’t let that stop you from trying.  If that happens, wash their dirt off your hands and find someone else to help.  It’s heartbreaking at times, but don’t quit trying.

So what is your purpose?  If you’re not sure, I would encourage you to take time and think about it.  It may not come to you right away, but it will.  And just FYI, it doesn’t matter what your occupation is, everyone’s purpose is to help other people.  Yes, I’m talking to you.

“If you truly make your business about helping other people, you’ll always have plenty of work.”

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