We’re already halfway through 2019 and that got me thinking about my goals for this year and how far I’ve already come versus how far I still need to go. Personally, I hate New Year’s resolutions they never last – at least mine didn’t, until one year I made the best resolution ever: to care less. Yup, that’s right! Ha, I can hear you right now saying, “This chick is crazy!” I thought I was too, until I started feeling less stressed and realized how freeing it actually was to care less! I cared less at home with my kids, I cared less about my appearance, I cared less in business. I pretty much cared less in every aspect of my life!
I started this resolution in a small way: caring less about my kids. Now, it’s not what you think! I could never love them less -they are my world! -but I could care less about the things they did. For example, bedtime was always a battle at our house, as I’m sure it is in most homes. I have no help six months out of the year when my husband is out at sea and I am outnumbered with my two boys. They argued constantly about putting their pajamas on and I was over it! So one night I decided to care less and let them sleep in their clothes! And let me tell you, I never looked back! Who really cares what they sleep in as long as they sleep?!
Another night, my youngest told me he didn’t want to sleep in his bed anymore. Instead, he wanted to sleep in this closet and I said “sure.” He set up his sleeping bag and pillow and off he went to bed without a fight. He slept in there for almost a week before eventually going back in his bed. I didn’t care at all and bedtimes were going so much more easily.
That’s when I moved on to caring less about other aspects of my life, too, like my appearance. I was taught growing up to take pride in how I looked and dressed. When I was old enough to start interviewing for a job, I was taught to dress for success. As a business owner in a town where you always run into your clients while doing errands, I felt the need to always look perfect and put together, even though I was not. I was so completely exhausted and burnt out when my boys were little and my husband was gone. I barely had time to feed myself let alone look perfect every time I went out! But I dressed up anyway, just in case I ran into a client.
Then one day I had to run to Target quickly with the boys. I had no time for makeup, heck I didn’t even have time to shower! Since it was winter I figured I could wear my big hooded coat and I’d be fine, no one would see me. Of course, going through the aisles I bumped into my biggest paying client and was so embarrassed! I was horrified that she was seeing me when I looked like such a hot mess! My kids even looked like hot messes! Her reaction completely surprised me as she said, “Michelle, how is it you always look so put together even when you’re running errands? I don’t know how you juggle everything, especially when it’s you doing it by yourself half the time!” I nearly broke down in tears! At that moment I realized I was too hard on myself and looking the part all the time made me less relatable. No more! It’s ok being a mom and businesswoman that doesn’t look perfectly put together every second.
Next came caring less in my business and this one was a hard one for me! For many of my beginning years as an entrepreneur, I was overly concerned with my competition. I was constantly looking online to see how many photographers were in my area, how good their work was, what their prices were like, and what specials or mini sessions they offered. I would tell myself things like “if my prices were cheaper than theirs or my work was better I would have a busier more successful studio then theirs.” So many of the photographers around me were practically giving away their work, their prices were so cheap. There was no way I could ever stay in business if I offered similar pricing, so I made the decision to stop caring about what every other photographer in my area was doing.
I decided to invest in myself and my business by finding some mentors that I knew, without a doubt, were successful profitable photographs and learn from them. I studied marketing, I learned the art of pricing for profit and tailored my customer service and experience around the boutique studio model.
I wanted to be completely different than the shoot and burn photographers around me. Besides, I already noticed half of them were out of business! I stuck to the boutique studio model even when some new inquiries said my prices were too high. I learned to have thick skin when people said “no,” because those that said “yes” invested far more than the clients I previously attracted. I was a quality, not quantity, studio and I delivered amazing customer experience, unlike my competition. Word spread and I started attracting more and more of my ideal customers who appreciated my art and saw the value in investing in a high quality photographer.
Caring less has had a significant positive impact on my life! I challenge you to give it a shot in your business. Focus on you instead of being concerned with what every photographer in your area is doing. Invest in yourself to learn tried and true methods for running a profitable studio and above all, serve your clients.