How to Overcome Your Fears of Starting a Photography Business

Photographers learn to see light but creatives also find themselves trapped in the darkness of their doubt. If you’re stuck in your fear of starting a business, I’m going to help you break through some myths and mental blocks to remind you that another word for fear is excitement. At the end of the day, would you rather be someone who faced their fears or gave into them?

Obviously it’s easier said than done. You can stand on a cliff trying to convince yourself and still struggle to make yourself take the step over the edge. However, it gets easier if you watch someone else jump and survive or have vital data such as how deep the water below is.

Therefore, I’m going to break down a few steps that will help you overcome your fear of starting a business. You can learn from someone who’s taken the leap as well as see some data about the validity of certain fears. Let’s go!

5 Steps to Overcoming Your Fear of Starting a Business

Here are five steps you can walk through to overcome your fears and step bravely into the photography industry:

  1. Name your fears.
  2. Research and reduce fears.
  3. First steps and step sizes.
  4. Keep overhead low.
  5. Make a plan.

1. Name Your Fears

One of the first things you can do to help overcome your fear of starting a business is to name what those fears are. Write them down on a piece of paper or better yet on a giant whiteboard. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Sometimes, just the act of writing down your fears helps you see more clearly. You might see that some of your fears aren’t even rational. Or you might determine that you need to address some of those fears in order to move forward.

Fear, like any of our emotions, has a job to do. Sometimes that job is to inform us that something is scary and that we need to prepare for it by learning a skill or gathering some information. Which brings us to step 2.

2. Research and Reduce Fears

Let’s say of your list of 15 fears, there are two very valid fears. Now, you can focus on those fears and find ways to reduce the fear. You can reduce your fears in a number of ways from taking baby steps to doing a little research.

Let’s start with the research. Sometimes your fear indicates a knowledge gap. There are likely skills you need to learn in order to do something new.

If you’re afraid to start a business because you don’t know anything about business, then it’s time to learn something new. Make a list of skills or requirements that would make you feel more confident in starting a business if you had them.

3. First Steps and Step Sizes

Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. And sometimes the best way to get over your fear is to just jump. But I’m not saying to start with the high five and quit your day job while swimming in unknown waters. However, while you’re getting some new skills as talked about in the previous section you can go ahead and state.

Take the first step and make the size of the first step appropriate based on how ready you are. Putting up a website is pretty easy and not that scary. Telling your best friend about your plan is a great first step.

There are a lot of steps you can take to start a business slowly and then build it from there. You don’t have to go all in, just start with one client. Put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time, and before you know it you’ll have started.

Maybe your business starts out as a side hustle first. Then, once you have momentum you can invest more time into it. Chances are you’ll learn a lot of lessons along the way so it’s worth building slow to make sure your foundation is strong.

4. Keep Overhead Low

If you quit your job, take out a loan, and put everything on the line you might find yourself in way over your head. Instead, keeping in line with the idea of taking small steps it’s important to keep your overhead low. The lower your expenses are, the more of your income goes to profit.

You’d be surprised at how inexpensively you can start a business. You can even rent gear or studio space on a project-by-project basis. The best way to keep from getting in over your head is to keep your overhead low.

5. Make a Plan

Action is important so I want you to do one thing to start before you get lost in building a business plan. Put up a website or tell one friend or book one job, do anything to get started. I know too many people who overanalyze and never take action.

However, once you take those first steps it is important to think through some sort of business plan. You don’t need any sort of official business plan with high-tech charts, although if the nerd in you wants that go for it. Mostly I want you to think about where you want to go and what steps you’re going to take to get there.

If you have a goal or a sense of direction then you can formulate a path to end up where you intend to go. This might mean you’re back to the research category where you’re figuring out the best way to do branding or marketing. It’s also a good time to figure out how you’re going to make a profit and where your money is going to come from.

Your plan might include a list of skills you need to develop or training you want to invest in. Inevitably you’ll need some marketing and accounting skills too. Learn business, learn photography, and get started.

Overcome Your Fears and Start Your Business

This five-step process to help you overcome your fears and start your business involves seeing fear as a teacher. What do you need to learn and where do you need to grow? Then starting your business means taking the leap but remember, you can start with a baby step.

What are you afraid of? Name it, stare it down, and then solve the gap with knowledge or data. There’s never been an easier time to start a business and you can do it with little risk and minimal investment as long as you do it the right way and start small, keep overhead low, and learn the necessary skills.

About the author: Brenda Bergreen is a Colorado wedding photographer, videographer, yoga teacher, and writer who works alongside her husband at Bergreen Photography. With their mission and mantra “love. adventurously.” they are dedicated to telling adventurous stories in beautiful places.

Image credits: Header photo from 123RF. All other photographs by Brenda Bergreen.