Starting a photography business is exciting. It feels incredible the first time someone gives you actual money for doing the work you love. Life doesn’t get much better than that! 

Eventually, however, a challenge will arise that makes you wonder if owning a business is right for you. That’s when you realize not only do your photography skills need constant refinement, but your energy and mindset need nurturing too. Igniting a spark of inspiration can get you started, but if you want to stay in the game, you must tend to the fire.

How can you stay inspired when you live in a society that offers countless warnings and negative messages for people who dare to venture out on their own? I’ve found that inspiration doesn’t happen by itself. You have to go out of your way to find it. Here are 6 ways I’ve learned to help me stay inspired. I hope they’ll help you too.

1. Know Your Passion:

Photography in itself might be a passion for you, and that’s great. But take some time to understand what it is about photography that excites you. Is it the people you get to work with? Is it the precision involved in understanding lighting? Is it the way photography allows you to communicate? Why do you do photography, and how does it make your life more enjoyable? If you can find a clear aspect of photography that keeps your fire burning no matter what, then you can return to that to get inspired when you feel challenged. 

2. Find a Role Model (or 2 or 3…):

Look to the journeys of other successful entrepreneurs for inspiration. The best role models are people who you can relate to, so be picky. A famous billionaire might give you something to strive for, but don’t let it backfire by emphasizing the gap between you and them. Learn about their stories and find the little things that resonate with you from where you stand right now. Today’s role models might not inspire you as much later, so keep exploring. Role models should serve as examples of not just what’s possible, but also what’s believable from where you stand right now. Let them help you recognize your own potential and inspire you to go there, one step at a time.

3. Surround Yourself with Good People:

Networking is about more than finding clients. It’s also about embracing the power of influence to keep yourself inspired. Connect with like-minded individuals who share your vision for success. Join entrepreneur groups, attend networking events, and participate in community projects. Supportive people can fuel your inspiration and provide opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and learning from others’ experiences.

4. Stay Curious:

Learning is crucial for entrepreneurial success. Cultivate a curious mindset and look for ways to innovate. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Set aside money so you can attend workshops, seminars, and conferences on a regular basis. Learning in person among your peers amplifies the lessons by connecting you with like-minded individuals (see #3 above). Education keeps you nimble and inspired. Bonus: lots of ideas will pay for themselves many times over when you put them into action. 

5. Visualize Your Goals:

Create a clear vision for your future and mentally inhabit the life you’re building. Your brain can’t tell the difference between practice rounds and the real thing – so use your imagination to wire your brain for success. You can write down a detailed description of your intended destination. You can set a timer and quietly imagine the feeling you’ll have when you reach your goals. You can physically act out or verbalize the experience of overcoming challenges. Look for a feeling of satisfaction with each exercise. When you’ve already “experienced” your desired outcomes through your imagination, you can proceed with confidence in your real life. It also allows you return to the memory of that feeling and get re-inspired with anticipation, even during tough times.

6. Redefine Failure

Entrepreneurship is a puzzle and your job is to figure it out. Each day on your journey will be filled with both successes and missteps. Just like a child inevitably falls down when learning to walk, you are bound to fall down on your journey to business success. Look at those moments as guideposts that clarify your direction and keep you on your path. If a fall is painful, give yourself permission to feel it. Get angry if you need to. Take a break. Then, recognize the strength and knowledge that you gained through the experience! Getting through a challenge can be inspiring when you see what it’s done to help you along your way. 

Finding inspiration is crucial during every phase of a business venture. By identifying your passions, learning from role models, surrounding yourself with supportive people, staying curious, visualizing your goals, and redefining failure, you’ll be equipped with the tools you need to keep going when the days get tough. Remember, inspiration is key, but action and perseverance are equally important. So, gather your inspiration, fuel your determination, and let your entrepreneurial spirit soar. Here’s to your future success! 

Side Note: If you’re looking for business inspiration, PPW has you covered. Start on your journey to earning your PPW Fellow of Business Degree. Join us in Kennewick for the Business Institute on March 25th, and get involved with the Advisory Board via ZOOM, starting on April 22nd from 7-8pm Pacific Time.

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