Growing a Thicker Skin – Part One

Growing a Thicker Skin – Part One

Intro by Skip Cohen

If you haven’t checked out all the content on Sarah Petty’s “Joy of Marketing” blog, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to grow. And they’ve made it so easy with their podcast series, where they not only share the soundtrack but give you the transcript as well.

Everyone is worried about their business today, and all for good reasons. But so often, we create more challenges than we honestly need. We create what Sarah calls “head trash.” Right now, many of you are sitting on top of the equivalent of the city dump!

Sarah shares so much good advice: I’ve chosen to break it up into two parts – so that you don’t miss a single point.

I hate to use an abused analogy, but over the last year, with all the lemons that have been delivered, we’re all in the lemonade business! That means it’s more important than ever before not to add to the challenges with the insecurities in your own head!

We’re all part of an amazing industry, but if you’ve lost sight of the end goal, Sarah’s going to help you get things back into perspective!


By Sarah Petty

Do you find yourself worrying about every possible outcome in a given situation?

Many photographers struggle with growing thick skin so that they can stop worrying so much. It hurts when someone criticizes your photography business because it feels personal, even if it is just business.

This criticism can create so much head trash.

What if a client gets mad at me?

What if my business falls apart because of one bad decision?

What if something really bad happens?

Now that I’m 23 years into my photography career, I’ve changed how I view and respond to negative comments.

Today I’ll share my tips for what to do when someone criticizes you and what to do about the worry that keeps you stuck.

You Deserve To Make Money

When I started my business, I remember feeling insecure and thinking,

“I’m a jerk for offering things that make me money.”

On the bad days, people’s comments would make me feel horrible for trying to make money in my business, even though that was my goal.

Early in my career, I was more sensitive to negative criticism. I gave so much emotional energy to what people thought and might say about me.

What if someone yells at me on the phone?

What if they make fun of me with their friends?

What if they say something negative on social media?

What if this, what if that?

It’s exhausting.

Here are some things that help me avoid getting derailed by what other people might say about me.

#1 Be Objective 

When something negative is said, I try to be objective in my thoughts. Is this them being mean or is there any validity to their comment?

Some of the hardest feedback can hurt to hear, but once you take the anger away, there can be good advice.

If one person says it, maybe others are thinking it, and it can help you be a better entrepreneur.

I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes.

I think, if I were that person, how would I feel right now? Sometimes you might need to make a change or apologize for something. We’re human and we all mess up and learn and grow from it. We can’t control what people say, but we can control how we react to it, our energy, and our feelings.

#2 Realize You Aren’t For Everyone

To succeed in business, you have to find an audience and focus on thrilling them. Rarely does a business succeed by thrilling everyone. That’s the nature of finding an open spot in the market.

It’s okay to not work for everyone.

I have learned that you have to be okay with everyone not loving you.

When I started Joy of Marketing, we would email photographers on our list and get snotty emails telling us how we are going to burn in hell because we were sending so many emails.

We also got emails saying what we’ve taught has changed their life.

Haters don’t pay the bills.

As long as we’re serving some people, we can’t make everybody happy. I don’t harbor ill will against the people who hate on me, I wish them well. I have an abundance mindset, so I release them into the universe to find the right mentor for them.I want them to be guided out of their own darkness.

I have the most amazing clients, but I know there are people who just want digital files. Even though they won’t be my client, I send them away with happiness and goodwill.

There’s someone out there for everyone.

I have so many happy clients that I don’t let the wrong ones bother me.People are all entitled to their own opinion, and if they hate the fact that I make a living by not selling digital files, that’s okay with me.

#3 Reset When You’re Stuck On What-If 

I think more emotional energy is wasted on worries than actual conflicts.

You need to recognize when fear is taking up too much of your emotional energy. Once you realize, take a deep breath and reset.

You can go on a walk, take a bath, play with your kids, or have a date night.

With my peak performance coaching students, I have them keep a tenacity journal that is filled with positivity. These can be things their clients have said, happy quotes, or love notes from their family.

When they start worrying, they pull out their tenacity journal and are reminded of all the amazing things that have come from their photography business.

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This article was written by
Sarah Petty

Sarah is a New York Times best-selling author, highly-acclaimed speaker, author, MBA and coach who started her own boutique photography studio after working for Coca Cola for 20 years and then meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency’s clients. She attributes the rapid growth of her boutique photography studio, which was named one of the most profitable in the country within just five years in business by PPA, to the creation of her own strong brand. Click on Sarah's photograph to visit her blog.

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