As I’m typing this, I almost can’t believe that I’ve been in business for 5 years. It doesn’t feel like all that long ago that I submitted my application for a business license (when I was 19 years old!!) After over 5 years, 35+ weddings, and so many wonderful additions to my circle, I’m so happy to say that Andrea Cable Photography has been in business for five full years!!
In celebratory fashion, I booked a photoshoot with my girl Rachel Marie and she captured me on a beautiful Wednesday evening in March (p.s. having another photographer live literally a 2 minute walk away is such a blessing). Thanks for being amazing, Rachel!
In other celebratory activities, I ordered customized cookies from Farm Chick Baked Goods and am SO EXCITED at how they turned out!! GUYS. All I had to do was send her an idea of what I wanted and Jordan brought my vision to life. THANK YOU, JORDAN! You’re truly amazing.
I wanted to outline 5 major lessons I’ve learned in my time as being an official business owner. Although I definitely don’t have it altogether, I hope some of my tips will help you learn from my mistakes 🙂
1. Financial organization is key (ie: PAY YOUR SALES TAX ON TIME).
Believe me, I had no idea how importace financial health was until I 1. got a letter from the IRS that was like, “hey, we need your sales tax payments like..yesterday” and 2. when I googled the sales/business taxes process, talked to my accountant, and talked to other photographers. AND – make sure to pay your monthly sales tax and quarterly tax estimates ON TIME. Write it down. Put it in your phone. Tattoo it on your wrist. PLEASE make sure you’re paying these amounts accurately and timely. It’ll save you a headache in the long run.
I also love having my bank statements organized and laid out every month. I screenshot invoices I receive and connect it to my transactions in Quickbooks for organization and just in case, one day, I get audited. Better safe than sorry!
Pro Tip: It’s okay to ask for help (especially when a professional knows what they’re doing better than you do).
A tool I love: Quickbooks online for organizing all things financial. Sign up here and receive $50 off + a $50 Visa gift card!
2. Your ideal-client is ever-evolving.
One thing I struggled with was evolving my ideal client/couple. When I realized that my ideal client would (obviously) be growing and changing with my business, that’s when it took all of the pressure off to be the same “person” when I pivoted some of my business decisions. I was afraid my following/past couples would look at my current website/brand/editing aesthetic and respond with a “she’s changed..” (like, in a bad way). However, that’s never happened and my past couples are more supportive than ever. My new ideal couple is more high-end and enjoys different things than my ideal couple from 5 years ago, and there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s all about change, friends! You cannotttttt grow if you keep the same things year after year.
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid of change.
3. Education is extremely important.
Amy and Jordan Demos’ courses were a game-changer for my business! I came across their blog in 2016, fell in love with their hilarious and Christ-loving personalities, and invested in their Educational online courses. The A&J Business Course tore my business apart and then re-built it the way it was supposed to be. Amy and Jordan focus a lot on being business owners and constantly “pushing that boulder up a hill” — you know, the feeling we have like, every day of our lives. Even though the course was a little pricey, I earned EVERY SINGLE CENT back through their valuable words of wisdom. If you’re struggling with posing, editing, or the integral parts of your business, they have 3 courses designed to fit your needs.
In addition to those courses that built my business and client base, I allocate a certain amount of money to educating myself each year. Now that I feel like I’m a slightly seasoned professional, this money typically consists of styled shoots and educational conferences – speaking of which, this year I’m so excited to be attending the Hybrid Co Conference in Park City!
I love attending webinars, signing up for other photographer’s email lists, and putting in the work on the backend for my business. It has kept me hungry and inspired when I feel complacent.
Pro Tip: You’ll never reach a point where you don’t need education.
A tool I love: Amy and Jordan Demos’ Education Courses, Katelyn James’ Youtube Channel, Stephanie Kase’s Youtube Channel, and Hope Taylor’s Courses.
4. Find a community/other people in your industry that “get” you.
THIS. Before I joined The Rising Tide Society, I never would have imagined myself going to a networking event and actually enjoying it. When I think of networking, I imagine men in suits, sleazy business deals, or me sitting in a corner being too shy to introduce myself. After attending a local Tuesday’s Together through the RTS, I adore networking events. Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by people who just get my struggles (or the free homemade cookies), or maybe it’s because people talked to me. And asked me questions. And genuinely wanted to get to know me. The Rising Tide Society (and Honeybook – my main client booking software) has this awesome mantra called “community over competition” and I truly believe it has changed my mindset on other business owners.
And hey, even if you’re not in the Harrisonburg area, let’s be friends! 🙂
Pro tip: Community over Competition is a movement everyone needs to support.
A tool you may love: Honeybook – for all things organizing and connection-related!
5. The comparison game doesn’t stop, but you have control over your mindset.
This is a HUGE one (and still an issue I struggle with). In a world where social media is constantly on our minds and at our fingertips, we get to scroll through the highlight reel of other photographers (and other “successful” people’s) social media profiles. After working our butts off and sometimes not seeing any progress, it’s very easy to begin the comparison game. This is a deadly mindset, but everyone is guilty of it. When I find that there’s a week where my mindset is solely set on negativity, I’ll temporarily delete the Instagram app off of my phone to halt that. When I immediately see something that makes me think a negative thought about someone, I’ll either unfollow them or mute their posts. Being this intentional with how I spend my social media breaks really affects my mindset.
Pro tip: If it’s not serving you, walk away from it (and yes, that means social media!)
A tool I use: I love watching mindfulness videos on YouTube or reading a book to distance myself from screens. Sign up for Book of the Month here and receive a free book!
I’m so thankful for you, dear friend! If you’re reading this, I’m grateful you’ve taken the precious time out of your day(s) to support me during this journey. Here’s to another 5 years of Andrea Cable Photography!