Friday, June 19, 2009

Going Pro: Dealing with Doubt

Hello everyone! Welcome to a wonderful Wednesday blog post. Today I want to talk about doubt. It's everywhere. It lives inside you and in the minds of others.

It's a funny thing about starting a business, lots of people have lots of ideas about who you should be, what you should be doing, and what you're not doing right. And a good many of them also feel compelled to share these opinions with you. Don't get me wrong, I feel that every person has value to contribute to the world, but that does not mean that I am always excited when people feel the need to share unsolicited advice. You know the type of people I mean. The people who say things like, "Oh, so you mean you still haven't gotten your business started yet? Hmm... I guess everyone moves at their own pace..."

It is easy to let things like that get inside your head and make you feel like you aren't trying hard enough or working fast enough or that you just plain aren't good enough and that you are doomed to abysmal failure and public humiliation.

Here's the conclusion I have come to. There will always be people who doubt you. They will doubt your drive, your motivation, your skills, your professionalism, your ability to follow through, and they will doubt your worth as a photographer. Not everyone will like you, your images, your style, or your website. They will look down on you for being self-taught or not going to the right school. A lot of people will think that you have no idea what you are doing or that what you are doing is wrong. They might even be right. What you are doing may not be right for everyone, but as long as what you are doing is right for you, none of the other stuff that I just said really matters.

Please don't take this as a reason to go quit your day job and do something crazy. Your decisions still need to be based on market research and quantifiable facts, but they should also still be true to who you are. I have been working on my website recently and I got caught up for a bit in other people's opinions and nitpicking. Then I realized that if I were to launch a website for photography that encourages people to be who they are and express themselves, and I based it on what other people thought about me and my photography that I would be the biggest hypocrite ever.

The message that I want to leave you with today is that no matter if you just shoot for fun or if you do it for profit do it for you. Do your research, soul search, make a plan that you believe in, and then stick to it.

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