If there’s one thing that has completely revolutionized our business it’s finding a community.
Owning a small business is tough sometimes. There is nothing “small” about it! If you are like us, you started as a one-woman show. Photographer? Me! Editor? Me! Social media manager? Me! You know the deal, we wear all the hats and then some! It’s amazing, challenging, and exciting in so many ways but it can also be super isolating. When I first started, I’d find myself working until 2 AM without ever taking a step outside. Not to mention ever interacting with a human! ; P
After a few months of being held up in my office/bedroom, I really had to push myself to get out there. I had photographer friends from going to photography school but they didn’t live in Houston. So I made it a mission to find my tribe and now I don’t know how I survived before them!
It’s absolutely vital to find your tribe of friends in your industry (& outside!) to help you, challenge you, give you feedback and encourage you to be the best #bossbabe you can be!
Connecting with others in your industry online and offline is one of the best ways to not only form a community of professional connections but also to find the soulmate clients that you love to work with!
We firmly believe in community over competition, so here are 3 things we recommend to find your community:
Can we just say how much Tuesday’s Together has changed our lives? We’ve met the most incredible people, in and out of our industry, and it’s been the most amazing thing ever to be a part of and learn from a community of creatives.
If you haven’t heard of it, Tuesday’s Together meet-ups are gatherings for small business owners who love to share their knowledge, learn from their peers, and grow together. They usually happen on the second Tuesday of the month all over the world so find your local chapter here!
We joined at the very beginning because one of our besties, Meredith from Cake & Confetti, became the Houston leader. It was the perfect way to get us out of our everyday bubble and learn alongside our “friendors!” Plus, when you work from home, you need to get out of the house and socialize every now and then! : )
We know there are plenty of educational resources online, but friends, nothing compares to the in-person connections you’ll make at workshops. The friendships you’ll make with other photographers (in the same place as you and going through the same issues you are) will be invaluable! They will be the friends that go to the next workshop with you, the friends you’ll call when you are dealing with a nightmare business situation! Heck, they might even be the friend you go into business with!
Some of our sweetest photographer friends have come from workshops. You go through something really unique together when you are learning and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. We’ve had emotional and business breakthroughs at workshops alongside these friends! Even though it’s super comfy behind our computer, we thrive off learning from others and love getting those Aha! moments surrounded by like-minded #bosses.
Just as important as your connection with other photographers is your connection with the workshop hosts! You could end up interning for them, working as an associate photographer for them or even being the next photographer they refer to their clients! Don’t underestimate the power of in-person connections!
A local wedding magazine reached out to us to advertise when I had just moved back to Houston. I wasn’t sure if it was the right move for us. So I grabbed a copy and saw a beautiful ad that Alicia Pyne had published for her photography business.
I called the number on the ad to see how advertising was going for her business and Alicia picked up. We chatted and realized we both went to the same photography school in Santa Barbara. We became quick friends and I still look to her for business advice! She also photographed so many sweet moments in our life, from our engagements to our maternity photos! Never in a million years would I have thought that by simply reaching out to her that it would create a long-lasting friendship.
So what’s the moral of the story, friends? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Identify the people that you admire, reach out to them, and see how quickly you can build up your tribe!
What have you found has helped you the most to find your community? Comment below & let us know!
Michelle & the whole Cotton crew