38: Some Scary Stuff

Recently I wrote a short post about my decision to start a photography business. (Thanks for the encouraging comments. I really appreciated hearing from you.) I didn’t write much more that day because, well, I’m scared about the whole thing.

Having small kids has been the main reason for putting off being in business. But it hasn’t been the only reason that I have hesitated.  I have a laundry list of worries when I think about being a paid photographer.

What if I ruin the fun of photography for myself?

My life is already full. Where will I find the time?

Mean people.

I don’t know anything about running a business.

I’ll have to sell my work and talk about money.

There are already so many good photographers out there. 

I’ll be so busy taking pictures of other people’s families that I won’t want to take pictures of my own.

I could go on but you get the idea. All these fears have been in my mind, talking at the same time. Were they good reasons for not being in business? I couldn’t make it out.

Then one morning I read this post on Psychology for Photographers.  In the post, Jenika is writing to photographers – like me – who are afraid of marketing themselves.

“When you toil and sweat to produce something good, something beautiful and of the highest quality, it’s NOT just an abstract exercise. For you, your work is absolutely heartsoaked with your identity and love. It’s personal.”

The first step into healing a fear of marketing is simply recognizing where the fear comes from.

 You’re not afraid because someone will say your work isn’t good enough.

You’re afraid that someone will tell you your heart isn’t good enough.”

When I read that last line, I cried. I read it to my mom and cried again.

There were a group of fears dancing around in my head but this was the one fear that was really stopping me. Reading Jenika’s post brought my thoughts and fears about starting a photography business into focus. (Thank you, Jenika for taking the time to share your thoughts.)

One of my favorite books as a child was Bedtime for Frances. The little girl in the story can’t get to sleep and finds many reasons to come out of her bedroom.  At one point, she is in bed and sees something that scares her in the corner of the room. She thinks it’s a giant, gets out of bed and goes to tell her parents. Her father sends her back to her room to ask the giant what it wants. When she turns on the light, she discovers that the giant is her bathrobe on a chair.

And so it is with this fear of being told that my work – my heart – isn’t good enough. It has been brought out into the light for me to see and look at.  It’s not as scary as it was in the dark.

4 thoughts to “38: Some Scary Stuff”

  1. o my goodness jen. i go thru this same stuff when thinking of opening an Etsy store with my crafties. it can be debilitating stuff! but the truth of it is, you are an AMAZING photographer. if you can go with that and let the fear have no voice you will have an awesome business. i have no doubt. i also have a good friend who started a photog biz in nashville. i could give you his info if you wanted some encouragement or to pick his brain.

  2. Thank you so much for writing this Kate. It's so easy to feel like I'm the only one that would have this worry.
    I am excited for your Etsy store!

  3. This is something I'm struggling with right now myself. I'd like to sell my stuff, but I don't know the first thing about business or business accounts or how to put myself out there or ANYthing of that matter. All I know is I love taking photographs of this amazing world we live in and I want other folks to see the things I see and think they are just as amazing and magical, too. You are an incredible photographer and your images tell such wonderful stories. You just have to keep reminding yourself of that fact and remember to breathe as you sort out your journey.

    "Bedtime For Francis" was one of my favorites, too. Did you ever read "Bread and Jam For Francis"? That's another wonderful book your girls might enjoy.

  4. Hi Kate,

    It is interesting thinking about selling what you love. I'm planning to write more about it later this week, It really helps me collect my thoughts when I write a post about it. Thank you for your support. I enjoy your photography too. You find so much beauty around you.

    We love ALL the Frances books. A Bargain for Frances might be my favorite!

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