7 years ago we embarked on the adventure of starting our photography business, right after we said “I DO”. But not just any photography business, we wanted our business to be ran by + ran for God. Thus far the adventure has been thrilling yet scary, exciting yet challenging and incredibly blessed… we LOVE it! Today we reflected on the ups and downs of this journey + the good and the bad and we thought we would share 10 things we have learned over years about starting a business that works for God.
Here are 10 things we wish someone would have told us at the beginning…
1. Your family matters more than your business.
Keep this close to your heart and NEVER forget it!
2. Do something you LOVE.
When you choose to start your own business do what you love, this is an endeavor that takes along time so make sure it’s something that brings you peace + joy. If it does not bring you peace + joy run away now before you begin. If your not loving what you do, how the heck are you going to spread God’s love while doing it?
3. Pray often.
To start a business that works for God prayer has to be in every inch of it. Start your morning off with prayer, say a prayer when it gets over whelming during the day and say a prayer before you go to bed. And always be thankful!
4. You won’t know everything.
The reality is when you start a business for the very first time you truly have no idea what your getting yourself into and that’s ok. First and foremost trust in God, if he is calling you to it He will help you through it. Brandon and I knew nothing about running our own business we had to learn how to obtain a business license, keep track of bookkeeping, file business taxes, market our business and as we upgraded our camera gear we even had to learn how to use it. The entire process is learning and growing.
5. Your going to fall.
I am sure this sounds horrifying + scary and at times it is. But please, DON’T FEAR FAILURE! We want you to know that it is going to be a hard journey to travel and it will be challenging. It’s hard work. As the old saying goes, you have to jump if you want to fly. None of us are born knowing how to fly so when we jump the first few moments will be a free fall. Let this fall give you the adrenaline you need to succeed.
6. Don’t quit your day job too soon.
Yes we know we just told you to jump, that means take the leap and start your business. However, that does not mean you need to quit you day job asap. Here is the breakdown, there are 168 hours in a week and a typical day job takes up 40hrs. You need about 50hrs of sleep so this leaves plenty of time to work on your new business. The first 2 years of our business we both had full time jobs. Once your business is bringing in enough money to live on then you can quit your day job.
7. Avoid the discount trap instead cultivate real relationships.
It is so easy to buy into the pressure to heavily discount your prices in order to attract business, we get it. The thing about discounting your pricing to gain clients is that you end up attracting clients who are only in it for a “good deal”, as soon as your discount is gone so are they. We have learned that when you focus in on how to bring more value to clients and you invest in cultivating a real relationship with your clients, rather than simply slashing your prices, you obtain life long clients that are more then happy to pay for your services. And guess what, they know your value, so when you raise your prices over the years as you obtain more experience and become better at your craft, they stick with you and support you along the way. When you run a business for God it truly is about connecting with people and developing a community, for we were all created for community.
If you stop learning you will stop growing. When it comes to running your business education will take you places you never thought possible so dive into educational podcast, webinars, courses, books, classes and groups. The more you know the further you can grow your business.
9. Emotional Reality
We are about to lay it down thick and honest so here we go. The daily grind of what we do is far from glamorous. Often times we sit in workout clothes + our slippers for hours in front of our two computers. Side by side working and sipping on tea for me and coffee for him (at any given time there is at least 3 mugs and 2 water glasses on our desks – oh and did I mention snack bowls). I am not even kidding when I say that our dogs remind us of when to take our breaks, lunch and dinner. Seriously they are better then an alarm clock. Everyday at 1pm they come in as start begging for lunch and every evening a 6pm they are right there begging for dinner, like clockwork. Somedays are even spent in PJ’s, especially when we are working with a bad cold or flue. We work a ton. Before we built our business, we believed everything was going to be coffee shop vibes, slow easy mornings and happy dances but those rainbow dreams and butterfly kisses soon met reality. We share this because we don’t want you to hit a brick wall of anxiety when reality sets in of what the daily grind really looks like. When God calls us to run a business for him he also calls us to live in the now, the reality and the messiness of life. He calls us to be present.
10. Get up earlier.
YOU CAN DO IT… and we highly suggest it. You may say your not a morning person…excuses, and there is no time for excuses when your running a business for God. Believe it or not God created us to get up when the sun comes up. We are more productive and accomplish more earlier in the day. Science proves it.
While no one can guarantee the outcome of any new venture, we can stack the odds in our favor. And if we are open to learning, growing pains and living in the present with God by our sides life will be well lived.