What My Baby Taught Me About Running My Own Business

Today my 11-month-old son pulled himself up to standing. He was super chuffed with himself, spending all afternoon showing off his new skill.  Sharing the video and photos with friends and grandparents, I captioned it “pretty pleased with himself”, my friend replied, “as he should be!”

This really got me thinking – how often ARE we pleased with our own selves? And openly willing to voice that? Although #selflove might be all the rage, there’s still a lot of stigma in “tooting your own horn” and celebrating your own success isn’t there?

I replied to my friend that my son had spent the weekend getting up to a bended knee position but then finally today managed to push on and voila! standing man! Skill mastered, but certainly not overnight.

A mentor from a training programme I’ve joined says “daily steps lead to success, do the work” and I’ve never thought more on this than following my baby’s triumph today. 

I run a moderately successful photography business. I pay my bills, pay my taxes, buy nice things. I make a lot of people happy with my photographs.  In January I decided to push myself harder than I ever have and invested in a new online business & community, with the aim to upscale and improve both that business and my photography one.

Covid-19 (or Coronavirus) has recently now gripped the UK, where I live, and its toll on my business and income has been rapid. My diary is full of postponements and regular contracts I had, have hit the pause button for the foreseeable.

I’m feeling a rollercoaster of emotions with it all.  I do now have a lot of time to concentrate on my new venture, but I have days of excitement followed by crashing self-doubt and worry. 

I’m setting up new social media channels and websites which are getting very little attention, I often feel like I’m shouting into a chasm and I’m not even sure the echo is coming back!

My partner, always the voice of reason, tells me “you’ve only had the page active for 3 days, that many follows is good” and “but one or two is better than none”.  And he is correct.  I know I would be telling a friend the same – have patience, keep going.

Why do we struggle so much with believing in ourselves?

After seeing my son in action today, and my mentor’s words rattling in my head I made myself take stock.

When I set up my photography business I started with not much – no followers, no bookings, heavily discounted prices. And now, 5 years on (Corona-gate aside): I’m booked, I’m earning much more than I ever thought I could, and I’ve learnt so much.

A friend found one of my original business cards in an old wallet and messaged me to say, “you’ve come a long way…your stuff is just so slick now”.  I have come a long way and it didn’t happen instantly. It was 5 years (plus 5 years prior to that of junior photography work) of every day improving, practising and learning.

A member of the community, Christine, shared a big milestone of hers with us all today too. 12 months ago, she joined up (as I did 3 months ago) and now is celebrating making 10k in online earnings and becoming a leader herself in her passion.

I actually met Christine in person, a year ago, when she was just starting out. I had been hired by this company (the same one I have now invested in) to take photographs for these new business owners and I photographed Christine – just a small step of her journey. 

Part of her post read “one thing is clear! I have NEVER given up on achieving this milestone.  Every day I have pushed a little tiny bit closer to this goal.”

Her share today was another timely reminder that in business (and life!) everyone is at their own stage and making their own progress. As Plato said “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress no matter how slow”

And so I see the same with how my son has learnt to pull himself up (and crawl, and clap, and throw and so much more) by doggedly and persistently honing his own skills every day.  Stretching just a bit further every time.  Getting back up every time he falls. Repeating in increments every day, until BOOM, skill mastered.

I might not be celebrating myself so much today, but I am celebrating really seeing the lesson.

Small efforts repeated daily lead to success. 

Thanks for the reminder son.

If you’d like to learn more from my mentors start here