Dear 17 Year Old Jen,
First of all, you don’t realise how brave you are in starting your own business at 17. Well done.
It’s a big step especially when you have no idea what your doing just yet as a business owner but you will and you will learn a long the way.
You know those butterflies in your stomach? That’s an exciting feeling, that there is the start of your epic journey .
You have the passion and the drive to make this something special.
I’m going to tell you now that you will go through some tough times, where you think whether you are good enough to carry this on, whether you can push yourself back up again when you fall down, the frustrating times and the ridiculously hard times. Don’t forget, there will also be times where you will feel on top of the world! When you get your first client that you REALLY want to work with and they actually pay you the money that you asked for!! That’s a CRAZY feeling, you feel like you definitely are WORTH it but you just need to reach out to the people that believe it too.
It will probably feel like forever and that your not getting anywhere fast but trust me you have to keep on going, you have some amazing times ahead of you trust me!
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is just KEEP ON GOING. You know you LOVE what you do so whats stopping you from achieving your goals? What’s stopping you from earning a full time wage doing WHAT YOU LOVE MOST. It sounds crazy right? Well it isn’t, it’s definitely achievable!
Stop looking at what other people are doing. Stop COMPARING yourself to other photographers, they aren’t YOU and will never be you so just worry about yourself because chances are they aren’t looking at you and worrying about what you’re doing. Once you stop doing that you will see a huge change in you and your business. You will be putting all of that effort into you and how you can improve your ways and your skills.
Don’t let people take the piss out of your kind nature. I’m serious now! Don’t ever feel bad for wanting to say no. You know… when someone asks you to do some photos for them for basically no payment at all but you’re too kind to say no. Those aren’t the people that you should aim to work with or attract so NEVER feel bad for saying no.
Just because you’re young it doesn’t mean that you’re stupid or you should be made to feel stupid like you don’t know how to work a camera properly, you will meet some people a long the way that want to try to grind you down on the ’technical’ things that you know that you know them anyway but they think you don’t ( does that make sense?) When they ask you questions, you ask them questions right back and try to make them look stupid! They will be surprised. AND the biggest thing, THEY DON’T MATTER ANYWAY. So just forget about them!
I know you have low confidence, you always have but you have to remember that you are ALLOWED to be confident in your work and you SHOULD because people will pick up on it. If you’re not confident then how can your clients have confidence in you? It will take you some time to finally feel like your worth something but you will get there soon enough. You will feel great. You will have to keep kicking yourself and tell yourself that you can do this and soon it will be easy.
Just remember, you’re so lucky to have this opportunity. Don’t let this slip away from you, you didn’t do well in school but you CAN do well in this because you love this! To be self employed! Never forget how lucky you actually are to wake up and do what you love on your own terms.
Never stop learning and improving. I mean it. Never Stop.
From Your Future Self. x