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Do you know that feeling of confidence that you felt when you decided to begin your own photography business? Sometimes it begins to fade as you move forward and hit a few challenges. That's the time when you need to focus on your mindset. 

To thrive as a small business owner, you need to have a mindset that allows for confidence, persistence, and resilience.  Your mindset affects your attitude, confidence, and behavior. It impacts how you view yourself and your work, and it shapes the choices you make. For example, your mindset can empower you to stretch yourself and grow as a photographer or it can limit you and keep you from realizing your potential.

We will talk about the right mindset for photographers, why it matters, and how to use yours to build your business and your confidence.

First, let's take a look at the different types of mindsets. Yes, there are a few different kinds, and it helps to know where your mindset is versus where you want it to be. 

Scarcity vs. Abundance Mindset

Many photographers limit themselves with a scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset is when you focus on the lack of something, like money or clients, to the point that it's hard to concentrate on anything else. 

Having a scarcity mindset also means that you see resources as scarce. So, if another photographer seems constantly booked, you may feel like they're able to get all the clients. So this may lead you to think that there aren't enough clients left for you to build a successful business.

If you have a scarcity mindset, you may get too focused on the "competition" and bring yourself down by comparing your work to other photographers.

On the other hand, an abundance mindset is when you believe there's plenty of opportunity out there for everybody. There's enough business, money, and clients to go around. If you have an abundance mindset, you understand that there are enough clients to go around and that the only photographer you need to be better than is the photographer you were yesterday. 

How to Develop an Abundance Mindset

Now that you know the difference between these two very different ways of thinking, it's time to focus on the Abundance Mindset. 

To sharpen your abundance mindset, focus on appreciating the positive. You can do this in several different ways: 

  • Celebrate your successes, especially the small ones. 
  • Acknowledge your growth and improvement. 
  • Print positive comments from your clients and post them around your work area. 
  • Believe in your potential and the many possibilities available to you.

Additionally, remember that you don't have to compete with everyone else. There are more than enough clients to go around. Furthermore, clients will prefer different styles and personalities so you will find "your" people. 

If you aren't convinced, consider the numbers. For example, are you a newborn photographer? There are almost four million babies born in the United States every year!  Do you specialize in wedding photography? Every year in the United States, about 2.5 million weddings take place. You can go more in-depth and research statistics on births, weddings, or activities based on your niche in your area. 

There are enough clients for many photography businesses to thrive, so try not to focus too much on what your competitors are doing. You don't need to book every client. Instead, try booking more of your ideal clients

Paper ripped to reveal the words "change your mindset".

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Have you heard the term growth mindset? It's a significant  buzzword in education, but it applies to every area of life. It identifies individuals that believe their talents can be developed through hard work, strategy, or insight from others. 

Photographers with a growth mindset believe that skills can be improved with time, effort, and practice. Photographers with a growth mindset know that mistakes are opportunities to learn, and setbacks are part of the path to success.

In contrast, having a fixed mindset means believing talent is a fixed trait or innate talent. Photographers with a fixed mindset think that some people are born to excel as photographers, while others don't have "it." If you have a fixed mindset, you might feel like every struggle or mistake may signify that you aren't good enough for photography. 

When it comes to fixed vs. growth mindset, it's easy to see why your overall mindset matters. When faced with a challenge, will you give up or persist? When you struggle with a specific skill, will you decide that it's not just for you, or will you put in more practice? These choices play a significant role in your ability to grow your photography into a successful business.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

So, if you struggle with a fixed mindset, what can you do about it?

First, it's helpful to know that no one has a growth mindset all the time. We all have fixed mindset triggers or situations that often bring up limiting thoughts. For some people, it's seeing the success of others. This can trigger thoughts like, "Why can't I do that?" or, "I'll never be able to take photos like that." For others, it's through making mistakes. This can trigger thoughts like, "I'm not good enough to build a business with my photography. What was I thinking?"

It's helpful to pay attention to the types of situations or experiences that tend to trigger these thoughts for you. Then, actively replace your fixed mindset thoughts with growth mindset thoughts. 

For example, when you see a great photo that isn't yours, think, "I'm not there yet, but I can take specific steps to keep improving." When you make a mistake, ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" or, "How can I do this differently in the future?"

Remember that a growth mindset isn't just a warm, fuzzy idea. The science of neuroplasticity backs it. Researchers have discovered that the more we complete a task, the easier it becomes to complete the same task in the future. Challenges build stronger connections in our brain, making them less challenging next time. With practice and effort, we can continue to develop our brains, even into old age. Remember that the science of neuroplasticity is behind you, and there's always the opportunity to grow and improve.

Photographer smiling and holding a camera

Final Thoughts

Your mindset can either limit you to your comfort zone or open you to endless possibilities and growth. Don't let self-doubt or comparison to others bring you down. Instead, focus on practicing, improving, learning from challenges and setbacks, and growing your business into a success. Perhaps save this article and reread it when you feel those negative thoughts are overwhelming or impacting your drive to succeed. You can grow your business, and you are most certainly talented. Focus on the path that will get you where you want to be and keep moving forward. You can do this!

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