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I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
Okay friends, this topic has been on my mind and heart for a long time now, so I knew I needed to share with my community.
Have you ever felt, as a business owner in a creative industry, that you shouldn’t be offering your services because there are
a) a bunch of people already offering it
b) people offering the same services who are better or have more experience?
c) other people are discouraging you from pursuing something “new to you” because they have their own insecurities?
d) ALL OF THE ABOVE?
Pretty much everyone has had these doubts and anxieties. It’s so common it even has a fancy name: imposter syndrome. But I usually talk about it as dealing with insecurities.
As a believer, I know that Satan loves to make me feel inadequate and ill-equipped to serve or encourage others. It’s one of his best tricks because it works.
I wanted to write this post to encourage others who also deal with insecurities, especially within a creative industry. I don’t know about you, but I don’t imagine teachers meet other teachers and immediately feel threatened or imagine the other teacher is trying to steal their students! But when you’re a creative—graphic designer, photographer, web designer, writer, coach, or course creator—those defensive and threatened feelings pop up easily and often.
And here’s the thing. There’s a popular cry for “community over competition” in our creative industries, but honestly, that’s often just crap. The people preaching “community over competition” in their newsfeeds and blogs and stories are often the ones fueling competition behind closed doors and singling out individuals in their industry who they feel threatened by. It’s happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to others and it’s not pretty. It’s seriously such an icky feeling to me, to know that other people talk about others behind their back and then preach “community over competition”. On a personal note, I have stopped following people and stopped interacting with people who do this to others because I know if they are doing this to others they probably will do this to me too.
And now, amid the current crisis, when creative service providers are buckling down in fear, losing clients left and right, and offering free or super cheap services… what’s a business owner to do?
Here are a few of the strategies and attitudes I practice in my life and business!
I started this business community specifically to encourage other business owners and share my knowledge. I don’t operate in fear that someone will steal my ideas or inspiration—I freely and openly share it! I want others to believe in their talents and skills and feel encouraged to serve their specific clients.
Networking isn’t always easy for me. I’m naturally introverted and building relationships after college has been a challenge. But it’s absolutely worth it to build a community of like-minded business owners who you can learn from and share support and encouragement with.
Within my own industry, I have a network of trusted photographers I can refer clients to if my calendar is full or I know someone else would be a better style fit. That’s right, I send my “competition” clients!
Because I firmly believe that there is room at the table for everyone.
God gifted each of us with our own unique personalities so we could serve others in our own way. You are uniquely suited to serve your clients because of your specific talents, skills, and values. I grew a lot more confident, and felt a lot happier, once I accepted that I wasn’t meant to serve everyone. And that means there are plenty of clients out there for each of us!
This may not be for you, but my faith is a core part of my business. So in order to make sure I “practice what I preach” when it comes to true community, I pray for my competition. It helps me feel more peaceful and encourages me to truly want the best for others who would otherwise leave me feeling threatened and defensive. This can be really hard at times, especially when certain “competitors” are cruel, but I hold myself to a high standard of only speaking highly of those in my field and truly praying for their success.
I know this is super popular right now, which can turn some people off from the idea, but I have benefited greatly from my mastermind. It’s so nice to know you have a small group of business owners who are going to help you, encourage you, and build you up. My mastermind is instrumental in encouraging me to show up authentically in my business, and I’m so grateful for them!
I hope this resonates with you, especially if you find yourself struggling with overwhelming insecurities. I’ve found that keeping a positive perspective, looking for the good in every situation, and being kind-hearted toward my competition goes a long way in helping me feel less insecure.
There’s another benefit of practicing true “community over competition,” too! Less burn out. The only time I’ve been truly burned out and run down in my business was when I was letting the negative voices around me dominate my thinking. When I stopped listening to my “competition” tell me how worthless and incapable I was, I had a powerful mindset shift. That’s when I found my creative groove and started exploring my love for encouraging others!
If you’re in the midst of dealing with insecurities, I hope you feel some hope. Continue offering valuable content! You may not know or understand your full purpose right now, but God has given you specific gifts. Use them! Keep serving and encouraging, and I think you’ll find that you gradually feel more empowered, more creative, and more capable!
Did you know that in addition to serving families, eloping couples, and business owners with my timeless, and radiant photography I also have a heart for serving the larger business community? I share my knowledge of tools like Pinterest, email marketing, and time management with fellow business owners in an encouraging and supportive way through Pinterest 1:1 training, helpful blog posts, and I love talking about email marketing tools as well!
My faith and love for my family motivate me to help other business owners find the joy and freedom that I have found in running a successful small business.
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates on all things Pinterest, Dubsado, Lead Magnets & Email Marketing (aka pretty much all the fun automation stuff centered around those business systems)! Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. She loves capturing the joy and emotion in both digital and film photos.
She also has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Pinterest, Dubsado, email marketing, and business systems with new creative business owners in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that even muggles can become automating wizards!
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, please email her at email@example.com or fill out her contact form here.
Interested in learning how to best automate your small business but have NO clue where to start? Click here (or on the image below) to get started with learning the foundations of automating your business with Dolly DeLong Education!
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