Everyone has competition. And if you think you don’t, well, you’re probably not paying attention. There is always someone in your field that is after the same money, supplies, audience, etc. There is always someone out there interested in obtaining what you have or are about to have. And it can be anything- business, personal, hobbies. But it doesn’t mean that we should stop trying or even start comparing. And I’m going to tell you why.
I live in a small, big city. I live in a little town that has about 10,000 people. Why does this matter? Because I’m a photographer. In a small town. Where everyone else is a photographer, too. So, just to shed some off-camera light on the subject, here is a little info about the demographics of my hometown.
Currently, we’re sitting at just over 10K residents. 53% of these residents are female. Out of this 50%, 22% of working women are in the sales and related occupations category. Looking down the list of photographers in our little-big town, we have a minimum of 25 licensed and insured. legit photographers. That’s right. I have a minimum of 24 other camera-wielding individuals as competition. And that’s just the ones who paid their annual Photography License fee! Let’s not even try to get into the ones who are just starting out or have been doing it for some time but not legally set.
This may not sound like a lot. “It’s only 24 people!” you say. Yeah, it is. But, when you have a MINIMUM of 24 other photographers who are fighting tooth and nail to convince your ideal clients to go with them… life can seem a little defeating at times. But I’m not complaining! Want to know why?
I absolutely love being who I am. I love my ability to calm the nerves of the women that walk into my studio. I love seeing them laugh when I make silly comments during their sessions. I love, Love, LOVE watching these women unfurl in front of me like a flower bud opening up to the afternoon sun. It is absolutely one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And I have to admit, I’m a little selfish because I do this for me. Yes, it’s for the women who come to see me, but it’s also for me. You see, I don’t take on just any woman. And this is the most important thing you’re going to learn about why I don’t compare myself to the other photographers in my town.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know myself for 36 years now. I know the type of woman I am and I know the type of photographer I am not. I know my ideal client and I know there are women that just will not click with me. I will never take on a client if I know that I cannot serve her in the absolute best way possible.
Photographers are many. But I am One. And I attract a certain type of woman just like the other photographers in my town and surrounding areas attract another type of woman. I’m guessing you’re wondering right now what type of woman I love to have in my studio. The type of woman I love to work with is a little broken. She has had some confidence issues in the past and she recognizes it. But she’s also strong because she knows she’s a badass babe regardless of whatever her mind tells her. She’s a little sassy and she loves to laugh. She’s the woman that all her friends tell her, “I don’t know how you do it” and yet, she’s wondering what they’re even talking about because “it” comes so naturally to her that she’s never even thought it was anything but normal. She smiles and she takes the world on in whatever shoes makes her feel comfortable. Maybe today they’re a pair of red stilettos, but tomorrow she rocks a pair of vintage Chuck Taylors. She’s not afraid of life. She walks in the shadows and looks forward to the sunshine. And on some days, she basks in that warm sunspot and daydreams about the comfort of the dark. But most of all, she’s ready to look in the mirror and tell herself, “You are one amazing woman and I love you.”
I don’t compare myself to other photographers because there is only one Me. Just like there is only one You. And I can’t be Me if I’m constantly worried about Them. So to better serve You, I have to be Me. Because I wouldn’t tell you to be anyone else.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Be proud of being you and focus on the amazing individual you are. And as always,