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The 5 best decisions I’ve made as a creative business owner

It’s always fun to look at things in retrospect, isn’t it?

Being that I’m now in the 5th year of my photography business, I’m able to look back and see that there were some higher level, instrumental decisions that I made that brought me to where I am today. 

I have the honor of being surrounded by a thriving creative community, while working with dream clients and crafting life on my own terms. All it took to get here? 5 super important, game-changing decisions!

Whether you’re reading this with a few years of experience under your belt, or you’re juuust about to launch your own photography or creative business, I want to help you start things out on the right foot. Specifically, I’m here to share the 5 things that impacted my photography business the most (in the best way)!

5 decisions that helped my photography business grow

While yes, I applied these principles and steps to my photography business, these 5 categories absolutely apply to any and all creative businesses! So, grab a fun notepad (the more colorful, the better) and let’s get started. 

Understanding my finances and committing to building a business without debt

You can’t ignore money if you’re going to have a business… however much you may want to! In fact, according to the IRS, if you don’t make any profit in at least 3 out of 5 consecutive years, your business can be classified as a “hobby.” And honestly, if that’s what you want, that’s absolutely okay!

But, if you’re going into business, you likely intend to make money doing what you love. Because life does require money, however inconvenient that may be for our creative processes. 😆 So, get comfortable with your numbers!

Some businesses require more risk or investment when first starting out. Personally, I found that starting and maintaining a photography business was something I could do without running a huge financial risk, or subsequent debt. 

Whether you’re a coach, consultant, photographer, graphic designer, interior decorator, maker or anything else, one thing is certain: there will always be newer, shinier things to invest in. The truth is that you can start a successful business, without all of the bells and whistles. It might take time, but in my eyes, building something permanent is absolutely worth it.

Investing early in systems + programs that improve workflow and simplify the backend

While yes, I just discussed finances and *not* going into debt, there are some things that are worth investing in! Now, of course the things that are worth the investment tend to be fairly boring – why spend money on software, when you can buy a new lens, right? 

Those softwares and systems that’ll help you better manage your client intake, send and receive invoices, properly calculate your own profit and loss, or learn new skills are integral to building a solid foundation for your business! Choosing to invest in those systems early in my photography business’ growth allowed me to be organized and on top of my finances, right from the start. 

Listening to my gut and doing what brings me joy!

There are likely hundreds (if not thousands) of people out there preaching the “have-tos” and “musts” of your specific industry. My advice? Take it all with a grain of salt.

If you want to stand out in this industry, just be yourself. Be different. You’ll be spending such a huge part of your life in this business; it’s important that it brings you joy! And nothing is more joyful than wholeheartedly accepting who you are and what you love.

Seeking + creating community

As a creative entrepreneur, you’ll need a community of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of, celebrate alongside, and feel connected to. I’ve made some great friends in the creative + photography world! 

When seeking community, it’s important to know where to look – and to never be afraid to reach out. There are other people, just like you, who also want to find and build community with like-minded creatives. You’ll never know who they are if you don’t introduce yourself and get to know them!

And if you’re a photographer, you know just how vital it is to constantly grow your skills. So, if you’re craving community and guidance in your photography journey, check out my photography mentorship program and other resources for photographers here.


At the very beginning of your business, you’ll probably do it all. Many people will naysay that approach, but if we’re honest, how else will you understand what it takes to run a successful business?

I believe that taking care of everything on your own in the very beginning stages of your business is a super healthy practice – it allows you to get to know what’s needed in the business, and how to price your services. You’ll also learn about what you love doing, and what you don’t love doing. 

But after a while, as your business grows, you’ll realize that you can’t do it all (not with your sanity intact, that is). We all have the same set 24 hours in a day – so you’ll want to outsource some tasks to other people! Start small, and then scale your outsourcing as your business grows. You’ll learn and realize what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing, as well as the things that you hope to never do again. Trust me, once you start outsourcing, you’ll never want to stop!

Now, that was a brief gloss over for time’s sake – but I’ve got a blog series coming that tackles each of these 5 topics in detail! Make sure you don’t miss out by joining my VIP list (email list)!

Enjoyed this post? Check out this one: Why You Should Invest in a Mentor for Your Photography Business

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i'm sarah (she/her) , your new quirky, color-loving friend!

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My goal with every client is to cultivate a fun, creative, and approachable vibe. All types of people, all types of bodies, and all types of love are welcome here.

Color and creativity fuel my soul, and whimsical details make my heart happy! I believe in finding joy in the everyday, that real emotions are better than perfectly posed, and that building real connections with my clients is what allows me to create honest photos and capture genuine moments.

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