11 Year Anniversary | NJ Brand Photographer

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If it weren't for Facebook Memories, I may have forgotten my 11-year work anniversary. Thankfully, I caught a glance of an “On This Day” post that alerted me to the fact I celebrate 11 years in business as MikiFoto + Co this week! It's been a decade + one since I made the choice to be an entrepreneur and pursue my love for storytelling.

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Throughout the 11 years, my business has evolved and pivoted again and again; from children's portraits to teen/tween photography to headshots to brand photography and now, brand strategy. I've taught workshops on social media and content creation. I've hosted events, networking pow-wows and panels. I've spoken on podcasts, in virtual summits and at conferences. I wrote a book, The Brand Photography Playbook. I’ve led masterminds and recently launched my own virtual brand mentorship program, Brand Confidential. It's been an entrepreneurial whirlwind, but I guess that’s what being a long-time business owner feels like!

There’ve been many highs and lows, wins and fails. (Building a meaningful, powerful brand takes time.)

Here are some key lessons I’ve learned along the way that have helped me stay in the game:

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1) Find your ONE thing. Specialize your expertise and niche down your business so you can create real impact, even if it's for a smaller group. The riches are in the niches!

In this case, being a jack of all trades or a generalist is NOT ideal.

There was a time in my own business when I offered a junk drawer full of services. Family portraits, teen sessions, headshot events, brand imagery — I did it all! When I made the decision to focus only on branding, I was able to tailor my message to a very narrow audience which made my life SO much easier.

2) Put your BLINDERS on. Stop comparing yourself to other business owners. Stop trying to copy what someone else is doing. And please, no more chasing bright, shiny objects! Stay in your lane. Focus on your personal craft and message. Be the best YOU can be. Your version of success is all that matters.

 3) INVEST in yourself. Hire the coach, join the mastermind, and buy the course! During the past 11 years, I’ve joined masterminds and networking groups and attended conferences and workshops. Becoming a lifelong learner and putting that knowledge to use has been absolutely essential in staying fresh and relevant as a business owner.

 4) Develop your TEAM. Delegate the stuff that’s outside your zone of genius. Since the launch of my business, I’ve hired a brand coach, a marketing strategist, a business coach. I’ve hired systems specialists, a designer, and a VA. These experts can help you grow bigger, better and faster. Don’t put yourself on an island — you can’t do this work all alone. Bring others along side you so you have the time to develop yourself more as a leader AND to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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5) Find your TRIBE. We all need support. Many of us, me included, are solopreneurs. That means a lot of alone time at the computer. Sometimes, we gotta close the laptop, get out of the office, and connect with like-minded people. Find other entrepreneurs who inspire you to dream bigger and will support you. Look for them at local business meet-ups, in Masterminds, even in Facebook groups. These business buddies can become your cheerleaders, your besties, your raving fans — maybe even your clients.

 5) MULTIPLE streams of income. If you’re a service-based provider, you can't sustain your business by only doing 1-1 work. You’ll eventually get burned out. Finding client after client can be a draining cycle. Be creative and think about how you can leverage your expertise by offering different products to scale your business. Could you teach a workshop and serve more people at once? Create an online course teaching one of your key processes? Think strategically and smart about your revenue streams. This will help keep you in business for the long haul.

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BONUS : Get out of your COMFORT ZONE. In order to grow, you’ve gotta take some risks. Pitch for press, raise your prices, and speak in front of the room. Your business will grow and glow if you push through the fear. This has been a key lesson for me personally. By saying yes to panels and podcasts and presentations, I’ve established myself as a leader and an expert. If you put yourself out there and take those risks, you can be too!

The past 11 years have taken me on quite the journey, and I’m excited to see what is on the horizon for MikiFoto + Co. Thanks for indulging me as I took this trip down memory lane, and I hope you’re able to glean wisdom from my successes, mess-ups, and lessons learned.

To celebrate 11 years, I am offering the digital version of The Brand Photography Playbook for only $11 until the end of the week with code HAPPY11. Happy reading!

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