The Business of Boudoir »

Fear and Loathing in a New Market

We agree that starting over is hard. Where to start, how to do it, let alone carving a new path. I knew to expect some struggles. What I didn’t expect was the fear.

I’m not a fearful person. Sure, alligators freak me out, and I don’t typically hang out on tall ledges, but I don’t live my life in fear of the unknown. I’m an adventurer! Or so I thought. Now, when faced with starting a new path, carving my own grooves, and doing it solo, I have found myself a bit paralyzed. Making myself get the ball rolling hasn’t even happened. My portfolio is done and sufficient. But have I ordered business cards? No. No I haven’t.

Would you like to hear some of the excuses I keep handy? The second business I started to help get me through these slow months has been VERY busy. My kids will all be in school full time in three months, so I’m enjoying my time with them. Business cards are expensive. My website is a glitchy asshole and has to be rebuilt completely.

You are right when you shake your head and tell me none of these things matter – I could push through easily. Hire an employee for the second business, spend as much time with my kids as I always do, redo the site and order the cards. But that fear of not doing it right, not knowing what I am doing, not being able to measure myself against someone is weighing me down to the point of non-movement. It feels like I am trying to communicate with aliens for the first time in Earth’s history instead of men, the creatures I have a natural ability with. jen swedhin photography cookingPIN

But I worry that men won’t ever want to pay me, or buy products. Will they care that I’m a woman in a (literal) man’s world? Will I be able to show them the value of the experience? Where did the confidence go and how do I get it back?

Fortunately this month hasn’t been a total bust. I still haven’t gotten a paying client, but that makes sense since I haven’t started marketing. My portfolio looks great, and I’m happy with the work I am producing. My new (again) website is on the way to being finished and launched, my pricing is lined up, and a Facebook promoted ad is live. I’ve gotten to experiment with a variety of shooting locations, lighting styles and sets, and really go outside of my normal comfort zone. jen swedhin photography cowboyPIN

So how do I fight this fear? First, I’m going to remind myself that there really isn’t a single damn thing to fear. If I don’t get any bookings next month? Not a big deal, my income isn’t a deal breaker. If my marketing efforts don’t work? That’s okay, too, because I won’t do that again and can try something else. Just sitting here trying to list out all the ways I can fail is hard, there really aren’t that many. Time to shake that shit off.

My goals for the next month: remember that I kick ass and can totally do this! Because I can, but it won’t happen if I don’t get my shit in order.  Also, order fancy new business cards and marketing materials, and hit the gyms and gay bars. A Sue Bryce-type promotion of complimentary sessions might be the perfect starting point to get the ball rolling, and a targeted approach to exactly who I want in front of my camera will be the perfect starting point.

The other goal for next month is to stop being a scared downer, and start dominating the men of Denver. With or without the bondage.

I would LOVE to hear from you! Advice, reassurances, your own fear stories, let’s climb out from under the fear together.

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  • September 24, 2015 - 6:08 PM

    Charlotte - Hi Jen, Thanks for sharing I know exactly what you mean, I’ve found lately that its the moment you push through the fear that a big success happens so go for it! :)ReplyCancel

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