Photography means the absolute world to me, it’s helped me through a lot of down days and many dark chapters in my life. For years I dreamt of running my own photography business, but I was always too afraid to go ahead and do it, I always felt a sense of insecurity about going out and doing things on my own; but once I started to see how my photos made people’s confidence grow and started marketing myself as a Photographer and Retoucher, I felt a huge sense of achievement. Making people feel good about themselves was always my aim with my business. I can happily say that I have had so many moments where I have literally seen peoples confidence grow during a photo shoot, and that to me…is one of the most satisfying parts of being a photographer.
Like many people who suffer mental illness, I overthink and I worry…usually over tiny little things that people usually wouldn’t consider to be a problem at all. For me, at that particularly time, those problems are huge. My photography generally takes away any worries I have at the time, sometimes all I need to do is go out with my camera and take a few happy photos…but that technique doesn’t always help and the struggles of running my own business kick in.
If you’re looking at running your own business, or maybe you already run your own business but you’re struggling, here are a few simple things you can do to help you achieve your goals. This blog will help people who suffer with mental illness and will also help those who luckily don’t suffer.
I constantly write lists! Lists reminding me of everything I need to pack for a shoot, lists telling me which photos I have to take during the shoot, general to-do lists…I also include “Have Lunch” as a reminder on my to-do lists (food is definitely
one of the most important part s of the day). These lists really help me stay focused, I think if I write down my tasks..I find them more permanent, and definitely more achievable. I always start with the worst task first, this means I get the worst part of the day over and done with and means I have more to look forward to throughout the day.
Set yourself goals:
I know this is an obvious one, but as a sufferer of Bipolar Disorder, I really struggle to stick to my goals, some days I feel I can achieve every goal I set (in that one day!) and other days I feel like my goals are so far away that I may as well give up on them. So it’s really important that you set yourself goals and break them up into smaller steps. When you break them into smaller steps, your goal isn’t as overwhelming and you can see your progress better…this is also why I like writing lists! I like to set myself little tasks and cross them off as I go along. Set yourself daily goals, weekly goals and monthly goals and DON’T WORRY if you don’t achieve all of them, in the world of business (and life in general) you have to do things one step at a time. Small steps and you will get there in the end.
Have a support system:
This one is really important. It is said that entrepreneurs and business owners often find themselves isolated compared to others who work a normal 9 to 5 job. We work too much and don’t have as much “social time”. People who suffer from any mental illness generally feel isolated at times anyway, so it’s super important that you have some sort of support system in place. This can be friends, family, therapists (don’t be afraid of therapy), online forums, mental health support groups and so much more. It’s also important that you still give yourself time to go outside and meet new people.
Remember that you will have low days:
Whether you suffer from mental illness or not, not every day is going to be a good day emotionally, so you need to be aware that you will have low days. I don’t mean plan ahead and prepare for them, because that would be impossible. But, if you do have low days…and you feel like you can’t do anything productive on that day…it is OK.
If I am having a low day, I generally set myself just one task to do…it may take me all day to do it but I do eventually get it done. I always talk to my support system (generally my mum or my friends) and they encourage me. It’s really difficult to feel positive about anything when you’re feeling low, this means you probably won’t be productive. Sometimes it’s OK not to be OK. It’s reality. Not everyone is ok all of the time, just make sure you have that very important support system in place, and you talk about your emotions (or communicate them via your artwork like I do). Sometimes on my low days, I go out for a walk and take photos…it helps me see things in a totally different perspective, but sometimes..I do nothing at all, and that’s absolutely fine.
You can be successful:
I read SO many blogs and articles online saying that if you suffer from mental illness you can’t be successful. Those articles and blogs are absolute RUBBISH. Here are a few successful people you may have heard of that suffer from mental illness: Jim Carrey, J.K. Rowling, Kristen Bell, Carrie Fisher, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vincent Van Gogh, Russell Brand and so many more!
If you come across any of those articles…don’t believe them. They are complete lies. Of course you can be successful and suffer with mental illness. Sometimes, you meet people who believe that you can’t achieve anything because of the symptoms of your mental illness…prove them wrong.
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Running your own business can be scary at times, it’s a bit like going on a rollercoaster…the walk to the ride is terrifying, you keep looking at those people already on it and see how some of them are enjoying every moment and some are struggling, then the fear kicks in…but once you’re on the ride it’s exciting (still scary at times) but once you have completed the ride… you feel so proud that you went on it and want to go on it again and again…ok, so it’s not exactly like a rollercoaster, but you get the point I am trying to make…your business is your dream, so live it. Believe in yourself you’re going to do just fine.