5 Things I Learned in My 1st Year of Business

I am coming up on completing my first year of business.  I have learned a ton and now I have a much better idea of how much I have yet to learn.  I am not as far as I thought I would be, but I am OK with that because I am using this time to grow and develop a strong, sustainable company.

What's in my bag?  This is just a fraction of what I carry with me to photography shoots.  It pays to be prepared - www.lisavillellaphotography.com


If you want to be a smart business owner, you have to be smart about business.  Educate yourself.  When I first realized that my current photography knowledge was not going to get me very far, I turned to YouTube.  From there I found some amazing photographers that I admired and went to their websites and blogs.  I also began listening to podcasts.  My 3 current favorite podcasts are: Converge - Dane Sanders, SpartanUp Podcast - Joe DeSena and Goal Digger - Jenna Kutcher.   I joined newsletters and attended webinars, which led me to my first photography/business workshop - AJ Workshop.  Amy & Jordan also influenced me to start reading business books, which is what they did when they were just starting out.  Here is my list of must read business books so far:

Photography and business books have been a key component to my growth as a business owner - www.lisavillellaphotography.com

1. Love is the Killer App - Tim Sanders

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

3. Quitter - Jon Acuff

4. No More Dreaded Mondays - Dan Miller

5. Fascinate - Sally Hogshead

6. Business Brilliant - Lewis Schiff

7. The Millionaire Mind - Thomas Stanley

8. Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey

9. Purple Cow - Seth Godin

10. The Go Giver - Bob Burg & John David Mann

11. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook - Gary Vaynerchok

12. Good to Great - Jim Collins


A rare one of me in front of the camera sporting this great hat from Anthropology and jacket from Forever 21- www.lisavillellaphotography.com

Once I had totally immersed myself into the world of photography, something strange happened - I lost myself.   After every webinar I attended or website I scoured, I tried to replicate that photographer's style.  I wasn't developing my own style.  Then, I began to notice a reoccurring theme in my business books: you have to be unique, come up with a new way of looking at an old problem.  Then it hit me - as I began to look around, I was seeing the same style replicated over and over again.  I needed to be consistent in my work, MY work, not consistent with the masses.  Be yourself.  Find your path.  It will be worth it.

"I didn't say it was going to be easy.  I said it would be worth it"


When you are starting a business, it may be hard to get people to notice you.  I still struggle with this, but I am starting to see my little, minuscule snowball beginning to gain momentum.  My good friend and multi-business owner once told me, "Tell two people everyday what you do."  Now, this sounds easy, but if you are like me, fear can become this insurmountable obstacle. 

As an introvert, going outside my comfort zone requires a lot of internal pep-talking.  However, once I realized that most people find my photography business interesting and many people have been meaning to get professional photos taken, talking about my photography business became a lot easier. 

Every time you tell someone about your business and hand them a business card, you are helping your business grow.  You never know when one interaction will be a turning point in your business. 


The Detroit Chapter Tuesday's Together - Rising Tide - Group Gathered for a great presentation on blogging - www.lisavillellaphotography.com

One of my goals I set for 2017 was to attend at least 5 networking events.  Through my education I have found that to be successful, you need people.  This doesn't mean that you just need people to make you look good or to refer you to others.  Networking means, helping others first and doing it in a genuine, selfless manner.  This is also a great way to meet like-minded people in your industry.  The relationships you make today, will help shape your business tomorrow.  


Have you ever thought to yourself, "I could get as much done as 'X', if I had more hours in the day"?  Well, the truth is, everyone, even the most successful business owners in the world only have twenty-four hours to work with. 

Time flies when you are having fun or have a fast approaching deadline.  www.lisavillellaphotography.com

If you are feeling like you just can't get everything done, closely look at what you are doing throughout the day.  Chances are your could be squeezing in a reading session on your lunch break and if you skip that hour-long TV show in the evening, you could knock out a blog post or two.  What about in the morning?  Could you get up a little earlier and get the day started off right with a 30 minute workout?  Prioritize your to do list and check off the things you enjoy the least, first.  I wish I had an extra hour every day, but since that's not possible, I have to make every minute count. 

I have a long way to go in this business, but I know more today than I did 365 days ago, and that is a step in the right direction.  I hope this post helps you get moving to the places you want to be even faster!

Leave me a message below and tell me what you think?  Is there any advise you could give me?  I would love to hear from you!