My journey into specialization started years ago. Only it didn't start with me actually specializing as it should have. It started with me thinking in the back of my mind (way back there with high school algebra and "how to be a domestic wife") "I really should be JUST a boudoir photographer. That's it."
Then of course, at "OTHER" voice in my head said things like:
"But lots of people pay you to photograph those other things!"
"But about 40% of your income is based on everything but boudoir!"
"But you would lose so much of your existing target market!"
"But so many people have negative feelings towards boudoir!"
"But the numbers! Do the numbers! It doesn't make sense!"
"But it's so hard to promote yourself as a boudoir photographer. I mean...not everyone wants their photos online...and, after all, that IS how you accumulated so many of your existing clients...because they saw your photos."
"But Facebook hates boobs."
"But your expenses will go up tremendously. You'll need a studio. And furniture for the studio. And insurance for the studio. And electricity for the studio. And, and, and..."
"But, but, BUTTTTTTTTT....."
I, of course, heard all of those specialized photographers talking about how fantastic it was, how it's the ONLY way to go. I read those books about specializing. I read ALL the books.
It wasn't until a few years later that I told that "OTHER" voice to STFU. I did it. I made the switch. I decided to specialize. And you know what?! The CRAZIEST THING HAPPENED. All of the things I had read in those books, all of the AWESOME results that those other specialized photographers bragged about CAME TRUE.
+ I am booking MORE of my ideal client. Clients who VALUE my time and my work.
+ I am WORKING LESS. Yep. Working less. It's funny how when you do what you're good at and really work on that ONE THING--it comes pretty naturally to me. Not to minimize the amount of work that I put into my "job", but when it comes easy to you, and when you're only doing what you love, it really doesn't feel like work. AND it takes you less time than when you do something you AREN'T naturally fabulous at and then have to work EXTRA EXTRA HARD to compensate for your lacking skill in that department.
+ I am making more. Uh huh. When I took an in-depth look into the number of hours I was pouring into other types of shoots (weddings, especially!) vs. what I was charging for those services...I was profiting an embarrassing amount per hour. If you look at the figure alone, you think "Wow, yeah, that's awesome. She really does well for herself!"....if you look at how many hours invested each month.....OUCH. It's not just that those hours were spent working hard. The kicker is that those were hours that WERE NOT spent on really important things like time with my family that I will never get back, like trying new things, like stopping to smell the roses.
+ I am able to be selective. If someone comes to me and asks me to photograph their family, I can easily say "I'm so sorry, I specialize in boudoir now." It's the truth. It doesn't mean I don't like that person. I know there are AMAZING family photographers out there that will do so much better than me and will be a better fit for that person. While it may sound like I'm being snobby...it's QUITE THE OPPOSITE. I've accepted the fact that I am NOT AWESOME at every type of photography. Just not. I've squashed my artist's ego. I find that the clients who I turn down but happily refer to another photographer are GRATEFUL for my honesty and end up most likely being far happier with their final images with that other photographer than the would have with mine (even though they might not realize that!). Then they come to me down the road for boudoir. Because that's what I do. And I do the hell out of it.
+ Doors are opening and they're opening WIDE. It is still absolutely BAFFLING to me how many opportunities have come my way since specializing less than 6 months ago. I can't talk about all of them just yet, but I assure you, these things would have never happened if I was still trying to juggle weddings, families, fashion, etc etc etc. It is so exciting. I'm still just stunned. And I know that it's only going to get better from here.
My final takeaway from all of this: I should have done this a LONG freaking time ago.
So you're not a photographer? So what. This blog post is still for you. What are ways you can change your life by being more selective about what you do? This doesn't even have to be about work, but life in general. What if , when you were playing with your children......wait for it........ you were JUST playing with your children?! That's it. 100% of your attention on your kids. Can you imagine how your relationship would grow? Improved behavior? Improved quality of family life?
Think about that.
ALSO- I strongly, STRONGLY recommend that anyone struggling with this topic pick up the book: "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" which obviously covers this very topic.