The Most Valuable Thing I Did to Build My Business

I have strong business skills inherited from my mother. I knew exactly what to do when starting my own business because growing up, I watched her build hers.

My mom (scarf) + her team in front of her first company. Hello shoulder pads!

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Business cards, website, a logo, bookkeeping, etc. I think the systems and tangible parts are easy. You can go online now and learn that in a day. The hardest part for me, was developing the courage and confidence to put myself out to the world, because who you are at the core is going to affect every single thing you do within your business.

The most valuable thing I did to build my business was work on myself.

I’m talking personal growth. The most valuable thing I did to build my brand, not to mention catapult my business into success, was attend seminars, read books, and go to therapy so that I could be the best version of me.

At first I was reluctant because my ego didn’t want to ask for help. I thought therapy was for people who were weak, and classes were for people who were dumb.

Two important things I’ve learned since:

1. The people who are strongest are those who are vulnerable and willing to seek help. A wise person always seeks to learn, no matter how much they know.

2. NO ONE knows what the hell they are doing. If someone claims to know everything, they are the last person to listen to. Why do all famous philosophers ask so many damn questions? Because they know what’s up.

At a seminar I attended, some people were there to resolve personal problems (i.e. rekindling a relationship with their spouse); others wanted to excel in their professional career. By the end of the seminar, the thing it came down to for EVERY single person, was a personal story they had created about themselves that caused them to be “stuck.” Something happened to them in the past and their reality was created around it.

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I’ll share with you one of my stories. For the longest time I thought I was stupid. Literally. I got called stupid a few times as a kid, and from then on believed it. It made me tremendously insecure.

It didn’t matter if I was getting straight A’s or excelling, I looked for all the ways to confirm I wasn’t good enough. This underlying story is common among over achievers.

After letting go of this story about myself, I began seeing and hearing things differently. I showed up… confident! What fueled my confidence even more was being able to hear it from others.

“My favorite thing about you is how smart you are.” “Hm, who can I set you up with? He has to be really smart, because you are.” “I think sometimes you’re too smart for your own good.”

And it’s true. Sometimes I do think I’m too smart for my own good. Haha!

That is just one little example. By doing the emotional work, I opened up and gained courage to be authentic and transparent. And interestingly enough, THAT is the strongest asset of my photography brand.

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At the time I didn’t know that doing this kind of thing would catapult my career. I did it for personal growth, and concurrently launched business without even knowing it.

If anyone is interested in the specific books and seminars I attended, I will be sharing them in a separate blog post. 🙂

Christine Chang
Christine Chang is a Destination Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer based in Los Angeles.
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Showing 6 comments
  • Marianne Bush
    Reply

    Excellent post, Christine. Your point is proven right here: http://tinyurl.com/jho2y9l

  • JD
    Reply

    That must be another #weirdtwinthing we share. I heard it a few times as a kid and thought the same about myself for years. Couldn’t be less true for either of us. So proud of you and I love you, T!

  • Jennifer Venter
    Reply

    Thank you SO much for this post. I read it a while ago but have left the words to percolate for a bit. I have to be honest, this post hit me square in the chops, as it dawned on me that I have been focusing So much on my photography skills and company, that I had neglected other areas of my life as well as my self development. As soon as I had recovered from the initial shock of this revelation, I sat down and started doing some soul searching and bucket lists as well as the hard questions “What do I want lists”, etc. I am very happy to report that I have joined some forums so that I can have a better support network with my photography side, attended some lectures as well as booked myself onto a night school course. I have also implemented some better time management ideas so that I can focus more on my hobbies and other interests which make me very happy. So in short or in long:), thank you so much for sharing this post. It has helped me IMMENSELY !

  • Hannah
    Reply

    LOVE this post CC!
    I’m in a place where I’m ready to strike out on my own, but so many things (the fear of failing, will I succeed, will I be GOOD enough), are holding me back. So true that from vulnerability and putting yourself out there comes strength!
    Thank you for sharing xo
    Btw rad fanny pack! ✌🏼️

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