Stop the madness. Do you know what I was doing till 1:00am last night? Working on my website, trying to figure out why on earth nobody can find me if they google something simple like ‘Alexandria photographer’. I am not asking to be the first one found, or heck even on the first page. But to be not there at all? This is very frustrating to me. I don’t understand. What if the odd person, living on Fairfax St. in Old Town is looking for a baby photographer? I am right there, a street over, but do they know I exist when they search online? NO. I even have an actual store front now, shouldn’t that help somehow? You would think so!
So of course I dug my heels in and started reading and tweaking things on my website, hoping it will help. Other websites have to link to you, or you need to provide relevant content. I honestly pride myself on fresh, interesting content. I love writing (however terrible it might be at times) and try not to add digital clutter in terms of rubbish content. I don’t want to play this game where I have to ask blogs to link to me so I can get a higher google ranking. I can smell a ‘content rat’ for miles. You know, the blogs and websites that have bad content and you know they are only doing it to be ‘found’ on the internet.
The other day a popular blog wanted to feature some work that I am part of. ‘How wonderful!’ I thought at first. And then I realized they would not pay a penny for this work that I put my heart and soul into. Not just the photographs, but the words, the staying up at 1:00am and working my ass off as a small business. Nope, not a penny. Just a link and photo credit. I suppose the link would send web traffic my way, hence raising my google ranking, leading to people finding me. I suppose.
So now what? The balance between being a creative and a business person is very hard. I loathe to give away my work for nothing and more than anything I am appalled they would even ask. For goodness sake the blog probably makes a six figure income with ads and vendors. Isn’t it bold of them to ask for work and pay nothing? I believe so but sometimes I think I have no idea how this internet thing works. I try and be honest, make connections, network in real life (not just sitting behind a computer), try and raise the bar for all businesses that I can help with, not just mine.
This popped up on KEXINO this morning.. somehow they always find a way to say exactly what I need to hear:
If you’re proud of your work, don’t worry whether everyone loves it.
If you’re not proud of your work, worry a lot that YOU don’t love it.
This made my heart sing. I am so proud of my work. I hope people like it but I don’t worry about it if they don’t.
I am sitting here at home, late to the studio because I had to write this down. I am SO bloody proud of my work. I am as authentic as I can be and don’t worry about the bottom line. I don’t make work to look like anyone else or to be popular. I don’t follow trends. My work, my house, my studio, my life, my children.. they follow the same ‘theme’. Simple, clean, uncluttered, kind.
As I was telling my friend the other day, every single LIKE on my facebook page means the world to me because that means YOU see something in my work and are on my side. You are not there because I am a popular photographer, it is because we connect with each other in some way.
Do you know what touched me to the core? A client emailed me a couple of years ago to book me for a session. At the time she said it was not in her budget but she would get back to me later. Two years later she emails me back saying she has saved up for a session and asking if she book one this summer? Do you know what that means to me? It means everything.
Sorry this is such a jumble of words. I get so frustrated with all this other ‘stuff’ sometimes, google rankings and SEO and all that jazz. Sometimes I just need to tell myself to STOP THE MADNESS and refocus on what is really important. Doing work that I am proud of, working hard, being kind and building a business one connection and one client at a time. There are no shortcuts, are there?
PS: I have to go to work now, so this my first draft of this post. No time to go back and edit and remove a thousand unnecessary words. Excuse typos and grammatical errors. xo