Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding & portrait photographer & educator serving Charlottesville VA & DC. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!
Manali Photography is a wedding & couples' photography business based out of Charlottesville, VA. When she's not making couples laugh or teaching other photographers how to save time in their biz, you can find her at a vineyard with wine & cheese in hand toasting with friends & family!
Man oh man, running a business is like going through YEARS of personal development in a VERY short period of time. I think Kelly Trach brought this up in one of her podcast episodes but I couldn’t agree more. Have stories or things that are holding you back in your head? They’re going to come out in how you market yourself, your ability to learn and grow in your skills. Have money mindset things or stories you’re telling yourself about how much you deserve to make or CAN make money-wise doing what you love? These are gonna come to light REAL fast! Trust me when I say, running a business is no joke. It’s a lot of hard work, a LOT of decisions to make every day and tasks to juggle but in the end it’s all worth it if it’s bringing you closer to the life you’re dreaming of living!
Here are three key mind shift changes that I’ve made along the way that I hope will inspire you to keep going & doing the hard work to get you closer to where you dream of being.
1. BELIEVE in your vision.
I know this sounds SO cliché but trust me when I say, things aren’t going to move forward if your brain and your mind are standing in the way of your own success. You have to learn to get past the fear, to be so fully faithful in what you’re going after that it becomes inevitable. You have to GO ALL IN!! Consistently.
And not just for one month, I’m talking 12 months, 18 months. It can get grueling, it can force you to make tough decisions on how you’re spending your time and how you’re juggling your priorities. But if your business isn’t your priority while you’re getting it off the ground, something else will take up that time and become your priority.
So start here first. Define (on-paper!) what it is you want 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years from now. Keep that piece of paper somewhere you’ll see it and be reminded of it every day. Filter everything THROUGH this. I wish I had done this when I was starting out because it would have saved me so much time, saved me from so many distractions and helped keep my nose down and away from comparing myself to what others were doing to reach their dreams and not my own.
BELIEF TO ACTION: What is one thing that you can do in the next year to get you closer to that 10-year vision?
2. I don’t have to have EVERYTHING figured out before taking a step forward
Man have I spent a LOT of time being stuck because of this one. Clarity comes with action and taking those baby starting steps. It does help to have an overall vision that’s guiding your overall success and outlining what would be helpful to move towards. But it’s freeing to know that you WON’T know it all when you’re first getting started. You figure things out as you go along.
You have to start taking that first step and then keep taking one step forward from there. Nothing is built overnight! The key is to keep moving forward and to get trusted feedback along the way. Tweaking and bettering your product or service as you go. Don’t let perfection get in your way of getting started and putting something truly beautiful out into the world!
BELIEF TO ACTION: What is ONE step that you can take TODAY to start making progress on a really big goal or dream of yours? Schedule it in and then go do it!
Honestly, this is still a work in progress for me. I’ve heard time and time again how helpful it is to outsource parts of your business but it took me over five years of photographing to do so and over a year of being in business to take the leap and make the investment. Every time that I have, I’ve found that it has been well worth it not just for my bottom line but for my sanity and peace of mind as well. It’s also freed me up to work on just a few things that I can do REALLY well instead of trying to juggle it all by myself.
Along the same lines, niching down to photographing JUST weddings, seniors and couples felt VERY scary to do. The first year that I really leaned into honing my services down, I saw a HUGE leap in income. It FELT like I was shooting less and thus making less money but when I looked back at the end of the year, I had actually made WAY more than I had the previous year and also still had my sanity (and some weekend time) back,
I won’t lie, it honestly STILL feels like a scary decision to turn down paying gigs that don’t directly line up with my expertise, especially during the pandemic. But knowing that I am an EXPERT and will always provide a quality experience and end results to my couples & seniors while moving my business forward is well worth niching down.
BELIEF TO ACTION STEP #1: Is there a part of your business that you can allow someone to help you with? Write down a couple of options and track the amount of time you spend on this task on a weekly or monthly basis. If you were to pay someone to do this task for you, where could you spend that time within your business to bring in even MORE income?
BELIEF TO ACTION STEP #2: How many different kinds of photography do you currently offer? Do you have a well thought out client experience for each kind? Could you niche down to 2-3 and tailor your website, your pricing, and your client experience for these to become REALLY good at these kinds of photography and charge a higher price for being at expert at these instead of taking any and every gig that came your way? As a disclaimer: I’m not saying that you have to know what to niche down to when you’re first starting out but if you find yourself constantly hustling and not having enough time to serve all of your clients, this might be something worth considering to grow your business without taking on more clients.
Ready to take on these mindset shifts and start putting them to work? If you’re able to get your mindset headed in the right direction need some guidance on exactly HOW to grow your business, 1:1 Mentoring Sessions would work well for you! If you’re looking for more clarity & confidence, see what Sehar had to say about her mentoring session:
“I feel a lot more confident about the path I want to take in my photography business after a mentoring session with Manali. I love how she helped me gain more clarity about how I should go about marketing my business without getting overwhelmed.
Also, I love how Manali not only shares how she goes about doing things in her business but creates a customized plan on how you can tackle things in your own way!” – Sehar Shafqat
If you’re ready to get started building your photography business confidently but would like some guidance and your questions answered along the way, be sure to apply for a 1:1 session. There are only 2 spots each month!