Sunday, 11 May 2014 00:00
Student Entrepreneurs @Work.. part ii - Qualities, Habits & Disciplines! Written by 

It’s all good and well to read about the success of the people in our world, but there has to be more than just the story of their success, a secret ingredient we are missing that they have.

The truth is it’s much simpler than that. It comes down to what we do on a daily basis and how it impacts our professional lives. Courtney September, a freelance photographer and designer, shares her recipe for becoming a better entrepreneur, as we also take a look at some of the qualities, habits and disciplines recommended by Forbes which run parallel with her lifestyle. (Click here for Part 1 of this article)

Courtney begins each day by making a list of what she needs to achieve and complete for that day and for each client. This helps her structure her day accordingly, so that she can push to complete as much work each day as possible. As a photographer, she is always on the lookout for cool props to add to her collection for photo shoots. Courtney admits that it can be frustrating at times when business is slow, as 60% of her jobs are referrals from previous clients. Rather than waiting for new projects, Courtney uses her down-time to conceptualise new social media campaigns to promote her work, and attract new clients. She creates concepts and targets specific groups of people and demographics, reaching out to them according to what their needs may be. She then builds a shoot around that and creates a package that is affordable and fun for the clients i.e. shooting people in their natural lives, hanging out with friends or at the beach etc. She provides quality pictures that simple camera phones cannot compete with.

Most of Courtney’s networking is conducted online through following many photographers, designers, stylists, bloggers, models and artists. Not only does she receive feedback from them, she has worked herself up to a level where she can also advise her followers.

“I feel that it’s a great way to connect and network with people from all over the world, which I probably would have never met. Now, if I need help with my business I can ask any of them for guidance or assistance, and they are happy to help me and vice versa.”

“I find networking online is a great way to expand myself because I am not bound by networking in my city only, I can do it with people all around the world. In my free time I also get the chance to better myself as a self-employed photographer, there’s so much more I can learn and that’s the only time I get to do so”.

Courtney habitually keeps up to date with her industry through online reading, and expanding her knowledge on what is happening in the design and fashion world. She also tries to explore how things were done in the past, and while she keeps up to date with mainstream trends, she tries to avoid following it too loyally as it may jeopardise her work into becoming boring and predictable.

Her biggest challenge she says is keeping faith in herself and her ability. Competing with many other photographers and designers within the industry can be intimidating at times and make her doubt herself. She usually gets over it with support from her network of friends, family and acquaintances. She’s constantly conducting her own research, hanging out online and exploring new techniques or methods of design, as well learning more about photography. As a freelancer though, she misses sharing her space with other designers and being able to pick their brains about how to overcome challenges in the industry.

“I’m continually trying to learn new things within the industry to improve myself and my work.”

Reading through articles on the Forbes website revealed tips and habits that run parallel with Courtney’s professional lifestyle. Make a list, deconstruct massive tasks to mini tasks amongst other hints. Forbes also recommends going ‘dark’ for sixty minutes each day, disconnecting from the internet, your phone and anything digital will assist you with your focus on a project.

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