I remember being little and watching movies where the business man was the bad guy because he’d lied to everyone and, of course, got caught. I would sit there and think to myself if I ever open a business I’m going to do everything honestly. I’m not going to lie, cheat, or steal. I’m going to do right, so that at the end of the day, I feel good about myself.
Last week I wrote about following your dreams and stepping out on faith. I got quite a few questions about starting a business, getting it off the ground and running it successfully. Every business is different, so I’m not even going to begin to tell you where to start for yours, but I do want to encourage you to always do one thing in your business (and life): be honest. If you build a foundation of truth and honesty, you’re going to get off your feet so faster than you ever expected. You see honesty builds trust, and trust builds happy clients who refer their friends.
I firmly believe that you reap what you sow…other people may call it karma. I want good things coming back to me and our business. It’s that whole golden rule thing. If I want people to be honest with me, I need to be honest with them. Even behind the scenes, where no one but me knows about it. That’s where you find your true self and where your values really stand. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’d be easier to tell a little white lie than the truth, and no one would probably ever know. But I would.
I hear things from business people often like collect cash from clients so you don’t have to claim it as income. Yes, it’s working the system, but is it honest? With a clear conscience can you say that’s right? For me, I can’t.
I’ve seen recently in the photography industry where people run contests, and instead of randomly choosing their winners like they advertise, they’re hand picking them to suit their marketing needs. In my opinion, this is not a good standard to run your business by! I understand why they’re doing it from a marketing standpoint, but from a values standpoint, I totally disagree. And in my world, values win over marketing.
Sometimes when we talk to potential couples we just don’t click with them. I wish everyone would like us but sadly not everyone does : ( Photographing their wedding would be a dis-service to them, because they wouldn’t feel comfortable with us and their photos would reflect that. I could tell them we’re booked and move on, or I could be honest and explain to them I don’t think we’re the right fit and since it’s such a personal relationship I’d encourage them to find someone who is. Now they know what to look for, and they’re pictures will be better because of it!
All I’m trying to do by showing you these examples is encourage you to be honest in ALL areas. Not just the big ones, but in the little ones too! It’s not going to be easy, but you can do it! The more you start being honest with people (and yourself), the easier it becomes to do the right thing consistently. Be that person who other people can trust because you’ve been honest with them!
A little about the Giving Back series:
“We have all been given gifts, things that come naturally to us. I believe that’s for a reason. I believe we’re supposed to take those gifts and use them to benefit others. What we have and what we know should & is supposed to be shared with others. So, I want to welcome you to my “Giving Back” blog series: a place for me to share little bits of photography & life lessons with a twist of A.J.”