Five Things I Wish I Knew When Starting My Business

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On June 28, 2017

#1 – It doesn't have to be perfect.

Oh my goodness.  I should get this tattooed on my forearm.  Fellow perfectionists, raise your hands. 

The amount of time that I have lost stressing over minutia and tiny details that no one will ever notice is STAGGERING.  You know what I’m talking about…not going after clients because the welcome packet isn’t finished.  Not raising your prices because you can’t find a pricing guide template that you like.  Not updating the images on your auction displays because you don’t know which images to use. 

I have been guilty of EACH and EVERY one of these…and much more.  You know what I’ve learned? 

Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every day of the week. 

When I force myself to move ahead, regardless of what roadblocks are there, I am always rewarded.  The key is to JUST GET STARTED.

#2 – It’s ok to take a break.

I always have a to-do list that is 8,000 items long.  I will never be caught up.  I have finally accepted that.  However, I still find myself sitting at my desk, slogging through busy work at a snail’s pace because I have this list of work that should be getting done. 

Listen to your energy level.  Do the hard work when you are mentally sharp, for me that is first thing in the morning, for some of you that may be 3am. 

When you notice that you aren’t being productive and you’ve been browsing Facebook for the past 45 minutes, get up off your butt and do something.  Anything.  Do something not work related.  Read a magazine.  Do some laundry.  Take a walk.  Watch an episode of House of Cards….which maybe we can actually count as work because the lighting is dreamy, especially in the Underwood residence! 

On of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is that we don’t have to log 8 hours a day for the sake of working 8 hours a day.  While we do often end up working more hours, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn't take care of ourselves and take breaks.  What is that saying, “I quit my 40 hour a week job to work 80 hours a week for myself”? 

Work in short sprints.  When you aren’t productive take a break.  Leave your computer at home when you take a vacation.  Even better, take a vacation where you don’t have data or cell service.

#3 – Should I take this opportunity now?

Oh this is a tough one.  When you are starting out, or even if you are established but things have been slow, it’s so tempting to take jobs or opportunities that don’t really move you towards your long-term goal or vision for your company. 

Repeat after me, it’s not worth it.  I don’t know about you, but every time I neglect to listen to my gut and take an opportunity that I’m lukewarm about….I regret it. 

Remember, there is an opportunity cost to saying yes.  Trust that by saying no to the ‘not quite right’ opportunities you leave room in your schedule for the RIGHT opportunities.

#4 – Hell, yeah!

I saw an article from Derek Sivers last year, basically, if an opportunity doesn’t make you want to scream “hell yeah!” at the top of your lungs….your answer should be no.  We all only have 24 hours in the day.  We all have limited time on this earth.  We are all too busy and have taken on too much. 

By only saying yes to those things that make you want to scream “hell yeah!”, you are leaving space for those things that fulfill you to come into your life.  It’s hard.  I’m still working on it….but the results I’ve seen so far have been nothing short of life-changing. 

#5 – Get some help

No matter where you are going, someone has gone before you.  Working from home can be a lonely endeavor, especially when you are just starting your journey and you don’t have a network of other self-employed friends to throw holiday “office” parties with!  As human beings, we crave community and companionship.  As entrepreneurs, we crave solutions to our challenges. 

I have always (and still do) invest heavily in my education.  I want to learn photography techniques and business practices every chance I get, whether the technique directly applies to my business or not!  There is always a morsel of knowledge just waiting to be picked if you are open to learning.

If you are looking for something more than a morsel, the Hair of the Dog Academy is waiting for you. If you want to scream, “hell yeah!” when someone asks you if you would like to run a profitable pet photography business….this is the class for you. 

Are you ready to connect with pet photographers from all over the world?  Join us in the Hair of the Dog Community - a place to ask questions, share resources, and connect with each other.

Nicole Begley

You may also like these resources

Creating photography albums FAST with SmartAlbums

Creating photography albums FAST with SmartAlbums

Let’s dive into the world of seamless album creation with SmartAlbums by Pixellu. We can create stunning albums for our photography clients in mere minutes. Join me for a quick look on how to craft a gorgeous album with this software. You too can master the art of album design in less than 10 minutes!


  1. Robyn

    ALL of these! Such great tips, and Nicole’s courses are top notch!

  2. Laurie

    AHHHH….!! SO TRUE…the plan does not need to be perfect.
    I need the same tattoo! 😉


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hair of the Dog Pet Photography Education

Welcome to Hair of the Dog Pet Photography Resources. The #1 educational resource for aspiring and established pet photographers.

Join the Academy


Listen to Our Podcast

Check out founder Nicole Begley’s Book


Join the Hair of the Dog Community

Sign up for the Summit


Pin It on Pinterest