A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea… A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
– Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
I have been thinking about this whole tribe idea for my business off and on for a few years now. I’ve heard such inspirational teaching on this topic in podcasts and at conferences. I’ve watched other creatives be incredibly successful in building their tribe. They seemed born for it, like it came as easy as the hashtag to label it. But I honestly always came back to the same conclusion…and that was that I didn’t think a tribe was for me.
Being a tribe leader sounded too….extroverted.
Earlier this year I launched my first ever digital teaching resources, making them available for other portrait photographers. I can’t even tell you how many times I have logged into Squarespace and held my mouse over the DELETE button. Not from insecurity in content, because I poured months of myself into creating these educational materials, and I 110% believed in what I put out there. Instead I found myself battling a deeper insecurity.
An insecurity to lead.
A tribe sounded too “all eyes on me” and the more I put myself out there as a leader, the more I found myself drawing back. I found myself saving more blog posts as drafts, and never pushing send on the emails I sat down to write. I let the overwhelming fear of disappointing someone else with not being enough, and not having all of the answers, keep me in a stagnant place.
I recently shared my vision about no longer wanting to have an email newsletter, but to instead build a community of conversation. Because THAT felt more like me. THAT seemed to have more meaning, purpose, and authenticity that I could grab a hold of and run with.
That made it less about me, and more about…you.
I guess you could say that until recently, I haven’t really understood what having a tribe even means. Not until I sent that first email, and most definitely not until so many of you decided to show up. After sharing my new vision with you, I asked at the end of my email for each reader to reply. To let me know who you were, and that you were here. To start a conversation.
I honestly didn’t think a single person would actually respond. I felt like I had dropped the ball in consistently sharing with all of you this year, and that it would take months to try and regain your trust again. But to my surprising delight, you all jumped at the opportunity to connect in a deeper and more meaningful way. Email after email. My inbox exploded.
Moms. Photographers. Dreamers…you filled my inbox with MORE than I had even hoped for.
Because what I didn’t realize all this time is that I already have a tribe. And that tribe is you.
Confidence in leadership is a place of growth for me right now. When I spent time thinking of what I had to offer to you in conversation, I started to think of all of the places that I have seen breakthrough in my business, success markers that were really important to me.
Building a niche that is creatively fulfilling and financially provisional. Booking that ideal client who truly valued my vision as an artist, and the photographs we worked together to create. Delivering that dreamy wall gallery of framed portraits to my client’s front steps- after what felt like everyone in my industry telling me that selling my clients printed products was an out-dated recipe for business failure. The opportunity to photograph not just only on the East Coast, but the West Coast, because a family believed in what I created, and felt connected to my brand from thousands of miles away and decided it was worth flying me to them. I could keep going.
…And I also got to thinking about all of the decisions that I made poorly.
A season of not charging enough to build a sustainable business, and being afraid to know my numbers. That year I spent editing images on Christmas Eve because I had overbooked and outstretched myself and my availability. The time & money wasted on sample products that I ordered just because another photographer used them, and not because they were a great fit for my own business model. The year I asked clients to sign their contract on the hood of their car at the park after their session, because I didn’t understand how to do things online or professionally. Any and every single time that I tried to make my business look like someone else’s out of comparison and jealousy. I could also, keep going.
It came down to this: Do I want someone else to also experience similar breakthroughs in their own business? Do I want them to learn from my mistakes, be inspired by my successes, and to RUN towards the biggest business dreams of their life?? And perhaps most importantly of all, do I want to transparently invite you in to grow together?
Of course I do!!!!
…So what have I been waiting for?
Do you want in on these conversations? They are really shaking things up, and every week I get more excited about them. I’m getting to know you, and for the first time I feel like this whole “email thing” is so right.
You can quickly opt-in below to be a part! You can also join when you download my FREE guide all about the 7 Best Investments I Have Made in My Business in the blog sidebar here to the right.