Confidence & Success


by Gregory Daniel
Texas School Instructor

Is confidence a factor? Do you believe there is a major correlation between business success and self-confidence? Spoiler alert, I do!

Recently, Lesa and I were traveling to meet with the Professional Photographers of Oklahoma. By the way, PPOK is a talented group of creative individuals who love each other and have a bundle of fun. Our connecting flight was in Atlanta, no surprise there, and this is where our plane picked up 40 lively Georgia firefighters. They were gathered around in a group bantering back and forth with lively gestures, laughing, back slapping and welcoming new members into their circle as they arrived at the gate. Our seats were planted in the middle of these powerful men during our short flight to Tulsa. Lesa was extremely interested in their story and was able to ask lots of questions to one of the young men sitting in the window seat. They were all trainers heading to share their knowledge with others in their field. Later we found out they were part of the elite Georgia Smoke Divers.

Watching this powerful life-saving group mill about as they gathered their luggage, I turned to Lesa and said the one thing every one of them had was CONFIDENCE! I got to wondering, is this a common denominator of successful small business owners? Could this be a magical ingredient that we don’t bother to mention or work to cultivate? So I went on a little Google search to see if I could find some information about our new firefighter friends.

Here’s what I found on the Georgia Smoke Divers website: “The elite few, strong in mind and body. The mental aspect of the program is more difficult to describe or prepare for. The most important mental factor is that you want to be a Smoke Diver. If you decide to apply because you just want a challenge, your buddy did it, or you really aren’t sure, then you are at an extreme disadvantage. Taking the course is a personal choice that you must make. This desire must be independent of anyone else’s expectations of you. If you are afraid of failure then you are at a disadvantage also.” Wow! Do you see how easily you could replace Smoke Diver with Photographer? (or any other entrepreneurial endeavor, for that matter).

As an aside, I also stumbled upon Annie Ashdown during my research. Annie has written a book titled “The Confidence Factor.” She talks about stepping away from self-doubt and into your potential. I love that she equates self-confidence with potential. You can’t have one without the other! This just might be the book for you to pick up to see if any of her seven secrets of successful people could be useful.

Let’s consider the different areas of your business model and evaluate your own confidence factor.

Branding • Branding is a head-to-toe, top-to-bottom endeavor. It is anything and everything that tells a client who you are. It’s the way you dress and present yourself. It’s marketing materials. It’s the look of your studio or home office. It’s the car you drive. It’s the professional
(or less than professional) way you communicate and interact. Are any of these areas lacking confidence? Or, better yet, are any of these areas showing your own insecurity?

Consultation • Consultation confidence comes down to preparation. Are you prepared to discuss the client’s needs before you share pricing? Now is the time to confidently communicate your value and the unique solution you have for your client once you find out from them what they’re looking for.

Session • Session confidence is being prepared to execute the joint vision of you and your client. Do they feel you’re in control of the session and in command of your craft?

Order Appointment • Confidence in the order appointment is key. It looks like knowing that you followed through on the needs and desires set forth in the consultation and that you have quality images to share. You know you have prepared them for the experience and pre-conditioned them with the potential products you had in mind and the range of pricing to expect.

Delivery • This might be the most important part of your client experience, and it’s definitely my favorite! This is the time to put a bow on the experience. Would they consider your delivery over-the-top, personalized, memorable? Look to your experience with a favorite brand and how they finish the transaction.

Projecting confidence, even when you may not feel confident, is the key to communicating your value to your client. Take a look at each facet of your business and evaluate whether it is displaying your confidence in your abilities and your business. If it isn’t, find a way to cultivate that confidence. You can look at additional education and ask for testimonials from your clients to see where you really shine then build upon that. Just remember: The road of a business owner is a bumpy one, but the road to a successful business is always paved with confidence.

Greg and Lesa Daniel are internationally recognized for their artistry. Though he is one of the most awarded photographers in the United States, Greg has the utmost privilege of living out his passion every day alongside Lesa in operating their portrait photography galleries in both Indialantic and Titusville, Florida. Greg was one of the youngest members to be inducted into the prestigious Cameracraftsmen of America in 1991, and a proud founding member of the International Society of Portrait Artists (ISPA). To learn more about them, go to