I’ve written a lot about what we should do for our clients, and how we should go about our day-to-day business as photographers. But there’s another piece to the puzzle that’s equally important — that doesn’t involve pricing, sales, licensing, printing or anything else.

And that piece is you.

We all got into photography for one reason or another. For me, I was stuck at a job that I no longer enjoyed, and I wanted to “break free” from the 9-5 daily routine. I wanted to spread my creative wings, so to speak. I wanted to do things on my terms.

What are your goals?

Not your business goals, but your personal goals. Is it important to you to become known for one form of photography, a certain way of styling or for your personality? For me, I wanted to become the go-to event photographer in my area. It’s what I enjoyed photographing.

But beyond that, I also wanted to get creative and work on things like long exposures. I wanted to explore the Michigan beaches no matter what the season (and in turn, almost fell through the ice). I wanted to capture those fine details in my city that no one would think to photograph.

I also wanted to become a part of a community, especially because I was now working at home. I started a photowalk group, and am still friends with many of the people who attended my very first photowalk. That’s helped me stay creative, and push my limits as an artist.

Write down your personal goals, and evaluate them regularly. Now’s a great time with spring in full bloom (I’m looking at you, Michigan. No more snow!). Think of how you can do something new and exciting in each season, how you can stay unique and be creative as a photographer.

What about the money aspect?

As I’ve written before, do what you love and the money will follow. Sure, you won’t get rich quick off going out and taking long exposure photographs in your city. But if you become known for it, and can apply those principles to other types of photography, you’ve got a major win.

Our craft shouldn’t be just about making money. That shouldn’t even be the primary goal. When I left that 9-5 job, I wanted to do something I enjoyed. I wanted to capture those moments that people found to be important. Sure, money was in the back of my head … but it wasn’t the attribute that was leading me to my decisions.

For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.