According to Forbes, 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. That's a staggering statistic.
In the photography industry, the numbers are a little different. Many photographers are "running a business" but the term business, is relative, and is different to each person. For some, running a photography business means they are doing a few shoots here and there, and are giving their images away, only to make a few hundred dollars per session.
For others, running a photography business means shooting hundreds of sessions per year, wearing themselves out completely and missing crucial time with spouses and children, still only making a few hundred dollars every time they shoot.
Yet there are some in this industry who have figured out how to make a living in this business and they are actually making house payments, car payments, putting groceries on the table, putting money into savings and they are not working themselves to death.
What are the secrets to success? Avoid making these KEY mistakes in your business
1. UNDERVALUING YOURSELF
This is a recurring theme especially among new photographers and those who have been in business less than 3 years. Undervaluing yourself means a lot of things. It can mean not understanding cost based analysis, not understanding how to price yourself, not taking all of your time into consideration when setting your pricing.
Is your photography paying your bills?
2. OFFERING TOO MANY DISCOUNTS AND GIVING AWAY TOO MANY THINGS
Business that want to be successful often give away the ship. In not understanding how to price themselves, they often throw too many things in their packages. They will create model rep programs where in order to attract people to it, they make them crazy offers and promises. Do you have a model rep program? Are your models full paying customers?
3. OVERTHINKING EVERY DETAIL
Paralysis by Analysis. Are you the person who overthinks everything? Overthinking can be debilitating. Obsessing over every detail can keep you from implementing. This leads to procrastination, and nothing gets done. It's a waste of your time and energy and it gets you no where. It's difficult to be a perfectionist and run a successful business unless you truly get it under control, because you'll never make the headway you need in order to be a success.
Fear can be debilitating. Fear of something not being good enough..Fear of something not being perfect. Fears and anxieties are normal but they shouldn't be paralyzing.
You don't have to get it right....You DO have to get it going.
I will have an idea, and before I get it all worked out, I'll announce that I'm doing it. This forces me to make it happen.
4. MAKING EXCUSES AS TO WHY YOU CAN'T
In business, you can't make excuses. Here are some common excuses that I hear every day.
* There are photographers all around me who are shooting for $100 and giving away all the images
* My town is poor - the standard of living is so low that I could never charge more than what I am currently.
* I'm the highest priced photographer in this area (shoot and burn for $250)
* Everyone expects the digitals - I asked my customers
* I don't have a studio so I can't do in person sales
These are all common excuses or misconceptions. You can be successful. You can charge more. You don't have to give it all away. You can do In Person Sales without having a studio.
5. EXPECTING THIS TO BE EASY
Running any business is not for the faint of heart. Running a photography business is no different. It's not going to happen overnight and there are a lot of things you need to learn in order to be a success.
It's about much more than just taking pictures. It's about pricing, marketing, sales, branding, business development, customer service, editing, business licenses, social media, blogging, websites, taxes, accounting, customer resource management, creating, promoting, business operations, spin selling and the list goes on and on. You have to wear a hundred different hats and you have to wear them well. You really have to know what you're doing.
6. NOT UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF SELLING
As a business owner, you have to understand the art of spin selling. No one wants a pushy sales person. There's no greater turn off in the world to me. If I perceive that someone is trying to sell me something, I'm immediately turned off.
Rather than forcing a product on someone, the art of spin selling consists of conversation that helps build an appetite for your products. There are techniques and language to use that make this possible. You have to learn how to have conversations with your clients that will help your products sell themselves.
Have you ever bought a car and the person that helped you was simply amazing? You loved the person because they made you feel great. They were knowledgable, helped you find what you wanted, and you never felt pressured to buy. In fact, you probably bought a car from them and loved them so much that you found yourself thanking them after you made the big purchase!
A successful photographer will also have this same experience. If YOU are successful with your customers, they will make big purchases and will be thanking you as they leave. It's all in how you present it.
Being a success is entirely possible in any business. It take guts, willpower, drive, determination, dedication and the desire to succeed. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of education and learning and the ability to step outside your comfort zone. It means taking risks, not waiting until everything is perfect to implement and it means valuing yourself.