How do you measure success?
For most successful business owners and high school senior photographers, success is measured in several different ways.
1. How satisfied and fulfilled you are as a person and as a business owner
2. How much money you are making
3. How many clients you have
4. How satisfied your clients are
Running your own business is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. It takes guts, determination, desire, knowledge, the will to succeed AND it take the ability to make changes when things aren’t going as you’d like.
A lot of photographers never really meant to launch a photography business. They got a camera, started taking pictures, and were told by friends and family that they were “really good” and should start a business.
Before they know it, the phone is ringing and they are photographing friend after friend and doing session after session. They have no idea what to charge, and because all of their clients are friends, they don’t really want to charge them much. This goes on an on and pretty soon, they find themselves running a photography business. (Well, sort of anyway).
The problem they find themselves in is this:
They have customers but they are beginning to work themselves to death. The business starts to run them instead of them running the business. They join some FB groups and they begin to sense that they are doing things wrong. They hear other photographers talk about making $1000 sales.
Yet, they themselves, are making no where near this and are shooting sessions and handing over the digitals. They know there is a way to make money off this business, and they know the way to do it is to offer gorgeous products, but they don’t know HOW to do it, or WHERE to buy them or even more importantly, they don’t know WHAT to charge.
So How Do You Get To The Point Of Changing to Be Successful?
Education is key. You have to educate yourself.
Here’s where people fail…
Many people rely on Facebook groups for learning. They believe that if they post a question in a group, they will get answers.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of craziness that goes on in Facebook Groups. For one, you never really know how much you can believe of what you hear. Secondly, when you ask a question and people post answers, you have to remember that you don’t really know these people and that you don’t really know how their business works. Thirdly, people don’t know how YOUR business works. They can give you an answer, but unless they really have a good idea of how your business works, they can’t give you sound advise on what to do to improve.
So if you can’t rely on Facebook Groups for Education, how is the best way to get help for your business?
1. EDUCATIONAL CONVENTIONS AND CONFERENCES
Reliable photography conferences, conventions, workshops and seminars are a good start. There are several good photography conventions and conferences that are geared toward high school seniors. Some are focused on learning how to shoot and others are focused on the business side of photography.
Mentoring with someone who is successful and knows how to coach can be even better. While conferences and conventions are good, they speak to hundreds of people and are not able to drill the information down to your particular business. Mentoring does just this.
What Changes Do You Need To Make In Your Business?
Today, many photographers find themselves needing two things….
1. To make more money
2. To get more clients in the door
So…What’s standing in the way of making you a success?
1. INTIMIDATION - If you’re in the same boat as many photographers and want to make money, then you need to change your pricing. Pricing is one of the most intimidating things for most creative people. Photographers are no exception. Many of them simply have no idea of how to price for success.
2. FEAR - Changing your pricing is scary stuff. Many photographers worry that if they change their pricing, they will run off all their customers. Some are not only scared to change, they are down right terrified. And as a result, many of them never make the changes they need to make and therefore they don’t have the income they need to be successful. Instead, they continue to plug along, doing too many sessions and barely scraping by. Eventually, they burn out, give up and move on to something else.
3. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE – Knowledge is KEY. Without a sound plan in place, you can’t succeed. You need knowledge and you need help.
We were once in the same place you are. We didn’t charge enough. We were working ourselves to death. Then we got some help, figured this out, made the changes and are now running a very successful photography business.
It can be done.
4. NOT HAVING A STUDIO - You don't need a studio in order to be successful. There are many ways you can run a successful business without having a studio.
Here Are Some Things You Will Need In Order To Get You Going In The Right Direction:
1. Creating high end branding is key.
2. Showcasing your best work on a website and on social media is imperative
3. Marketing on a consistent basis, knowing how often to do it and WHAT to do, can make or break a business.
4. Understanding lighting and editing
5. Doing In Person Sales
6. Pricing For Success without Overcomplicating your Pricing Menus
7. Offering Timeless Products that people want
8. Knowing where to get these products and how to deliver them
I mentor photographers all over the U.S. on how to make changes to their business to make more money and bring in more clients. If you need help, send me a friend request on Facebook and then message me and let me know you are interested in some information on mentoring.
Beverly Trainer Williams
Chuck Williams Photography and Senior Year Magazine