We’re sure you scroll through Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis and come across posts that say stuff like “increase your income by 100%” or “work a 1-hour week and still earn a full-time rate” … Some of these are genuine, achievable claims, and some are, well… just not!
It can be a little loud, daunting and confusing in the online world. So, we wanted to take this blog ‘Back to Basics’. We know full well that this may sound a little boring, and you may feel like you have exhausted all the basics, but let us explain…
As creatives and artists, we get to dabble in light, colour, textures, poses, backdrops, locations and styling in the images we create. So, let’s take the creative out of our business for a second and make sure that your ducks are in a row, your processes are in place and that your business is good to go!
Honestly, we have learned to LOVE the business side. And what says you can’t too? This can include branding, websites, writing blogs and creating presentations but to name a few…
Going back to the theme, ‘Back to Basics’. We wanted to break down the most important must-dos you have for your business to ensure you can be creative in your work and keep taking your business to new heights, each and every day.
Let’s dive in…
- Get your numbers down on paper and understand them
You need to be so aware of your valued time. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying, “oh it’s only my time- that costs me nothing”. Your time IS NOT free! You need to be aware of your running costs, what you must make per week and month to stay on top and any extras that may crop up. Sometimes, you will only be shooting 15-20% of your week- just bear that in mind- it needs to cover your costs.
Write it all down, even if it’s super scary, write it down. If you don’t have a goal for each month, you are flying by the seat of your pants.
Let us simplify it for you:
- You need to make £2,000 a month in order to cover your bills, tax and pay yourself £500 into your personal account.
- You also want to add £1,000 a month to invest in sample products, marketing and outsourcing some part time freelance admin work.
- Your total monthly income must be £3,000 (plus cost of sales).
- You charge £350 session fee and are getting an average £800 sale per client.
- Therefore, you need to book 3 shoots per month in order to bring in £3450. You will need to work out whether the £450 left over will be enough to cover your cost of sales. If it isn’t then you will need to book 4 shoots a month (1 per week).
How much less scary does that sound?? It’s so easy to think “where on earth am I going to get 3K from?!?!’…. Now you have your simple, yet very important and realistic numbers 🙂
- Be the expert in your field.
There is no doubt that you want to be the best. The best photographer? The best equine photographer? The best equine portrait photographer? The best equine portrait lifestyle photographer?
This is what we mean by being the expert. We don’t mean be the one who knows everything about your camera, or can read a light meter on demand. We mean figure out what it is that you want to be known for and become the expert in this niche.
The more you can narrow this down, the better your ideal audience will hear you and won’t look any further because they want exactly what you are offering.
An example for you:
I am a tired Mummy whose child just won’t go to sleep. Who would I book at any cost to address this situation? I see the following adverts:
- “Do you want to learn how to get your child to sleep and want to stay in bed all night?” Mrs A, the expert
- “Do you want parenting tips?” Mrs B, the expert.
Use the same analogy for photography:
I want to book my 16-year-old daughter an equine photo shoot for her birthday, that’s relaxing and enjoyable considering she is a little camera shy. I see the following adverts:
- “I am an equine portrait photographer who specialises in using natural light, capturing friendships, producing lifelong memories and keeping you at ease” Mrs A, the expert.
- “I am a photographer” Mrs B, the expert.
Get it? Enough said.
- Use your time wisely.
This is one of those points where we can totally hear you all groaning and saying, well duh!
We want to make this a super easy one. Every time you get asked to do something for free, think about the time this takes you away from marketing your business to your ideal client – is it worth it?
Every minute we are away from our computer, or not connecting with potential clients or influencers who can help us level our business, it better be paid for!
If it’s building your portfolio, then this comes back under the marketing umbrella. However, if it’s a mate asking for a free shoot because she can’t afford it, know that you are taking your best asset away from your business to do this favour for your friend.
Have you ever heard of a successful business owner who said, “It wasn’t hard at all. I didn’t need to gain any experience, I was hired on day one and I knew everything I needed to know”. No, I didn’t think so. You need to pay your dues.
Experience is there to safeguard us and our clients. It’s about learning what to do when things get tough or something goes wrong.
Our biggest advice has always been to gain experience.
As a new photographer, there is no shame in getting shoots under your belt before you start charging the bigger money.
Clients understand that you are learning, you may be developing a new style or maybe you have taken a leap into a business you have always wished of starting. Either way, gain that experience, learn from wins and misses and kick on!
We are both as bad as each other for waiting and being patient. However, we know how important it is to take one step at a time and get each step right.
Don’t try and rush the creation of your wonderful business. Gaining the experience, learning your numbers and targeting the right customers take time. It won’t all happen in a day. We’ve both been working on our business for many, many years and are constantly taking the next step.
Make your plan, take your time and get it right!