All the hats you wear.
As a photography business owner, you wear most, if not all of the above hats. You may even have more. Do you have to clean up your studio after everyone leaves? Do you have to create all of your blog/marketing/branding content? The list goes on.
So, my question to you is, are you priced high enough to cover all of these jobs? Are you making wearing all of these hats worth it? Even if you are outsourcing some of it, you still are the CEO, CFO, Manager and Lead Photographer.
As creatives, we tend to lead with our emotions. We don't look at the business side. We want to charge less so our friends can afford us (your friends should not be your main clients!) or so "Everyone" can afford us. Here's a truth. You CANNOT cater to everyone. Do you know ANY business that caters to EVERYONE? Plus, if you are low priced, you actually aren't catering to everyone because there are a LOT of people who value a high priced service and product.
I used to lead with emotion and while it made me okay money for a while (I didn't NEED the full income), I was smacked in the face with a realization. I was NOT making enough for when I did actually need it. I was not making enough to support my life, my business (do you put a good chunk of money BACK into your business??-You SHOULD BE.), my dreams.
This week, I am launching my Business Essentials Bundle. This is the most comprehensive bundle of forms I have seen for photographers. That's why I created it! When I was organizing my business, I hated having to search for all of the worksheets and forms I needed and finding them all in different places, having to piece them together. This bundle is a Business Plan and Guide, a Cost of Doing Business Worksheet AND all accompanying forms and worksheets. They are created for you to use and fill in your own information easily. Some are in WORD, some in PDF form and some in EXCEL to make it easy.
If you want more information on how to get these forms as soon as they are released, sign up for my newsletter below!
What is your WHY?
"We want to buy a new house."
"I want to support or to contribute support to my family."
"I want to quit my regular job and do what I love."
"I am a stay at home mom and need something that's for ME."
"I love photography and want to make it a business."
"I want financial independence while also creating the business I want."
"I want to take more vacation."
"I want a retirement plan."
"I want to save money for my child's education so they don't end up in debt."
Do any of these sound like you? Are your WHYS different? No matter what your WHY(s), you need to establish your business so that those whys are being met and really, surpassed.
Now I'll ask a challenging question.
What if your circumstances changed and you had more whys?
These are not necessarily things we want to happen and I hope they never do for any of you, but you should think about them at least to be prepared in case they did.
"I (or my spouse) got laid off from my full time job."
"My mother got sick and I had to take care of her and
couldn't work my business."
"I (or my spouse) got sick."
Like I said, we don't want these things to happen. But they can. I hear stories like this all the time and I lived it, so I speak from experience. I wish I had considered them before. This is why you don't just charge "A little because it's only a side gig and I don't NEED the money." If you ever do, you've completely screwed yourself. You can't just make a jump instantly once you do need the money. Set yourself up for complete success from the get go! I mean, even if you don't fall into any "what if" situations, is it really that bad to have extra money if you "don't need it right now"? Put it into an extra vacation. Put it into savings for your kids or yourself. Put it into charities that you care about. But, whatever you do, do NOT undervalue yourself and do NOT put yourself in a bad situation.
Just some food for thought. If you want to chat more about this and how to set up your business for success, set up a discovery call today and learn more on what I offer.
Or you can simply check out my other blog posts or my YOUTUBE channel for free videos.
Digitals or IPS?
This topic is a hot topic. I see people arguing on social media about this. I don't understand how people are so critical of each other. Yes, you have a higher earning potential with IPS. BUT, you can make a comfortable living wage with Digital model IF you price yourself correctly. That is the key. Work out your business plan which will include your CODB.
By early June, I will be releasing a Business Bundle that includes a very thorough Business Plan template with all corresponding forms, which is like nothing I've seen out there. It will be specific to photography and include ALL you need to create a solid business plan and marketing plan that fit YOUR goals and your life. If you sign up for a workshop or coaching with me, you get all of that included which is even better! Anyway, check out the videos below on Digital Models and IPS Models so you can have a better idea of what each entails. I encourage you to watch both.
Let's set up a free discovery call to see if and how I can help you with YOUR photography business, setting goals, figuring out pricing and marketing and being your biggest cheerleader!
Also, visit my YOUTUBE channel for more videos.
To see all that I offer and set up your call, click the link below.
Hopefully if you have a business, you are doing so legally and with everything in place that should be. This means you're registered as a business, registered to pay taxes, any other requirements in your state and having a business bank account. If you're not, DO IT. Just because you're "doing it on the side" or "not making enough yet" does not mean you should take any chances. I've heard so many horror stories of people who ended up having the IRS come after them when they found out they had been accepting money from clients but were not paying taxes. Don't get yourself into trouble.
If you don't have a business plan, you are doing yourself a disservice. I learned about Business Plans and even had to create one as a Management and Marketing Student. And yet, when I started my business, I did not create one. Years later, I did and wondered how I didn't do it sooner. It's the blueprint for your business, the document that can be altered and includes every aspect of your business. Two of the most important parts of the plan include your marketing plan and your CODB which is ESSENTIAL to how you price yourself. Which brings me to my next point.
PRICING AND VALUE
I see talented business owners every day talking about their pricing. Most fear charging more. Some just don't think they need to. I can't tell you how often I see a photographer say they are willing to do a photo session for $300 with "everything" (Meaning 30-60 digital images) included or $1000 for a full day wedding. I can tell you with complete certainty that if you are changing either of these, you are NOT making a profit and you are completely undervaluing yourself. You don't base your pricing on what others are charging or how long you've been in business or on fear that you're not worth more. You base it on the numbers. If you don't have a thorough CODB and Business Plan, you won't know.
Once you have all of the above in place, it becomes a lot easier. You now have a marketing plan and budget. You now know which model fits you best. You now know how much you need to make per client to survive.
I'm really excited to be launching (June 1) my Business Bundle where you'll get a very comprehensive template for a business plan and many other forms and worksheets you need to go with it and to run your business successfully. You will also have guides to help you fill them out. If you sign up for coaching or workshops, you will get this bundle included!
Let's set up your free discovery call to see if I can help you or refer you to resources that can help you start or level up in your business!
"I'm not good enough."
"That photographer's work is much better than mine."
"No one would pay that much for my services."
Have you ever said any of those phrases (or all of them)? Are you living in fear of being successful? Do you undervalue yourself?
First and foremost is figuring out where that comes from. I never valued myself. I compared myself to everyone else in every area of my life. I started working with someone (and energy healer and life coach) who helped me figure out where that came from. I worked hard to overcome it.
But what also helped me was education. I was still scared to price myself at the price points I knew I should. As a result, I'd raise prices "just a little at a time". It didn't work for me in the long run. When I started, I was doing this "on the side" But guess what? That doesn't matter. You still should charge what you would for full time especially if you think you will consider moving it to full time at some point.
I learned more about the things I had been doing wrong in my business and once I got all of my ducks in a row, I also ran the most comprehensive financial analysis I had done. I realized I lacked the solid foundation I needed to figure out how best to run a profitable business. I had studied marketing and management and literally had a course that focused a lot on business plans. I had to create one that would determine if I passed or failed the course. Yet, I didn't create one for my business originally. Once I did, I realized how much it was needed. Not only does a solid business plan lay out your plans and goals but it contains all of the financial aspects and marketing plans to help you stay on track. I have created a Business Plan for Photographers bundle that includes a plan template and guide as well as all accompanying worksheets. This will be released very soon (join my email list to be sure you have it at the introductory rate). But even if you don't get it from me, find one. You generally have to find a business plan from one place, then a cost of doing business worksheet from another, your startup expense worksheet from yet another location. But, they are out there.
Back to value. If you don't value yourself, others won't either. I hear a lot of people say, "I raised my prices but people tell me I'm too expensive."
There will always be some people who will tell you that. However, two things are probably happening (or at least one of them).
1. You are not targeting the RIGHT clients. There are plenty of people out
there who will value you and what you provide.
2. You are still not valuing yourself and that is being portrayed to others.
When you are still hesitant about your own worth, that comes across
to others. You lack the clear confidence you need to "sell" yourself
and your services.
Again, finding ways to work through that is important. In some o fly workshops, I will have a professional who helps with overcoming your fears and old beliefs about yourself. It is an invaluable service that helps in your business and really, your whole life. It was pretty transformative for me.
When I first hiked my prices, I was so scared and still didn't value myself. I knew I wasn't portraying confidence to potential or current clients. The result was low sales. This was also caused by still keeping prices a little lower than needed and not meeting my minimums (fear of my worth). Then, I had a few clients who spent a lot and would have spent more if the prices were higher. I found that just these few clients who valued me in that way were a piece of what I needed to see it was possible. When I was still fulfilling old client's contracts (I had a could who had booked newborn sessions at my super low prices), I found myself frustrated realizing I was making NOTHING on them but doing a lot of work. These people also tended to be more high maintenance and demanding than those spending more (crazy, right?). Now, I can't imagine working for less than I'm worth and what I need to make to run my business and support my life. I mean, I think it's fair to want to pay my bills, have health insurance, save for retirement, buy groceries and maybe take some vacations, right?? We have the right to do all of this just as others do.
So, I challenge you to dig deep. Figure out where that feeling of unworthiness comes from. Work on it. Create a business plan so you can actually SEE what needs to be done, what you NEED to make to survive and be successful and then, put it into action.
I'm here to help. If you want to learn more about workshops and services or even the Business Plan bundle, schedule a free discovery call below.
You can also check out my YOUTUBE to see my free videos on a variety of topics.