Positive and negative. Two sides of a coin. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
There are dichotomies all over life. Running a photography business is no different when you’re trying to maintain the daily structure of business (you know that mundane boring accounting, contracts, marketing and other stuff?) while also being pulled to the photographic creative side.
So, the goal is to figure out how to balance the two. It becomes way too easy to get swept away with new gear and exciting new session ideas and forget to keep up with tasks such as inputting tax deduction receipts or cultivating business partnerships to keep that marketing ball rolling.
Set a limit on your sessions
Time limit. Number per month. Number per quarter. Everything is about numbers when it comes to being able to shoot and still hold the business side down. I recommend writing down an over-arching year goal of income and number of clients. Then, break this down into quarters then into months. If you have a lot of responsibilities and/or crave balance with family life, you may need to work backwards. Start with number of sessions per month that you can reasonably fit into your schedule and monetary needs, then multiply that into quarterly and yearly goals.
Working in a logical fashion with numbers will help to give you a mindset goal of what to work towards – perhaps a little more hustle to follow-up with inquiries the first of week of March if you see that you’ve only booked 4 out of 6 sessions for the month.
Or perhaps your car died over the Christmas break and you need to look at replacing the hatchback you’ve had since college. That new payment may shape the demands of how many sessions, and the length at which you shoot one session, for your year.
Plan out creativity ahead of time
Perhaps this is the year you are taking the bull by the horns and need to get more creative. This creativity may require some extra time and budget. Beginning of the year is time to figure out the monetary and time investment you’ll be placing into these creative goals. You don’t want to get around to the end-of-year and realize that you used all your education money for that workshop you were dying to attend – the one you knew could propel your business forward.
The year should begin with balancing these two faces. Get a piece of paper out. Plan creativity on one side. Plan education and business must-haves on the other.
You may need an increased insurance plan, an additional employee in the business or maybe a change in your business structure (from sole proprietor to LLC with a S corp election – say what? Don’t worry BizRevamp can help with that!)
Spending resources on extras with little return
Resources are money, time, and energy. In order to give fully to both of these faces of running a photography business, you need to ensure your resources are allocated to which side will give you the best return on investment. Yes – going on a photo walk may be awesome and fun. But what about the 8 hours you were out galavanting around the city and paperwork was piling up at home? Or maybe splurging a little extra money on the rounded corner business cards versus hiring that CPA needed to find extra tax deductions for you.
When sitting down to make decisions this year, be sure you are spending your resources where you get the most return. This is especially true for marketing and business partnerships. Many times it is hard to say “no” to a local business who wants to give us “exposure” or “credit” – but is there a great potential return on investment for that time? Should you be charging said business partner OR could you be countering with an offer to get you that exposure that will really pay off as a marketing act?
The moral of the story on this tip is… learn to say no. To yourself. To others. Be sure you give most where you’re going to receive most. I’m not talking about taking advantage – I’m taking about a mutually beneficial relationship with all actions you take.
To make this year your best, you have to give your best when you’re giving at all when running your photography business.