Well, 2014 is here and it's the perfect time to visit personal goals for the year along with business goals. My hope is to offer and provide more business topics to encourage you in your journey this year. Business is an area that I know a lot of photographers struggle with especially with it being such a creative field. I know for me personally, I have learned a lot of things the long and hard way so to save you some time and to push you to your best, I'm taking a handful of business questions a month and will present them as a questions/answers on here. Have a business question? Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently posted a thread on my facebook page and received a bunch of questions, so I'm going to address a few of them today.
Is it as hard/difficult as people say? I've heard several photographers deter people from going into the "biz". Scary!?
I would have to agree and say I have definitely heard many photographers try to deter new photographers away and I would say it is for a couple of reasons.
1.) It is hard, but any business you are going to jump into is going to have its challenges. Being a business owner, time will be spent on doing more than just photography. There are a lot of things to consider even prior to beginning a business. Set up a business tax id, a dba or llc, find out local and state laws regarding owning a business, insurance, etc.
Having good equipment, the know how to use it, and producing consistent work up to standard to sell to others.
Counting the cost of not only equipment, but the multiple hours that are spent behind the scenes building a business. Many photographers start out so low that by the end of the year, they are at a loss of income once they figure out all their expenses. Many photographers who start out don't make it past 1-2 years of being in business because of the things previously mentioned.
I will say, I don't deter anyone who wants to join in this industry but I will be honest and say it takes work, time, and commitment. It is just like owning and running other business, so if you are dedicated to constantly learning and growing , putting the time and hard work in, you will succeed!
How can I be sure I am not undercutting myself but not overcharging that people run away! Where can I find the balance???
It depends on where you live and who you want your target market to be. You should DEFINITELY not under value yourself. Figure in your time, your expenses, and what you are comfortable charging (and make sure you are earning income rather than losing). Be confident in what you charge and you will gain clients. If you have some that are going a different direction, then they are not your target market. Find how to get in your target market by local boutiques, hanging around those areas and passing out cards, etc. It takes time to get established but keep at it!
How on earth do you gain new clients when there's a photog on every corner?
There are a lot of photographers and if you spend too much time focusing on that aspect, it can be disheartening. The thing is, there are also a lot of restaurants, and other businesses that are the same and are successful. First of all, don't spend too much time checking out your competition but rather focus on you and your business. How can you make your business awesome? Is it just a photography business? What experience is your client leaving with? If it is just pictures, well, they can get that anywhere, but there is only ONE you and what you bring to the table will be what people talk about.
Thanks to those who have submitted questions and I will make sure to post the next set of questions/answers in the next week.
What are your goals for 2014?? Would love to hear!
~ Jackie Jean