Hey there, super awesome photographer.
Recently, I have gotten on the phone with many of you to discuss what you are struggling with in your business. (I am always looking to chat some more so click here to schedule a call with me. The more I talk to photographers, unpacking your roadblocks, the more I can help.)
So what have I uncovered in this research is that most photographers in the current market are looking to add $1k-$3k to the household bottom line. This total would allow them to do things like: take a vacation, eat out a bit more, take some pressure off the spouse, quit another part time or full time job and come home with the kids.
Freedom. This money represents a step to freedom.
What does that mean? What would it take?
Well, this is where I see a lot of photographers hit a wall.
They want this extra income but they don't know what it means to make it happen.
Let me break it down for you here a bit.
Say your goal is to bring home $1k/ month. The average photographer is able to take home roughly 1/3 of your gross sales (after taxes, overhead, cost of goods.)
This means that you will have to sell about $3,000 to bring home $1,000.
Stay with me. I know our right brained artist selves hate dealing with numbers, but I promise, the numbers will help you get back to the fun stuff.
If you are a $250/ session (aka: shoot and burn) photographer, then you will have to SELL 24 sessions each month to make that happen. How many sessions did you have last month? (In my phone calls, the average answer was 2.)
So what if your average per session sale was $1200? Then you only have to sell 5 sessions/ month. That is a LOT less people to have to sell.
This is the part where your gut kicks in right? Your stomach starts to turn and you think, "WHO IS GOING TO PAY THAT FOR MY WORK?" or "I don't live in an area where people pay that." or "I would never pay that for photos, so I can't imagine someone that would."
Let me save you some tough love time on the phone with me and tell you how I respond to that.
1. "Who is going to pay for your work?" Your perfect client. The person your work resonates with. The person that values photography and feels something when they see your images. (THEY DO EXIST! I promise. I have seen it happen again and again and again.) So sit down with a journal and start mapping out this person. Without mapping, you don't know who to sell to.
And no this is NOT price gouging, this is charging a sustainable rate for your hard work, expertise, continuing education, insurance, print costs, gear, software, website, etc. etc. etc. AKA: the actual cost of running a business. It is the same reason any other boutique service costs more than their mass produced counterparts. Custom costs money and portraits are always custom.
2. "I don't live in an area where people pay for that." I have watched it work in every type of market. Some of the most successful photographers live in some of the most remote locations. You have to get creative, you make yourself into a destination. And I bet you anything that once you start the momentum, people you never knew about will come out of the woodwork. People you never saw coming.
3. "I would never pay that for photos, so I can't imagine someone that would." Ok THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET REAL. If you don't believe in this, in YOURSELF, to a level where you are willing to put your money where your mouth is... WHY ARE YOU STARTING A BUSINESS based on this service? How can you sell something you don't believe in enough to pay for yourself? If you live in a brain narrative of "I wouldn't pay for this." then you are attracting people who wouldn't pay for this and that is not a foundation that a sustainable business can grow on, so take a pivot and become a hobby shooter, my friend. This industry is not for you. Do you think 5 star chefs ever say, "I am not willing to go pay for a $45 steak for myself?" Do you think fashion designers are unwilling to spend money on a great dress for a meeting? Then why is your house covered in World Market and Target wall pieces when you are asking people to invest in you as an artist?!!!
"But I really want to do this, I just don't think I am good enough for people to pay those prices for MY work."
Ok, THAT, I can work with. That is a confidence and mindset issue. I can work through that with you, give you logistical resources, workflow maps, and tools to get past the nerves and the self questioning.
People spend money on the things they value and what you focus on grows. Are you growing your self worth? Are your growing your craft skills? Are you growing your business plan? Are you growing your email list? Are you growing your social media following? Are you growing your confidence? Are you growing as a time management boss? If you want results you have to decide these are things that you value and put YOUR resources (aka time and money) into them.
So what do you value? Do you value your business and your self enough to put your all into them?
If you can honestly tell me yes, and commit to it, I can help. I can show you how to get past the self limiting beliefs. I can walk you through the backend process building, web marketing, in-person sales flow, sales funnel building...all of it, but I only take on a couple of mentoring students at a time. You want in? Email me at [email protected]
Just want the practical marketing tools? (The how-to step by step online process of getting people off the internet and into your business? ) I laid that all out in 23 bite sized videos, with a full year calendar organizing when to post what, and a tracking system that tells you where every digital advertising penny goes and how to make improvements. Marketing in a box. Boom. Click here to get in on that goodness.
Think you might want to get into birth photography? Here's my book: Birth Photography, The Art and Business of Labor and Delivery Photography
Let's do this. I can't wait to see what you create.
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