Building a successful business is no easy task! Enter this helpful new series of articles from photography business and life coach, Jessica Schlamp. We will be tackling some of the issues photographers face in establishing, growing and maintaining their business so it becomes profitable for them and their family’s life, as well well as their bank accounts. Working to make a living is important, but so is your quality of life. A great business should both enhance your life AND pay the bills, while excelling at providing solutions for your customers. This is what defines business success. But rarely will an entrepreneur attain this without some significant effort and a lot of grit.
Often it takes years of investment in both time and money to establish yourself in your market, hone your skills, fine tune your operations and increase your profits. And many entrepreneurs are doing this while also floating a full or part time job as well as running a family. So it makes sense that only a few startups actually stake their claim in the sea of opportunity, while many come and go with the rise and fall of an oceans tide.
It can take significant capital to get an idea off the ground quickly. Many businesses are started with a loan for this reason. But the entrepreneur usually goes at it another route, taking their personal skill set and offering a set of services around it – built from the ground up while they maintain another career. Occasionally this brings overnight opportunity, and you may find yourself quitting that old job and turning away hordes of work. However, more often than not you have to educate your market on why they need your services, face down some serious competition, or do a significant amount of personal work in order to flourish. You will have to develop your brand, package your products, choose a pricing model, build a website, etc. And without startup funds this can take months, even years, to accomplish.
The challenge of taking root can be even greater in a saturated market. Take wedding photography for example. Look around your network of friends and family and you will likely find 5 or more photographers who advertise this service. So when a new photographer decides to specialize in the wedding industry, you can imagine how much time and work it takes for them to establish themselves.
Non essential service providers, such as photographers, also face the challenge of local market conditions, trends and seasonal cycles which may affect the quantity and quality of opportunity coming their way. In Canada for example winter is cold and there tends to be far fewer weddings, so wedding photographers often take second jobs during the slow season. When the market suffers in a small city, people aren’t indulging in family photo shoots like before. So you need to build your photography business to ride the waves instead of being overcome by them.
And what if people are lining up for your services, you face no competition, or you’ve got a killer skill set that is easy to sell? Will you then be successful? Will you beat the 5 year statistic, in which window most companies shut their doors? We sure hope you do! But don’t be too certain. Many a great corporation has gone under due to financial mismanagement, outdatedness or short term thinking. Success takes humility, ongoing education and perseverance. You need to work hard and never stop.
At JessAndy Studios we’ve had to go back to the drawing board more than a few times. We’ve made our share of mistakes such as juggling too much, not charging enough, or providing services we were not passionate about. We’ve morphed and adjusted as new opportunities arose, new needs were discovered, and our vision changed. And this journey of discovery, exploration and learning will never end. It CAN never end or our business will fail.
In this series Jessica shares with you…
- The to do list/task organization system Jessica uses to maximize productivity and squeeze the most out of each day, without forgetting your most important priorities
- Which photography pricing models we have tried, what works and why
- Different scheduling systems we have employed to juggle our work day around young kinds, house cleaning, healthy cooking, and a social life
- How we set SMART goals for our business
- What gaps we are currently addressing and how you can do the same
- How we discovered our passions and used this to hone our business plans
- Branding and marketing communications strategies you can employ in your own photography business
- The website programs we have tried and tossed, and what we use now and why
- SEO strategies that WORK
- How we geared up to deliver photography services for our clients
- How to work with your spouse without killing each other
- and much more!
So keep tuned in to the blog, and be sure to reach out to Jessica for your free half hour coaching session!