I feel like even just the title of this blog is one of those “what’s an opinion you’ll get a lot of hate for” posts you see online nowadays. But really, this topic is something I’ve wanted to touch on for a while and something I think is extremely important for you to hear.
The first step to growing your photography business is treating it like a business.
When you look at your business as a hobby or side hustle, you’re not taking it seriously. When you don’t take the time to comb through your finances and plan for the future, you’re losing out on tons of growth opportunities.
So how exactly can you start treating your business like a business?
Five Changes You Need To Make To Treat Your Photography Business As A Real Business
- First things first, stop adjusting your pricing based on someone else’s budget. Your pricing is your pricing and it ensures you make a living wage. If someone wants their photos done cheaper, they can find someone cheaper to do them.
- If you choose to give a discount, make sure to actually enter it as a discount on the invoice you send out. Don’t just change the price of the session fee.
- I know this one may be tough to hear, but stop giving special pricing to friends and family! Your pricing should not change for close friends or extended family. Even though you love them, they are usually the biggest culprits of not treating your business as a true business (even if they don’t mean anything negative by it.)
- Change your mindset surrounding your finances. When you separate your business from your personal life, your finances become a purposeful action. In other words, you take it more seriously and again, start treating your business as a business.
- If you haven’t already, open a separate bank account for your business. Your finances should always stay separate (this is a good thing in general, but especially helpful if the worst case scenario happens and someone tries to sue.)
- Pay yourself! Business owners are the worst when it comes to actually giving a salary to themselves. Run the numbers and make sure you’re paying yourself (as in moving money from your business account to your personal account) every month, to cover your expenses.
- My favorite resource for accounting and photographers is: https://bastianaccounting.com/
- Set office hours for yourself (and your family or roommates.) This is dedicated time each day for you to work on your business, just like they do for their own jobs away from home.
- Don’t answer your work emails or texts at all hours of the day. You have to be able to switch your brain off from work mode. Always being available will inevitably lead to burn out.
- Don’t say yes to everything! It is your right as a business owner (and human being) to wait for the right client to come along. You don’t have to say yes to every person that shoots you an inquiry email. Taking on work from clients that don’t suit you or your business will just end up causing frustration.
- How do you talk about your business? Watch your casual conversations! When people ask what you do, do you say photography is a hobby? Or do you confidently say you’re a business owner. Consider asking a loved one to listen to you talk about your business to others. Do they hear what they would expect a CEO to say about their company?
- Is your client experience consistent? Do you have a process for each client, or is it a blind stumble for every inquiry? Business systems will help you with these questions (and they’ll also help make points 1-4 easier as well!)
Not sure where to start?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of implementing all of these suggestions and tools, consider reaching out for professional help. I am a systems specialist for photographers and have helped streamline dozens of businesses! It would be my honor to assist you in growing your photography business.
I currently offer a VIP Day for photographers where we nail down the perfect project management tool for your business and completely tailor systems to you and your needs. These systems will be exactly what you need to break the bad habits mentioned above and start treating yourself as a the real business owner you are. If you’re wanting to learn more about my VIP Day and everything that’s included in that experience, click here.