Let’s talk 2017. It’s the third day of January and everyone is all, “OMG let’s be thinner” or “I vow to drink more water.” My social media news feeds are full of weight loss goals, detoxing and people are complaining about crowded gyms. Let’s get real, though. My resolution is to eat as much guacamole as I can because you never know where life will take you.
“If avocados go extinct, I want to know that guacamole and I lived as loud as we possibly could.” #photographyawesomesauce @bizawesomesauce
Here’s why you need to stop what you’re doing right now and start thinking about changing your business. The truth is, photographers (like all creatives) don’t have a background in business stuff. Sure, there’s the odd photographer here or there with a business-related degree or other experience. But most of us are just flailing around trying to fake it until we make it and figuring shit out along the way. I’m pretty sure as a collective group, most of us are in this because we like the photography part and the business stuff we should just chuck in the nearest dumpster and light a fire in it. It’s easy to give up when that stuff is so foreign and, truth be told, as boring as watching water boil.
My biggest challenge for you this year is to challenge yourself. If you want your wedding photography business to be bigger, shine brighter and pay the bills you have to hustle. You can’t just sit around doing the same thing you always do. I’ve met a lot of photographers who see things in their business that aren’t working, but they put them all inside their safety net, tuck that away in their pocket and let it weigh them down by carrying it day in and day out. Owning a business is a constant risk, friends. I get it. I really do. It might not seem like it in the words of this blog post, but I’m a ridiculously cautious person. So careful my mom frequently mentions how surprised she is that I’m even stepping out and owning not just one business, but four. I can’t say for sure, but if I had grown up, put a gigantic bubble around my house and never came out it probably wouldn’t have surprised her at all. I guess I’m just one of those people that thrives on the hustle at the end of the day. I can put my concerns aside because the challenge of hustling every day ultimately brings out the best in me. Right now, if you’re in your safety bubble all you have to do is pop it, and you’re out and exposed. Once you’re exposed, that’s where you can start challenging yourself to be the best business owner you can be.
Make it your motto to try new things this year. Try new marketing. Think about your business from a different perspective. Throw out the crap that’s not working and problem solve to replace it with a system that does work. One thing creatives are good at is problem-solving. Today I’m giving you 20 solutions for various business problems in our industry. If you’re brave enough to try something new this year, one of these things might just be the awesomesauce that turns your business around.
Let’s do this.
Disclaimer: I’ve thrown in some affiliate links in here. That means if you click something to purchase or sign up I may get a kickback. Since this blog is full of free awesome advice, it’s always super appreciated to get these little kickbacks if this helped you in any way.
- Automate your client emails. It is impossible to keep up consistently with all your wedding clients sometimes. Before doing automated emails, I’m pretty sure not all my clients received the same customer service experience. Now my automated email system is filled with reminders, tips, and helpful info for all my clients as they go through the planning process. I use Pixifi to automate my emails. I highly recommend Pixifi. Their customer service is just so good. I also teach a class on automation (for my other business Rock Your Weird) that includes my email templates and a lot of other fun, excellent automation stuff.
- Create an annual marketing plan. Marketing works best well thought out and planned in advance. Sometimes we run late when it comes to planning a marketing opportunity, and we lose out on revenue by not being organized. Make a 2017 marketing plan with all the holidays, sales, and significant events you’re at to help point potential clients in your direction.
- Write goals for your business and give each goal 3 action steps you can do to make sure each of those things happens. Writing down clear goals is great, but you will get nowhere achieving them if you don’t have ideas for how to reach these goals also written down.
- Update your website portfolio. It’s easy to create a website and then forget about it. You should be updating it frequently with your new portfolio images. Updating your site regularly helps keep it on Google’s search engine radar too!
- Rebrand! Don’t just create a new logo, though. Spend time building a brand people connect with on an emotional level, a brand with lots of personality! Rock Your Weird has blog posts on doing just that.
- Remember you don’t need to do business the way everyone else does. There are hundreds of ways to accomplish the same results when you’re a business owner. It’s up to you to create a business model that works for you.
- Be willing to break the rules. You’ve probably heard rules about adjusting your aperture based on how many people are in a photo. Or maybe you know rules about how many images you’re allowed to have on your website portfolio. Maybe there’s a rule about editing photos you follow. Break the rules and do what inspires you instead.
- Re-evaluate business expenses from last year and adjust your pricing to reflect your current finances accurately.
- Add your location to your website. It’s easy to forget to put where you’re at on your site. If you forgot, now is the time to take 5 minutes and add it so you can automatically increase your chances of booking.
- Start using Pinterest for marketing. Pinterest is where clients are at finding inspiration for their weddings. It’s the ideal place to find new wedding clients. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out. My friend, Fuse, has a business called Get Found with Fuse where she teaches SEO (search engine optimization) for creatives. She offers an excellent Pinterest SEO class to help you get found on Pinterest!
- Blog about tips that help your potential clients. Knowing what to blog about is hard, but the more resourceful you are for customers, the better your chances are of booking clients this way. Don’t know where to get started? You can download my 101 blog post ideas for wedding photographers for free! That’s enough blog post ideas to last you a couple of years if you post once a week!
- Automate your social media to create a consistent presence. Nothing is more freeing than knowing you’ve got your social media posting for you while you sit back and drink more wine and watch more Netflix. Plus all that free time means you can spend it accomplishing other marketing ideas.
- Reuse sneak peek images on social media. I spent years posting each photo I took of a client as a sneak peek and then never touching them again. I felt dumb when I realized I could keep posting them each year and gain new customers.
- Set business hours and keep them. Just do it this year. I need to do better at this.
- Create an editing workflow that helps you edit faster and get things done.
- If you’re one of those people who has a hard time being themselves in business, it’s time to take that wall down and practice being a little more vulnerable with your clients. Customers love honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability. However, it’s natural to act super formal in your business and forget to be yourself. The one truly unique thing you have going for you compared to other wedding photographers is your personality.
- Read Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman. Best business marketing book ever. If you want to know how to make your clients turn into walking talking billboards for you, this book will teach you just that.
- Find one editing style you like and stick with it. Consistency creates trust. Trust is everything in marketing.
If just one of these 20 things stands out to you, do it. Remember to challenge yourself in business.
How about more awesomesauce?
Subscribe to get awesome free stuff and emails full of useful business information that you’ll probably ignore. Watch me fail miserably at Twitter. Repin stuff I pin on Pinterest because I said so. Love me on Facebook even though numbers don’t matter, and Facebook is dying. Join the Facebook group to see my shenanigans up close and personal.