Hello everyone from San Francisco (you may not know that I normally write to you from Denver)!
I’m sitting in the airport this morning waiting for my layover for my flight to China. I had all these great plans that I would sit here and do my usual Wednesday video blog post, but with the intercom going off every few minutes I realized it wasn’t the best situation for that sort of thing!
But hey…next week’s video blog post will come to you straight from China!
Anyway I was going to video blog to all of you about how long it takes to build clients and a profit with your business, but I’m going to save that for another time. It’s so much easier to talk about it, even if I look like a dork, than it is to write about it.
So instead I’m going to reiterate the importance of setting goals for your business and share what mine are for the year. You can laugh and judge my business goals all you want, but I know most of you won’t.
The are two important aspects of setting business goals that I think are the most important. One is to chose goals that are actually attainable. They should pose a little challenge, but they shouldn’t be so sky high that you’ll never reach them. The other is to set goals over a broader range of time. So instead of making a weekly goal for how many sessions you shoot, make a yearly goal. That way when you have some down time with your business you don’t get into a rut feeling like you aren’t successful because you aren’t booking. It’s so much better for you and your business to look at the whole picture instead of small parts.
Another important part of setting goals is looking at them at the end of the year to see what you accomplished. Even if you did not reach your goal, if you came even close to it you are still looking at a success! Setting personal goals for your business is the only TRUE way for you to measure how successful your business actually is instead of comparing it to someone else’s. If you reach some goals and only get close to some others that’s still amazing and huge growth. It’s something to look back on and feel really proud of. Not everyone’s photography business is going to be the same and if we spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to what other photographers are doing than we’re measuring our success by something that might be unattainable.
So here are my goals for 2013! I hope that sharing where my business weaknesses are can help you feel more confident. I’m by no means perfect at everything and I have a lot of things that I really want to improve on this year! I think it’s important for newer photographers to see that no matter how far along we all are in our businesses that we’re always growing and always needing to work on things and do them better. We all have strengths and weaknesses with what we’re good at.
1. Book 25 Weddings. (I always use the word ‘book’ vs. ‘shoot’ because booking a client is a success and it shouldn’t be a failure to my business if their relationship doesn’t work out).
2. Get better at delivering client gifts. I’ve talked about how I like to surprise clients with a 16×20 canvas of their photo session from www.cgproprints.com, but I really want to try and be more consistent about doing this within a certain time frame and for every single client. I also want to expand the ‘client gifts’ idea to offer a little booking gift for my wedding clients as soon as they book. I’m hoping when I return from China I can check out some options for wedding planners to give to the bride as a welcome gift.
3. Print off business receipts once a week. My business has been growing a little faster than I can handle and top that off with Photography Awesomesauce here with you guys I’m terrible at filing sometimes. The last year I’ve been trying to file papers once per month, but even that has been becoming overwhelming to save it all up until then. My goal this year is to file weekly or biweekly so not everything is as built up as it is on a monthly basis. To accomplish this I’m going to make sure I set aside some time every week just to do this.
4. Read at least one business related book per month. This is a goal I’m so pumped about that I decided to share it with you and I started a book club for anyone and everyone that would like to join in on this goal. I had recently heard at the end of 2012 that the most successful business owners in the world read anywhere from 1-2 books related to business per month and the statistic for small business owners is less than one book a year. When I sat down and looked at that relationship I decided it was time to buckle down and read. It’s such an easy and affordable way to groom the entrepreneur in you and learn some great things about being a business owner. You can join our business book club by going >here< on Facebook and asking to join. As soon as I’m available I’ll confirm your request to join and you can jump in at any time with any of the books you like.
5. Book 2 birth photography sessions this year. Birth photography is something I fell in love with, but I find it’s difficult to book (especially for me with weddings). Births are something I generally only book in the off season so it limits my availability, but it’s something I want to practice more and learn more about.
6. Book 10 newborn sessions. Okay, I’m definitely not the best newborn photographer in the world, but shooting newborns is something I’ve been building on. I photographed 5 last year and I don’t think 10 is unreasonable. I’m getting some great training tips from my awesome friend, Summer, at >Summer Michelle Photography< hopefully I’ll be able to take the tips I learn from her and become a better newborn photographer (because I’m definitely not very good at it yet), and be able to offer to photograph a few more newborns than usual.
7. Book 5 family photo sessions. I have to be honest, these are sometimes my least favorite things to photograph. Even though I specialize in weddings I still want to practice family photography so I can provide you guys with tips and tricks that can help you become better.
8. Book 5 boudoir sessions. I love doing Boudoir. Some years I do a bunch and some years I do very little, so this is a very medium goal for me and I don’t know where it will go, but I know I’ll be happy however it turns out.
9. Track Client Workflow. So those great workflow sheets in the >Business Organizing Bundle< that a lot of you guys have purchased? They’re amazing and I love the idea of using them, but in practice I’m not very good at it. I’ve already set up a section in my business binder this year that should help me accomplish utilizing this tool much better so I can remember where I’m at with all my current clients.
10. Blog at least 4 days a week on my >Carrie Swails Photography Blog< Last year I had this same goal and I failed at it when I started spending all my time blogging here for all of you! This year I’m determined to keep up on my blogging skills and I’ve already done really well. Regular blogging will increase my search engine optimization so when a client is searching Google to find a photographer it’s more likely that my name will show up higher in their search results. The higher I am in their search results the more likely they are to click on my website and book with me. If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) I developed a little guide for those interested in utilizing this tool. >SEO Guide< I definitely need to spend some time blogging so I can improve my SEO.
I really hope to hear and see what your goals are for your business this year and I hope we can all continue to grow with each other on our business goals!!
A couple reminders…
I added 5 more spots to the >Get Legit Workshop< this month. They’re going to fill up fast so if you’re interested grab a spot. February’s workshop will fill quickly too.
There won’t be any live online classes while I’m gone. These are usually held on Wednesday evenings. The next one will be January 23rd and it’s a class all about learning to price packages, prints, products and more. >Register<