Ok, so how many of you out there have said, “If I knew then what I know now I would be so much better off!” True story, right?! But, what fun would that be? If our lives just always went so perfectly, no mistakes are made, and “it” always worked out. Ok, maybe some of you are thinking that would be amazing. However, with some struggle and bumps in the road we become stronger and build resilience, because life isn’t really perfect!
Today I felt that it would be important to share with you the three things I wish I had known before starting my business. Consider them business tips. Take note because I am speaking from MY experience. I’ve made these mistakes and have regrets. These three things are also ways to save your business money and make your business money. So let’s get started.
Focus on your photography – master your craft.
I can’t be the only one who had the “phase of a hundred actions?!” (Am I?) I was definitely that person who though photoshop could fix their images. Boy, was I wrong! Years later, and far away from the action phase, I encourage you to perfect the SOOC (straight out of camera) image. Do it. You’ll be so glad you did. Use photoshop, lightroom, and other programs to fine tune the image, but NOT to correct it.
I can not urge you enough to practice, take workshops or classes focused on technicality, and build consistency in your portfolio. Consistency in your portfolio builds trust in your brand. It sets expectations. Think about it. Would you buy Starbucks if your drink tasted different every time you went back? I bet not. Especially when there are other coffee options out there. Same with photography. There are plenty of photographers to “shop” from. (HINT: GPS will have a segment on technicality)
Understand your financials and legal responsibilities.
Let me ask you the following:
Do you want this to be a money making business?
Do you want to provide for you or your family?
Do you want to stay out of jail and not owe a ton of money to the government or state?
Well if you answered yes to all or most of the above questions than I think it’s safe to say you need to understand your financials and legal responsibilities. Remember, this is a business. There are rules for even the smallest of businesses. If you are saying to yourself, “Oh well I am not even showing a profit right now, I barely have an income.” I am here to tell you that NOW more than ever is a good time to get educated. You need to not just know what you are responsible for in the moment, but in the future too.
So many of us get into a photography business without a business degree or background. Listen, numbers are NOT my thing. Financials intimidate me. I run from the words taxes, government, and words I can not understand. Let me be the one encourage you that it’s ok, I relate to you, and I can help!! The good news is that I have never been in any trouble. But for me it has been one of those things I wish I had know from the beginning. I would have definitely set my business up differently.
PS: The government and the state will find you and they will get their money. I touch on this in tomorrow’s post!
Take time when it comes to your branding.
Listen, I know. We have got to have a logo! We must. It’s our identity, right?? I have been down that road you guys, and I must tell you, it’s not our identity. I have spent a lot of time and money around this whole logo and branding business and it only taught me that I wasted my time and money. You need to remember that your identity is built on two things: YOU and Your Work! That’s my opinion and I believe it to be true. (However, let me quickly mention that I have recently found amazing people to work with who have taken care of me in the branding and logo business.)
As a small business owner your brand is you. It has been taught to me by several other photographers in the industry and it has also been proven in my own business. You are the face of your business and the personality behind. People (your clients) are hiring you because you are you. (I wonder how many “you’s” I can get in one sentence.) They like you. They love you! There are millions of photographers out there. Several directly around you. And these other photographers are wickedly talented. Some of my best photography friends are within a short distance from me and they are so talented. My clients hire me because of me. (Hey, thank you to my clients. I love you guys!)
After you are done setting yourself apart from other photographers with your awesome personality. Then you need to consider your work. I would like to refer you back to the part earlier when I mentioned perfecting your craft and building consistency in your portfolio. Make sure your images are fine tuned and consistent from one shoot to another. You should have a style that is obvious from image to image. (Some of my favorite photographers that have consistency in their work are Katelyn James and Julia Laible).
Another great little tidbit for you is to only share what you want to attract! If your not into photographing pets, then don’t post a photo session that involved pets. It’s a simple as that. There is nothing wrong with this at all. (I put that disclaimer in there because I once felt guilty about not posting images from a shoot). No guilt for you, right? If you really want to attract families who coordinate their outfits really well, then only post those images. Post and repost the same images too. It’s ok. Remember, you are trying to build your audience.
If you are looking for branding tune in tomorrow, because I will touch on this in the blog post.
I am excited to tell you that these three topics and so many more will be discussed at the GPS workshop being taught by Brittany Lauren and I. We have so much in store for our attendees! I can’t wait to launch registration next week and help other photographers get their businesses on the right track!!
I’d love to know if you have had any experience with the “I wish I had know” feeling? Share in the comments and let’s help each other (save each other) from making the mistakes we have made!!
If you ARE looking for more tips, advice, and business guidance you will be excited to know that I have just what you need! My best bud Brittany Lauren and I have dreamed up the most amazing opportunity for other photographers to learn our secrets to our success. If you have been following us on social media (MelissaLynnHunt and BrittanyLaurenCreates) then you know we’ve had something in the works. TOMORROW we will finally reveal all the details!! Follow the blog daily to learn more and be ready for when the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT goes live!