At every stage of your photography business you’ve probably had some sort of profit goal – I know I certainly have!
When I first started out, it was as simple as making enough to cover my monthly expenses. As my business grew, I was determined to improve my profits year after year. These two types of profit goals are great starting points – but they’re pretty basic! And, more importantly, they won’t set you up for the type of growth you REALLY want in your business.
Ready to hit your own profit goals and grow a booming business? Here are four simple steps I’ve learned in my 20+ years as a photographer:
- First of all: CREATE PROFIT GOALS! You might be thinking, “umm, DUH! That seems like a no-brainer!” But you would be surprised by the number of people who never set clear profit goals for their business. There’s a lot of scary thoughts that come with this process; like, what if you set a goal and don’t meet it, or what if declaring a goal is just setting you up for failure? But here’s how I see it: setting goals gives you a target, a place to focus your work and your energy. And when you focus your attention, you’ll get a LOT of clarity when it comes to whether or not your strategies are working. Without goals, it’s hard to measure success and adjust, which is a surefire way to crash and burn. So, ask yourself (honestly!) how much you want to make in a year as a photographer and write that answer down.
- CALCULATE YOUR SERVICE GOALS IN RELATION TO PROFIT. Now that you’ve busted through some of the fear you might have around creating profit goals, it’s time to look at all the ways you can make the goal actionable. I recommend making a list of all your services and offerings and calculating how many of each you’d have to do each month (or week) to reach your yearly profit goal. Now, this is where you’ll get into the nitty-gritty of your business. Will you have to shoot WAY more sessions than you thought to hit your goals? Are you leaving any space for the back-end work or rest? Remember, there’s TONS of different ways to run your business, but if you’re like me, artwork sales are the number-one way to work less while still meeting your profit goals. Revisit your session pricing or expand your product offerings to achieve a little more balance in your year (and if you want to read my top tips for selling artwork and SKYROCKET your sales, click HERE!)
- MAKE A PRODUCTION PLAN. Once you have your services mapped out, it’s time to make a plan for how you’ll reach your profit goals. Let’s say you have to schedule 2 shoots per week to reach your goal: where are you going to find your clients? What will you do to get them back for future sessions? Can you leverage your current network to get bookings, or will you need to reach a whole new audience? Remember, it’s your job to get your business in front of clients, so SHARE about what you’re doing and about your passion for your work! Make an action plan for booking clients each week and get them excited about your business in any way you can.
- The last step for meeting your profit goals as a photographer is to TRACK YOUR PROGRESS. Keep track of your income and your expenses so you can reevaluate your strategy for reaching your profit goals throughout the year; I sit down at the end of each month to check-in on the health of my business. Look over your production plan and take note of which methods worked the best for getting clients through the door. Think about what part of your business you enjoyed doing the most and make a plan for doing more of that! Finally, dive into what opportunities there are for improvement, like offering different packages or tightening up a disorganized workflow.
Remember: you need profit goals in order to get clear on what you really want for your business! Take the time to sit down and map this out: where do you want to be this time next year? In 5 years? 10?