February 3, 2020

Tips to Becoming a Full-Time Photographer

Some days it’s hard for me to comprehend it’ll be four years in May that I stepped away from the classroom. I took a leap of faith. A leap that takes a lot of courage!

It’s been a wonderful four years of being my own boss. Making my own schedule. It hasn’t always been easy, but man, it’s always been worth it!

Needless to say, I’ve had four years to reflect on my business and this journey. Four years to think about what I would have done differently. Or advice that I would give someone wanting to take their photography business full-time.

Today, I want to share with you the advice I would give someone if they wanted to take the same leap of faith.

These tips are in no particular order. They are all equally important. These eight tips to going full-time with your photography business all need to be completed or thought out prior to quitting your day job.

8 Tips to Going Full-Time with Your Photography Business

EDUCATION

Of course, this would be the first tip I share. After all, I was a teacher!

Education is crucial to growth. And the best education comes from different sources. That’s why I would recommend investing in education from multiple different people. Attend some conferences. Read lots of books. Listen to various podcasts

Two of my favorite conferences for photographers:
Showit United and Creative at Heart
Four of my favorite books you see here
Some of my favorite podcasts you can read about here

CLIENTS

Before you embark on the journey that is full-time, you need to figure out who your target client is. What they value in life. What their needs are. What social media platforms they’re on. What pain points they have. Then read Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller.

Building a Story Brand will help you get started in effectively communicating to those clients. Connecting with them on a deeper level. The book gives you a fighting chance of being the unicorn in a field of horses.

Here’s a really great episode with Chad DiBlasio with Davey Jones from the Brands the Book talking about your ideal clients and who they are. I promise you, what Chad has to say is unlike anything you have heard from a leader in this industry!

BUSINESS

If you’ve never heard of “cost of doing business”, you have no business going full time. If you’ve never completed a cost of doing business, you better get on it. PRONTO!

Knowing your cost of doing business/cost of goods is going to set you up for success. Having these numbers on hand allows you to plan out your marketing. It’s the key to a map of success.

Once you know your numbers, you’re going to CHARGE MORE than those numbers say! Your time is valuable. Understand that. You now only have ONE source of income. This is no longer your side hustle. Don’t feel bad for charging more. You have to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.

MARKETING

At the start of a new year, take the time and map out what you want it to look like. This means many things, but for me, it means making a marketing/content map. I figure out what I plan on marketing each month and how I will do that the months prior.

Another valuable marketing tool is Ads Manager for Facebook Ads. The power of Facebook Ads is extremely impressive. You don’t have to be Amazon to create the creepy ads you see in your newsfeed. Ads with Facebook is way more than just “boosting a post.” You’re throwing money away with boosting posts. Use Facebook Pixel and Ads Manager instead.

I would absolutely argue that when used correctly, marketing with Facebook Ads is going to generate a higher ROI than advertising with The Knot and WeddingWire. You can NOT retarget with those platforms. With Facebook Ads you can. POWERFUL stuff right there, friend!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Pick two social media platforms to utilize and do it well! When utilized properly, social media can be a FORCE for your business. But always remember, your social media is rented space. There always needs to be a call to action to head to your website or to join your email list.

I highly recommend following Vanessa Kynes – a Pinterest Marketing Specialist to learn all about how to grow your business using Pinterest. ESPECIALLY being a photographer! I’m willing to bet your target client is using Pinterest as a search engine for their wedding day/session! Wouldn’t it be awesome if your photos popped up?! And wouldn’t it me incredible if clients started booking because they found you on Pinterest?

CONTENT

Blogging is NOT dead. It’s still extremely valuable, even more so for your SEO (search engine optimization) . If you’re just starting out with blogging, I would suggest posting 2-3x a week. (Need blog post inspiration? Here are 30 free ideas!) If you already have a decent amount of evergreen content on your blog, you can get away with blogging once a week and spending 3-4 days marketing that content EFFECTIVELY.

Need help with blogging? Start Here

OUTSOURCE

Your time is PRECIOUS!! You’re not quitting your full-time job to slave away at home. You’re not meant to work on tasks that don’t set your soul on fire!

This means one thing – OUTSOURCE!! Your time should be spent working on tasks that move your business forward. Tasks that ONLY YOU CAN COMPLETE!

Start with something small – like cleaning the house, lawn care. Utilize grocery pickup (I LOVE Walmart Pickup!!). Find a private editor and send out your weddings/sessions. You need to spend your time doing something with a higher ROI.

ROUTINE

This might be the hardest tip to follow. I still struggle with it daily!

You no longer have a time clock. You get to work when you want. And while that sounds amazing, it’s also a trap. It’s too easy to say “I can do that later.” WEEKLY Block Scheduling can be valuable once you figure out what you need to work on daily.

After four years, I finally found a planner that helps keep me on track. Golden Coil is a customizable planner. I can set up my planner is a way that works for me! It has been a game-changer already to my time management in 2020!

Final Thoughts

You’re going to have some really AWESOME days, and you’ll also have some really terrible ones. One day at a time. It’s not easy being your own boss, but it will always be 100% worth it.

If you’re still not quite there in going full-time with your photography business, I’d suggest reading the book Quitter by Jon Acuff. This book gave me hope before full-time was a reality. I hope it does the same for you!

Click here to read more free education on the blog

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