WPPI 2016 is coming to an end, and thousands of photographers from all over the world will return home with the hope of implementing everything they have learned here. This week, I had a chance to sit down with several of the WPPI 2016 speakers and asked them to share with us their top 3 business tips for photographers. Here is what they had to say.
- Know your expenses. It’s not how much you make, its how much you keep.
- Be flexible in your business. What works today may not work tomorrow. What works for one business may not work for yours.
- Do what you love and are good at and outsource the rest.
- Be the expert. Educate your clients.
- Perception is people’s reality. Take the time to present yourself and your brand well.
- Communication with your clients is key. Set the expectations upfront.
- Confidence will set you apart from the rest. It is not a substitute for putting in the time and energy to grow and master your craft. However, If you are confident in your brand and the quality of work you produce, your clients will feel that from your persona.
- Find a mentor and surround yourself with other successful photographers.
- Never stop learning.
- Don’t “cheat” on your on website and blog with social media. Don’t just post your best work on Facebook. Put your content and images on your blog and then link to it.
- Define your own success and don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. What works for one person’s business may or may not work for yours.
- Price yourself for profit. Know your numbers. How much do you make an hour?
- Invest in the identity of your brand. Make sure your brand is communicating the right message to your target audience.
- Invest the time and energy into learning your craft first, then when you launch your business, do so with confidence. First impressions go a long way.
- Surround yourself with other successful people and emulate their mindset while implementing their strategy. Don’t hope that one day you will be successful. Instead, be intentional and proactive about implementing a plan and then stick to it every day.
- Find an amazing accountant who specializes in small business and is passionate about your success as people as well as your brand.
- Learn as much as you possibly can about marketing, branding, shooting, etc. and never stop.
- Don’t get stuck on the words “I’m supposed to…”. Lots of fellow photographers will tell you that you are supposed to do “X.” While “X” may work for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Their approach may not be your approach, and that is ok.
- Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Figure out who your ideal client is and then position your brand to attract them. You can’t be everything to everyone.
- Understand the value you provide to your clients and don’t be afraid to set your prices accordingly once you have put in the work to learn your craft.
- Manage client expectations by being open and clearly communicating what you can offer them.
- Start your business legitimately and get an accountant.
- Become a master of your craft. Know how to use your gear inside and out so the technical becomes second nature.
- Figure out your own style and stick with it. Consistency is key.
As you read through all of those amazing tips, I am sure you noticed several people said the same or similar tips. Pay extra attention to those things because all of these speakers have had their own failures they have had to overcome. These tips are coming from a place of experience. They have made their mistakes, but what sets them apart is that they all learned that those failures didn’t define who they were. Instead, they got up, learned from them, and then continued to fight for success.