- A business plan that is tried and tested and easy to follow
- A proven strategy for making a profit
- A 2-week training course to get you intimately familiar with running your business
- Opportunities to collaborate with other franchisees
- Business software to manage everything from accounting to marketing to building a website
- Support for marketing your business and building portrait sets
I imagine that just about anyone that has a good eye for photography and has had some success in creating gorgeous images has thought at least once or twice about starting a photography business.
After all, if it's something you're good and something you enjoy, photography can prove to be a lucrative business for you.
Of course, not everyone that starts a photography business is successful.
In fact, the vast majority of folks that try to get into the photography business fail for one reason or another.
That means that you need to get started on the right foot, right from the get-go.
Here's a few options for starting a photography business. Some are quick and easy - with questionable success rates - and others offer more security and an improved shot at making it in this highly competitive field.
The "Just Go For It" Approach
Perhaps the quickest way to start a business is to simply go for broke, start the darn thing, and hope for the best.
Though this sounds like a questionable strategy - and, believe me, it is - that isn't to say that some people get lucky.
The same strategy might work well for you. If you have the photography know-how, the business savvy, a place to work, and a team of people like lawyers, accountants, and so forth to help you along the way, you might be able to make the "just go for it" approach work out in your favor
The key word here is might...
You assume a TON of risk when you try to start a business without much planning and forethought. But, hey, some of the world's top companies were started by college dropouts in their garage (Apple, anyone?), so you never know when you might get lucky!
Pro: Get your business started quickly
Con: Building a business isn't a fly-by-night thing. Diving into it too quickly could spell disaster.
Buy Someone Else's Company
Let me use a non-photography example to illustrate this point...
Years ago, I had a friend that was a salesman at a local electronics store. One day, he came into work to discover that the owner of the store wanted out - and fast.
The owner offered my friend a deal to assume ownership of the business, but with the caveat that my friend decide by the day's end if it was something he wanted to do.
Long story short, my friend jumped at the chance, took over the business, and today he's got several dozen such businesses across the state.
That's not a bad result, right?
Now, my friend had the luxury of at least taking over an established business - he didn't have to build it from scratch. He had to build all the subsequent businesses from the ground up, but he certainly got a head start on things by buying out his former boss.
The upside here is obviously having something ready-made for your success (assuming the business is in good shape), including the previous owner's customer base.
The problem, though, is that if you buy someone else's photography business, you'll be assuming their name, their image, and so forth. And just because you take over doesn't mean that the previous owner's loyal clients will stick with you.
Differentiating yourself from the previous owner could prove to be a difficult process, too, especially if the previous owner built a reputation that wasn't as good as it could be.
In other words, buying an existing photography business can get you started sooner rather than later, but there's still plenty of work to do to make it your own and make it a successful endeavor.
Pro: You have a ready-made business for the taking.
Con: The business you take over isn't yours, and it could prove difficult to make it your own.
Buy a Photography Franchise
When you think about it, each of the two methods of building a photography business noted above have their benefits.
In the case of just going for it, you can start your business sooner rather than later, and hopefully, that translates into making money sooner rather than later as well.
In the case of buying out an existing photography business, you get something that's already established - including a list of current clients - but that doesn't guarantee your success in the long-term, especially if you can't get out from the shadow of the previous owner.
A great way to capitalize on the benefits of just diving in and buying an existing photography business is to go a third route - buying a photography franchise.
On the one hand, buying a photography franchise is a brilliant move because you get fast-tracked to establishing your company, much like "just going for it." However, when you buy a franchise, you don't just dive in and hope for the best...
Instead, you're buying into a proven formula for success. There's no guesswork. There's no wondering what you should do or how you should do it - it's all mapped out for you in plain black and white - not unlike if you were to buy an existing photography business.
But again, with a franchise, you don't have to worry about building a reputation for yourself or being shrouded in the shadow of the former owner. You get to capitalize on a strong, existing brand to build your business into something profitable and long-lasting.
Of course, not all photography franchises are built alike, so there's the need to do some vetting.
Though there are plenty of franchise options, a popular choice is Spoiled Rotten Photography.
Why is it popular?
Spoiled Rotten Photography was started by Melissa Tash in Huntsville, Alabama.
As a professional photographer, mother of two, a U.S. Army veteran, a Nike Industrial Engineer, and a Payload Crew Trainer for NASA's International Space Station Program, Tash certainly wasn't lacking in skills and experience when she started the company.
But her hard work is your gain!
Spoiled Rotten Photography franchises use the same systems, proprietary software, marketing materials, and guidebooks that help you build your photography franchise into something special. Learn about just one aspect of becoming a franchisee in the video below:
That means you can hit the ground running, but with the guidance and assistance of the franchise right there with you along the way. In fact, when you opt in to a franchise, you get:
What's more, you benefit from the established name and reputation of Spoiled Rotten Photography, which has built a huge following of clientele for high-end children's portraiture.
In other words, just jumping in is scary. Buying an existing photography business can backfire. If you want the best shot at building a long-lasting, profitable business, buying a franchise is hands down the way to go.