So you've started a photography business? Good for you!
Getting things off the ground is probably the easy part.
Now comes the more difficult task of building a successful business and growing it into something that's sustainable for years to come.
There are a lot of moving parts in this phase of growing your business, as you've no doubt discovered already.
The question is, where should you focus your attention such that you help your business grow at a steady rate?
There are plenty of answers to this question, but I've narrowed it down to a few primary possibilities. Let's explore each in detail.
What You Like Might Not Be What Your Target Market Likes
Perhaps your personal photography aesthetic is black and white minimalist portraits.
But just because that's what you like doesn't mean that's what your target market likes.
The key to growing your business is setting your personal tastes aside (to an extent, anyway) and creating products and offering services that will get butts in the seats, so to speak.
I know it sounds a little bit like selling out, but when it comes to the success of your business, you need to be flexible in terms of what you offer and to whom.
For example, let's say you have an affinity for landscape photography and that you sell a few large prints a month.
A few large prints a month isn't going to cut it, though.
So, you might expand your offerings into nature and wildlife photography to get more business.
The same goes for portraiture.
Perhaps you particularly enjoy family photography. But if family photography doesn't pay the bills, engagement sessions, weddings, and other portrait-related endeavors will need to be added to your services list.
Get some more insights into identifying your target market in the video above by Network Marketing Success.
As important as it is to offer products and services that meet the needs of your target audience, you also need to be focused on what you offer to your clients.
This is a fine line because you want a large enough base to draw as many customers as possible, but at the same time, you can't be all things to all people.
In fact, the more products and services you offer, the greater the likelihood that those products and services won't be as good - there's just too much to occupy your attention to make each and every product or service its absolute best.
So, develop a good range of things you can offer your clients but without going overboard. That line will be slightly different for each photographer, but, by and large, it's usually better to do a smaller number of things really, really well than a huge number of things only so-so!
Help Others...It Will Help You
A bit of a misconception about being self-employed is that you're on your own, depending on no one but yourself for your success.
Though that's true to a degree, you can significantly grow your business by being the type of photographer that is willing to help others along the way.
For example, if you're a portrait photographer, offer your services to local charities, schools, and businesses as a way to make inroads with community members.
Not only does this help you get involved in the community, but it also helps you network with other business owners and potential clients.
For example, if you're a portrait photographer, you might volunteer to take photos of people and their pets at a fundraiser for the local animal shelter.
If you're a wedding photographer, offer to take photos at the opening of a new flower shop or bakery.
The point is that by helping others - especially those working in areas that are related to photography - you can help yourself too. Referrals and word of mouth are powerful tools, and having an army of people in the community singing your praises will certainly improve your bottom line.
Nevermind Your Competitors
Sure, to grow your business you need to be aware of who your competitors are and what they are doing.
But becoming hyper-focused on what they're doing, what their services are, and how much the charge won't really do you any favors.
After all, you can't control what they do, so spending your nights worrying about it isn't going to get you anywhere.
Instead, focus on developing short- and long-term goals that will help you grow your business. Worry about your marketing strategy. Spend time developing pricing packages that are attractive to customers and allow you to cover your bottom line (and then some).
The point is that if you focus on you, what you do well, and how to communicate that to your clients in the most effective manner, what your competitors are doing won't matter because you'll have the client base you need to grow your business over the long-term.
Operating your own business means you need to have the legalities worked out such that you're a legitimate business.
That means developing a business plan, hiring an attorney to work out the details of the business, having an accountant to manage your finances, and getting the proper insurance coverage.
The confusing thing about insurance, in particular, is understanding what kind of policies and coverages you need as a self-employed photographer.
Any old insurance agency might not have the expertise to help you in this regard, but National Photographer's Insurance certainly does.
As their name indicates, National Photographer's Insurance exists specifically to meet the needs of professional photographers.
Not only does this mean that they have the knowledge and understanding of photography to help you hand-pick the coverage you need, but it also means that they understand the intricacies of running a small business. After all, they're a small business too!
With licensure in all 50 states, National Photographer's Insurance can work with you to get the policy you need, regardless of where you work.
And their coverage runs the gamut from business personal property protection to cover theft or damage to your property to equipment off-premises coverage that protects your photography gear when you're out and about at photo shoots. Of course, professional liability and general liability policies are available too in case something goes wrong along the way.
If you're operating a photography business without insurance, you're just asking for trouble. If you want to build something that's long-lasting and successful, get the right insurance coverage for your needs today. Combined with the other tips above, you'll be in good shape to create something that's successful for years to come.