In this episode of Oh Shoot Podcast!, Cassidy Lynne (@cassidylynne) gives you 5 ways to grow your photography business in 2023.
I wanted to give you guys some things you can do ASAP to grow in 2023. I’m all about goal setting and achieving those goals by taking steps to actually achieve those goals. So I want this episode to challenge you to set some goals for 2023.
Before diving in, let’s talk about goal setting. I love goal setting! With goal setting a lot of people struggle with setting a big goal, like booking 20 international weddings, but literally not knowing what the next step is to make that happen. It’s the steps in between that people struggle with.
Here’s how I like to set my goals and achieve them:
Typically at the beginning of a year or every six months, I’ll sit down and write three different types of goals.
-Big Picture Goals: These are big things I want to do in the long run like 5-10 years.
-Midterm Goals: These are goals within the next one to two years.
-Short-Term Goals: These are goals for within the next 6 months.
Those time frames can look different for everyone. When looking at the different ways to grow in 2023, I want you to apply these five things and create goals in each of these different categories. Create goals that apply to YOU and how you want to grow. Once you set the goals it’s so important to break that goal down into actual steps.
Break Goals Into Steps
We get intimidated by big goals because it’s like looking up a gigantic staircase. You see the goal all the way at the top, but if you just focus on the top you miss all the steps in between. You really need to be able to see each individual step and know that those steps are what it takes to get all the way to the top of the stairs. You can’t just jump all the way up. You literally have to take the steps in order to get to the top of the stairs.
For example, if your goal is to book 20 international weddings within the next few years, what are the things you need to do in order to book international weddings?
-You need an international portfolio. You need to travel to places and book shoots.
-You need to rebrand yourself as a traveling, international photographer.
-You need to start posting on social media about traveling.
Those are some of the steps you can tackle on a weekly and monthly basis to help you achieve that goal in the long run.
In order to grow in 2023 it’s really important to have a goal-setting mindset and know that some things don’t happen overnight. Now let’s dive into five different ways to grow your photography business in 2023!
#1 Video Creation
The first way to grow your business in 2023 is video creation. Video creation is not going anywhere. There are so many social media platforms that value video over static photo such as:
- Pinterest with video idea pins
- YouTube shorts
- Instagram Reels
- Using video on your website like behind-the-scenes clips of you photographing a session.
Once you have a bunch of videos stockpiled, you have endless opportunities to create tons of video content. It’s really where all of business social media marketing is shifting towards right now, so get ahead of it and start creating videos.
#2 Grow a Team
The second way to grow your photography business in 2023 is by growing a team. There are times in photography where you’re fully booked. You’re making the salary you want to make and it’s like you’ve plateaued. This is all that you can do this year and your schedule is completely full. Growing a team is a really great next step for photographers, even if it’s just starting with one associate photographer.
There are tons of industries that do this really well. For example, a wedding DJ business might have 8+ DJs on their team. If you book one wedding every single weekend for every DJ, imagine how many weddings you’d have in a year.
Building an Associate Team
Building an associate team is a really great opportunity for scaling your photography business. For photographers maybe it’s starting with one associate or two, or an assistant or intern. You can create a whole team. Maybe you don’t have to shoot as much if you get into this team mentality. You could start with one associate that takes like 10-15 weddings a year. You’re able to book more and the associate is getting an opportunity they might not otherwise.
With associates be really picky about who you’re choosing to bring onto your team. It could be someone who has second shot for you a couple of times before talking to them about being an associate. Associate wedding clients also might be more work than your normal clients, so be sure you’re up to take on that extra client load.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Maybe it’s not building an associate team, but it’s growing by hiring a virtual assistant. You can have someone do emails for you, schedule Pinterest pins, or post on social media for you. The more you grow your team, the more you’re able to do other things that help grow your business in the long run.
There’s a difference between working on your business and working in your business. When you’re working in your business, you’re answering emails, editing, and doing all the tasks that need to be done. However, you’re not working on anything that’s contributing to long-term growth like creating a course, branding, or getting a new website. When you expand your team, you’re able to open yourself up to the opportunity to work more on growth rather than the everyday tasks just to stay afloat.
#3 Improve Your Client Experience
Improving your client experience can help you grow in ways you never imagined. It’s one of those things that photographers and business owners don’t value as much, but the clients value it SO MUCH. It can be a gap that a lot of people are missing.
Ask yourself, “How can I better serve my client so they have the best experience possible and want to refer me to everyone.” For photographers this could look like:
- When someone submits a contact form, they get an automatic response email or website page. It tells them the expected response time, link to book a call, links to a blog post, links to connnect on Instagram. It gives someone instant, actionable steps and shows you have a system in place.
- Asking clients what type of music they enjoy listening to and play that type of music during their session. Buy a portable clip-on speaker from Amazon to take to sessions with you. You set it up once and then it’s part of your experience.
Those are just two small examples! Think of how you can go above and beyond for your clients.
#4 Add a stream of passive income
I want to see you create a stream of passive income in your business. As a photographer, the only way you’re making money is by booking clients. You have to actively work and go photograph weddings or sessions. Then you do the editing and delivering and so on.
What are some ways you could make money and grow your business by setting it up once and not having to do anything after?
For photographers who don’t want to branch into education or influencing, there are two big areas for passive income.
1 . Print Sales
This is a no-brainer especially around the holidays. People want to buy prints of their photos. Printing your photos is not dead. You can easily set up a print shop on any gallery delivery platform like PicTime, Pixieset, or ShootProof.
2. Affiliate Links
You can also use affiliate links and this is a huge way to make income passively. For example, if you use Honeybook, you can have a referral code you send to other photographers. When they sign up using your link or code, you make money from something you already use. You can also set up an Amazon storefront. If you’re someone that posts links to things anyways, you might as well create a storefront that you can point people to and receive a little bit of commission if they purchase something through your links. It’s an easy way to grow your business if you like sharing products and what you like to use anyways.
3. Think outside the box.
Think outside the box with this one, and all the other ideas on how to grow. How can you be different? What are unique things in my business that set me apart from other businesses?
If you want to dive more into passive income, check out this Oh Shoot! episode with Aubrey Westlund all about ways to make passive income in your photography business!
#5 Offer Something New
The last thing to grow your photography business in 2023 is to offer something new. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried something new just for fun and it has become such a bigger part of my life then I’ve realized. If you don’t try something new you’re not gonna know if it could lead to growth. You could try something new and it could absolutely suck, but at least you tried.
A few examples of new things to offer:
- A new type of session or a type of photography you want to venture into.
- Try film photography or buy a film camera.
- Getting a different lens or switching to a different camera brand.
Try something new for 2023 and make it a goal to try something new every 3 months. So for example in January through March, you’re trying film photography. Then April through June you offer branding photos. Then in quarter 3, you offer mentor calls and mini sessions in quarter 4.
If you aren’t continuously trying different things you’ll never know whats going to succeed or fail. Sometimes you have to try something and fail in order to know it’s not a good fit for you.
There are things that I’m passionate about besides photography and that’s what I learned this year and hope to continue to learn next year. Don’t put yourself in a box. You don’t have to limit yourself to 20 weddings a year and 20 sessions a year. While that might meet your income goals, you could be missing out on opportunities to grow. Maybe leave a few wedding or session dates open so you can book an international wedding or are able to attend a friend’s wedding.
If there’s anything you take away from this episode it’s to set new goals and try new things. 2023 is going to be a great year and you’re going to slay it! I’m excited!
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