In less than a year, Kate Treick added $36,000 to her photography income.
And she did it without taking on a part-time job or sacrificing time with her family.
Kate Treick Photography, her boutique portrait photography business, was growing…but more slowly than she wanted it to.
So she found a way to generate regular income by using her camera and her skills – differently than in her boutique portrait business.
It’s not right for everyone, but it’s pretty cool how she did it.
There are probably a few questions on your mind right now:
1. How did Kate do it?
2. How did she do it again?
3. How does she keep doing it???
Here’s her story.
Kate: Building a boutique children’s portrait business without incurring any debt or digging into our family’s income was tough for me. I needed a source of consistent photography-related income that would allow me to build my portrait business slowly with the right clients.
Kate’s solution: Launching a side-business creating beautiful mobile apps and websites….just using her camera.
Kate doesn’t have any fancy web design skills. She just put her photography skills to work in a different way and has seen her income increase steadily.
Kate: I was already using StickyAlbums for their custom photo apps in my business. Last year they released StickyApps. I used their system to launch a side business that quickly became a source of consistent income.
What pushed you to launch a side business?
Kate: I was are already a photographer, telling stories through images. Now I take those skills and help a small business owner tell her story through images on a clean, mobile-friendly website. The model seemed simple enough. And I needed something.
Creating the website is the easiest part of what I’m doing.
Approaching the first client
How did you approach your first client? That seems a bit…scary!
Kate: I approached people I already knew! For me, it was a dance studio. I was editing thousands of images for them, so they were on my mind. They had a website, but it wasn’t mobile-responsive and needed help.
I start off by listening. It’s really important to understand my potential client’s needs. If it sounds like they need a website, or if I know they do because I have done my research ahead of time, I will simply tell them that I create beautiful, mobile-friendly websites for small businesses. I emphasize that we can tell their particular story that sets them apart from the competition.
The dance studio owner was meeting with her web guy, so I asked if we could meet first. I created a demo website, including a promo video created with her images. I showed her the app – and she loved it. That was my first sale!
Making the first sale
What was involved with that first job?
Kate: I already had the photography, so that was a great start. They also needed a lot of different things on their site, so it forced me to figure things out.
They needed schedules, sign-up forms, handbooks, etc, so we created PDF’s of all of that information and used Dropbox to host them. It kept the site clean, but also provided all of the information. I also ended up doing headshots of all of their staff over the summer.
The best way to see exactly what photographers are creating using the StickyApps builder.Click here to send a few samples to your own phone or mobile device.
Repeating the process
And then you did it again? Kate: Yes! I scheduled four appointments with people I knew who owned their own businesses and needed website help. In each case, I laid out what I could do for them and usually put together a really basic demo of what their site could look like. Each one signed up, usually on the spot. The websites really sold themselves. How many hours a month did you spend at first?
How has that changed?
Which is more important: Networking or reaching out to businesses you don’t know? Kate: At the beginning, networking got my business off the ground. I reached out to everyone I could think of and my first five apps were sold to acquaintances. I also pursued business owners I didn’t know. I stopped into a brand new small storefront, met the owner and made an appointment to create a website for her. She invited a friend to the meeting and I created websites for both of them!
Building Recurring, Regular Income
On average, how many new clients do you get a month? Kate: I average about three per month, but I also balance it out with how much other work I have in a given month. What’s a realistic expectation for somebody in your shoes? Kate: This platform sells itself when you meet with the right clients. I sold my first eight websites within a month or two. My business has been growing steadily since then. I think that most photographers should be able to sell 10 websites within a few months. And each new client adds steady, predictable monthly income to your business. And that adds up. If you only add 1 client per month, paying a monthly average of $200, that adds up to $15,600 in the first year.
Pricing it right
How did you determine the pricing? Kate: Clients pay monthly. I take what I would charge for the site — usually $2,400 – $4,800, depending on the services they need. Then I pro-rate that over 12 months. ($200 – $400 per month). At the end of 12 months, they can move to a “maintenance fee” where they coast along with what I have already done and just pay for me to do little updates. Or they keep going at their locked-in monthly rate and we do a fresh set of photography to keep things current. My pricing has steadily increased as I see the value in what I am offering and as I add new services. And because the StickyApps platform is pretty straightforward, I can keep it updated without it taking away from my portrait business.
Serving Your Clients
Is it hard to maintain a StickyApp site? Kate: Once you make the sale, it’s not hard. It’s getting clients, getting out there, networking, meeting with people; that is the hardest part of this business. But it is GOOD for you! The platform is very easy to use, so edits are not very time consuming.
What about your boutique portrait photography business?
What is the impact? Is this a help or hindrance? Kate: I don’t feel pressured to do mini-sessions or drop my pricing just to get some income. I enjoy meeting with small business owners and it gets me out there in the community. I’ve only been in business for two years, so it has been perfect. But if I had been in business for ten years and even if I had a staff, I still think this has tremendous potential.
What’s right for you?
Kate Treick built over 15 mobile-friendly web apps and will earn over $36,000 this year from her StickyApps business. She will continue adding new clients as she grows her portrait photography business. There are millions of small businesses out there. You are one. Your friends and neighbors probably own a small business of their own. Your community is full of them. Using the skills and the relationships you already have, you can begin the process that took Kate from $0 to $36,000 in less than a year.
Want to learn more?
Join us for a free live online workshop with StickyApps founder Nate Grahek. He is going to walk you through practical tactics you can use to make your photography business stronger with small business partnerships.