Episode 100: 7 Things I Would Do If I Started My Photography Business Over | Joy of Marketing

Episode 100: 7 Things I Would Do If I Started My Photography Business Over

When I was a kid, I don’t remember thinking I’d own a photography business when I grew up.

But then I hit my 30s, I had twins and I wanted the time, freedom, and the income potential that starting a photography business could give me.

I wanted to be the mom who had a career that I loved, and I wanted to be at everything that my kids were involved in.

Now, after two decades of owning two businesses, I have learned a lot of lessons.

Today, I’m sharing seven things I would do if I started my photography business over, and I hope this can help you learn more quickly and painlessly.

1. Let Go of Some Things

I’ve learned over the years that my house isn’t always the cleanest and that’s okay.

Sometimes, I hire things out to get them done because I am unable to do them or I don’t have the mental, physical, or emotional capacity to do them.

They’re not always done exactly the way I would like it and I have to be okay with that.

When my kids were little it was about the same to have someone come to my house to take care of them as it was to have them in daycare.

And I didn’t want my kids getting sick all the time because Joe and I are both entrepreneurs and we don’t have sick days.

If we cancel on a client, that’s a big deal.

That’s been my pet peeve over the years.

So, I needed a person who is reliable to keep my kids safe, alive, fed and everything else.

So, maybe she didn’t fold my towels the way I like them, but she took care of my kids.

Sometimes you just have to let go of things and you’re going to be just fine. 

2. Learn the Numbers Sooner

I have always been hungry for the numbers, but I didn’t know where to find them.

I had to scrape and claw to learn the numbers.

The answers are always in the numbers.

If you want to know if you can invest in marketing, hire an employee, how much you should charge, or if you need to raise your prices, the answers are in the numbers.

If you don’t know what your numbers are and what categories they’re in, tell your current self that it’s time to learn that.

You have to know those things. 

3. Tune Out the Riff-Raff

I made the decision pretty early on that what other people think of me is none of my business.

I was raised by an entrepreneur and I didn’t see him going to dinner parties or hanging out with friends and asking them business advice.

If I’m thrilling my clients in my photography studio and I’m meeting my goals to run a profitable business, pay my bills, and live a great life, nobody’s opinion matters but that of my clients.

4. Tell the Voice In Your Head to Stop Bullying You

Look for proof of why something is going to happen and stop looking for proof of why this can’t work.

So, tell that voice in your head to stop bullying you.

Go find successful people and be in the room with them. 

5. Outsource 

Once you become profitable, you can start to outsource things that don’t move the dial as much as you do.

Three of the most important things in your business are photographing, marketing and selling, and that is how you will personally move the dial.

If you’re sitting at your computer retouching, running errands, or cleaning your place, you’re not making the money that you can make.

You have to decide when it’s time to do that, but realize where the money’s made and outsource the stuff that doesn’t make you money.

6. Stop Focusing On Competition

I don’t even use that word because I don’t think there’s competition.

It’s really funny because if there are people in my market killing it as photographers, that’s awesome.

And I’m probably friends with them because they are doing all the right things.

They’re charging more, taking care of their clients, and their art is very different from mine.

I’ve never felt threatened because what I do is totally different from what they do.

I didn’t try to copy them because I just wanted to make what I was doing different and better for the clients that I have.

So, quit focusing on it.

Most of your competitors aren’t making money so quit looking at what they’re charging and what they’re doing, and learn from someone who is making money. 

7. Be Willing To Suck For A Long Time Before You Get Good

You have to be willing to be bad long enough to get good.

Why does everybody think it should happen overnight?

You are in business by nature.

Business is driven by the market, by demand, by competitors, and by your ability to create demand in a competitive marketplace.

And you have to be willing to go through some pain for the long-term payoff.

If you have a passion in your heart to be a photographer, the only way it can’t work is if you quit. 

Let’s be clear, you’re going to hit bumps in your business, but I think we have a different type of personality than people who are fine doing the same thing every day.

It’s not good or bad, it’s just that we’re different.

Yet, so many of you are stuck in that place between wanting something more but being too scared to fully go for it.

What I know is that you are so much closer than you think.

You can have a life where you have more, where you do more, where you’re worth more, where you give more, and where you can be more.

I believe in you.

Take the lessons that I’ve learned and start learning yours faster and add your own lessons in with mine.

What I’ve learned in my 24 years in my photography business is that it isn’t a lack of strategies and tactics that keeps us from going all in on our dreams, it’s that we’re finding our own ways to hold ourselves back.

If you’re feeling alone, just know you don’t have to be.

If you’re tired of hearing those negative voices in your life and in your head, I hope you consider coming and joining our community and getting that success faster.

You can make mistakes with us, you can learn from our mistakes, and we will all get there faster.

Keep going, my friend, you are so much closer than you know.

And I’d love for you to join us. 

follow boutique photographer sarah petty on instagram to learn more about the boutique photography timeline

Working photographer, coach, mama, and wife. Whether you’re looking to take your photography business full-time or simply make good money on a very part-time basis so you can contribute to your family financially and be your best self, we’ve got something for you.

I’m Sarah Petty

Hey, there!