This time of year can be hard. It’s stressful with the holidays, the emotions of all the fun parties and special performances and events at your kiddo’s school, gift exchanges, all of the things, all while still handling your normal obligations. Sometimes it’s just easier to cast your photography business aside at this point and say, “It’s December, the year’s almost over. I’ll just start fresh again next year.” Today, I am making the argument of why you 100% shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and pause your business, even if it’s just for a little bit, and what to do instead this month that will actually make your life better.
I think this conversation that I’m about to have with you is one of the most shocking ones that I have with students in my twelve-month coaching program. Part of the reason I have a 12-month long program is because every month there’s a different challenge. In the month of December it’s a big one. Wrestling with pushing harder in your business, but then I’m you’re able to maybe put your family first? What is the balance? What does it look like? After 25 years as a photographer, without fail, balancing all of the emotions mixed with the exhaustion of the workload at the end of the year is one of the most challenging seasons as a business owner every single year.
I just had this meeting with my Peak Performance coaching students and we talked about this exact thing. I really want to share this with all of you amazing listeners because I know it can help you, too. So here’s a little bit of what I shared with them and why it’s important to prioritize making extra money in December.
Let’s start with why it’s so important to keep going now instead of starting over in the new year. Our tax calendar ends typically at the end of December, and that’s when we judge things, that’s when we can write things off, that’s when we end everything and then we start our new year in January. But I want you to understand a concept that we call break even. This is something I learned in business school, and then it didn’t become a reality to me until I started having expenses and I started realizing that the money we make the last three to four weeks of the year is way more profitable than the money we make the first four weeks of the year. And it’s because of a concept called break even.
To simplify it, break even is when your revenue equals your expenses. For example, for those of you who have a studio, let’s say your studio rent is $1,000 per month. So when you’re in a month, the first $1,000 that you make goes to pay your rent. And you look at all of your expenses that way. So once your expenses are covered, every dollar you bring in is worth more to you. So every dollar you make is more profitable after break even than before break even. And for the most part, if you are running a photography business and you have income, you should have passed break even by now.
Typically, larger photography businesses, those running over six figures are having break even in the fall. Either way, we’re in December, and so hopefully your costs have been paid so all you have are the costs that are associated with the order. Maybe it’s ordering prints or framing, but the rest of it is profit. So remind yourself when someone asks for a last minute holiday card or maybe the type of session that isn’t your favorite, like a large family, this is real money that will contribute to your future. So I want you to highly consider saying yes.
This sets us up for momentum going into January. So anything extra that you do now can mean money now, but it can also mean money in 2024. We know a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. So the more motion you have now, the more it’s going to propel you into next year.
These last few weeks of the year are when people have a built-in need for your photography, for the artwork that you create. It is so much easier now than the rest of the year to get clients. If you are a portrait photographer, it’s not too late to create holiday cards for people. It’s not too late to get gifts for grandparents, to create composites or paintings or experience sessions for kids in sports and events.
Find someone who has a need. Pick up the phone and show them and tell them how amazing it is. Show them samples of your work and say, “Hey, I can help you with your Christmas shopping. Who’s on your list? Grandma and Grandpa, let’s get all of your siblings to go together and create some amazing artwork for them”. It’s really not that hard. You’re overthinking it and you’re making it way harder than it needs to be, my friend.
Your business is what gives you the ability to put your family first. And your business is going to get further faster with a coach and a game plan. I’m wishing you the happiest family first this holiday season. Merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy all the things, and go pour into your clients because they still need you.