This year at Go Boutique Live, I gave out a RECORD breaking number of awards to boutique photographers who are succeeding in this business model.
So it’s no surprise that our winners had so many tips we had to make this topic a 2 part series.
If you’ve ever wondered what is going on behind the scenes with photographers who are reaching $100,000 a year and using the boutique model, then listen up for secrets to reaching $100k from more of the newest $100k Yay award winners.
These photographers sold over $5.2 million in photography in 2021 so it’s worth modeling them!
Investing In Education Is A Game Changer
I began my portrait business about a decade ago and was doing digitals and not charging what I’m worth.
The number one piece of advice for getting to $100,000 is to diversify into physical products.
A big hangup preventing us from branching out into physical products was the fact that we live in a destination resort area.
Families will come from out of the area, so a lot of the post-session and pre-session parts of the process would have to be done remotely.
Now what we do is an in-person sales process that’s done via zoom.
Sarah helped find the right mix of products and something that’s exciting and attractive to the families that we’re serving.
One other big change we made in our business to hit $100,000 was a little bit unexpected.
I was laid off from my advertising job, so we poured gasoline on our photography business and went for it.
Portraits were a big part of us hitting our profitability goals and being profitable well into the six figure range this year.
The changes we made in our portrait sessions, in particular, our family and senior sessions due to the Sarah Petty training made a huge difference for us.
Every shoot became more profitable because we’re offering wall art at a price point that’s profitable for us.
Investing in Sarah Petty’s class was definitely the biggest education investment that my wife and I made in our business in 2021.
And I’m so glad that we did that.
It opened up my mind to running a profitable business and not being afraid of offering physical products.
The first sale took a lot of work, but after that, we realized there’s a system here and we just follow the system every single time and get repeatable results.
We haven’t done it perfectly every time, but we’ve been putting in the work based on what Sarah suggested and we’ve been seeing the results.
Choose To Believe In Yourself
I joined Sarah’s Peak Performers coaching program in March.
It was after that that I raised my prices, so I did $100,000 plus mostly from April to December.
My biggest piece of advice for reaching that goal for other photographers would be to first of all, take the digital images option off of your price list.
I’ve been in business for over 20 years and I used to only do boutique and didn’t offer digital files.
But because everybody else was, I added digital files to my price list about 5-6 years ago and it dropped my averages in about half.
I kept wondering how I was possibly going to remove digital images off of my price list since that’s what everybody expects.
That’s why I joined Peak Performers with Sarah.
I wanted the words to say and support from other photographers to help me in that process.
I took the digital images off of my price list at the end of April.
The other piece of advice that I would offer is to raise your prices and believe in yourself.
I kept thinking that people wouldn’t pay it if I charged more, but what we do is so valuable.
I feel like I’m able to connect my clients and show that connection and their relationship through my portraits.
Hire A Professional Coach
My number one piece of advice for getting to $100,000 in my photography business this year was to hire a professional coach.
Hiring Sarah Petty has improved my business IQ tremendously.
It’s about knowing my business, running my business, getting familiar with my numbers, and knowing what makes me profitable.
I needed a coach to teach me all of those things.
The big change that I made, and it was crazy because it was like a switch flipped for me.
I’ve been studying my business and paying attention to my numbers now for a while, and I had set a goal to get to $150,000.
By the end of July/August, I was looking at my numbers and I wasn’t there yet and they were not on track to get to $150,000.
I had grossed about $58,000 by August and it was not okay.
So, I went through my numbers and I figured out solidly what my averages had been all year.
I figured out I needed 9 sessions a month for the rest of the year and listed out all the people that I knew needed to come in for pictures or who I needed to follow up with.
Then, I called them, did the work, and photographed them.
I ended the year at $150,000.
My business grossed $32,000 in December and November.
I was able to serve those clients at a higher level because there were only 9 clients.
Not only did I serve them at a higher level, I was able to have cash flow coming in for January.
The switch in my brain was just understanding that it’s about the numbers and not to overwhelm myself thinking how much I needed.
So hire a coach, get familiar with your numbers and you can make it to your goals.
Partnering With A Charity Is A Game Changer
I’m going to share with you what my number one piece of advice for getting to $100K this year in your portrait photography business is.
This might be surprising to you because it’s quite simple.
I grabbed the Manifesto Sarah gave me and every morning I look in the mirror and I read parts of it out loud.
I tell myself that I am boutique, I am a creator, I am an artist who deserves to be paid, and I keep reading it.
That has made a huge difference in not just my business but in my life.
The biggest change I made in my business to reach $100K was charity.
If you’re partnering with a charity to do mini shoots and give the session fee to your charity, you have a whole other set of people that you didn’t know.
You have a charity that’s motivated to get people in your door and you suddenly have a marketing team working for you and finding new clients.
Once you get them in, you can sell to them.
The other thing is when you have the ability to write a check for $1,000 or $2,000 or whatever it is to a charity because you’ve collected that in session fees, that changes how you look at everything.
You’ll see things differently from there on.
It’s hard to describe until you’ve done it, but it’s like you’re released from the hold money has on you.
Money instead is not something you always need more of, but it’s something you want to get more of so that you can give it away and bless other people.
Partnering with a charity is my favorite thing to do.
It’s blessing others with the opportunity for them to be blessed by you in so many ways.
Those are gold for me.
Whether you have a full time job that’s not photography, are already a career photographer or maybe you’re a full time mom who wants extra income, my hope is that this 2 part series showed you that it’s possible to get to $100k in your photography working part time when you go all in on the boutique photography model.
And I hope that next year, you are the photographer I’m featuring on this podcast as the newest $100k Yay award winner.