Worried about your photography business after the economy re-opens? What will the world even be like after the COVID-19 economic shift? People are apprehensive but also just got stimulous checks. Excited to get back to work but also worried about job security. How is that going to effect your business? Here’s are 3 things you can do RIGHT NOW to help prepare your business for the new economy:

1) ADAPT: Prior to this pandemic, people were a little quicker to splurge and could be more easily convinced to purchase. When things re-open, it’s likely people aren’t going to be so quick to part with their money. You need to make your offerings IRRESISTIBLE! Give them WHAT they want at a PRICE they can afford and you’ll greatly increase your odds of success post COVID-19. Adapting means, finding out what your clients want, how much they can pay, and then getting creative to offer that at a price that won’t hurt your bottom line. Here’s how:

  • First, you need to find out what your clients want out of their session. This is something you can do right now! Actually, you probably already know what they want! In the past, what did your clients frequently request or ask about in sales consultations or before booking? Is it digital files, canvases, books? What gets the most feedback and comments when you post on social media? THAT is what your clients want! Still not sure, throw a story or two up on instagram or facebook and see what they want!
  • Next, find out how much they can afford. Google the household median income for your city and see how that compares to the national average. This will tell you if your community is above or below that national average, and give you some insight into your audiences financial sitation. Another thing you can do is, run a poll on facebook and ask what they would consider a fair value for a full session including all the prints, products, digitals that are included. You may be surprised at the answer! I ran a poll in 2011 and was SHOCKED to find that nearly half of the 100 responses said they expected to pay under $200 for a shoot! While I couldn’t offer sessions THAT cheap, I was able to tweak my pricing and add in some much more affordable options (average of $300) that didn’t stray from my hourly wage goals.
  • Finally, get creative to find a way to offer it without cutting yourself short. Look for ways to reduce the time and costs associated with a session and then pass those savings on to your client. Here’s how: First, add up all the time associated with a single session. Then, look for things you an cut or reduce from that process to save time or money. Now, you can offer a new streamlined version of that session to your clients at a lower cost and book more sessions with that extra time! More people will book when the price is lower and you’ll fill more of your time actually shooting… all without lowering your income.
    Here’s an example:
    Let’s say it takes you 30 minutes in pre-session communication (answering questions, getting them scheduled), 30 minutes packing and unpacking gear/props, 45 minutes traveling to and from your shoot location, 1 hour shooting your session, 1.5 hours culling and editing the photos, 1 hour doing design work, 2 hours in a sales consultation, 30 minutes preparing and ordering photos, 15 minutes unboxing/prepping the order, and 30 minutes meeting up with your client to deliver and/or collect payment for the order. Our total time for this one-hour session is 8.5 hours. To stay profitable, we need to make at LEAST $850 profit after our cost of sale. Cost of sale is the money that goes to the lab, not you. Assuming you meet the recommended 25% cost of sale (to pay for the canvases, prints, cards, albums, etc)… your total package cost goal is $1,062. But you know that the average person in your market only expects to spend about $300 on a full shoot with products. That’s a BIG gap! So here’s what you do. Go back to your session numbers and cut out as much fluff time as you can. Shoot closer to home, pack less gear, streamline your edits, strictly limit your sales time… etc. Let’s say you managed to cut your time in HALF. Now you can offer a streamlined version of your shoot for about $500 which is MUCH closer to what your clients are willing to pay. With those prices, you’ll more easily book clients who will fill in the extra time you bought yourself. Not only that, but your clients will be more satisfied with the value and more likely to refer you to friends… resulting in more bookings for you! Basically, you’re shooting twice as many sessions, but at half the cost, so you’re still making the same $100 per hour as you were pre-COVID. It’s a win, win!

2) BUDGET: Just like you need a budget for your home, your business needs a budget too. Use the time you have now to crunch numbers and find ways to cut costs. Look at everything… equipment, props, rental fees, travel costs, insurance, hosting fees, subscriptions, education, all of it… to find where you are over spending or spending on things you don’t need or use. Then give yourself a budget and stick to it!

3) MARKET: Take time now to learn how to do SEO, start posting on your blog, and get active on social media. Build up your brand while you have the time! You’re always complaining that you don’t have the time because you’re too busy shooting and editing. Well, NOW is the time to get back to it! If you do a good job, your business will be showing up on the front page of google searches for the terms you care about!

And that’s what you should be doing NOW to prepare for the post-corona economy. Now, get busy! You’ve got a lot of work and planning to do! What are you going to do first? Have you already started making changes to your business model? Comment and share your answers!

If you need help, I offer private online mentoring sessions at $125/hour and can review your pricing model to help you determine how much you should charge and where you should focus your marketing energy.  Call of find me on FB to book!

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