The 5 Simple Steps to Becoming a
Full Time Photographer.
Are you tired of jacking around as a parttime photographer? Take it from the fulltime photographers: yes, you’re tired of it, and you’re missing out on the fun. Pay close attention to what’s found below, as these are some of the BEST steps you can implement to accomplishing your dream as a fulltime photog.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Market
You need to know who wants your services. As a skilled photographer, you may be thinking “Anyone who wants pictures” – sounds like the right client, right? This idea is true, but by not taking it a few levels deeper, you’re limiting your income tremendously and making your job a lot harder. This is where business skills come in. Identifying your target market means you know exactly who you’re speaking, and marketing to. Your target market is who specifically wants exactly what you have to offer. When you don’t know who your target market is, marketing can be frustrating, as nothing will be effective. You begin leaking marketing dollars, and the gap between cost-effective and and NOT cost-effective starts closing fast. Don’t you love that little stomach ache that says “ “man I’m spending a lot of money on marketing”? I didn’t either when I was in your shoes.
People don’t want to be treated like everyone else, they want to be treated like royalty. So the more you can call out the details of who you can help the most the more they will say “That’s me!” and want to buy from you. When you try to be something to everyone, everyone thinks you’re nothing for them.
Once you understand this concept, your business will change dramatically, you’ll begin to see serious ROI on your marketing dollars. You’ll spend less time and money to acquire more clients, which means you can work less and make more. You’ll stop begging the wrong customers to book with you, and enjoy finding your niche in the photography industry. This will help position you as an expert to your audience, and will result in long term stability in your business. Business will become fun, and you’ll spend more time with the people you love then digging through the trenches of business warfare.
Step 1 recap:
- Targeting “anyone who wants pictures” is not deep enough; the pros go deeper.
- Identifying your target market saves you time and money.
- Identifying your target market positions you as the expert, and creates stability.
Step 2: Develop a Marketable Skill (a skill someone is willing to pay for):
As you may have realized, there are a ton of photographers out there. What is the most obvious difference between the entire bunch and the top 5%? Besides speaking directly to the SPECIFIC needs of their target market, they have a high-end skill someone is actually willing to pay for. Sure, with an un-marketable skill, you can always get someone to pay you next to nothing, but if you’re going to ask someone to pay quality prices, you have to have a marketable, quality skill. If you’re reading this, you may already realize your skill isn’t quite marketable yet. It’s okay, we all had to start somewhere; the difference between those with a marketable skill, and those without, is the ones with the skill intentionally made it a point to develop their skill over time. Don’t be in that place in 2 years where friends and family are happy with their cameraphone pictures, or hiring their “Aunt who has a nice camera” because you haven’t proven your skill is way better than those options.
A marketable skill means you have a desired skill. It means that a consumer will see your work, and DEMAND, they have it. Once this happens, you can literally charge what you want, and your target market will gladly pay for it. A marketable skill in photography means you know what you’re doing because you’ve sought out the skills and information that set you apart.
Once you develop a marketable skill, everything in your business changes. You begin to easily get the clients you WANT, instead of working hard for the difficult (and cheap) clients. You become respected, celebrated, and a leader in the photog community. Shoots become easier and less stressful because you’ve mastered the skill; you’re comfortable and confident.
Step 2 recap:
- A primary difference between someone fighting to make good money and the pros who make bank, is the pros have a skill someone will trade their hard-earned cash for. In short, the pro’s never stop learning, practicing and developing their knowledge.
- This skill is not just limited to knowing your gear, but also how to run a viable business. Being marketable also means a demand exists for what you have to offer, and that you meet a need of your target market.
- A marketable skill is a vital step to charging the prices you want to charge and working with the clients that are FUN and EASY to work with, instead of ones that make you work for less than you’re worth. When you refuse to keep growing and learning you cap your income potential. If you don’t like what you are earning, ask yourself what you are learning? Do you need more skills with the camera? Do you need more skills with the business? The pros develop the skills in BOTH areas. (And most photographers ignore business skills…and go broke).
Step 3: Lead Generating
Once you understand who your target market is, it’s time to talk (market) to them, right? The meaning of lead generating is found in the name: it means to generate leads. You have to generate leads so you can book shoots and generate revenue. You may be doingsome lead generating now, but if you aren’t a full time photographer making good money, I’m going to propose you need more leads……….(continued)