Yesterday we started exploring the concept of multiple streams of income within the business of photography. While looking at a list of 10 places to make income from may look easy (or for some people overwhelming), listing the 10 streams is a whole lot easier than actually getting each to make you an income.
But in many aspects, it’s that way with anything in life. The idea behind multiple streams of income is you put one income source into play, and then move onto the next.
So from a traditional standpoint, you head out and find a job that will give you a full time income. Then you head to work 40 hours every week, and on Friday you come home with a paycheck. That’s your first stream of income. From there you invest in stocks that provide dividend income one a quarter. There’s your second stream of income. Then you save and purchase your first rental property. There’s your third stream of income. And so on.
Even in the most traditional sense you spend time getting one stream in place before you move onto the next. You can change and modify each stream along the way. But you have to spend focused time on each stream when you are building the foundation and getting it into place.
The same applies when you are building different streams of income from your photography business. If your goal is to become a wedding photographer, put all your effort into that for the year. Visit every wedding coordinator and reception venue in your state/local area. Advertise in local magazines/newspapers/bridal guides. Participate in community events around the wedding industry. Showcase your expertise by writing articles for the bridal guides. Build up your web portfolio, and spend time becoming the best wedding photographer you can be. Then when you are recognized as a wedding photographer, and have everything in place for quality clients and referrals coming in regularly, move on to the next phase.
Then let your coordinators and reception venues know you do more than weddings – you have an entire event platform for everything from parties to corporate functions. Expand your marketing to meeting planners, and showcase your work in different manners. Build a new web presence just for your events. Market it as event photography. Build it up to a successful event business that’s bringing in just the right amount of client work to work hand in hand with your wedding business.
Then move on. While some of your clientele will never cross over between your niches – a bride may never use your corporate event side – it is nice to let them know your new lines. Newsletters are a great tool to open up your clients’ eyes to what your potential is. They won’t know unless you tell them. Yet don’t make it a regular part of your promotion – you don’t want to overwhelm your client base. A generic mailing two to four times a year may do the trick.
By the time you get into smaller areas of your business – training for instance – you’ll have a large audience that loves you and is willing to buy from you, and will be interested in what you are doing. For example, you may end up with a 2,000 people on your mailing list just through your weddings, events and portrait work after a couple of years in business. So you decide to have a Saturday class on taking better digital photographs, and understanding a digital camera better. With a class size of 25-50, and a mailing to your 2,000 people, you should quickly be able to fill up your class. And have a waiting list for the next time around.
Hopefully you’re starting to see the big picture – how each of these streams will ultimately fit together. The key to them all is building up your client list, and continue to market to them again and again. You can’t rely on one method – email doesn’t work perfectly, nor does snail mail, or even social sites. You have to touch people in a variety of ways, and reach out to them in a way they rely on, and wish to receive information.