13 Ways To Make Sure 2013 Doesn’t Suck For Your Photography Business

It’s the first “workday” of December. The year end rush may be leaving you drained, stressed, feeling overworked, and definitely anything but full of holiday spirit. With just a few weeks left in 2012, why not make it a goal to make the coming year a whole lot better than what you’ve experienced this year? Yes, it can be done. But there is only one way to make it happen – a little planning. These 13 tips can put you on track for a better 2013 – starting today.

Go BIG or Go Home

Don’t just sit around wishing in 2013. Take BIG action steps to fulfill your goals. Hire the coach you’ve been thinking about. Increase your visibility within your community. Do something! The more you do, the bigger your chance of moving your business forward.

Work ON Your Business

Your business isn’t just a way to replace your job. If that’s your sole goal, head back to the work place, as it will be A LOT less stressful. Instead, your business should be more than putting out fires and dealing with daily problems. Block out a section each week for planning and focusing – it’s the only way you’ll create a plan that will move your business forward.

Do One Marketing Task Every Day

Hoping for new clients will never bring them in. The only way to make it happen is to go out and find them. Do one thing every day to make a connection – call a past client, respond to posts on a forum, write a blog post, attend a networking function. Ideally, do it first thing in the morning so it can be sidelined due to a problem or “fire”.

Commit To New Things Every Month

Always work in your office with little contact to the rest of the world? While working with clients is important to your business, working with mentors is the only thing that will bring fresh new ideas into your life. Sign up for classes throughout the year. Buy those books you’ve been meaning to read. Head off to a photography conference. Then make sure you take your best ideas and put them into action. [Read more…]

How Zombies Could Be Destroying Your Photography Business

When you are starting and growing your photography business, you quickly realize you can’t do it alone. With all the different types of tasks that enter your life, it soon becomes apparent that its easier to have people you trust to help you along the way.

Yet some people that are around you that you may be relying on for answers may not be the right people for the job. In fact, some people will help you kill your business much quicker than you can build it up. See if any of these people are currently in your lives and “helping” you build your business.

Raving Fans

These are usually the people you are closest to and support your every endeavor. They think your amazing, incredible, and you can do no wrong.

While it may be nice to hear great things along the way, unconditional praise is anything but helpful. We make mistakes. We get things wrong. And when we do, its important to have people that can step up to the plate and let you know what they really think.


While its important to keep the never-ending praise at bay, the opposite end of the spectrum isn’t healthy either. This type of person thinks they can do no wrong, and will fill you up with their great advice. Even though they’ve never started a business themselves or have any experience in running a business, they will be the first to tell you how to do it and what you’re doing wrong. [Read more…]

The Only Way To Be Successful Is To Be Unsuccessful

Ready to make your photography business grow by leaps and bounds? Here is what you should do:

Try more.

Do more.

Fail more.

Sounds funny, right?

Yet if you think about it, you’ll quickly see how true it is.

Thinking about doing something accomplishes zero. It’s the action that makes something move from dream-mode to reality. So the only way to move forward it to take action.

Try more.

And the more you take action, the more you’ll accomplish.

Do more.

And when you do a lot of things over a period of time, some things will work, and some won’t. Which means ultimately, you are going to

Fail more.

Successful people try more, do more, and fail more.

So if you meet a successful person it’s because they’ve failed enough to be successful.

They aren’t scared of the outcomes that will fail. They are scared of all the outcomes they never tried.

If the fear of failure is holding you back, stop. Make today the day you work at becoming unsuccessful. Because the more unsuccessful tasks you try, the more success ultimately you will find in the long run.

Some things will work. And some won’t. But ultimately, you have to


In order to find your own level of success.

5 Secrets That Make Some Photographers Successful … And Some Photographers Fail

I bet you’re like this:

If someone asks how your job is going, you say okay. You may elaborate a little, but it’s just a job. Nothing exciting. It pays the bills. You worry if you’ll get a raise next year, or if your job will even exist next year. But for now, it gives you the income you need.

But I bet if someone asks you what you really want to do, something different will take place:

You’ll get that spark in your eye, you’ll sit a little taller, and you’ll feel a little excitement way down deep. You’ll talk about how you’ve been shooting for a while now and really love photography. You met a photographer (or found them online) who is doing something close to what you would love to do. You’re dreaming of turning that idea into a reality … but it just hasn’t happened yet.

So, did I touch any buttons?

I love chatting with people that have a dream. I know because I was once there too. I hated my corporate job and couldn’t imagine doing it for any longer than I had to. I wanted something else I could do that I truly enjoyed. And so I did what many, many people don’t. Andrew and I started it up as a side business.

You see, there is a big difference between dreaming about it and doing something about it. It’s easy to get home at night and sit down completely exhausted from your day, only to say “tomorrow”. But if you keep saying tomorrow, it will never happen.

Instead, we spent nights and weekends learning all we could about business and photography. That’s where most photographers fail – they love learning about photography, but without the business skills, they are almost 95 percent guaranteed to fail.

And that’s what truly set us apart, and allowed us to move to the top 5 percent income earners in the photography field in under two years.

There really is more to a photography business than simply taking pictures. Yes, that’s the fun part. But unless you have just as much fun planning your business, marketing your business, selling to clients, and more, you’ll never achieve success.

Which is why I thought about it and came up with 5 secrets that help people break through the barriers of “just another hobby” to actually start building a successful business model.

1. Think Like A Five Figure Business Owner

There is a big difference between a small business owner and someone with a job.

When you have a job, “the boss” takes care of everything for you. You do your job and get a paycheck. So you don’t see the entire business model under a microscope. You don’t see the marketing, the planning, the accounting, the legal aspects – everything it takes to run the business. You simply do your job and get paid.

Once you start up a photography business – no matter how much you choose to make – there are dozens of things to consider. Do you have insurance to cover your mistakes? Are you bringing in enough prospects to turn them into clients? Is your business set up in the right legal manner?

Yep, you can no longer think like an employee; you have to think like a business owner. And that thought might never have crossed your mind before.

Dig Deeper: Making Peace With The Enemy

In order to succeed as a business, you have to think like a business. And that means changing your mindset to move from an employee to an entrepreneur. [Read more…]

3 Easy Ways To Get Rich Fast and Become a Millionaire Overnight

They make promises that are almost hard to believe.

“Zero to $1 million This Year!”

“Skip the learning curve. With our system you’ll earn millions in 30 days!”

“It’s so easy, even a child could do it.”

They scream these concepts at you in every way possible: television, radio, magazine, newspapers, even the mail in your mailbox (what little you still receive).

But if you’ve been wanting a change, they may intrigue you.

If you’re worried about your job, it may be enticing.

Now, if you could just scrape together the (insert large price tag here) you’ll be able to read how easy it is to get rich fast.

Accept for one problem.

There is no easy way to get rich quick.

I’ve often said Andrew and I are a seven year overnight success story. That’s because it took us seven years of working corporate, spending nights and weekends learning photography, starting our business out of our home, learning the details of entrepreneurship, and sticking with it year after year until we figured out the pieces to make it a success.

Sure, it looked easy once we got there. And when the recognition started, people around us saw us go from “nothing” to “instant recognition” in a short period of time. But what they didn’t see is the learning period that took place before the growth spurt.

So from my viewpoint, there are 3 ways to get rich quick. [Read more…]

8 Critical Things You Have To Have In A Good Photography Contract

There’s a saying here in America, “It’s not a matter of IF you’ll be sued, it’s WHEN.”

Yes, America more than any other place on earth is sue crazy. And while we could talk for hours on the good and bad of living in a sue crazed country, the bottom line is if you are going to be in business, you have to cover yourself as fully as possible. (And not just in America, around the world too.)

While you always hope you’ll never face the inside of a courtroom over your photography, preparing for it before it happens will leave you in a better position in case the unthinkable happens.

Dig Deeper: Help, My Photography Business Is Being Blackmailed

While I’m not a lawyer, and only a lawyer can fully ensure your contract is sound and will prevent you within your business, there are some ways to move forward to give you protection before you book your very next client.

These are the elements your contract should have.

The Basics

A great contract is going to list the basics up front. Be sure you have:

  • Your client name(s)
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Event dates and locations
  • Your business name
  • Address
  • Contact information

Details make it easy to ensure who the two parties are and how you both can be contracted in any situation. [Read more…]

What Does Success Truly Mean To You?

We’ve made a lot of changes around here over the past year. A LOT. And when you start looking at your life through different eyes, things happen around you that continue to guide you in the right direction.

You probably know what I mean.

If you’re on the road to create your own photography business and turn it into a success, as you search, you bump into things that help you. Like this blog. 😉

Have you heard this story?

An American heads down to a little village in Mexico and hires a boat and tour guide for the day. The guy takes him to the best place to fish, they enjoy a relaxing afternoon together, he gathers up enough fish to take home to his family, and they head in for the day. The fish means his family eats well every night; the funds he receives from the tourists is more than enough for his family to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. He does what he loves during the day and enjoys his family all other times.

The American is so impressed, he tells the guy he should expand.

If he works real hard, he can have a fleet of boats and expand the tourism in the area. He can run a huge company that promotes tourism throughout the world, and spend long days building up a business he can be proud of.

He asks why?

To make enough money to be financially secure so he can retire and spend time with his family.

The point here is sometimes we overlook how to be happy today in order to have the “dream” they sell us as we’re growing up, going to school and getting our first jobs. [Read more…]

5 Reasons You Can Never Afford To Be A Photographer

There is always something in the way of your success. And there always will be.

I know. I’ve been there.

You may have a goal to put away a sum of money and use that to break free of the daily grind. That money will always disappear. The car will break down. The kids need something from school.

You may have a job you hate, and you struggle with it year after year waiting for your big break into photography. Yet that never comes. So the wait continues.

In both of these examples – and really if you look at every reason that is holding you back from photography – your reasons ultimately depend on money.

Emotionally you want to follow all of the experts advice, break free from the daily grind and work at you passion for the rest of your life.

Yet financially you just can’t get ahead. Your job gives you just enough to get buy what you need each week. Your spending habits mean you have to keep working – people depend on you.

And if you followed the experts advice, its easy. Simply spend less than you earn. The more you do it, the more you’ll save.

And that’s where the conflict lies.

We know in our minds we simply need to save. Yet if we want or “need” something, we simply buy it. And the cycle starts all over again.

With all of that in mind, here are 5 reasons your photography dreams may never be affordable … or attainable.

1. You are in denial

This is the easiest trap to fall into and where most people live on a daily basis. If you don’t admit to having a healthy financial picture that will allow you to do what you want, you don’t have to admit your failures. If you truly knew where you stand, you might have to change your habits and say no to some of the things you are currently doing. Who wants to do that?

2. You are a dreamer

There is a part of you that sees your future success. You can see yourself living the life of your favorite photography mentor. You know you’re good; success will ultimately find you. You just have to wait casually by until someone “finds” you and all of your troubles will wash away. [Read more…]

12 Creative Ways To Run A Photography Business And Stay Married Too

What is the trick to starting up a photography business, working at it every single day of the week … and staying married too?

I was listening to the radio the other day, and the DJs had an ongoing conversation with their listeners on how people could work together all day, and stay married in the process? Both DJs had no idea how it was possible. The one said he would be divorced within a week if he was forced to spend 24 hours of the day with his wife. The other wasn’t married – so the concept was totally foreign to him. And the listeners that called in all had mixed reviews. Yes, you can imagine how many stories came through – things I had trouble believing they were so wild.

Yet many people do it every single day. Andrew and I have worked together side by side for over 14 years now. In fact, we live in a 1200 square foot condo, work side by side at the dining room table, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together, and still like to hang out on the weekends together with family and friends. Yes, we do go our separate ways for clubs, hobbies and activities. We book separate meetings with clients, and have our own friend bases and interests. But for the majority of the week, we’re side by side.

Dig Deeper: 8 Secrets To Running A Photography Business As A Husband and Wife Team

So yes, it is possible. And really there isn’t a big “secret” to it. We’re just both pretty laid back when it comes to business and personal issues, and enjoy being together.

Can it work for you? Possibly. Here are some of the tricks we’ve learned along the way.

1. Start by knowing yourself

Chances are if you are thinking of running a photography business together, you’ve already thought about what it would be like to work together. Or had the experience at it. In either case, make sure you give it a test run before you commit. Start by working together part time – that’s what we did. We both had full time jobs during the week, yet spent our weekends together working in our studio. We photographed portraits and weddings together on Saturdays and Sundays, and learned what we were both good at and liked to do. We knew we could work together because we proved it long before we thought about going full time.

2. Learn to step away

Sometimes your spouse will say things that totally bug you. He’ll forget to do things he “promised”, or ignore your ideas to proceed with his own. Yep, we’re all human and have our own agendas. And while its easy to get flustered and frustrated, the tipping point comes in how you handle it. If you scream and get angry, the fighting will start. A better way is to take a time out. Go out for a walk. Run a few errands. Do whatever it takes to calm down. Then approach the situation with a fresh mind and a calm demeanor. [Read more…]

5 Easy Ways To Protect Your Brand

Its fun to come up with a creative name for your photography business … until you discover someone else thought of it before you. Nothing can be more confusing to your customer than finding two businesses with similar or the same names.

Your name tells your customers who you are. Its an extension of your brand, and sets the stage for the type of business you run and operate.

In years past, it was easier to brand yourself based on your geographical location. As long as no one was using your name in your competitive location, it was easier to forgive companies hundreds or thousands of miles away for using it too. And in some cases, you may never have even known it existed.

But all that’s changed thanks to the Internet. If you can’t get your company’s domain name because it belongs to someone else, do you really want to send traffic to them as you are building your business?

To help protect your brand, here are five basic steps to help you strengthen your business.

1. Choose your name wisely

The more creative you are when developing your name and branding, the greater the odds you’ll have no competition. And if its distinctive, it will stand out from your competitors and become a unique brand that can be recognizable in its own right. Think about your future. Are you planning on selling your business down the road? If so, choose a name that’s exciting and adds value. Think Search.com versus Google. One is worth billions; one not so much. Think big and go with something catch and unique.

Dig Deeper: How To Build A Photography Business You Intend To Sell

2. Use it

The more you use your name, the more recognizable it becomes, the stronger it is. Part of your protection comes from using it and proving how you’ve used it in the business world. When you place it on brochures, business cards, products and online, you are staking your claim in your brand. It gives you rights above those that may use it after you.

3. Register it

If you plan on growing your business and being around for years to come, its important that you gain as much protection as possible. Here in the US, register it with the US Patent and Trademark Office for complete protection across the states. And once you are registered, its recognized throughout the world. Registration allows you to use the ® symbol and provides substantial benefits and savings if you ever have to go to court to stop infringement.

4. Distinguish it

As you are creating your trademark, make it as distinguishable as possible. Customers learn to recognize brands on a variety of things, including look, feel, color, taglines, and even sounds such as a recognizable jingle. The more you add to your brand, the more you will give your customers something to talk


5. Watch out for others

Once you have everything in place with your trademark, monitor its usage. One of the easiest ways online is to use Google Alerts. Google Alerts will alert you whenever anyone uses your name, tagline or anything else associated with your brand. If you notice an infringement, contact an attorney to help you cease your competition from using it immediately.