Business 101 ;)

I was reading a blog yesterday from another photographer I know.  It seemed like a sales pitch to me.  Not necessarily a sales pitch for their business but more like a justification for what they believe, how they run their business and what they tell others they should do for their business.

It seems like everyone has advice for others on how to run their business and make tons of money yet they feel the need sometimes to justify the words they speak and write.  Here are my thoughts.  If you have to justify it, it probably isn’t working for you.  When you get defensive about the things you are trying to teach others it looks like you are trying to cover up the fact that you are either just guessing at what will work, just regurgitating what you have heard from others who come off as successful or that you are just trying to sell something to other photographers.

Here are some cold hard facts, well, broad facts as I really do not wish to spend the time on the proper research at this very moment.  Photographers, most photographers anyway, do not make a huge living.  There are very few who actually can survive off of the income that photography brings in.  I believe the US Census had stated that the average photographer’s income in the US was right around $26,000 a year.  That is not much to live off of and support a family.

Yet there are several people out there who want to sell you a dream and say it’s easy to make 6 figures as a photographer.  These people are charging a whole lot of money for workshops that will tell you how to do this.  The funny thing is, the people putting on these workshops claim to be making this much as a photographer when really the bulk of their income comes from the workshops and the products they sell.  Now don’t get down on them for this, because it takes a lot of work to generate a 6 figure income no matter what you’re doing, photography, workshops or being a car salesman.  It doesn’t come easy!

Here is my point.  Want to know how to make a lot of money as a photographer?  I will give you some free tips, and this is no BS.

1) Open a full functioning studio, shoot weddings, portraits, and have a set price list that you never stray from. But you also need to throw away the idea that you are an artist.  For this business to work it needs to be business only!  Do your artwork on your own time.  And that means outside of the 60 hours a week you must set aside for running your business.

2) Shoot porn.  But once again, you must run it like a business, follow the applicable laws and get a really good lawyer!

3) Paparazzi, this takes time and luck and you must be ruthless.  You may not make a lot of money at first but you could end up selling a shot for 6 figures one day.

4) Don’t just go to art school, take business and marketing classes and truly learn about SEO.   Honestly, succeeding as a photographer has little to do with actually being a good photographer, like with most anything else, you really need to be a good business person!

5) Network, if people don’t know who you are or that you even exist then how will they hire you?

Basically my business advice is simple.  If you want to make big money you need to run it as a business, not as a passion.  You can get by on your passion, but you will not achieve immediate success.  If you’re in it for the long run and for the love of it, then you must ask yourself, does money really matter?  Personally, I have chosen the route of the artist and I vote for passion.  I don’t care if I ever get rich, I love what I do and am happy to be able to do what I do every day!

So here is The Average Jim workshop…. Learn how to be happy with what you do in one simple step.  Wake up, look in the mirror and repeat these words “What other people think of me is none of my business.”  If you’re happy and you’re not hurting anyone else, then just keep on doing what you are doing.

As for me, I’m definitely going to keep on doing what I’m doing, whether you like it or not. 😉