Making money is a huge part of having a business (duh, I know) but what business schools won’t always tell you is that there is always someone out there who wants to take your money and then claim to tell you how to make money. Their selling tactic is always “it takes money to make money” and this is true, but just spending money on stupid ideas and people who claim to know what they are doing is almost always a bad idea. There are people out there who can help you but always check their track record first! Also, make sure it’s the kind of help you want and/or need.
It was actually a music blog that made me think of this. I was reading this incredibly lame article about making money in the music business and this educated musician was basically ripping apart another musician’s ideas on how to make money. I’ll try to keep this on the less confusing end if possible. The original blog was about making money performing on the street and people tossing money into your hat. He talked about how he could make up to $150.00 an hour doing this in NYC and he knew others that were doing it too. He basically said that it was possible for some musicians to make up to $50,000.00 a year. The educated musician (as I like to call him in a mocking tone) was arguing that you would have to do all sorts of different types of jobs, working 60 hours a week from playing cover songs, playing for your church, and random gigs with other bands blah blah blah.
Honestly, they are both right. There is one thing that neither article talked about, some people are just better musicians than others. I am talking about musicians because it is actually the closest thing to being a photographer. Just because you have a camera (or an instrument) does not mean you are entitled to making money. You have to sell your ability as well as your personality. The educated musician seemed like he was bitter that he wasn’t making money being creative and that he had to teach at a level that he felt was beneath him. If you don’t like the level you’re at then get better!
I have a photographer friend who gets the worst clients out there, and it’s not because her prices are too low, although that does come into play, but she herself has a very needy personality. You attract what you are, not what you want. Think about this. If you are an outgoing person who is care free and full of life that is the type of client you will attract. An uptight client will not like your personality and will find a photographer who will take care of their needs. This doesn’t mean you lost a job, it means you saved a headache!
In this line of work you have to not only have good work but you must have a personality to match it. Photographers are like musicians in the way that we have to use our personality to sell us. I can really relate to this because I am also a musician and I definitely take my stage persona into real life with me when I meet with clients and while I shoot. It is really who I am, I just show the excitement I have for photography, I’ll call myself a photo-geek to my clients because that is what I call myself. I don’t pretend to be something that I am not, I don’t talk about things I am not interested in to get clients to pay me more money. I am what I am and I sell myself. It’s what I do best and it’s what I know best.
There is no one way to make money in this industry, the trick is finding out what works for you, and usually, it is what you like the most not what you want the most.