Despite what we think are our best efforts, at times things go against us and we fail to make headway in our pursuits. This may be in a personal context, or alternatively, in a professional setting concerning career aspirations. Photography businesses are one of those very career aspirations that may ultimately struggle to succeed. However, contrary to what you might think, the reasons behind a failing photography business are not merely related to bad luck. Often, failure stems from underlying problems that are not recognised by the business owner.
Not Putting Learnings into Practice
It is one thing to conduct extensive research – to the point it may even be exhaustive – but if you’re not actually applying these learnings and putting them into practice, you’re not developing your business. In fact, all you are doing is extending your knowledge, which is great, albeit won’t necessarily get you clients on the phone or walking through the door. Listening to different sources about developing the business is valuable, but don’t overdo it and search for resources just to compile a meticulous list.
Instead, you should be spending more time building relationships with clients, conducting photoshoots and publishing engaging content. This is not to say you should neglect other aspects of your business like emails, marketing, and (personal) branding – these are important facets of a photography business – but your reputation, which is based on your relations and output, will usually be the barometer for other prospective clients to judge you by.
Not Chasing Sales
While many people are intimidated about the prospect of picking up the phone and chasing leads, any successful photographer will tell you that it’s a necessary part of the job. replying by email to an enquiry (eg from this site) with a standard list of your packages just isn’t going to cut it. Going one step further, cold calling prospective clients is another method with which photographers are able to keep their books full.
At the end of the day, photography is a competitive and often cut–throat industry. If you’re not putting your best foot forward, presenting yourself to clients as an empathetic photographer who is more suitable for their job than your peers, you’re not giving it your all. Don’t confuse this with being pushy. Following up, or offering an ice breaker are indispensable communicative strategies to grow your business. Most of all, make sure it is a personalised directive, as clients appreciate that individual effort.
A Business Built on Debt
It might seem tempting, you may even think it’s the lever that will allow you to unlock your business’ potential. However, taking out a loan to fund your photography business is fraught with danger, not least because you are unlikely to have a steady source of income to pay this down. And once debt starts to balloon, it’s not just the financial burden you have to worry about, but also the stress and anxiety that accompanies it.
If you’re concerned about your finances, stretch your resources in other ways. Consider operating your photography business from home, where a spare room might be able to double as a studio. Opt for gear that either fits your budget or affords you flexibility, while at the same time you should avoid any unnecessary upgrades.