If you want to make money in your business you need to learn how to spend money.
Now before you freak out and say "I can't afford it" and all that kind of stuff, just know that people that are running six and even seven figure businesses and beyond, are spending money to make money. And they know that’s what you need to do to grow and scale their businesses.
So think of it this way, if you want a million dollar company or business, just so you know, that means that you need to make at least $500 per hour to get to that level. PER HOUR.
So if you are doing things in your business that you can pay someone 20 bucks and hour, or 10 bucks an hour and you don’t hire that person because you think you can’t afford it because you want to make more money, then you are actually paying 480 or 490 dollars to do it yourself. does that make sense?
That’s how one of my business mentors explained it to me…James Wedmore, he is a brilliant entrepreneur making multiple millions of dollars in sales, so this guy knows what he is talking about, but he explained it like that and it totally hit me - so I hope that made sense to you and maybe opened your eyes to how you need to think differently when you are an entrepreneur .
We, especially us photographers and creators, want to do everything ourselves, because it’s out baby, it’s our vision and our art. And at the beginning, of course you're going to be doing all the things yourself, because you are starting out. Plus, I think it’s important for you to know how to do the various things in your business before you outsource them, but when you are getting to a point where you’re making 30, 40 thousand in your business, it’s time to start looking at outsourcing the things that you do on a day to day basis to run your business.
And what I did was, I sat down and I wrote down everything that I do to run my business. Not just each day, but the things I need to do weekly, monthly, etc. Keep a notebook with you, beside your computer or your bed or whatever, and write down all the things you did that day. Do that for at least a couple of weeks, or even a month. Then you will be able to see the things that need to get done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly to run your business.
An example of daily tasks, answer emails, respond to social media, edit, schedule clients, update calendar, etc
Weekly tasks - clean studio, social media posts (or that could be under daily, but I like to batch my content, so for me it’s a weekly or monthly task) write emails for your newsletter, etc
Monthly tasks - accounting, update numbers spreadsheets (average sales, etc)
Quarterly - quarterly accounting, marketing planning, update website with new photos, make sure all links are working, etc
Yearly - taxes, plan for next year
So what are the things you need to do to run your business? Also, what are the things you need to do, but you are NOT doing, because I don’t have time…. usually the is marketing and social media stuff… well for me, that is what was falling behind.
And don’t you find that this happens? You decide to start marketing, you do the SM posts, you send newsletters offer vouchers, maybe run a sale…. then you get bookings, and that’s great, but now you are busy shooting and editing and doing all the customer service stuff that comes when you actually have clients… so you are head-down busy taking care of the clients you worked so hard to get...and when you finally look up after you’ve finished all those shoots, then you realize you need more bookings… so you start marketing again… but the problem with that is there is always a lull when you finish the shoots you booked. There is a lull while you start your marketing efforts again….
Instead, you need to keep everything moving like a well oiled machine. Keep the marketing going so you always have a steady stream of clients coming in, and no more lulls in your bookings and your sales!
Ok, I went off for a bit there! LOL, I tend to do that. Now where were we? Oh yes, we are documenting ALLL the things we do to run our business.
So after you have your list of tasks, take a look and see the things that you could easily give to someone that you are paying minimum wage to…maybe a VA (a Virtual Assistant) … and I am planning on doing a post about how to hire a VA for your business….but yes, you could hire a VA, paying someone anywhere from 10-15 dollars an hour… maybe more, maybe less….getting rid of the mundane clerical tasks that you need to do and you keep the things that are making you money and keeping the machine moving. Things like, networking, marketing, being a voice on SM (not that you shouldn’t outsource SM stuff, as in posts, organizing, that kind of stuff, but I do think you need to be active on your SM channels, and be answering people when they comment and send you messages directly). I also think you should also be doing most of your own stories on IG and FB, so people can see the real you.
The stuff you keep, the stuff you need to do yourself: you should be shooting, because you are a boutique luxury studio, not a high volume studio where you have several shoots per day, and several photographers. And yes, if it is just you shooting then you MUST be priced high, and for you reading this, I'm pretty sure it’s just you, so here is a public service announcement for ya: raise your prices!!
I'll share that I run a Bootcamp where I teach you how to raise your prices and why you need to do that. We cover mindset stuff, and figure out what your numbers need to be for you to make a profit. You can head on over to my website to see if the bootcamp is open, or if it isn't at the moment, you can join the waitlist to hear when the next one is happening. They run every 2 months, to give you an idea.
So, we are doing our own photography, because it’s just us, so we need to be doing the shooting and I do suggest you do the selling. Even if you don’t love selling, or you “are not a sales person” here's a tip: we are all not sales people, until we start selling!! Then we are like, oh- this is not so bad (and selling only seems slimy if you are asking people to pay for something that is not valuable). If someone wants something and you can provide it to them, then it’s fair for them to pay you for it AND they will be happy to pay you for it.
And yes there are some people who hire that out (the selling part), and yes there are some that do that successfully, but most not successfully, and hiring a good sales person is gonna cost you a lot of money. It will be expensive, as it should be, so that is something that you should be doing yourself…anywhere that you need to be in front of your clients as the face of your business, then that is what you should be doing. And honestly you guys, everything else you should outsource.
So why are you, as the business owner, who could be taking the time to go to an event, and shaking hands (whenever we are allowed to do that again!) and meeting people, or you could be shooting at the studio, or meeting clients for the pre shoot consultation, or doing an in person sales session, why should you be sitting in front of your computer for 6 hours straight, editing photos?
And I can hear you: “oh, but i’m a really good editor, no one can edit like me, I have my own style of editing and that’s why people book me. I don’t like the thought of other people editing my images… “ I can hear you - yes I can.
You know what, you know what I am gonna say about that, right? We have all been there. The reason I know you are going to say that is because that is what I used to say too.
“I'm not giving away the control of my images!” Yes, that’s great, then don’t, but you're not going to make more money if you keep doing all the tasks that keep you busy, but don’t move the needle forward in your business and don’t get you more clients.
I need you to get into that mindset, because I want you to make more damn money!! And another thing that James says that is amazing and that really hits:
“There are 2 types of people/entrepreneurs. One is the person who saves, and the other is the person who makes.”
So saving money comes from the mentality of : I'm an employee and I have a fixed salary, so I make this much money per year, and it’s pretty hard for me to make any more than that (yes, maybe once or twice per year I may get a raise, or I can do a bit of overtime), but this is pretty much how much income I have. So if i want to buy something that costs, one thousand dollars, well, I will just put money away and save it and in 4 or 5 months I will have save $1k and boom, that is how I come up with $1k to buy that thing that I wanted!
The other kind of person, which I hope you are, because you are a business owner, not an employee, and you don’t HAVE a salary (so if this is not your mindset now then you do need to get there as a successful entrepreneur) …this person also wants this thing, but they will ask “how do I MAKE a thousand dollars?" Or, "I want a car, how do I make that much", or "I want to take this vacation, how do I make that much", or a house or whatever. And I know you can’t just say, boom - I just made enough money to buy a house…but maybe eventually you can!
So how do you get from thinking like a saver, to thinking like a maker?
The way you do that is you have to train your brain to think like an entrepreneur. To be the CEO of your business, so you need to spend some money to make some money.
So people who say they can’t afford to spend money on FB ads, because I don’t have any money. If you actually think about that sentence, that’s kinda crazy, right?
If you want to reach more people in a fast way, and in a way that you could never do physically in that amount of time, then what are you gonna do? Fly all over the world and meet the people that are on the internet, on FB?
You can be put in front of so many people by spending money on Facebook ads, that if you are not doing it, you are leaving money on the table… and a lot of money.
There are people out there who WANT to do a shoot with you, and yes, I know that for most of us, our business is not worldwide (but it totally could be!) Even though for most of us, we are looking for people that are local, you still can’t meet that many people in one shot without using fb ads, you can’t do it physically, or even posting natively on social media, because not everyone who follows you is seeing the stuff you post.
So spend some money on FB ads, target people in your area within a 50 or100 mile radius, maybe even more and put your stuff in front of them, because there are people out there who want to shoot with you and they have no idea that you even exist! So, YES, you gotta spend some money on FB ads, and its scary, but if you do a FB ad, and you spend $100 bucks per week on it (and yes, that number freaked me out when I started too, but stay with me for a sec!). $100 bucks per week, that’s 400 bucks per month...but what if you get ONE client from running that ad. Now PLEASE tell me you are priced properly, so you can make more than $400 bucks per client…. and if you are not, then we need to talk! Ok?
In fact, I am opening up my pricing bootcamp for portrait photographers again soon. This is a 5 day bootcamp, but less than 60 mins per day, and I will change the way you think about how you are priced! By the end of the 5 days, you will have a new profitable price list that will make it easy for clients to spend money with you, without confusing or elaborate packages.
Oh, and did I mention it's FREE? Now there's nothing to stop you to from changing your situation from struggling to thriving!
Ok, so back to FB ads. For me, my average sale per client is close to $5k, so it would make sense for me to spend $5k per month on FB ads, getting in front of people who would otherwise never have found me, because I know I a going to get at least one client, so I will make that back on that ONE CLIENT.
But probably I will get more than one client, AT SOME POINT. So even if I don’t get more booked that month, I will for sure get people added to my social media platforms and my email list, who are now part of my world, and they are gonna get to know me, and eventually, hopefully they will book with me.
So you tell me- is it worth it to spend $5k dollars a month on FB ads….ummm yeah it is!!
We are in a really great time right now, because only a few short years ago, you, as a small business owner could not reach that many people that easily and that inexpensively — you couldn’t get yourself in front of people because it was literally so so expensive, and only big huge corporations could afford to advertise.
With FB ads you can get in front of YOUR IDEAL CLIENT… and isn’t that what you want as a business owner?
If you don’t know how to run or even start with FB ads, I did an interview on the podcast with a friend of mine, Easton Reynolds, he is the FB MASTER. It’s episode 11, if you want to have a listen to that.
Easton has a course especially for photographers on how to run FB ads. This is the course I bought and used to learn ads, and you can grab it HERE. The course is called the Art of 6 Figures.
I hope this post has helped you think differently about spending money in your business. And remember, I would love to have you join me in the next pricing bootcamp, just CLICK HERE to see if it's open (or join the waitlist for the next one coming soon!)