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I Want To Break Free! - part 2 of 1 2 3 4

Published 01/12/2013

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Couldn't Believe It!

My pictures had always been good enough, I just hadn't known the right way to market and sell them.

Since then we have grown, had several ups and downs (nearly went bust in 1995 because I didn't watch my costs), but now consistently sell around £230,000 each year, just on portraiture.
vNo weddings, no commercial, just portraits. Unusually, we also trade from an industrial unit, right in the country five miles outside Chester and surrounded by fields, so no walk-in trade at all!

We do have loads of space (2,000 sq ft) and at a very reasonable rent.

This means we can keep costs down and quality up with all production brought in-house. It also forces us to be pro-active in our marketing, as every business should be. More of all that later!

So, we generate and shoot between £4,000 and £5,000 worth of portraiture every week from an industrial unit miles out of town and surrounded by fields.

What this all means, of course, is: If We Can Do It, You Can Do It! An Interesting Thought to Ponder!

Imagine for a minute that, instead of being a passionate photographer, you are simply looking for a product to sell from which you could generate a meaningful income, so a decent profit.

You would want to sell something: That can be run as a one man business, at least initially, with low start-up costs; That is generally in demand so can be marketed economically; That is inexpensive to produce and simple to make, but has a high perceived value, so a good profit margin;

That is emotive so is easier to sell.

PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITURE
TICKS ALL THESE BOXES!

What is Your Business, Any Business?

A THREE-LEGGED STOOL!

Almost all of us who would like to make an income from our photography, me included, completely underestimate the complexity and range of skills needed to run a business.
vI quickly found out that the photography is the easy bit!

But there is hope!
vThe KISS Principle
v(Keep it Straightforward and Simple) will see you through! Running a business can be complex, with many things that you, as the owner, need to keep an eye on all at the same time: from marketing through production to sales and all the underlying numbers that will give you the heads-up if things are on course or slipping a bit and so need attention. So, you need to keep it straightforward and reduce this complex interaction to a simple model you can keep with you at all times.


The Overview:

The easiest way to visualise your potential business is as though it was an old fashioned three-legged old milking stool!*
vLeg One: Product You have to have something people will want to buy.

As you have seen, portraiture is about as strong a product as you could wish for when setting up your own business. In a future article we will cover efficient shooting and workflow regimes with examples of shots that always sell.

Leg Two: Marketing It is no good having a great product if no one knows you have got it!

This is where marketing comes in. There are only a limited number of effective ways to bring people to your door and I will be covering these.
vLeg Three: Sales

Now you have loads of clients coming to your door and loving your work BUT, unless you sell to them at the right price and in the right way, you won't make any money and will not survive!

Photographers are notorious for undervaluing what they do (perhaps because they so enjoy taking pictures and find it easy) and so, very often charge ridiculous, unsustainably low, prices for their work. I will show you how to avoid this.


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1st Published 01/12/2013
last update 06/11/2019 11:09:02

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