Join Skip Cohen for an in-depth discussion in this video What are your goals?, part of Running a Photography Business: Pricing Your Work.
- So, let's start by defining your goals. First of all, you've got to decide what is success for you? What's most important? Now, right off the bat, everybody always thinks it's money, and I can tell you right now, the younger you are in terms of starting this new part of your career, the more money is going to define your success. Now, I'm also going to tell you that there's something here that I wish I had known when I was younger, and it does happen. As you get older, you hopefully become a little wiser and you start to realize that it's not so much money, or even your lifestyle.
It's a matter of waking up every morning with a smile on your face. And right now today, I think I'm the most successful I've ever been, because I'm excited about what I do for a living. I'm excited about this business, I'm excited about new technology, I'm excited about new things that I'm learning every day in communication, in social media. Now, another part of keeping your heart in it and being excited relates to recognition. This could be related, for example, to entering prints in print competition through one of the associations, and scoring well.
It could relate to being involved in your community and getting some kind of recognition for something you've been doing. It can relate to publicity and having something you're doing actually mentioned in a newspaper or magazine or online article. So, recognition also becomes part of your definition of success and part of your goals. In addition to that, there's a level of personal satisfaction that I feel is the common denominator between so many of the greatest photographers in the world, and many of them I've had a chance to work with.
I'll give you a great example within the wedding category. There are a couple photographers I know who have told me stories about photographing a wedding and a week or two later after they've delivered, after the bride and groom have seen the proofs, or the mother of the bride, the family has seen them, they've gotten a gift of some kind of fruit basket, or a bottle of champagne or something, thanking them, or flowers, thanking them for their service. When you start to get that kind of feedback, that's the kind of feedback that really starts to make you feel excited, because you're getting this level of satisfaction and feedback from your clients.
You know that you've done the best job you can and when you get that feedback, it just gives you a level of personal satisfaction. It keeps you going into the next job, and the next job, and the next job, as you start to build a stronger reputation within your community. One more area to talk about in terms of your goals is long term versus short term goals. Now, one of the things I'd love for you to do, you don't have to do it now, unless you want to hit the pause button, but take the time after you've gone through this class, and think about your long term goal, and let's just make your long term goal five years from now.
We don't need to go out very far. So, five years from now would be a long term goal. What do you want your business to look like? What do you think that your mix of photography assignments might be? If your goal is to become a children and family photographer, what do you think the mix might be between children versus family? How often do you want to be photographing people within your community? What kind of work do you want to do to be able to get that work out there? In terms of social media, what do you want to share? What's your website look like, your blog? And then let's look at short term.
Short term, in my mind, is what do you want the next six months to be? Now, with both long term and short term, I want you to draw a timeline and set some benchmarks for yourself, and then pay attention to that, and every morning when you sit down at the computer, or you walk into your home studio, or if you're lucky enough to have some retail space and have a real studio, take a look at that timeline, and look at, alright, what things do I want to accomplish over the next 30 days, and the next 30 days, and the next 30 days? Because as you hit each of those benchmarks, each benchmark is a doorway.
It's a gateway to the next series of things that you've decided, or you hope you can make that are going to help you build your goals more and build a stronger business, and it's just like putting down the bricks in a foundation for a house or a building. You're going to do it one brick at a time and at the end of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, you're going to have that nice little foundation there of things that you're building on from your skill set to the way you're paying attention to revenue, to things that you're getting ready to sell, to the way you're letting the community know that you're out there and in business.
- Understanding revenue
- Looking at target demographics
- Understanding your target audience
- Identifying your real costs
- Deciding which products and services to offer
- Pricing your products
- Working with key suppliers
- Controlling your costs