Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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Are you trying to take your business to the next level by becoming a full time photographer? Today we’ll be talking about what next steps you need to take to do that.
My decision in becoming a full time photographer happened when I was a middle school teacher. I was truly mesmerized with making photography my full time career. Growing up I didn’t have entrepreneurs in my family. We had your typical go to college, get a degree, get your 9-5 job. That was the story that played on repeat for me and I thought it was my only option.
My lightbulb moment was when I listened to a webinar by Amy and Jordan Demos. They were former teachers sharing their story of how they were able to leave and go full time in photography. So I felt like if they did it maybe I could too. From there I just hit the ground running. I had the mindset that I was going to do whatever it takes. Along with the need to get out of the classroom because I did not love it and did not feel supported.
Many of you can’t afford to just be making no income. So that’s why we have to consider going full time in photography very carefully. It is 1,000% possible. I’ve done it, I’ve seen friends do it, and it’s what I’ve coached since 2019. I have helped people leave their 9-5 jobs and do photography full time. It is definitely possible. But I don’t want you to take the leap without setting yourself up for success. That is the quickest way to burn out and the fastest way to failure. So I’m going to share with you how I would go full time in photography right now in real time.
So many of you are just winging it in your photography business. You’re crossing your fingers and hoping to get bookings. But you’re not really doing anything to support those bookings. So because of that your business feels like a roller coaster all the time. A business has its natural ups and downs but it doesn’t have to feel like a roller coaster. So you have to make a plan on how you’re going to increase your bookings. How are you going to handle your clientele? What’s the best marketing strategy for your business? And how can you create a profitable sustaining photography business that is going to support your family?
Here’s how I would do this now. First off you need to commit. And then you need to make a plan. Inside of those two things is where all of the work happens. If you’re truly committed to becoming a full time photographer then you need to identify two things.
Once you can identify those things then we get to create the plan and the roadmap for you.
I could be here for hours and hours if I went through every little step. Because basically what you want to do next is a business audit. Figure out where your holes are, what you don’t have set up, where you might be losing people. There is so much that oges into this. When I do work with photographers this is where we literally get in there and rip your business apart. Because every single photographer is different. You all have different timelines, goals, and needs. So to tailor a custom plan you truly need a coach in your corner.
Once you have that timeline and know the profit you need then you can do a deep dive. Really get real with yourself. What are you missing? Is anything going well or not going well? What is your biggest struggle? Your biggest win? What makes you different from other photographers in your area? Then that is when you start digging into creating a marketing strategy, a solid booking process, and a brand identity. Have the entire client experience crafted out. That will help you with client retention, referrals, and word of mouth. Everything builds on each other.
I would not ever make this jump without making sure you have three to six months of your bills covered. Create a financial cushion for yourself because photography does ebb and flow. While we can definitely work you up to consistent bookings, you’ll still have a slow month here and there. Even I still have slow months from time to time. But I’m still usually hitting my booking goals no matter what. So be sure to set yourself up for financial success. If you take the leap with zero cushion to save you then you’re going to feel really pressured. That could lead to taking bookings out of desperation and people can smell desperation from a mile away. Don’t be that photographer, it’s not a good look on you.
So make sure that you are saving up three to six months worth. Do a financial deep dive, figure out what you’re responsible for and figure out a budget if you haven’t already. The way that I teach my students is that we typically have two numbers that we shoot for. There’s a survive number and a thrive number. The survive number means that you are coasting. You’re making just enough to cover your personal bills and your business bills with a little tiny bit left over. But that’s your survive number, your minimum. Then you have a thrive number. This is the number that covers all of your bills and allows you to have a profit.
So when you decide to come into the Blueprint program this is where we will go in depth. We’ll sit down and figure all of that out for you.
The other thing is that you want to make sure you’re running a legal photography business. An LLC is recommended and eventually you all need to get there. But I do want to help you breathe a sigh of relief. If you’re not an LLC yet then you are automatically a sole proprietor. This means you still need to show your photography income during tax time. But you do need to plan to get registered as an LLC in the future. You need to make sure you have everything legal in your business.
As you all know, times have changed drastically. The pandemic was the biggest thing that I can think of that shifted the way the world sees things. Now people don’t feel safe enough to plan things out in advance. So they’re now doing shorter term planning which is why many of you are struggling with last minute bookings. I just want you to know that this is normal right now. So unless you’re a wedding, event, or birth/newborn photographer it may be difficult.
I just want to give you the sigh of relief and the reality that you need. If you can start booking three to four months in advance you’re doing really well. From right now looking at your calendar to about three to four months from now. I’m not saying it’s not possible to go further. But right now it’s typically normal to see a few months in advance and not too far past that.
The last thing I want to let you know about is that my Blueprint program has been restructured. Maybe you heard about it in 2020, 2021, or 2022. But it has since been restructured in 2023 to where it is going to be the accountability that you need. You’re going to get a one on one call with me. And then you’ll have the opportunity to see me once a week and dive into your business. We restructured it because we realized that photographers don’t just need a DIY course. You need more than a place where you can watch a lesson and then implement it. What you need is the hand holding and the accountability. You need a place to go for the mindset help when it’s rough. When you have questions every single week in your business. So I redesigned my Blueprint program to be that for you.
If that is something you’re interested in then come schedule a call with me. Go to www.brookejefferson.com/blueprint and you’ll see a button to book a 30 minute free call with me. We’re going to have a conversation about your goals and what that roadmap looks like for you. Then we’re going to see if the Blueprint program is a good fit for you. If you aren’t able to make it to any of the times available then shoot me an email at email@example.com. Let me know and I’m more than happy to look at other times for you.
I hope that gave you some practical tips for how to transition your photography business into a full time career. You know where to find me, I’ll see you in the Facebook group.
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