Today, let’s pretend that you and I are having a conversation. Maybe we’re at a local coffee shop and your drinking coffee or having a cup of tea like me. It could even be happy hour and you have a whiskey and coke in hand. Either way, I’m so excited to chat about going full time in your business. Today, I’m specifically going to be speaking to you as if you are creating your exit plan, so you can leaving your career and build your full time photography business.
I want to take you back a few years ago to when I was, like you, exploring the idea of going full time in my photography business. I wanted to see if it was really possible. At the time, I was teaching middle school, and let’s be honest, I was more than miserable. I knew it was possible, because I was listening to podcasts, reading books and seeing post everywhere about other people doing exactly that. I simply didn’t believe in myself at first. The more I explored the idea, the more I began to create my exit plan, up my marketing game and uplevel my business. It all started to come together.
I want to walk you through the process that I took to leave my job, so I’m sharing the technical ins and outs with you. Here’s a little overview of the process:
Now, let’s dive into each step on a deeper level:
To get started, you need to make the decision wholeheartedly and with faith that you are going to go full time in your photography business and leave your career. This is going to look different for every single one of you. When I started to make a plan of going full time, I looked at a ton of different factors starting with how many clients I needed to match my teaching salary. I can’t guarantee you a plan that is going to keep you booking clients all the time, but I can share the strategies that have worked for me and many other photographers. In the end, you have to have your own customized plan and there is no guaranteed income at all.
Today, I want to share some things that will help you make this exit plan and get you on the path of leaving a place where you’re not happy to give you that lifestyle you’re looking for. It’s gonna take work, faith, and strategy. If you’re willing and truly committed, you can make this work for you! Within five years, you can be running a full time profitable photography business.
You have to be working on your photography business while you’re working full time job, because you’ve got to get everything set up. For me, I wanted to know that by the time I left, I had consistent clientele. The first thing I want you to start doing is start tracking how many inquiries you getting are getting each month. You’re gonna have to be really diligent with this one. Track every Facebook message, email, contact form submission, etc. At the end of 30 days, look back and see how many people inquired with you.
Then, the next thing to track is how many people book with you. You’ll track this for about three to six months. At the end of six months, take a look back and average it up. Then, you can compare it to your exit plan goal. How many bookings did you say that you needed in order to match your month’s salary? Once you are able to get enough bookings each month, you’re going to get a little more confidence.
So, how in the world do you manage to work a full time job and take on sessions? Here’s the honest answer… It takes hustle and grit. You have to remember that this is just a season. Remember, seasons come and go. For me when I worked a full time job and a full time photography business, I worked a lot. I had to work a lot in order to make it happen. But once I did, that season was gone and I was able to leave my full time job to focus on my photography business full time. It was totally worth it! It’s gonna look like sacrifice, so you just have to decide for you and your family if it is worth it.
Before ever leaving your job, you need to make sure that you have a legal business. So, what does being a legal business really mean? There are several resources you can easily find that give you step by step what you need to do to become legal, but you definitely need to consider becoming an LLC or sole proprietor. There’s a couple episodes on the podcast where we talk about legal things, so please go check those out HERE.
Being a legal business is simply just a protection for you and your clients. This will ensure you’re operating legally and are able to avoid big fees. Don’t let being legal in your business scare you. I promise you it is not as scary as you may think.
How do you make sure you have enough clientele? First of all, you’ve got to look at your marketing strategy. I touch on these in The Blueprint Program and in my Social Media Course. Both of those are great places to start! So, how is your current marketing strategy? Are you talking about your business on a regular basis and operating like a professional or are you making it sound like you just do photography on the side?
When you start treating your business like a full time professional business, your clients are going to also treat it that way. Making that mental shift will give you a whole new respect for your business and people will see the difference. Include your audience, previous clients and any future clients in your journey. They will absolutely cheer you on and it also makes people see how serious you are about your business.
If you’re serious about leaving your job and you really want to increase your strategy to make sure all of your I’s are dotted and all of your T’s are crossed, then you need to make plans to join The Blueprint Program. It’s going to help you secure a plan to go full time and be your buffet of knowledge with lifetime access.
Want to hear even more tips on how to leave your career and go full time in your photography business? Then, head over to the Book More Clients podcast. You can also find the podcast on iTunes and Spotify.
Ready to hear the full story of how I left my full time job as a teacher? You can listen to that here.
Don’t forget to join my community of photographers for a safe place to ask questions, share your wins and connect with other awesome photogs — Social Selling for Photographers and connect with me on Instagram!