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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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Congratulations, you’ve made it through busy season!! Now, what to do during your slow season…
If you’re anything like me, you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, and now you’re starting to feel a little bit ‘off’. You’re a little worried, a little scared and quite frankly you’ve got this pit in your stomach of “now what?!”.
Today, we’re going to dive deep into our slow season & what to do during this well-deserved downtime.
I know what it feels like to come out of this busy season. As crazy as it was, we were thankful to have the revenue flowing in, having all the things to do and having the feeling of owning a legitimate, amazing business. Then, all of a sudden, we hit this wall when slow season approaches, right?
I remember this season.
I haven’t always been consistent through the slow season, honestly, until just a few years ago. It took me a while to find ways to prep for slow season and use that season to get creative.
I want to encourage you to not freak out. Don’t freak out, there’s no reason to do that.
I don’t think that slow season is a bad thing. I think it is a great opportunity for us to get creative and also to take a break. We all have to take a few breaks.
You need a break, you do! You just don’t want to admit that you need one; you’re too scared to slow down and take a break because you’re worried that you’re going to lose the consistency, and that you’re going to have to start all over on building the momentum up in your business again.
That’s not true. In fact, I think that by taking a break, even if it’s only for a couple of weeks, before you start trying to ramp up your business again, you’re going to come back more fueled than you’ve ever been. You’re going to be able to avoid burnout. You’re going to come back with fresh, new creative ideas that are going to have you naturally excited about your business again. So, I recommend the very first thing you do is: honor your slow season and you give yourself a well-deserved break.
We have to find ways to prepare for a slow season so that we aren’t surprised by it.
I want you to start getting creative, find ways that you can make more revenue in a different month.
If you know that no matter what, December & January are your slowest months of the year, I want you to ask yourself this question: “what can I do in October & November to help prepare to cover the revenue I would be getting in December in January if things didn’t slow down?”
Slow season is going to happen at some point for every single one of us in our business, okay? At some point, if you’re slow season isn’t in the winter, or you’re one of my amazing photographers in another part of the world and winter is not December & January for you, you’re still going to experience a slow season at some point, it’s going to happen.
That’s entrepreneurship, it is never going to be truly consistent throughout the year, however, I want you to be prepared and I don’t want you to freak out over what happens when everything seemingly comes to a halt. My hope is that nothing ever has to come to a complete halt where you aren’t bringing in any income.
My hope is that you are able to set yourself up for success during the slow season.
Prepare for your slow seasons, find something that you can do. Maybe in a normal month you take eight sessions, but on the month before you know you’re going to have a slower month, I want you to see if you can double up. Can you take more sessions in one month than you normally do? This isn’t going to be your normal moving forward, of course, but this is what you’re going to do to help your income for the month that you know is going to be slower than normal.
What to do during your slow season to specifically focus on revenue building.
There are different kinds of revenue that come through your photography business month to month.
All of these count toward your monthly revenue; to prep for slow season & to continue generating revenue during slow season, you’ve got to get creative with these things.
Here are a few examples on what this looks like…
You could send out your dresses to other photographers or to clients in your area for certain things. For example, I live near a military base, and there are constantly events happening during the holiday season; a lot of them are going to galas or fundraising events, or they’re going to their spouse’s squadron Christmas party. Can you create revenue by renting your client closet out?
Just like you rent out your client closet, you can also rent out your studio space & any photography props you may have. Think about those moms looking for places to host birthday parties, or those that are needing a smaller venue for a Christmas party.
What to do during your slow season to create revenue that is still tied to your business. You have to think outside of the box. It’s all about getting creative & thinking outside of the box; if it’s cold where you are & no one is going to come out for a photography session with feet of snow on the ground, can you rent an Airbnb & do a specific style shoot there? Christmas cookie decorating, Christmas minis, lifestyle, etc.
The key to this is simple: you have to create urgency for your clients.
Don’t let slow season mess with your mind. So many times I hear “it’s winter, no one is going to book with me at all”, and not only are you coming off the burnout that busy season creates for us, you’re now starting to doubt yourself because you feel like if you’re not constantly shooting sessions, you’re failing. It’s a big spiral. I don’t want this for you.
Let slow season motivate you. Use it as a place to tap into your creative side and figure out a way to bring in revenue despite it being your slow season.
I’m not saying that slow season is going to bring in the same amount of revenue as your “normal” season, but it should definitely bring in more than $0 of profit.
The last thing that I want to cover is this:
I want you to take the time during your slow season to do a complete overhaul of your business.
Do you like everything that’s happening? Are there offers that you loved & that you want to continue offering? Are there offers that you’re starting to not enjoy? Do you have a package that you offered that wasn’t very successful? Maybe it’s not serving you or your clients and you need to remove it? Do you want to make your client process better?
Do you want to take your business to the next level? Then, do it!
I think slow season is the perfect time to invest in your business; to find a mentor, to attend a workshop, find a program like the From Broke to Booked Blueprint maybe try some new session types.
And, maybe you’re just going to take a break to do nothing. That’s totally up to you.
Slow season doesn’t need to mean that you are going to just put your business on pause or you’re going to quit.
Do you want more details on what to do during your slow season? Tune into the Book More Clients Photography Podcast.
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