Tough Love for Freelance Photographers
Every freelancer goes through periods in their career when they may need tough love to pick them back up. If you’ve fallen into a rut in your business, take a look into some of the potential reasons for that. These are some little reminders for freelance photographers to help grow and stabilize their business.
As a creative freelancer, it is so important to take every step to make your business a legal, legitimate operation. This means choosing a proper business structure (LLCs, sole proprietorship, etc.) first and foremost, and any necessary DBAs. It also means getting a business license, seller’s permit, EIN and any other important documents. And finally, the big one, it means doing proper taxes on your freelance income. It’s easy to start out freelancing doing cash work and keeping it all, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. It’s better to keep it legit and not have to worry about compromising your business down the line. Maybe you’ve got your business set up as a legitimate business, but the accounting end of it is draining your creative energy. Look into investing in a CPA if you need to take this off your plate.
Your marketing does matter. Whether or not you went to college for a photography BFA, it’s likely that unless you studied business and marketing that you did not focus your studies on marketing your business. The way you brand yourself and your business does matter, and marketing is what will keep your business running. This doesn’t just mean social media marketing, but your client experience, promotional materials and overall brand definition. Letting your marketing fall by the wayside means you’re losing leads.
When you’re getting steady freelance work and making a good living, it’s hard to want to give some of that up to reinvest in your business. But investing in your own business is what keeps your business growing. Whether that means equipment, assistants, or marketing and advertising, continuing to invest in your business will support continuous growth. As a photographer, there are countless ways to keep investing in your business to maximize both client acquisition and client retention.
In any business, there is a good bit of weight put on who you know. This is absolutely true in the photography industry, regardless of your niche. If it’s fashion photography, you need to be connecting with studios, stylists, agencies, and every person in between. If you’re in wedding photography, your vendor and client connections are major lead generators.
I hope this tough love for freelance photographers was helpful if you’re finding yourself in a rut. These are easy notions to let fall by the wayside when you are out there hustling and trying to make your business work. At the end of the day, success is the goal and success is what you make of it.