Motherhood photography (maternity, newborn, and family) is one of those things that feels like the perfect way to make some quick money UNTIL you realize how much TIME goes into running the business side of things and how little you actually take home after paying for all of the gear, subscriptions, insurance, gas, client prep guides, your website, gifts, props and allllll the things. Today I am sharing the key to running a profitable photography business that focuses on motherhood, family and newborn sessions.
Maybe you can relate?
Four, I found myself sitting in my living room after a quick chat with my accountant at the end of the calendar year. He had just finished running my numbers and it was the first time I had realized that even though I worked basically every night and weekend, hustling around to different shooting locations and editing late at night after I had put my baby to bed, I actually barely came away with any profit, or worse- maybe I hadn’t profited at all.
What I didn’t know then was THE key to running a PROFITABLE photography business… Had I known about this sooner? I would have prevented a year and a half worth of frustration from burning the candle at both ends while barely making a dime.
The key to running a profitable photography business is… drumroll please… KNOWING your numbers.
I know what you’re thinking… it can’t really be that easy?! But hear me out!
My first point (the obvious one that you probably didn’t think of):
It will quite literally be impossible to run a business that comes out ahead at the end of the year if you aren’t even AWARE of what you need to bring in to break even. Listing out all of your expenses might sound tedious and time consuming. But seriously- how will you know what it costs you to stay afloat if you don’t write it out? I am someone who does my taxes side by side with my accountant so I KNOW my numbers. I keep a huge spreadsheet of every single dollar that comes in or out of my business. If you don’t have any clue exactly what you spent last year to run your business, it isn’t likely that you’ll just get lucky and book the exact amount of sessions needed to meet your desired profit.
My second point, and probably the more important of the two, is…
HOW are you going to feel confident in what you’re charging if it feels like you’re just pulling numbers out of thin air? Or worse, looking at what other local photographers charge as your pricing compass… (remember that a lot of photographers go out of business really quickly so you wouldn’t want to blindly model after a business that is about to go under).
Your clients want to work with you because they love you. And they want to work with you YEAR AFTER YEAR. How will they continue to work with you if you aren’t able to keep your business afloat?! If you don’t learn to run a profitable business, you will likely end up in a high volume, low service type of situation. Not only does this approach burn you out, but it makes your ability to serve your clients extremely limited. You only have so much capacity and if you are over-booked, the burnout and lack of time will show in the experience you are providing to your clients. Learn your numbers now so you can SERVE them… like really serve them! And for years to come!
If you haven’t already, head over to my free resource to see how I recommend calculating your costs (+ two other great tips to get you started on attracting dream clients!)
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