So, you’ve started your business. You’ve gotten all the appropriate licenses, filed your business with the state, opened up a business checking account. Now what? The number one question I get, after all those logistics of running a real business are out of the way, is how do I find clients?
You first have to figure out how you define your ideal clients.
What I mean is, in your mind what would a perfect client look like to you? My ideal clients are not just clients. They are families who trust my vision for our session, hire me because they want something different, and respect my pricing.
Another step is figuring out what your style is. When I first began my business, I was still so confused on what I wanted my business to look like. No, I don’t mean which logo I wanted. I’m talking about the style of photography I wanted to create. Why is that important? Because clients are going to have an expectation to what is being shown on your social media, website, and emails. Don’t show what you don’t want to create for future sessions. Example: You love lifestyle photography, but only show very posed sessions? That only confuses future families.
After all those nitty gritty details are ironed out, here are some steps you can take today to find those clients.
* Photograph something ever single day. My business completely changed after my 365 project. Why? I think it was due to my future clients really getting to see who I was. By doing a project like that, it forces you to not only think outside the box, but to show that beauty can be documented in the ordinary mundane tasks of life. Every time I would post an image for the day, clients got to see a little more inside our lives. They began to know us, to learn our struggles, our triumphs, and our joy. I know that I would much rather go to a professional that I felt I had a connection to.
* Be confident in your pricing. No one else knows what it takes to run your business. No one knows how much it has cost for your equipment, your taxes, your website, your cost of goods…but here’s the kicker…you have to educate your clients. How? By teaching them through your work, posts, blog shares, and captions of images what it took to create that image. No, I don’t mean “Just to produce this image it cost…” I mean explaining that although you may seem more expensive than others, there is a reason and that shows through your work. It means that when a new clients asks you if you have any cheaper options, you stay strong in knowing you are worth it. The fastest way to get burn out in this business is to not be valued which includes your pricing.
Side note: Do you actually know what it costs to run your business? If you don’t…now is the time to crunch some numbers. How can you expect to know what you want to charge if you have no idea of those numbers?
* Connect with a like minded photography community. There is nothing better than finding a group of professionals that you can not only bounce ideas off of, but can give you solid advice. There are so so so many FB groups dedicated to just that, but I have found that if you can find a local tribe, it’s even better. They know the market here, they know what is working in our area and what’s not, and they have the power to refer clients to you and visa versa. The Rising Tide community is a GREAT place to start. They have groups everywhere and the connections and friendships I’ve made with that group has been a huge backbone in my business. Bonus: they usually meet in person once a month in your own community so you can really have connections to each other.
*Lastly I want to challenge you to be exactly who you are. Do you love photographing just animals? Then do that. Want to photograph just families? Go for it. I know back when I first started this business I took every session I could get my hands on, and that’s ok because I not only needed the practice, I needed to build those relationships. Looking back though I wish I would have stayed a little truer to what I loved. You can see it in my work. You can literally see when the change happened. If you’re photographing what your heart adores, it will show in your photography and clients will feel that.
A few little business tidbits I want to add.
*If you have not started an email list, now is the time. What if social media was wiped out tomorrow? How would your business survive?
*Are you active on social media? I know, I know, it’s a love/hate relationship, but that’s our world so make sure you’re not only posting often, but engaging the comments, questions, and love you’re getting.
*Clickinmoms ClickPhotoSchool is getting ready to run another class called The Profitable Photographer and I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things from it. The classes I’ve taken from this community have been amazing!!!