How I Went From Unemployed to Six-Figure Photographer in a Year

PIN - Unemployed to SixfigureAfter just over a year in business with my photography studio, I had hit the six-figure per year mark. By year three, my photography studio was doing well into multiple-six-figures per year.

It had grown to the point where my wife was able to quit her full-time nursing job in order to join the business as the studio saleswoman, and spend more time with our kids.

What would having a six-figure photography studio of your own allow you to do?

A couple days ago, I posted a common question that just about every hobby photography has run through their mind at some point; “will I ever really get my photography business started?”

Many hobby photographers dream of being able to quit their full-time jobs and support their family from their passion business, but unfortunately, many never make it to that point.

I talked about my own experience with this question, and how losing my job 18 years ago put my back against the wall and gave me the push I needed to jump in and finally get my business started.

I also asked what YOU would do in that situation – “what would you do first to get your business started ASAP?”

You left some great answers in the comments!

Hopefully, you won’t have to go through losing a job in order to find that push to get started…

…But, the situation did force me to learn a lot about what to do and what NOT to do in order to run a successful business.

Today, I want to pull back the curtain and give you my own answer to that question.

So, here are the big revelations that took me from unemployed to six-figure photography business owner in just over a year, and that put me on the path to where I am today.

Suddenly unemployed, I realized that I needed to focus on only the most important tasks

When still in the hobby phase of your photography career, it’s really easy to get caught up in all the “faux business” activities. Getting a business card made, spending hours upon hours trying to put a website together, and stressing over logo designs are all examples of this.

What do they all have in common? They will not contribute to bringing in a single penny for your brand new business.

That was the biggest revelation for me at that point, and it’s one that I can’t stress enough to anyone at that stage.

How can you fix this problem?

  • What activities have you heard that you need to do in order to start your business? Write them down. Then ask yourself, “will this activity help me bring in a client or bring in revenue?” if the answer is no, skip it!!
  • Laser-focus in on the tasks that will bring in your first customers. Yes – these are usually the scariest ones or the ones that we are most likely to push down to the bottom of the list over and over, like reaching out to local businesses or asking for referrals.

Once I had my first clients booked, the second revelation hit:

I was not going to be able to support my family if I didn’t sell premium services at premium prices.

Honestly, selling your work and setting prices for its worth can be very difficult at first. It can feel like you’re putting a price tag on your own worth, and it forces to you evaluate your own skill and confidence levels.

This has got to be one of the big reasons why so many hobby photographers fail to make a living from their work…

…If you undervalue your work and price yourself too low, you will end up on a treadmill of trying to bring in enough low-end clients to pay low-end prices.

I didn’t want that. Yes, I wanted to bring in money as quickly as possible, but I also wanted to set myself up to work with premium clients on my own schedule.

How can you fix this problem?

  • Don’t sell yourself short. I’ve talked about this in previous articles, but setting your prices at a moderate to premium rate means you have to bring in less clients in order to make more money.
  • Have faith in your abilities. If you have honestly done the research and practice required to hone your skills, you have no reason not to charge for the work that you offer.

The overall keys to this success

All in all, everything I learned came down to practicing four key things:

  1. Confidence in my skill and my work
  2. Trust that my hard work would pay off
  3. Will to face my fears and doing what it took to bring in my first clients
  4. Focus on what’s important

I really believe that if you’re able to hone in on these four things, you will be able to create a successful photography business.

It wasn’t some special magic or huge amount of money that lead to the success of my business. I got here the same way most successful photographers have; trial, error, and hard work!

I feel lucky to be able to say that I’ve experienced the benefits of owning my own photography business.

I get to do what I love on a daily basis.

I have the freedom to work the hours I choose, and I can even work from home if I want.

It allows me to bring joy and even some tears to hundreds of clients each year.

Now, it’s your turn!

I want you to be able to experience the same pleasures of having a successful photography career that you love.

I know there is plenty of conflicting information out there on how to get a business started scattered all over the internet, but I don’t want you to have to sort through all of that information in order to figure out what may or may not work.

I’ve been there- I know just how overwhelming that can be!

This is YOUR time now. Over the next couple of weeks, I want to make it easier than ever for you to find all of the information and tools you need to get started, more quickly and more easily than ever before, all in one place.

But first, I want to hear your thoughts!…

…In the comments below, please write any question(s) you have about getting your photography business started. Let me know what you’d like us to write about!

I’ll be here to write back to your comments.

I’ll also be back in a couple of days with more!