I’m boutta take ya’ll to biz CHURCH when it comes to photography business investments. You ready!?
That’s how much I’ve spent on just my photography education so far over the last five years, without a dime of debt. That was my money; the money I earned from sessions that I poured straight back into my business. I didn’t buy clothes, or makeup, or concert tickets or any other material stuff – I invested in straight into things that would grow my business and take me to where I wanted to be.
I was just a college student with a dream bigger than climbing up a corporate ladder. A girl who believed deep down that there was a calling for her outside of a cubicle.
I went to college, and have a degree. But while I was in college, I was hustlin’ to grow the photography business of my dreams.
Some people look at that number and CRINGE. They can’t imagine spending that much money on anything, let alone something that they don’t know for sure will get them a return on investment.
But you know what? I believe in myself SO much that I’m willing to put money into my education, never “knowing” whether or not I’m going to get it back, but BELIEVING that I will. And guess what? I do. 👏🏼
You can only play small for so long.
You can only DIY and freebie it for so long before you realize you’re not really gaining any traction, and need an expert to pull the curtain back on YOUR business and fix what’s not working – saving you time… and MAKING YOU MONEY.
The truth is, you’ll get more out of ONE paid hour with an expert than out of 1,000 freebies, (especially if they just stack up in your downloads folder – never to be worked through. Been there, got that t-shirt.)
I recently paid over $500 for just one hour of an experts time. 60 minutes. Just to pick her brain. Some people think I’m crazy, but I see what it takes to scale a business to 5-figure months and 6-7 figure years. And you know what it doesn’t take? Downloading 1 billion freebies and going down 4,738 rabbit holes of time-sucking, non-profitable tasks.
YUP. We’re goin’ there today friends.
If you really want to grow, it takes putting your money where your mouth is and investing in people who have DONE, or are DOING, what you WANT to do.
I’m not saying you have to drop thousands on private coaching or a biz manager, (though that’s probably not a bad idea if you can afford it,) I just mean you need to be willing to allow yourself to level up.
What’s stopping you from investing in yourself? You’ve heard it time and time again, “if you won’t invest in your business, how can you expect others to?” 🤔
… Is it because you don’t actually believe in yourself enough to?
… Or because you’re scared of being successful, and what that would actually look like?
… Or you’re afraid to put yourself out there?
Friends, those are things that mentors and biz coaches will pull you THROUGH, and they’ll help you not only grow as a person and a business owner, but they’ll help you make the money you need to feel confident to strut your dang stuff!
I’ve done the investing (and I’ll continue to,) and that’s why I’m where I am and can do what I do.
I’m now at a place where I can show up whole-heartedly, and serve people to the best of my ability with my expertise – and KNOW that a) my photography clients will receive incredible, one-of-a-kind images that stand out from everyone else’s, and b) my mentoring clients businesses’ will change for the ab-so-lute better. 👏🏼
Now, you can either take these suggestions or leave ‘em – but I’m gonna fill you in on the best photography business investments I’ve made over the last five years. Let’s do this!
The Best Investments I’ve Made For My Photography Business:
1. Online education.
I can’t stress the value of prioritizing education investments enough. When I first started, I knew this was the way to truly next-level, and I’ve invested in so many courses throughout the last five years that have taught me so much about running a successful photography business. To name a few, (that are most applicable to photography,) I’ve taken Jenna Kutcher’s “The Photo Lab,” “The Pinterest Lab” and “The List to Launch Lab,” and Ashlyn Carter’s “Copywriting for Creatives,” as well as Sue Bryce’s monthly membership, and tons of classes on CreativeLive! That’s not to mention the billions of other small classes here and there from other photographers, but there’s way too many to name!
Point is, investing in education online (if you can’t afford it in person or at a workshop,) is so dang helpful. However, there are some pro’s and con’s though, so let me list that out for you!
When considering an online course to help you grow/market/book up your business, (so not the technical side of photography, like shooting or editing,) keep in mind these can sometimes be generalized and may not offer information specific enough to YOUR business. Chances are the material has been made to be more general and “one size fits all,” so don’t be shocked if the results only get you so far. However, online courses are usually cheaper than working with someone 1-1, so I understand if that’s the route you want to take! But in my personal opinion, your BEST bet, that will lead to the fastest ROI (return on investment) is investing in a mentor/coach that will work with you in, and on, your business specifically – that’s what will yield results the fastest because it’s specifically tailored to you!
You get the most bang for your buck when investing in GOOD glass. Seriously. I tell people to upgrade their lenses well before their camera bodies, because the lens truly makes the photo! My top recommendations for lens investments are:
- Canon 85mm 1.2 – this is hands down my favorite lens I’ve ever owned. But, it’s definitely a little pricey. I will admit, the 1.2 is worth every penny, but if you can’t swing it just yet, go up a few stops in aperture and grab the 1.8 and it’ll still be a workhorse for you!
- Canon 50mm 1.2 – I love this one too, as it’s super versatile. But, as always, you gotta pay for that killer aperture, so if you can’t swing it – the 50mm 1.8 (or the nifty fifty,) is still awesome!
- Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART – this is my fav lens to use for landscapes/wide-angle shots of couples or brand work! You could do the Canon, but I use the Sigma and love it, (and it’s a bit cheaper but without sacrificing quality in my opinion!)
I have more than this, but these are the ones I recommend if you’re trying to start building a kit that can conquer anything!
3. 1-1 Coaching
Working with someone 1-1 was hands down the BEST thing I did for my business. I’ve worked with marketing strategists, branding strategists, accountants, and website designers all 1-1, and they’ve been detrimental to the growth of my business.
My top recommendation is to pick the ONE area you truly feel you’re struggling the most, and invest in a coach or mentor to get you over that hurdle. If you struggle with knowing how to use your camera in manual, find someone that teaches just that and start there. If you really need to learn how to market your photography business, find someone who teaches that and invest in them! Curious what I teach? It’s all over here!
4. A CRM
One of the best photography business investments I made in 2018 was Honeybook, no doubt. Honeybook is a client relationship manager, (so it’s basically your personal assistant and the organizational tool of your dreams as a small business owner.)
Honeybook handles literally all of my client workflows, (both for photoshoots and mentoring,) and makes running my biz SO much easier.
WHETHER I NEED A BIRD’S EYE VIEW ON WHERE ALL OF MY DIFFERENT SHOOTS/PAYING CLIENTS ARE IN MY WORKFLOW, OR WHETHER I NEED TO SEND A CONTRACT OR COLLECT A PAYMENT FROM SOMEONE; I CAN DO IT ALL IN HB. (AND THERE’S AN APP FOR IT, SO I CAN LITERALLY MANAGE MY BUSINESS FROM ANYWHERE, AT ANY TIME.)
Prior to using a CRM in my business, my stuff was all over the place. I didn’t have a “workflow,” and when I heard people talk about their workflows… I low-key felt shame about the lack of organization in my own business. If someone were to see behind the scenes, it would’ve been messy. I wasn’t responding as quickly to inquiries as I should’ve, I was taking too long to respond when I did finally sit down to respond… and my turnaround time for photos was embarrassing. Just sayin’. Oh, and process for collecting testimonials? Non-existent.
I first made the switch from 17 Hats to Dubsado, and then Dubsado to Honeybook – and Honeybook is definitely where I’ll stay. If you want to read all about why I made the switch (as well as get a BTS look into my workflows and systems,) you can find that right here! If you already know you need Honeybook, and want a free trial + 50% off your first year of it… I gotchu friend. It’s right over here!
5. Time with Jesus.
Wait, what!? Didn’t see that one comin’, did ya? This one’s totally a personal opinion, but it’s actually made a huge impact.
As my business has grown alongside me, I realize my need for Jesus grows greater and greater. I’m a work-a-holic at heart, and he’s constantly asking me to step away and spend time with him, and sadly enough – sometimes I don’t hit that point until I’m runnin’ on fumes.
When I’m running on empty, it’s hard for me to show up whole-heartedly in my business; whether it’s just to write an Instagram caption or to over-deliver for my clients. If I’m not spending time with Jesus, all of it becomes a burden and it’s hard for me to really show up. He is the well in which I draw from, and it’s SO important I stay plugged into Him. To be honest, out of all of the photography business investments I could make – this one gets me the furthest.
To sum it up, here are my top recommendations for the best photography business investments:
– Online education
– 1-1 Coaching
– A CRM
– Time with Jesus
At the point where you’re ready to take the leap and reach out to someone who can pull you outta your biz rut?
Book a free 30-minute strategy call with me so we can chat, stat!
Wanna stick around and stay learning? I knew I liked ya. 😉
Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼
If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.
Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂