Have you ever thought about your photography business as if it were a person going through different life stages? Just like humans, businesses evolve and develop over time, with each stage having its own unique challenges and opportunities.
In this episode, we’ll explore the lifecycle of a photography business, from infancy to maturity, and discover the dos and don’ts for guaranteed growth at each stage. Let’s get started!
Infancy and Toddlerhood: Exploring the World
Imagine your photography business as an infant or toddler who’s making less than 30k in revenue. During this phase, you’re like a curious child, eager to explore every aspect of photography. You try different genres, from portraiture to nature and even street photography. You say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s photographing families, pets, or even weddings. You’re experimenting, learning, and putting your camera to use at every opportunity.
Dos for Infancy and Toddlerhood:
- Play with Everything. Just as infants explore the world by putting everything in their mouths, as a beginner photographer, experiment with different gear, lighting, subjects, and styles. Don’t worry about failure or the outcome; embrace the learning process.
- Learn from Others. Take advantage of free resources, podcasts, and connect with experienced photographers. Organize photoshoots with friends and willing subjects to gain hands-on experience.
- Check In with People That You Trust. Talk to people you trust in the photography community. While some may share their fears, remember that your journey is unique, and not all advice applies.
- Trust Your Intuition. Work on developing trust in where your intuition is telling you to go. Talk to people who are photographers, find people you admire, and listen to the ones who spark your interest. You’re going to come across some photographers who are, maybe, a little jaded; maybe a little scared of up and comers. So, that’s why I’m telling you to find people that you who spark your interest and who you admire, but also trust your intuition. If people are telling you things that make you feel kind of shitty about yourself or what you’re doing, you don’t have to listen to that person.
- Start Charging. As your confidence and skills grow, don’t hesitate to ask for payment for your services. You’re building a business, and it’s essential to get comfortable with making money from your photography early on.
Early School Years and Adolescence: Finding Your Identity
As your business matures and generates between 30k to 60k in revenue, you enter the phase similar to early school years and adolescence. During this stage, impostor syndrome may start to creep in, and you might start comparing your work to established photographers. This phase is marked by self-discovery and a growing awareness of your identity as a photographer.
Dos for Early School Years and Adolescence:
- Develop Systems. Just like maintaining a clean room is important in adolescence, establish systems and processes in your business. These provide structure and ensure you don’t end up overwhelmed.
- Niche Down. Focus on a specific niche or style that resonates with you. Don’t let money dictate your decisions; prioritize the work you love, as it will lead to more fulfilling photography.
- Avoid Doom Scrolling. Excessive comparison on social media can lead to impostor syndrome. Seek a mentor or coach who can guide you and help you avoid unhealthy comparisons.
- Invest in Education. Prioritize learning and personal growth. Invest in workshops, courses, and resources that expand your skills and perspective.
- Reflect on Intentions. Be mindful of why you’re posting or creating photography. Is it for personal satisfaction or validation from others? Focus on your artistic expression rather than seeking external approval.
Early Adulthood: Choosing Intimacy Over Isolation
During this stage, your photography business is consistently making 60k to 100k in revenue. You’re an adult, and you have the choice of intimacy versus isolation in your business. Just as adults nurture relationships, you must prioritize connections and growth.
Dos for Early Adulthood:
- Get a Mentor. Get some guidance from experienced professionals or mentors who can help you overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.
- Learn to Dream. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Challenge limiting beliefs and embrace new possibilities for your photography business.
- Build Systems. Invest in systems that streamline your workflow and free up your time. Delegate tasks and hire professionals when needed.
- Raise Your Prices. Recognize your worth and adjust your pricing accordingly. Value your expertise and the quality of your work.
Later Adulthood: Diversify and Leave a Legacy
At this stage, your business consistently earns six figures or more. So, it’s time to diversify and build your legacy! You can expand your offerings, invest in different ventures, and focus on the long-term impact of your business.
Dos for Later Adulthood:
- Diversify Your Portfolio. Explore new niches, start a podcast, or experiment with different photography styles. Your experience allows for creative freedom.
- Celebrate Your Achievements. Reflect on your journey and celebrate your successes. You’ve come a long way, and it’s time to acknowledge your growth and accomplishments.
- Leave a Legacy. Consider what you want your photography business to be remembered for. Focus on your long-term impact and the mark you’ll leave on the industry.
Maturity: Embracing Ego Integrity
As your photography business reaches maturity, similar to late adulthood in human life, you reflect on your journey. Just like older adults face aging and dying with either peace or regret, you need to evaluate whether you’ve lived a fulfilling life in your business.
Dos for Maturity:
- Embrace Ego Integrity. Reflect on your business journey and assess whether you have any regrets. Find peace in knowing that you’ve made the most of your photography career.
- Follow Your 90-Year-Old Self. Consider what your 90-year-old self would advise you to do. Let that wisdom guide your decisions and actions.
The Bottom Line
Just as us humans do, your photography business goes through a lifecycle, with each stage having its own unique challenges and opportunities. By following the dos and avoiding the pitfalls at each stage, you can make sure that your photography business continues to grow and flourish. Embrace the journey, learn, evolve, and leave a lasting legacy in the world of photography. You can do it!
CONNECT WITH BOBBI:
Learn more about coaching and mentoring at bobbibeducation.com.