Making the decision to turn your passion into a lucrative business opportunity is an excellent way to bring in extra income and pursue a career you will love. However, it is not without its challenges—primarily, how to get started.
Shifting your hobby from a weekend gig that you do here and there to your own thriving business takes know-how and dedication. While that second part is on you to pull off—and the raw talent, of course—you can find plenty of resources to help you brush up on your business prowess, starting with these 4 steps for turning your photography hobby into a business.
STEP 1: CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
Every aspiring business needs an official business plan. A business plan outlines how your business will operate, how you will fund it, what types of marketing you will engage in, your target market, and other key aspects of running a successful business. It might sound like a lot of groundwork, but you will be thankful that you put in the time to think about all these factors now, instead of when you run into a roadblock.
For starters, you should cover these aspects in your plan:
- What is your business’s name and what is your brand?
- What will be included in your photography services?
- How much will you charge?
- How will you market your photography business?
- What are the essentials you need to start providing services as soon as possible?
- How will you cover any costs required to start your business?
When writing up your business plan, try to be as thorough as possible, so that it’s an actionable resource you can use to get your photography company up and running.
STEP 2: INVEST IN ANY GEAR OR SUPPLIES YOU NEED
If you want your business to be taken seriously, you need to have proper photography gear and supplies to deliver the best results. Whether that means upgrading your camera, investing in lighting equipment, or purchasing laser printers for high-quality prints, make sure you budget accordingly for everything you will need.
If you are on a tight budget and want to avoid taking out a business loan or putting expenses on your credit card, you can purchase items based on priority.
STEP 3: CREATE A WEBSITE
A website is one of the most important aspects of creating a legitimate business. Not only is it a resource for current and prospective customers alike, but it’s a critical tool for marketing your photography company. Not sure how to create a website? Fortunately, there are plenty of website builders with free templates that can help you get started. Or, if it’s in your budget, you could hire a freelance web developer to design your website for you.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your website:
- Include a portfolio and examples of your work throughout the site
- Provide upfront pricing information
- Clearly describe the type of services you offer (wedding photography, graduate photoshoots, etc.)
- If there is anything you don’t do, note that too
- Provide contact information and link to your social media profiles if you have them
- Don’t overcrowd your website, too much may deter or confuse potential customers
- Make the design simple and aesthetically pleasing
- If you have testimonials from previous clients (or even friends you have done shoots for), put them up
STEP 4: START MARKETING
The only way to build your business is to start marketing. There are virtually endless ways to get your name out, no matter what your budget is. Purchasing Google and social media ads are some of the best ways to use digital marketing to your advantage, but you can also start on a smaller scale or even zero budget. When designing your advertisements and deciding where to spend your budget, keep in mind that most users are viewing everything on their mobile devices nowadays.
Try promoting yourself by creating social media pages and interacting with others who might be interested in your services, take out an ad on the school website for upcoming grads to get their photos taken, or ask local shops if you can leave business flyers on their checkout counters if you live in a small community. As you start getting customers and generating revenue, you can funnel some of your profits back into marketing and gradually grow your photography company into a business venture that can hopefully fully support you financially.
While every business owner’s journey is different, these tips will help guide you through the crucial steps of turning your pastime into a real business.