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5 mistakes to avoid as a new photographer

5 mistakes to avoid as a new photographer

Did you know that the turnover rate for photography business owners is a whopping 85% in the first 3 years? 85%!!!!

With those numbers, clearly there is an underlying to cause to all the start-up photography businesses that fail within those first few years, but it's impossible to say just exactly what those causes are. If you are just starting out or if you's like to come out in the lucky 15% of businesses that thrive, there are a few mistakes to avoid as a new photographer in order to make this work.

1. Not having a business plan

Obviously, this the the most crucial part of your business, but often the most overlooked. Being a creative person, it's so easy to look past the business side of things and only focus on the artistic and technical aspects of having a photography business - I personally can vouch for that. If it weren't for my sheer will of making my business work and for my husband's business savvy mind, I would have fallen into that 85% a long time ago. So before you do anything else (like start a Facebook page and getting clients), come up with a solid plan on how you are going to make this work. Include how much you need to earn and don't forget your estimated taxes and expenses. Starting off on the right foot is the first step to success in this industry!

2. Not having legalities set up

Another huge mistake to avoid as a new photographer is not having your business set up properly and legally. Take into consideration that you are a business now which means that your business will need to have a legal name, pay taxes, be liable for incidents that may occur with clients, etc. Meeting with your lawyer, tax professional, and insurance agent is a crucial step in becoming a legitimate business & to make sure you are fully covered as a professional and business owner. Not doing so could get you into a heap of trouble down the road. Invest your time and money into this critical part of business ownership, you won't regret it (but you might if you ignore it!).

3. Not recording expenses and finances

How are you going to know what to charge your clients if you don't know where your money is going? Keeping track of your photography finances is a vital part of your practice to keep growing and thriving as a professional. The more you are aware of what's going on financially in your business, the better decisions you will make as a business owner. Keeping track of your finances doesn't have to be hard either, having a quality financial spreadsheet on hand will help take the confusion out of book keeping and number crunching.

4. Not having a marketing plan

Even if you have taken all the steps above without fail, your business isn't guaranteed to be a success. How will your business grow if you never put much thought into marketing it? Marketing is how your business will grow and thrive, although it might take a hefty amount of work. Check out this post on how to get more photography clients & start your marketing work for you now!

5. Not being prepared for the unexpected

Often times when photographers start up a business, they miss the concept that they are in fact a business & will have to encounter many business dilemmas. Taking pictures and using your creative mind to bring that vision to life in editing is only a portion of having a photography business; not being prepared for sticky client situations can be a real buzz kill for some new photographers. Being prepared to handle needy client requests, peer conflicts, and unexpected struggles will put your mind in the right place when starting up your business.
If you are serious about your passion and are willing to do whatever it takes to make your dream job come true, there is no reason why you won't be one of the 15% who make it and thrive past 3 years.

Have you struggled with any of these business mistakes in the past? Share your story about how you overcame it in the comments below.

two blooms financial spreadsheets for photographers
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