The Oh-So Needed Getting Back to The Basics (+ a Freebie from photoDUDS!)

tlc_blog_graphicWhen you’re just getting started in running a studio as your full-time job, it can be intimidating. You’re a great photographer, but how do you make a comfortable living doing what you love? There are so many questions about running a business, and there’s always the ominous feeling you’re missing something...something big! Where can you go for help on the nuts and bolts of running a successful, sustainable studio?

The same can hold true if you’ve been in business for decades! It can be easy to get stuck in a routine, but terrifying to break it. In the new state of professional photography, you need industry experts to help answer those pressing questions (some of which you didn’t know you had).

This will be Lori’s seventh time teaching the workshop and she’s been in your shoes! Her success didn’t happen overnight, but with an objective look at the business, and a commitment to building a solid foundation, she has taken her studio from good to great.

“Photographing my kids in my own back yard was how I fell in love with photography!” said Lori. “I know that’s how so many women start in the business now, but back then it wasn’t as prevalent!”

As she got her start in photography with her own children, it was only natural for her studio to specialize in family portraits—including maternity, newborns, first years and kids.

Like a lot of you, Lori has had the same sleepless nights, stressing about the behind-the-scenes side of the business, but with sound advice, good business sense and a strong will to make things happen, she has built her business as a single mom, from the ground up, and in her backyard, literally! Because Lori understands so well what’s at stake and what it takes to develop a profitable photography business, she started teaching and sharing best practices to help other fellow photographers become sustainable.

Not everyone is familiar with PPA’s Studio Management Services (SMS). It’s a boast of services from classes and consultations to mentorship programs led with real-life successful photographers who coach you with the help of PPA’s staff accountant, CPA and legal affairs expert. This photo-strong bunch hosts workshops throughout the country and on June 29–30, they will be hosting the two-day business intensive Business Basics Workshop in Atlanta, GA. Business Basics are intimate, small classes lead not only by talented photographers, such as Lori, but also by Bridget Jackson, PPA’s very own CPA who’s been consulting for photographers for many years.

“Photographers all love what they do behind the camera. It’s the rest of the work that keeps us up at night, away from our families, and stressed out. Learning to price for profit, manage workflow and put systems in place can change all that and ensure that we continue to love to shoot!” said Lori.

Those are all key takeaways you will get from this particular SMS class, plus, how to bring the right clients in the door, because no work will be worthwhile unless you attract those. Some of Lori’s happiest memories are seeing people’s dreams of running a profitable studio peacefully coincide with having a home life.

“I love seeing studios align their businesses with other life goals,” she said. “We all want to have successful businesses, but even more important is the time and value you have at home. I worked with one home studio whose life was completely out of whack. She was saying yes to everything, afraid that saying no would lead to nothing booked. She now has baby #3 and a very streamlined workflow with higher profit than ever.”

Other rewarding moments have come from helping change the fears of the business side into areas that people can not only handle, but thrive.

“Another woman I work with now claimed that she hated marketing. During our first consultation she told me ‘I’m just not good at it. I don’t like it.’ Now she has displays in several locations, sets up mommy lunches to get her best clients together, and regularly sets up events with other like-minded vendors,” said Lori. “It’s so fun to see fears turned off!”  

That’s what it’s all about. Tapping into your resources, set a sound plan and get on with the program. If you too can help others grow along the way, it’s like magic!

So even if you can’t make it to the June 29-30 workshop, here are the top 10 things you need to focus on, develop and then stay on track with, because with perseverance and methodology, we’ve seen it time and time again, it works:

  1. Evaluate your business strengths
  2. Be clear and honest about your customer needs
  3. Create a profitable pricing structure
  4. Build a business plan to run a for-profit business
  5. Assess your competitive landscape
  6. Prepare your contracts, financials and taxes
  7. Protect yourself and your business legally
  8. Operate sustainably
  9. Seek help and connect with your peers
  10. Always begin with the end in mind! It makes it so much more relevant and inspiring!

These key topics will help you build a confident, legally compliant and competitive studio. For more information on the program or to register, visit ppa.com/edu. As an added bonus, the first five of you who will to register for Lori’s session will get, courtesy of photoDUDS, the marketing kit called TLC, Beth Forester's Client Care and Marketing Kit. A $125 value!

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