Welcome back to Eye on Business, a recent addition to SSG! I’m Suzanne Mellott, owner of Suzanne Mellott Photography, and am absolutely crazy over anything related to senior photography. Today, I’m revealing the biggest mistake I’ve made along the way to a successful business. Most of you can relate to the fact that starting a legit business is no small undertaking. It takes hard work, long hours, lots of frozen pizzas and nuggets for the kiddos and some good old GUTS. When I was starting out, my dear, supportive husband suggested I present to him a business plan before going official. I scoffed at the idea of a business plan. “WHAT?!” I snarked. “You are harnessing my adventure! I just want to do what I love!” Besides, this was just a small gig on the side….. Um….
Those words would come back to haunt me again and again. And again.
I spent the first year (or two…) of my business going day-to-day. I was working a full-time job, had three children under 5, and several other commitments that people like you and me tend to have. Business policies – NOPE! Goals for how many sessions to shoot – HOW LIMITING! Charge what I was worth – TOO EXPENSIVE! If I could go back in time, I’d kick myself in the shins. Hard. I had no destination in mind and therefore I had no way to pinpoint what was truly growing or hurting my business. I was blindsided by events that could have been easily prevented with a plan in place.
Having goals for your business will give you something to strive for, something to gauge your success, and something to motivate you to keep pulling those all-nighters while trying to master your camera and photoshop. You know what else?! Having a plan also dramatically increases your chances at having a thriving business! Yes, you read that right. You want to make money, right?
Save yourself from sore shins and wandering about the business world without Siri, do this NOW.
Write down three goals that you want to achieve for your business.
- Be specific.
- Make the goals attainable.
- Give yourself a deadline.
No fluff-n-stuff either. Saying you want to “build your portfolio” this year isn’t specific enough. Saying you want to “only shoot high school seniors” isn’t going to make it happen either.
- Shoot five high school seniors in the next two months.
- Interview and hire a makeup artist within 3 weeks.
- Start in-person consultations with my next booking.
- Join a photography forum and ask questions about ______.
Now, those are specific, attainable, and have fair deadlines. Don’t be afraid to make changes along the way if you find that your plan isn’t getting you closer to your goal. Revisit your goals often and reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Your business should be constantly evolving, just like your skills!