Have you ever started out the week with a fresh outlook on your photography business:
- You have a goal list you’re excited about.
- You have several clients and prospects you are meeting with.
- You are ready to finish several things in production.
Then Friday comes along. As you look back at your goals and to-do list, you’re suddenly disappointed. The list is still half filled with things you never got to. And you now have things with higher priority, which means some of the things you were excited about just a week before now may never be completed.
Chances are you’ve had a deadly creature enter your business.
1. The Beacon
2. The Sucker
3. The Whiner
The Beacon starts out as a friend. Someone sends you an email, you read a book, or you visit a website that speaks directly to you. It’s filled with great information, and you can see yourself following in the footsteps of what the author is talking about. You jump in with both feet, ready to follow.
The problem with the Beacon is it may seem like a guiding light, but the guiding light transforms and changes places all the time. It may show you one direction today, and a completely new direction tomorrow. It can be a significant time waster if you don’t learn how to stop looking for the next beacon, and use one thoroughly to find your way to success first.
The Sucker is the one item you really like to do, yet ends up eating away all of your time. I recently spoke with a photographer who loved doing weddings, but can’t take on more than one wedding a weekend. After the wedding, she spends up to 20 hours or more Photoshopping all of her images before she presents them to her clients. And before she’s even sure what the client will choose to buy.
The problem with the Sucker is it eats away at your time without bringing in any type of profit. You may enjoy doing it, but its not contributing enough to your business model in order to keep justifying it. It’s literally sucking the life out of your business, and not allowing you to grow significantly towards your future plans.
The Whiner is the one client who takes up all of your time. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 Rule? The 80/20 Rule applies to all parts of your business:
20 percent of your clients will bring in 80 percent of your business
20 percent of your marketing attracts 80 percent of your clients
And so on.
If you take a look at your business, you can probably find the 20 percent of your clients that bring in 80 percent of your problems. In fact you can usually spot them the first time you meet. They are the ones who ask repeatedly how you handle clients when they don’t like the photos. They are the ones who constantly ask for modifications to your packages and contracts. They are the ones who whine about everything, looking for a way to squeeze just a little more out of you. And unfortunately once you book with them, they’ll whine from beginning to end.
Do you see any of these in your business? Now that you know they exist, it’s easier to move them out of your business.
Find the one beacon you connect with, and use it exclusively until you find success.
Find the sucker and look for ways to eliminate it unless you are being paid for it. Or consider hiring someone else to do it for you, giving you more time to do the important things.
Find the whiner before they become clients, and turn them down. Remember this one client will bring you 80 percent of your challenges. Do you really need that type of client?