The #1 Reason My Photography Grew Into a Business

Have you ever had a day that you just don’t feel like doing that much work, and thanks to owning your own business, you don’t have to?

It really is the best feeling in the world.

IMG_0923I had an early morning breakfast meeting with friends. Then I ran Andrew out to the airport as he and a friend are heading out to Blogworld for the weekend. (I chose not to go this year, as it’s our daughter’s final cross country meet tonight).

So instead of “working”, I decided to catch up on some reading, and started looking through my feeds. I came across a great post by Darren Rowse – The #1 Reason My Blogging Grew Into a Business – and decided that concept would be a great inspiration for today’s blog post.

Andrew and I started out as most photographers. We both worked corporate 9 to 5, and photographed at night and on the weekends. We made a little extra cash, but nothing that ever pulled us away from our full time positions. Until we had our own paradigm shifting moment:

My father died at the age of 54, 2 months shy of his 55th birthday when he would have retired from a job he’d had to reinterview for several years running. His goal was to do something he loved – something that made him smile going to work – instead of worrying if he had a job every day.

That day never came for him. But it really made us look at our lives and ask what the future had in store for us.

We both new we hated corporate – we were already facing downsizing and job layoffs.

We both loved photography, and the idea of owning our own business thrilled us.

So we made the jump one at a time into the world of photography.

Andrew worked at it alone the first couple of years. For me to make the second jump, lose the guaranteed paycheck every two weeks, health insurance, retirement fund and all the other benefits was a little more difficult. But when that day came, I felt so powerful, so happy to march into the bosses office and quit.

It’s not about how long it takes you to get to your goals, its about the process.

If you really want to be a professional photographer, quit your corporate job, and make money as a full time photographer, it is possible.

You have to look at your photography as a business, not just as a passion for taking great images. A ton of people can take great images, but the only way to turn it into a successful business is to concentrate just as much on growing the business as you do your photography.

I’ve seen survey after survey from amateur and part time photographers that really want to become professional, yet can’t get past the importance of business. You have to market. You have to sell. You have to keep your books. You have to file taxes. You have to do everything that makes a business profitable. But you don’t have to do it alone. You can hire an accountant. You can hire a bookkeeper. You can hire a sales person. You can hire a marketing firm.

Using the same words Darren mentioned in his blog post, for us:

The #1 reason our photography grew into a business was that we treated it as one.

Every day I have a list of tasks that need to get done. And it’s been that way for almost 15 years now. The business model has changed over the years, and I’m doing things completely different than I did in the beginning.

But what I love the most is that when I’m done sharing my ideas in a blog post, I can get up and take the dog for a walk, spend several hours at my daughter’s cross country meet, and know I’m on track. Maybe I’ll get a few more things done tomorrow. Or maybe I can just adjust my goals. But it’s the freedom of owning my own business that really is the best feeling in the world.

Aren’t you ready for that feeling too?

If you haven’t checked out my Photography For Success program, maybe now is the time. It’s a great program designed to keep you on track, help you build the business, and get it moving to where you too can work at photography on a full time basis. It is possible, but you have to take the first step.

2 thoughts on “The #1 Reason My Photography Grew Into a Business”

  1. Very interesting article! It’s totally true that in photographic business you are more than the photographer, you are everyone and you have to sell yourself a lot before you can make any photographs. Thanks for sharing your experience. I am almost there too but, lucky me, I didn’t get the same kick off as you got with your lost.

    Take care,

  2. I have recently started a web site, the information you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.


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