Photography Business Mentoring Opportunities

In 2011, I was super excited to own my own photography business. Then I read these statistics in Dane Sander’s book “Fast Track Photographer” while I was researching what steps I needed to take.

  • In the 1st year, 60% of photographers give up their business.
  • Of that remaining 40%, another 25% will fail within the 2nd year.
  • The ones that make it are the remaining 15% who endure through the 3rd year.

So let’s break down Dane’s figures:

In 2020, let’s say 100 photographers in your area start a photography business. Next year, only 40 of those will remain. In 2021, 30 will be left. And in 2022, those lucky enough to survive the trials and tribulation of those three years, 25 will remain. Of those 25, some may be doing well, but most will more than likely be living paycheck-to-paycheck. After five years, the stats get even lower.

As soon as I realized that, I started freaking out. I was about to forego having a regular paycheck, benefits, and someone else to handle all my tax payments, so I could be my own boss. To say I was a bit hesitant to dive into unemployment and into one-man show would be a tremendous understatement.

Once I was talked off the ledge by my wife, I decided to give myself a few years to “practice” running a business before I decided to be responsible for my own paychecks. And despite giving myself some time to figure out the “why” of my business mission statement, realize how I was going to set myself apart from the hundreds of other photographers who are in my area, know what I was doing in QuickBooks, understand taxes, determining my business financial figures, and everything else that goes along with running a business, I still felt unprepared.

I wished there was someone who would simply give me insight to the knowledge I lacked and the tools to help build a solid foundation for my business. Someone to simply say, “Hey, you didn’t even think about these steps that are critical to your success!”

As luck would have it, my foundation was pretty solid. Those few years practicing running my business as I was still holding down my regular job as a newspaper photojournalist was a good proving ground.

But there were stumbles along the way. Issues that popped up I didn’t read about ahead of time. Not knowing how my business status would affect my taxes was a big one that shocked me when I saw my tax bill.

A while back, I began mentoring a few photographers who were just starting out and weren’t sure where to start or what direction they were headed. As more photographers came to me, I realized there may be a lot more who are seeking the same information.

That’s when I decided to begin mentoring photography business owners. I wanted to be the person who I wished I could’ve found when I was starting out.

Before you read any further, yes there is a cost. It’s $1,500 for two days of digging into your business structure, habits, pricing, and the very foundation of your business.

My mentoring isn’t going to guarantee you book a gajillion portrait sessions or weddings your first year. I’m not even going to hint you’ll make a certain amount of money. Anyone who is offering to provide you with business education and tell you that you’ll reach a certain financial goal is irresponsible. What I will tell you is with the knowledge I’ve gained over the past seven years running my business will help you ensure your business is built on a solid foundation, you have a firm handle on what to expect, and you have a well thought out three-year plan to help guide you.

A few of the 50-plus topics I go over with hopeful photography business owners are:

  • Archiving
  • Editing Workflow
  • Equipment Investment
  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial Planning
  • Insurance
  • Company Designations
  • Client Management
  • Job Workflows
  • Pricing
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Long-Term Business Planning

Following the program, we'll have bi-weekly check-in calls to go over questions, ideas, etc. to ensure you stay on track or adjust your new business approach as needed. This one-on-one approach is key to helping you comprehend the topics and how they apply to your particular business scenario, go over any questions you may have, and talk about your next steps to implement the lessons learned.

If your business has just a couple of problem areas, a one-on-one session over a three-hour period may be better for you.

We'll dive into your top three issues and spend an hour on each one identifying the core issue, brainstorm the best methods to correct it, and have a plan to put into place to get you on the right path.

These three-hour sessions are $500 and can be done in-person or via a Zoom video chat.

Ongoing mentoring with weekly checkins, and Q&A sessions is also available on a quarterly basis.

Starting a business is a huge undertaking. It’s essential to your success to know the foundation you need in place to not be one of those 75 out of 100 photographers who will ultimately shut their business after one to three years of struggling.