How many of these 3 common reasons why your photography business isn’t working can you fix today? It happens more times than we can count. Someone gets a DSLR as a gift or because they want to move up from a Point’n’Shoot camera. All of the sudden, they are taking photos that are better than they used to take, and that everyone ooh’s and aah’s over. Then an idea happens, “I could make money as a photographer!” Que the cliché movie montage of you and your camera taking artsy photos, becoming immediately successful, and quitting your day job. What could go wrong? A lot! If you don’t have any type of experience running a business, you will either lose a lot of money, work a lot for almost nothing, etc. Let’s look at three common reasons why your photography business isn’t working, and how you could fix it!
1. YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR CODB (Cost of Doing Business) – This is a big one. If you are struggling to make any money this may be the reason why. Many people think digital photography is one of the cheapest businesses you could have because you don’t have to pay for film, everything is done on your computer, etc. That couldn’t be more wrong. To be profitable and sustainable, you have to advertise, market yourself, attend trade shows, purchase software, maintain your equipment, upgrade your computer, and more! All of these things add up and can cost more than you think, and that’s before you pay your taxes and yourself! The first thing you need to do is add up everything you have to pay for regularly, figure out how much your time is worth, and how much you want to earn from your efforts. There are several CODB calculators online (such as that can help you with this. The results will shock you!
2. YOU DON’T SET ASIDE MONEY FOR TAXES – If you’re not setting aside money to pay the sales tax you’re collecting (that’s not for you to keep, assuming you’re actually charging it), or setting aside ~30% of sales for income taxes; eventually it will all catch up to you.
3. YOU DON’T KNOW WHO YOUR IDEAL CLIENT IS – Where is you focus? Who does your business cater to? What type of client do you enjoy working with? What types of clients are attracted to you/your product/the way you operate your business? If you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, you’re probably spinning your wheels and getting frustrated.
Fix these 3 simple, yet critical issues and you will see results quickly! Once you start accounting for where your money is coming from and where it’s going, you can plug the hole in that leaky ship before you sink too far to recover.