HOW I MADE $39,523 IN MAY
Plus what my strategy was and a list of things I got accomplished. BONUS: Questions & Answers linked at the end of this article!
Oh, May was ah-may-zing. April was huge for me, hitting one million in overall income, and in May I finally boarded that plane and moved to Hawaii. This income report is special because it's the first one I'm putting together from the beautiful island of Maui, my new home.
Lots of changes have been going on these past months, and you all have no idea how excited I am to be moved into our new home, and have a nice bed to sleep in again. The kids finally have their own rooms again, I have an office space that I am slowly putting together, and it feels SO good to live in a cozy home again. I did a little tour of the home HERE.
I have networked with some locals before my move and shot my last wedding just days before moving to Hawaii, so my goal was to make my move as seamless as possible. Right now I'm going through the process of setting up all the legal stuff for my business here in Hawaii since they do tax businesses differently than Florida and get all the needed permits to do sessions full time here.
I'm spending a lot of time location scouting and adventuring trying to adjust to living here and knowing where everything is and having a ball while doing that. We have some amazing beaches 5 miles from the house, and a stunning waterfall just down the road from us. There are so many pretty spots to use here!
I'm sure you all are ready to read about this months income report, here's a little bit about me for those who are new...You are totally welcome to skip this part, haha.
I am a mother, wife, business coach, product creator, and photographer who specializes in naturally styled portraiture. I started Modern Baby Photography & Modern Bride Photography with a passion in documenting real moments. My passion grew more and more over the years, and I realized that I also loved creating products to help make it easier for me to run my business. I started sharing these products with other photographers, and that's when Modern Market came about. It's now the largest online marketplace for professional photographers around the world with products ranging from pricing tools, marketing templates, blog themes, educational resources and so much more. I love dreaming big and helping fellow creatives turn their dreams into a reality through personal online business coaching.
Once a month I take the time to go over my personal business finances. I write down what I made, as well as how many expenses I had. It's a great way for me to hold myself accountable in reaching my personal goals and showing others that owning your own business by doing something you are incredibly passionate about is absolutely possible.
In addition to writing down my income and expense report, I will also go over what strategies I plan to implement, what I am currently focusing on, as well as my goals for the upcoming month. By reading these income reports, you'll get a front row seat to watching me run my business, so that should hopefully be interesting. Hopefully, I don't put you to sleep with talking numbers and showing you graphs.
The following numbers are gross income from my entire business which includes sales from my online store, my portrait, wedding, and product photography. I look at my business as a whole and have used the same business success steps and marketing strategies for all aspects of my business; these are the same strategies teach to other creatives in my Business Success Class.
Let's get started!
MONTHLY GROSS INCOME: $39,523
Gross Sales: $36,873 (Net Sales $34,289)
Photography Business Class: $2,350.00
Essential Studio Manager: $300
MONTHLY TRAFFIC REPORT: 33,710 Visitors
I wanted to add this display graph to show you how increased traffic = increased sales. The problem isn't usually that people don't know how to make more money, they just don't know how to increase what's working and have that translate directly to their income. If you look at what you are currently doing and think to yourself; If I could DOUBLE everything that's working, it would certainly increase your income right? It comes down to being a numbers game regardless for what industry you are in. If you can increase what's working, increase traffic, it will in the end also increase your outcome.
MONTHLY EXPENSES: $16,004
Paypal Fees: $912
Website Payment Fees: $160
Post Planner*: $19
Social Login: $2
Quickbooks Bookkeeping: $29
(Anything with an * next to it is an affiliate link)
GROSS INCOME TO DATE $1,046,848
(income in graph below is only for January 2015 - now)
FACEBOOK, E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST GROWTH
- Facebook: 98,594
- E-mails: 51,708
- Instagram: 8,412
- Pinterest: 5,641
TOTAL REACH: 165,355
It was important for me to add this information into my income report because I do use social media to grow my business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and e-mail subscription is what really made it possible for me to build my business so quickly. If you compare starting a business to the time before social media was in our life, it was hard. Someone had to open up an actual store business to be found and then count on foot traffic and phone books to be found by potential customers. We live in an incredible time where we have tools such as social media to make it easier than ever to connect to the right people. For me, using these social platforms has helped me grow my businesses and reach hundreds of amazing clients & customers. Below I'll go over how I personally love to use each platform. They each unique, and I have different things I love using about each of them.
MY STRATEGY BREAKDOWN:
May was crazy, and we are finally living in Maui! It was a huge milestone for my personal life and for my business. I'm beyond excited to be living here and calling it home. Over the last week we have settled into our new home and have explored the island. We absolutely love it here!
NETWORKED WITH THE LOCAL MAMAS
It's a difficult thing to move a business, and I figured as I'm going through it myself I could post more about what's working and what isn't and maybe this will help those of you who are struggling to get your business off the ground after a big move. And some future advice for those of you who might have a big move in your future.
I just moved to Maui and my business is the sole income for my family of 4, so this isn't something I can just sit back and hope for, I have no choice but to make this happen. It's like jumping off a cliff and building my wings on the way down. Here are some personal tips on how I'll be going about relocating my photography business.
TAKE TIME TO EXPLORE
I have no idea where good locations are, what time is the best for sunset sessions, where the amazing secret spots are, but I do know this; I plan to find them.
To create sessions I love, I need to find great locations to use. I know this town I live in like the back of my hand, I know where ALL the good spots are, and many of them are random spots by a backroad. I love location scouting and using unique locations for my sessions. As a photographer who loves shooting outdoors, finding good locations to use will be really important. I'll spend the first few weeks location scouting and make a list of all my new favorite spots.
I'm currently adding a little pin on the map on my phone to track where they are so I don't forget.
If you've moved to a new town, take the time to explore it! Find those secret hidden gems.
I don't know a single person on Maui. Not. One. Single. Person.
Kinda hard to build a client base without knowing anyone right?
So here's the thing. I've been in business for years and have figured out how to run my business exactly how I want. BUT the truth is that it doesn't matter how amazing my work is, or how great I am at running a business if NO ONE knows I'm even there. What's that mean for those of us relocation our business? It means we have to put ourselves out there! I need to do a few casting calls. Shoot a couple of session for free and put myself out there in a new town. Since I need to test out some new locations, it's actually the perfect combinations. I can focus a couple of sessions on getting used to shooting there, finding good spots and making the first few connections with a new potential client base.
This is no different than someone who is starting a business and has to shoot portfolio sessions to attract the right clients.
Right now my portfolio shows a big fat ZERO for portrait sessions in Maui. And I can't expect to build a client base on work I have not yet created. I have to get out there and create it for myself. This way, others around me will see it and have the chance to fall in love with what I do.
A lot of people look at portfolio sessions (or shooting for free) as a bad thing, but if you do it right, it can really work out in your favor. Scheduling a couple of free sessions means I have 100% freedom to create the vision in my head. No rules, no expectations, I get to create work for myself, and I'm super excited about it. Best of all, I KNOW that the work I create for myself, will result in booking clients and that's how you should look at portfolio sessions. Use those sessions as a way to build a bridge to booking clients.
The people who I'll be working with for those free sessions, might or might not ever book me for a session in the future, but the work I'll be putting out will certainly help me attract potential clients. That's a big win for me.
TIP: I never go into a portfolio building session that I'm doing for free and expect those who volunteer to be part of the session to book me as their photographer. Most of the time that happens anyways, but I don't expect anything but the time they are willing to give me to be part of this shoot. I plan to use the work I create from those sessions to speak for itself and connect me to the right people.
Create work you love yourself, that's what will link you to finding the best clients!
CONNECT WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Moving to a new place is a little intimidating. It kind of feels like being the new kid at the school and walking into the classroom the first day trying to figure out where to sit.
It's a little scary.
I know the importance of connecting to people who call this place home. Not just for my business, but for me personally. I would love to make friends and get to know people!
So what's a girl to do? Use the power of social media!
The most amazing thing with social media, you can connect to people around the world without having to be there in person. We don't live in a world where you're limited to only reaching people in your city; you can connect to anyone, anywhere!
HERE'S WHAT I DID:
I put up a quick ad on Facebook, targeting my ideal client in the right location (Maui) and something amazing happened! I spend $40 over two days (so $20 per day for two days total) on simple picture ads on Facebook + Instagram. I kept it short, sweet and to the point! The results were even better than I had expected!
I got 67 inquiries in my email inbox during those two days.
My ad got over 12 shares.
I got over 58 comments from people who live on Maui. Of course, people that fell under my targeting, but LOTS of people were tagging their friends in the comments, reaching even more people!
One of the people who saw my post also runs a local mom group, which I was invited into, which connected me to some of the sweetest mamas ever! I was BLOWN AWAY by how welcoming everyone was, and it got me even more excited to move there.
With a quick post on social media, I created over 67 connections that I didn't have before!
After I get done setting up the legal side of my business there, I'll start shooting a few sessions and then plan to use a long term marketing strategy to build up a new clients base.
If you're reading this, you might have had to relocate your business, or maybe you have a big move in your future that you want to prepare for. I have had lots of people contact me asking for advice after moving their business and feeling completely defeated in running their business because they can't seem to get traction in that new town. So again, let me recap;
1. If you're moving to a new place, you need to take the time to explore. Find those perfect spots to use for your session. Go out and create something beautiful for yourself!
2. Regardless of how long you have been in business, or how amazing your client base was at your last location, starting over is HARD. If no one knows you in this town, you have to be incredibly proactive in putting yourself (your business) out there for people to see. Don't sit at home waiting for these people to stumble across you by accident; you need to get yourself out there!
3. Connect with the people who call this place home. You might have hundreds of loyal clients where you moved from, and a beautiful portfolio to show off. None of this matters when no one knows about you. You have to reach out and connect to people who call this place home. Show them how passionate you are about creating portraits and what you have to offer. Give them a chance to get to know you and your business!
4. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. When you run your business correctly, treat your clients like gold and create value and quality behind your work, those people will single-handedly help you grow your new client base.
Put in the hard work, go the extra mile and watch how the people you work with will do the same for you and your business.
MOVED INTO OUR NEW HOME
It feels SO good to be a home again. A place of our own - where the kids can have their own room, and we can cuddle on the couch in the evening. I'm also really excited to finally have an office space again and in the process of slowly putting that together. I just ordered a huge table I've had my eye on for weeks and can't wait for it to get here!
LAUNCHED MAUI SKIES + PRIVATE GROUP
Getting reinspired by all these beautiful Maui sunsets made me decide that it was time to put my sky overlays front and center on their very own site. We launched the site as well as created a private Facebook group for those who love using the sky overlays. If you haven't already downloaded your FREE sky overlays be sure to grab them HERE!
ADDED NEW FEATURES TO THE ESSENTIAL STUDIO MANAGER
My hubby has been hard at work adding additional features to The Essential Studio Manager. If you're currently looking for a site to help manage your business then come take a look! He made the site free to use on the basic plan to give everyone a chance to see how easy it is to use. If you absolutely love it you can upgrade to the $5 monthly pro plan. Our goal with this is to continue adding more features that are being requested from all the awesome photographers we have in our private facebook group. Getting more feedback from the people who are on there every day using it is the strategy behind making it the best site for photographers. I think when it comes to launching a new product or idea, connecting with your actual clients or customers is the absolute best way to figure out how to improve it.
UPDATED SITE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS SUCCESS CLASS
I also spent some time reorganizing things on the Photography Business Success Class website making it easier to navigate and see what all is being covered in the class. I love the way it looks and feels like it's a million times easier to view than the old design. Take a look HERE.
PHOTOGRAPHED MY LAST FLORIDA WEDDING
This one was bittersweet. I photographed my very last Florida wedding a few days before flying to Maui. I was however excited that I ended it on such a fun note. My clients are amazing, and there was so much to celebrate. I felt lucky to be part of their special day. I'm excited to start shooting weddings here in Hawaii and continue documenting these special times for future clients.
As always, questions are welcomed!
That sums it up for this months income report and Q&A. I had a lot of fun answering all those questions so if you have any at all, feel free to leave a comment below, or in a comment on facebook, or message me personally on facebook, so I can be sure to answer it in the Question & Answer post!
I teach photographers how to build their dream business, with strategies they can implement right away to build a striving business that has an income they can count on! I cover everything you need to turn your passion into a profitable reality. I'll show you the process that helped me go from making 10K in a year to one that made me over $105,000 during 90 days! This class is for photographers who are truly ready to build the business of their dreams and learn the important steps in developing a strong business, brand, and client base. If you have any questions then please feel free to reach out to me. I'm always happy to answer additional questions about joining my class!