Have you ever thought that scaling your business is passive? Do you think of scaling as “six figures” because you see that as the dream all over the place? Have you thought of scaling as just pivoting into education or selling digital products? Maybe you’ve thought of scaling as increasing your pricing or opening a studio to take on more creative shoots? Have you felt like you don’t have enough experience to scale or felt like it’s not possible for you?
This is just a sneak peek into all of the myths we’re talking about in depth and you can expect that I’m going to bust these myths and give you the why behind why they aren’t true. At the same time, we are going to chat through some of the misconceptions I have discovered from having so many conversations around scaling your photography business with photographers over the last year.
There are so many reasons why you may want to scale your photography business. This is why I created not only this scaling series for you, but also my new program Scale It, which is launching on November 14th, which I will share more about at the end of this episode, but for now, let’s get into the 5 myths of scaling your photography business.
Spoiler alert, it’s not all passive! Sure there are ways to make passive income as a photographer or educator, but it takes time and a lot of strategy to get to that place of passivity.
For example, I have a couple of passive offers that are in my shop that people can purchase literally at any point, and I do have funnels set up, but with other things like my mentorships programs, I could have made them courses, but I knew that my heart behind my mentorship is that I’m actually accessible. I can guide you through all of the struggles or roadblocks you face. I genuinely want to be there for you so I can answer your questions. Even though a course would mean passive income for me, I don’t want that.
Another example, specifically for a photographer would be starting to offer prints and albums. While this is definitely more of a passive thing, there is still a lot to set up to make prints and albums to make it feel passive. You have to set up all the emails to market your prints and albums at the right time with your couple so it’s top of mind when they need that information. You also have to decide what print shop you want to go with and make sure the prints are good quality and that they are at a good price for production so you can have an upcharge on them, but still be able to make enough profit where it’s worth it for you.
Offering prints and albums might sound simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially at the beginning because there are so many hoops you’re going to have to just through.
That’s why in Scale It, I’m not just teaching you the basic steps of what you need to do, but I’m riding the wave with you. Through the ups and downs, I am going to be in your corner to support you through it all while guiding you through business strategies that will ultimately build not just your dream business but your dream life.
Education isn’t going to be a natural pivot for every photographer. And notice I say pivot, because it’s more like creating a second business than scaling into new endeavors that are still in line with your original business model.
It’s so popular in the photography community right now, but it’s not what you want to focus on yet (or maybe not ever)! That’s totally fine. You don’t have to pivot into education to scale your business. Education is not the answer unless it does feel natural to you and you’re excited about it. In fact, I don’t recommend adding an education stream until your photography business is running more on autopilot and requiring way less of you than it currently is. There’s no point in adding more onto a plate that’s already full.
For me, I actually don’t work a lot in my photography business when it comes to generating new leads. I still have to coordinate with vendors or my team, talk with clients, respond to inquiries, and get on calls where I’m chatting about their wedding day, but because I how I’ve scaled my business, I only have to do about 5-10 weddings a year.
You’ve tried to ‘scale’ by raising your prices and taking on more bookings, but because there’s a cap on how much you can work, that means your income is also capped out. Most photographers try this and find that it just leads to more overwhelm and burnout. So if you’ve done this, please don’t think you’ve already tried to scale and that it just won’t work for you. This simply isn’t true.
You’ll end up booking less to make the same amount. That’s not scaling to me.
If you remember in episode 30, I shared the Google definition of scaling, which means to increase revenue without a significant increase in expenses, but I would also describe it as building your business around the life that you want to live and setting up your business in a way that supports that dream life.
If you have no time for anything else other than shooting, editing, coordinating, and emailing, that’s not sustainable. That is what led me to burnout and overwhelm.
You’re increasing your expenses and adding more shoots to the calendar. How does that equal scaling?
This isn’t something I’ve ever done because I’ve never been into family or newborn photography, and I don’t want to spend every waking day going to shoot things and not be able to enjoy my own life and time with my husband, and eventually our kids. That doesn’t equal scaling to me because it still requires so much of you.
So, really ask yourself if this would be something that’s worth it to pursue, or would your time be better spent elsewhere in a way that doesn’t actually require more of you?
The photographers you’ve watched scale their businesses all had many more years under their belt, so surely you need to wait a little longer, right? Wrong, friend. In my experience, most photographers wait far too long before they start implementing marketing strategies that could support them in their next phase of business growth. In reality, implementing these strategies will help you get to where you want to be faster. You don’t need to wait a random number of years before setting yourself up for long-term success.
(However, the strategies we talk about here aren’t for folks who are brand new to business – if you’ve never had your own clients, don’t have a website, or know how to run a sales call, these strategies will be too advanced for you.)
You really do need to give yourself that time in your business to grow and figure out what your max is. That doesn’t mean you have to push yourself to that level before you can begin scaling, but I think it’s important to understand that scaling isn’t just a quick pass to get past all of the learning curves and things you have to learn in your business to be able to eventually scale someday.
For example, if you don’t have any kind of marketing strategy, if you don’t have a portfolio that attracts the kind of clientele you want to work with, or if you’re not getting consistent inquiries, if you don’t have a website that is converting for you, and if you don’t have a client experience at all and you’re not very organized, then scaling will be a bit too advance for you.
It’s truly so important that you do have those foundations built at least for the most part before you try to get into scaling or else it’s probably going to end up all crumbling down.
I do want to share a bit about my experience and my timeframe of when I began scaling. I started my photography business as an LLC and began pursuing it in May of 2020. By August, I was able to go full-time, and then by 2021, that’s when I started scaling by adding prints and albums.
I also began outsourcing. I had an editor to do all of my editing for me after the sneak peek, as well as a VA who did so much for me and helped me pivot into the multiple new endeavors I had pursued in 2021 and 2022. Even adding to my team as far as photographers go, I started that in 2022 and I have learned so much and I can’t wait to share everything about what it’s like having a team.
It all happened for me very fast, so if you’re wondering if it’s the right time to scale, go back and listen to episode 30 and reflect on your own experience. Think about where you are right now and where you want to be because now is the time to start scaling.
Let me guess, you haven’t felt ready. You haven’t felt like this is the right move for you. There’s some imposter syndrome kicking in. YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT DIRECTION YOU WOULD TAKE TO SCALE BECAUSE THERE ARE SOOOO MANY OPTIONS. But guess what? Any established photographer can scale in the ways I’ll be teaching in Scale It.
You definitely don’t want to spend time, energy, and money testing everything and trying to figure out what works. You want someone who’s been there to hand you proven strategies and tools that will help you scale in ways that feel great for you. You’ve experimented enough in your business! Now, you want to put your time + energy into things you know are going to work for photography businesses specifically.
If you find yourself there and you feel excited about the transformations I’ve shared over the last five episodes, then Scale It is for you, and I truly believe that the same kind of success, fulfillment, work/life balance, and revenue is possible for you.
I want to share some details about Scale It and even a special discount for my podcast listeners. You are going to get $1,500 off when you apply. If you let me know you came from the podcast, I will also have a special deal where you’ll have two days of 1:1 mentoring with me in December on Voxer.
If this has all felt very exciting for you and you’re ready to take the next step to start scaling in 2024 and have your business look way different in 2025, because this is a long-term strategy, then now is the time to apply. Applications are open now and you have until November 28th to apply and enroll, and we will be starting the program on January 16th.
Scale It is a 5-month group mentorship program for wedding photographers ready to implement these proven advanced strategies that I’ve been sharing to sustainably scale your business and finally achieve the revenue and the work/life balance you truly deserve.
It will show my five advanced proven strategies to scale your business on autopilot so it requires less of you while bringing in more revenue. You will learn how to create systems that promote and sell for you 24/7, outsource to free up to 10+ hours of your time each week, implement advanced marketing and advertising strategies so you consistently attract dream clients, sell prints on repeat to bring in $1000 of bonus income (or more) each month, build a team that works while you enjoy your life, and pivot into education and begin offering digital products, courses, programs, or workshops.
The reason this is a 5-month program is because the space I personally gained from implementing one strategy allowed me the time to implement another and another until finally so many areas of my business were running on autopilot, and that’s what I want for you.
Scaling my business has completely changed my life, and it’s completely possible for you to get here, too. I’d absolutely love to help you get to the same place without spending years guessing at what to do, feeling lost in the overwhelm of options, and implementing strategies you don’t know are going to work for you.
If you’re ready for work-life balance, the freedom that you get to create, and to finally scale your income while being able to serve yourself alongside your clients, I’d be absolutely honored to mentor you inside of Scale It.
So, that is the scaling series, my friend. I have loved this entire journey with you. I hope you learned a lot and I hope that scaling will be the next step you take for your business so you can have more of that fulfillment.
Apply for Scale It – Applications accepted until November 28th