Are you struggling with things in your photography business, but not sure if it’s the right time to invest? Well, my friend, we are going to talk about when it’s a good time to invest in your business, how to determine whether an investment is worth it, what to prioritize investing in, different mistakes you can avoid, and how to actually prioritize your investments.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have some kind of course gathering dust in your inbox, and I want to make sure I’m giving you enough education to actually determine whether or not you should or should not invest.
I truly don’t feel like this topic is talked about enough. Every educator or service provider pushes this narrative that you need to invest. Think of a VA pushing their Pinterest services, or the educators that are constantly promoting their offers with this sense of urgency and scarcity. You tend to feel pressured into it, and I promise you that’s not what this is all about. I will not try to sell my offers to you during this. I simply want to give you the tools to know when it’s time to invest, what to invest in, and what to prioritize so that you can make the best decisions for your business.
Your money obviously has a huge part to play when it comes to investing because that’s what’s going to get you the course, program, or service. However, your time and energy are just as important, so as you’re learning about investing during the episode, I don’t want you to just think of it as a financial thing. It’s your time and energy too.
Investing in your education is essential and necessary for growth. Just like how you can’t become a nurse, doctor, or accountant without spending the time, energy, and money on education, you also cannot become an accomplished photographer without investing in some kind of education.
There are so many hats you have to put on as a photographer. It’s not just about taking photos, it’s also about being a business owner, giving an incredible experience, working with couples who light you up, and figuring out how to build this in a sustainable way that’s going to continue serving you for years to come. You’re not expected to know how to figure that out all on your own. That’s where investing in education and those specialized niches where you may struggle is actually very essential.
Let me go back to the nurse analogy for a moment because I have personally been there and know what it’s like to go through nursing school. If you didn’t know, I used to be a pediatric trauma nurse, and nurses have hours and hours of education and practicum. Anyone wanting to become a nurse has to invest all of this time, energy, and money into learning before they can make a living wage for themselves.
So, as a photographer, while you can definitely scour the internet for free educational resources, it’s so important to prioritize your business education the same way you would with career education. In my opinion, the answer for whenever it’s actually a good time to invest is now. If you’re serious about turning a hobby into a career or you really want to go full-time with this, then now is the time to invest.
Something I hear almost daily from photographers who are inquiring about my programs or wanting to learn from me is that they are terrified to make an investment before they’re actually bringing in the income that feels more comfortable to them. And let me just say that I can 100% resonate with that.
When I started my photography business, I was terrified to even invest in a program that was $147 a month because I wasn’t making anything in photography yet. That money was specifically coming from my nursing income. On top of that, I share a joint account with my husband, and he was terrified too.
There’s so much fear of wondering if this will actually work, but also at the same time, how are you going to get where you want to be if you don’t know how to get there? This is where that saying comes into play “What got you where you are now may not be what gets you where you want to go.”
So, maybe you’re a newer photographer and you’ve never invested, and you have no idea how to grow, and you’re just going to figure it out on your own. Or maybe you’ve invested in some things here and there, but you’re still not where you want to be. This is how investing will be so impactful for you, but you have to determine whether an investment is actually worth it for you considering your time, your energy, your financials, and your goals.
The first thing you need to do is understand your goals down to the very last detail. Where do you want to be in six months? A year? Five years? What strengths do you currently have? What are you really good at? What are your weaknesses? Where do you find yourself struggling most right now? What are your opportunities for growth?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself first. I would write them out and answer them honestly, so you can see where you need help. After doing that, you can determine the specific topics you need education on. Or maybe you need to outsource to a pro to help you be able to market in a specific way. Or maybe you just need a mentor to guide you.
As I’ve mentioned, with always having multiple avenues of things pulling at us to invest in, it can be really overwhelming to drown out that noise and determine what’s actually worth it. You may find yourself in one of these two camps:
You will throw your money at anything and everything, and then nothing sticks because you’re piecing together a million strategies, or you’re scared to invest in anything because you don’t have that income, and then you remain stuck.
Since I really do not want you to remain in either of these camps, and you can grow into a place of confidence and conviction knowing that an investment is worth it, I want you to ask yourself these questions.
Your return on investment is important to think about because the two biggest ways to see ROI are your time and your money. So, let’s say for example that you have determined marketing is an important goal for you this year, and Instagram is going to be one of your chosen marketing channels, but you always feel very overwhelmed when it comes to creating content, a nice investment to consider could be a content marketer or a program or course that specifically teaches on the topic of marketing.
Most of the time, you’re going to have a return on your time because if you’re investing in a service pro, then you’re saving time, overwhelm, and stress. Same goes for if you invest in a program or course that can teach you how to market in a sustainable and strategic way. Then, you’re going to get so much time back by trying to figure it out on your own.
You’re going to grow more confident in your own marketing and show up in a way that makes sense for you because of the content you learn in a program. That’s going to give you a major return on investment as far as your money goes for either of these investments because you’re going to have more inquiries and bookings from dream couples coming in.
This really comes down to your priorities, your goals, and how important it is to you or how detrimental it is for you to be able to reach those goals depending on your bigger-picture goals.
Let’s chat through some common mistakes I see whenever it comes to investing in your business. And before I start, if you know anything about me, you know that I come to things with a positive mindset and attitude because I feel like that’s so important, so I was very hesitant to frame this as mistakes to avoid. However, it truly does come down to that and my heart behind sharing these things is to hopefully help you not find yourself in any of these places.
Avoid waiting until you’re at the point of burnout or desperation
Photographers usually come to me in one of two places. They’re either excited as heck about taking the leap to learn and they’re finding joy in the process of pursuing education. Or there’s the photographer who is already burned out and exhausted because they’ve been trying to do it all on their own and they’re just defeated. They feel like they may not have what it takes in this industry, so my program or mentorship is their last resort.
Your mindset has such an impact on how you are able to pursue this business and pursue education. If you come at anything with desperation, it’s likely that things are not going to go so well. Potential clients will be able to tell when you don’t have that confidence in your business. They can also sniff out desperation.
You deserve more than this. You deserve to feel excited about learning instead of coming at it with a white-knuckling kind of attitude. You deserve you be able to take your time with learning and implementing without feeling like you’re behind because business takes time, my friend, and having a service provider or mentor who can help you get where you want to be is not only going to speed up the process in general, but it’s also going to give you so much more confidence quicker.
Avoid investing in overly priced courses with little to no access from the creator
A lot of times, courses are recorded and continue to be sold years down the road, and many of them do not include any updates. Going back to the marketing example, you can see how this would be an issue because marketing is always shifting in the online space. What may have been relevant a year or two ago may not be relevant anymore.
If you’re investing in a course or program that talks about marketing on different platforms that are constantly changing, but the course isn’t being updated or has no access to the creator for help, you’re going to be hurting yourself investing in that program.
Avoid investing in an educator that gives a lot of motivational speech or vague helpful tips
I’ve purchased those courses and programs and they got me nowhere, and I spent a lot of money to be in them. The best investments I have personally made in my business have been with a mentor and a coach. I’ve had two and I currently have two right now. You need to have specialized educated people in your corner who can really help you apply things to your business, and that’s what I’m personally about. Even my own mentorship is not about making things a one size fits all approach.
So, if you’re still feeling stuck, maybe a mentor to guide you will be your unmatched support that you’ve always needed. In my opinion, it’s always worth the investment.
Avoid waiting until you’re ready
Ready is a feeling, my friend, and in my experience, you’re never going to feel ready. Asking yourself all the questions I gave near the beginning will help you feel more ready and more confident in your decision to invest in whatever way that may be. But it’s also quite uncomfortable. And full transparency, it’s currently June of 2023 and I have invested more in my business this year than ever before.
I’ve invested in two business mentors and multiple service providers to help me get to a place where I feel like I have more of a work-life balance. It’s been uncomfortable shelling out so much cash every single month, but the results I’ve seen have been unmeasurable. Not just the amount of income that I’ve been bringing in consistently, but also how I feel about my business. I’m excited to be here. I’m stoked I have a podcast manager who has truly helped me take the editing part off my plate so I can just focus on bringing my ideas to the table and recording them, and she does the rest.
But back to that feeling of being ready, I never felt ready to invest in a podcast manager, or a content marketer, or a mentor, but it came down to answering those questions and trusting the process. And I encourage you to trust the process as well.
If you know this is something that’s going to help you get to a place where you can find more joy, more confidence, more fulfillment, more profitability, and more sustainability, then I encourage you to take that leap. Don’t wait until you’re ready because you may find yourself in one of those two camps I mentioned earlier.
It’s so great to purchase something that’s actually going to help you reach your goals as far as a course or program, but if you don’t follow through and don’t implement what you’ve learned, it’s all for nothing. So, make a plan to ensure you’re able to complete what you invest in, whether that’s setting aside time each day or each week or finding an accountability partner, it really comes down to discipline and understanding that the less time you can spend questioning things, that’s more time you can be creating and enjoying what you got into this for.
If you want to be more productive and stick to what you say you’ll do, episode 6 walks you through productivity, how to task batch, and how to time block so you can prioritize the tasks that are important to you. Also, in episode 15, I walk you through goal setting and planning for the year. And even though it’s not a new year right now, it’s never too late to start working on reaching your goals and mapping them out.
I want to end with this: invest for yourself. Do it because you believe you deserve more. Do it because you believe you are worth the investment. You’re worth that leap of faith and you do have what it takes. I’m rooting for you.
If there’s a takeaway you’ve implemented in your business that has felt so clearly aligned with where you’re at, I would love it if you would drop me a DM and share that with me. It’s so encouraging to hear your biggest takeaways, so I know what education to continue bringing.