July 9, 2021
In 2020, one of my most popular email newsletters was about different methods of income diversification for photographers… And for good reason.
As photographers struggled to book their usual amount of weddings/sessions due to the pandemic, suddenly the idea of having a financial “back up plan” was more than necessary if we wanted to hit our revenue goals.
Self-employment brings the promise of freedom–– you’ll have more control over your income and time than ever before. However, there is never a guarantee that your main source of income will be stable enough to be your “bread and butter” through every change in the industry that comes your way.
This is why today we’re talking about diversifying your income as a photographer! I know for many photographers this might seem over the top–– after all, you’re already booking weddings, portraits, and selling an album here or there; isn’t that pretty good already? I mean, you’re probably thinking, “I’m already pretty overwhelmed!”
But that’s actually a part of how diversification can help you.
Diversifying your income as a photographer not only provides financial protection in economic crisis or sudden industry changes (*flashback to 2020*), but it can also create opportunities for you to delegate more and work less, and opens new doors to pivoting your business in the future when life changes happen (because let’s be real… they happen!)
Overall, diversification is all about working smarter, not harder–– it’s cliche but it’s true! For me personally, different methods of diversification have allowed me to lower my working hours, outsource, and still make more income while feeling much less stressed. And I want to help you do the same!
Diving right in, let’s explore reason #1 that you should be diversifying your income as a photographer:
This point is the most obvious and is what you probably think of when I say, “diversification of income.”
As I said, most of us went through this in 2020–– suddenly weddings were being cancelled and we were all quarantining at home… How were photographers supposed to make money if they couldn’t go out and shoot? Suddenly our main source of income was dwindling.
This is when our businesses were put to the test: those who had various streams of income kept cash flow going, while those who didn’t struggled.
Having more than just a stream of income in your photography business that is solely based on shooting/producing images protects you financially in economic crises or sudden industry changes. We have to ask ourselves: if the main service I provide was taken away, what would be left of my business? Could I survive financially?
If the answer is no, then it’s time to get serious about income diversification within your business!
In some ways, diversification seems like adding more work to your plate. And to some degree, yes, it is–– but only in the beginning!
Once you have an additional stream of income set up, you can outsource that stream to another person such as a VA or use automation tools that will allow you to be as hands-off as possible with that type of income (depending on what it is.) In doing this, you’re making more income while working less (and providing a job for someone else potentially!)
If you’re that person that I used to be saying, “I just don’t have the time to set up an entire additional source of income aside from actual photography services!” Don’t let the idea of having to work hard upfront scare you out of the results you will see long term. There are lots of types of diversification that you can choose from depending on your expertise, skills, and available time. The main thing to consider is what you are able to do right now and how you can outsource or automate it right away so that you’re not adding more to your already busy plate.
And we come to the last reason you should diversify your photography income–– pivoting opportunities!
This one might be a harder pill to swallow. I remember when my business coach told me I needed to start making business moves that would allow me the freedom to pivot someday, I thought, “why on earth would I do that? I love what I do!”
However, years later, with more experience under my belt, I understand what she meant. There is huge value in having a business that is not only profitable, but flexible with the industry and open to changing along with your life.
The truth is, life can change! Big things happen and you might not want to perform the same services you’re doing now 10 years from now. You want to have a business that can flex and change along with your life so that it serves you and feeds your dreams, rather than you always having to feed it (until you become drained and burnt out.)
Having several streams of income simply makes your business more flexible and open to adapting to change, which can include pivoting to a new industry or niche. Even if you don’t feel like that’s something that’s on your radar right now, having that freedom is incredibly valuable!
If you’re not sure where to begin with this whole income diversification thing, I encourage you to hop on the waitlist for my upcoming workshop course! Hosting workshops and events for photographers is one of the main ways I have diversified my income and I would love to teach you all step by step how I am able to bring in additional thousands of dollars into my business each year this way.
Want to sign up? CLICK HERE!
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We're Shelby & Jared, Springfield MO wedding photographers passionate about meaningful living. We document timeless moments for free-spirited, elegant couples across the Midwest and beyond. As fine art photographers, we strive to create work that will leave a legacy of love for years to come.
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