OMG the Zombie Apocalypse has started! You might be affected and not even know it.

OMG the Zombie Apocalypse has started! You might be affected and not even know it. It’s only attacking small business people, and they don’t even know that they are infected. And it’s hitting the Small businesses of Photographers the hardest! Luckily there is a cure and recovery plan.

As a member of the photography community I was thinking about all my photography friends that are really struggling at the moment. Now don’t get me wrong, no matter what your business is, sometimes times are tough. But just lately I have noticed more photographers than usual are really really struggling. It’s part of the reason that we created the business side of Camera Love (coming soon). But what is really going on.

I think the industry may have been infected with the zombie virus! Hear me out before you click away !

So Zombies wander aimlessly looking to eat the brains of non zombies, right! Well that is kind of what is happening currently, photographers wandering around aimlessly, wandering the internet, the facebook, and the ted talks. They are on forums complaining of all the problems and reasons that their businesses are not working. To the outside world everyone is pretending that they are just find, when really they are not well at all, they are infected with the zombie virus.  They are trying to tap into what is making the non zombies seem like they are doing well. They want to rip out and eat their brains so that they too can be successful. BRAINS !!!!!

So what are the symptoms that you might have the zombie virus? Are you spending too much time on facebook, twitter, pintrests or your social media addition of preference? Are you doing the “I’m not good enough” mantra? Your clients don’t want to spend much money right? You are finding it hard to get people in the door? No One wants what you have to sell!! Your work isn’t good enough, your sales techniques are not good enough, your packages are not good enough, nothing is good enough and everyone around you is doing so much better work , sales, packages, etc than you!! Have you become complacent? Are you searching the internet for that one think that is going to help you kick start your business into being brilliant. Are you spending money to learn stuff that you already know? Are you complacent? If any of this sounds like you then you have been inflicted with the dreaded ZOMBIE VIRUS!

If you have the zombie virus don’t panic, stay calm. There is a cure! It is a series of steps that you can take to get yourself back to full health. It will take time and effort though!

Step 1: Firstly you need to be 100% honest with yourself about your business.  Start with these questions: Why are you in business? Did you get into business – because of a passion that was a hobby that you wanted to take professional? Did you have any idea about running a business before you started? Was your business running well at some stage? Have you become too comfortable in your business and not as excited as you use to be? Did you just want to make a bit of money on the side out of a hobby you love?

Step 1 action : You need to sit and think very hard about where your business is at TODAY! Firstly you need to know WHY you are in business. What compelled you to get into business in the first place. What is it that your business is going to do to make the life of your client better? Do you want to make beautiful memories of your client’s weddings. Do you want to capture pictures to remind your clients of the important things in life like their children, their partners, their parents, their family, their friends? Do you want to create amazing images that people will put on their walls and loose themselves in like a meditative state while viewing them? Do you love babies and photography and are blending the both into something that feeds your creative sole? This is the WHY that you must understand before you move on to the how or who. If you don’t know why you have a business then you will always struggle. Think of the why as your mission statement –  the “ I have a dream” part of your business strategy.

Step 2. It’s great to have dreams but you need a plan to make it happen. This plan can be flexible, it doesn’t need to be set I stone. Imagine if you were taking a trip across county, would you just go or would you create a plan, or an itinerary for your trip. Of course you would. You would also have a budget and know how much the travel part of the trip would cost you, you would need to budget for fuel, food, accommodation etc. you wouldn’t just jump in and go. Sometimes you might see something interesting along the way and investigate before returning to the plan. So do you have a business plan? If not a business plan, an itinerary of where you want to go and how you are going to get there?

Step 2 action: clearly define what your plan of attack is. Without a plan you don’t have a direction.

If you already have step 1 and 2 under your belt then you are well on the way to recovery.

Step 3: Let me ask you this then. Are you reaching for the stars hoping to at least grab hold of the moon. Now this is usually a good thing. But what I have seen lately is that many are not celebrating the little wins, they won’t celebrate anything that is less than making it to the top. If you want to climb MT Everest there are a number of points along the way that are your goals. If you make it to Basecamp then you already have done something that most people will never achieve EVER!! This is something to be celebrated! But if you think that is not enough and are disappointed with yourself because you only made it that far then you are going to become a zombie in no time. So are you celebrating your small wins? If you have been inflicted with the zombie virus the small win might just be getting up and sending an email or phoning a client depending on how far along the virus has a hold on you. It might mean being accepted by an industry body, completing the education you need to be skilful in your business, winning an award, having a happy customer, and so on.

Step 3 action: don’t be so hard on yourself, celebrate the little wins along the way. You need to stop and celebrate or you will definitely turn into a zombie.

Step 4: Pricing your product so you actually make money. Do you do your pricing over and over and over again. Are you always adding in new products and specials? Did you come up with your pricing because you copied someone else’s ideas and just thought they look like they know what they are doing so I will just follow them? After all what do you know about pricing right? The cost of doing business is so important to know. If you don’t know how much your business cost to run your business will be bleeding money in no time.

Step 4 action: work out what your business costs you to run each year, how much each week do you need to make before you get a cent? What are your products costing you to buy (COG) and how much on the sale did you actually make and pay to yourself? Now when you are starting up a business it is costly but without knowing the actual costs of doing business you are working blindly. Now many people say that you must make millions of dollars each year in the industry to be a financial success but what do you truly want to get out of it each year. Is it some extra cash to help pay for the nice things in life, or are you supporting a family and this needs to be a regular income?

Step 5: be honest with how much time you are willing to commit to a business. A business is like having a baby. When it’s first born it will take much of your time to nurture and grow. You will need to feed it and look after it and love it when it cries, you will need to be patient with it and educate it as it gets older.

If you have a family to look after how many hours a week can you REALLY devote to your business. This will help you determine how much work you should be doing each week and how much you need to be charging and making to be happy with your business.

Be honest with yourself about how much this business is actually costing you and those that rely on you. Don’t forget that the time that your business takes you away from your family is time that you will never get back again. I have seen couples fall apart because the business becomes the primary interest and relationships and family get pushed aside.

Step 5 action: how much are you willing to give your business? Is this a business that you are happy to work in 40 hours a week or do you want to make it something that you work in 20 hours or 5 hours or 30 hours a week? Schedule in the important family events and make sure you take time every week to work on your relationships with people that are important to you.

And finally Step 6: Service. Are you clients recommending you? Are you giving them amazing service? Are you getting and collecting testimonials from your clients. Are you asking your clients for feedback about the experience that they had with you?

Step 6 Actions: honestly, are you looking after the clients you already have? Are you making sure they get their work in a good turnaround time. Are you thanking them for using your business? Are you adding them to a list that you can continue to promote to them in the future?

 

If you can take an honest look at what is going on in your business, you can rid yourself of the Zombie Virus. Do what you need to do to get back on track, schedule in time to do the things that you have to do. Celebrate the victories. Understand that your time is valuable. Do the maths, and make a plan.

I have a dream! To see photographers overcome the zombie virus, make the money they want to, and to be happy working in their business.

If you need help with these areas of your business Camera Love will soon be launching their business short courses and monthly subscription  areas of this site where we will be there to help you overcome the issues talked about in this blog.

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