Transcript from Photobizx Podcast number 231 on Going from Part Time to Pro as a Photographer.
1. KNOWING WHEN YOU ARE READY.
2. BE PATIENT
4. SHOOT ,SHOOT ,SHOOT
5. HAVE A SOLID SALES SYSTEM
6. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
7. LEARN TO KEEP AND LOVE NUMBERS
8. DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY
9. KEEP AN OPEN MIND TO CHANGE
10. DON’T ASSUME EVERYONE IS YOUR CUSTOMER
Hey, it’s Andrew Hellmich here from Impact Images and welcome to this episode of the podcast. Like I said in the intro there, the guest for today’s episode, the main focus is photography business coach Bernie Griffiths, and we are looking at making the leap from part time to full time photography. That is one specialty that Bernie knows so well because he worked with so many photographers not only in Australia but around the world, and not only does he take them from amateur to pro, he’s working consistently with pro photographers as well and he helps them to either get or remain successful in their business.
Andrew: Now if you are running a super successful business, things are going good and you’re looking more for advanced marketing tactics, this probably isn’t the interview for you because we really are going back to basics, looking at pricing and marketing and getting your photography where it needs to be. All those things that need to be in place if you’re actually looking at going or turning pro with your photography business.
Andrew: In saying that I’ve been shooting for 20 years and making money from photography all that time. And there were still things that Bernie was saying in the interview that I thought, “Yeah, I should be doing more of that or I should probably be starting to do that.” So yes, there probably is something in here for everyone, but the focus is definitely on the photographer at the start of their career. So I want to make that clear upfront before we get into the main part of the interview.
Andrew: While I’m wrapped to have Bernie Griffiths back on the podcast. If you have been listening for any length of time, you would be definitely familiar with the name Bernie Griffiths.
He is the name, the person, the photography coach that came up with the Facebook ads promo, which we’ve had so much success with. That was the basis for the course that I put out as well. Anytime Bernie comes on the show, ears prick up and people get interested. So grab your pens, grab your paper.
Today the focus of the interview with Bernie is on new photographers and how to take your business from, I guess, a hobbyist to a professional photographer. So if you’re in that transition zone, then looking at going pro, these are the things that Bernie approached me for this interview to focus on. So he’s with me right now. Bernie. Welcome back.
Bernie: Hi Andrew, good to be back.
Andrew: So the hobbyist that wants to go pro, I guess first of all, how do you know when you’re ready?
1. KNOWING WHEN YOU ARE READY.
Bernie: That’s a good question. It involved, made list of 10 points, and that’s number one. How do you know you’re ready? Well, you know you’re ready when you’re willing to make that commitment. The most important thing I think is to have the want. Having the want is the most important thing. You’ve got to want to do this. It’s like getting married. Good times and bad, sickness and health from this day forward and forevermore. You marry your business. So you have to have that commitment, have to have the want. So you’ll know when you’re ready, when you get that want, when you get that feeling inside, which says, “Hey, I’m going to do this.” So that’s the first step.
Andrew: Is it okay just to dip your toes in the water and see if it’s a good fit? The way to do that would be keep your full time job and give it a go. Do you agree or is there a better way to do it?
Bernie: No, that’s exactly right. When I go swimming, I usually dip my toe in the water, but it doesn’t encourage me to go in. It really encourages me sometimes not to go in, but if that want is there that I want to go in, then I’ll jump in, even though it’s freezing cold. So it’s that commitment.
The other thing that I’ve got, is about that, is to have a strategy and set a goal when you are going to do it. Have a time period like say “I’m going to keep my job and I’m going to work my bum off and at the end of the year I’m going to resign and I’m going into this full time.” The problem is, about dipping your toe in the water, is that you’ll find you won’t have enough time that you need with your marketing and your processes to put into the business to enable you to grow. So it’s like a double edge sword, on one hand you want to have the safety of income coming in, but on the other hand you won’t have the time that you need to have that income coming in. But as long as you have some strategic plan, I think that’s a good starting point.
Bernie: For example, I’ve got a client at present, he’s got a good job, he’s earning good money, he’s been working with me for three months, but in July he is going to resign. That’s a done deal. So it’s something you really have to think about. But as I say, if you’ve got the want, you’ll find a way.
Andrew: I guess it is a double edged sword because I know that once you leave the full time job, then you have more time to focus on the business and put more time and effort into it. But I guess even if you want to dip your toe in the water, you can still commit to that and go all in as best you can with the time that you have.
Bernie: The only problem with that that occurs is that you do a lot of the wrong things because you don’t learn very quickly, and so the process takes a lot longer. I don’t know about you, but I bought a business when I was 23 years old and I just jumped in the deep end. That was it. That was the end of the story. That was going to be the income for the rest of my life. That was a commitment with me. And yeah, quite often I didn’t eat. Yeah, I slept on the floor. That’s the commitment I made. So everyone’s different. Everyone’s in a different position financially or family-wise, so each has to make their own decision, but it will take a commitment.
Andrew: You mentioned you’ve got a list of 10 things. What’s the second thing on your list?
Bernie: The second thing is that I think a lot of photographers expectations are that they can go into business and suddenly be successful. Now in business, it takes time. You have to be patient, be patient with getting results. And I remember many years ago when I had my studio, a sales rep came to the studio who worked for a new bridal magazine trying to sell advertising, and he said, “We’re going to start this bridal magazine and we’ve given ourselves five years. We know we’re going to make a loss.” And I was like, “Wow.”
Andrew: Wow, that’s a long time.
Bernie: I know that’s a long time. But they made that commitment. They’d said, “Okay, we’re going to give this five years.” And that’s the sort of commitment they made with the photographer. Just be patient. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen if you put in the effort and do the right things. Now, how long will that take? It depends on how much time you can put into it. So there’s the double edge sword you need the time. Time is the most important commodity that you need to create a successful business.