It’s no secret that the photography/small business industry has been hit hard by the Coronavirus crisis. Between no traveling allowed, no weddings/events, stores having to be closed, and the social distancing/stay-at-home rules, there leaves no room or opportunity to get out there and conduct shoots or business as normal. So yes – the photography/small business industry has been hit hard, but that doesn’t mean photographers and other business owners should just give up and let this time take them down. Based on my years in business (both photography and other ventures), I’ve put together tips on how those in these categories can pivot and adapt to make it through this crisis with their business still fully intact…
Challenges Photographers/Small Business Owners are Facing
To frame the tips that will be coming later, lets take a look at some of the challenges creatives and business are facing currently:
- Financial – no money coming in
- Little to no connections and interactions
- Photography community is made up of a small group of people
- Loss of momentum/drive
- Feeling isolated
- Clients are rescheduling and some want the same future date
- Worried about the new normal afterwards – will clients want to spend the same amount of money – aka, photography is a luxury
Depending on where you’re located and what your specialty is, your list of difficulties may look different, but you get the gist. This is just SOME of what photographers/entrepreneurs/small biz owners are facing right now while waiting for the world to open back up. Now that we know the difficulties, here are some opportunities I’ve identified in the madness and am chasing.
Opportunities for Photographers/Small Business Owners
- Time to re-assess your business model and make stronger the places that are weaker
- Tackle that to do list – ex: write the blog you’ve been putting off, finally organize your finances, organize portfolio/branding, etc
- Virtual connection/collaboration – we accomplished this by throwing together the Mind, Body, Business Podcast and bringing together thought leaders from around the community to spread their message and inspire others
- Take some time for education – online classes are plentiful right now and you can plenty of good ones for free. Use this time to up or further your skills.
- Find new ways to connect with/build relationships with your clients and build a following – start a newsletter, get more active on social media, create a Facebook Group, send greeting cards handwritten by you, etc
- Re-evaluate your value proposition and decide if it’s still accurate. If not, make the necessary changes and focus on building it up.
See?? Still so much opportunity! And you may look at this and think “yeah, but how do I make money on this?”. My answer to that: think about these things as a long term investment in yourself and your business. You may not see a return tomorrow, but continuing to focus on relationship building, your education, and getting your business in order will pay dividends in the future.
How Lisa Staff Photography has Shifted
I’ve tried to take my own advice and do some shifting on my end. Here’s what I’ve done that I’ve seen great success in in a short period of time:
- Created/re-evaluated my value proposition pillars to better fit a virtual world
- Connected with new platforms to maintain collaboration – silent minute, podcast, etc
- Started an online class – check out the free webinar below that we’re offering on May 13th and sign up here
- Started a newsletter (pictured above is a snippet of the Lisa Staff newsletter I started)
- Put more of a focus on social media and connection through that channel
- Focused on relationships both intrinsic and new – checked up on friends, spread love/education to new friends, etc
- Shifted business line – more of a focus on digital marketing services, social media management, etc
Do you see a trend in each of these lists – challenges, opportunities, and how I’ve shifted? The trend and what is critical to get right now more than ever is… RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships with your clients/customers, both current and past, friends, family etc. These all fuel your business and they all matter when it comes to having success in your business. So, my last tip is to remember above anything else is to find a way to maintain those relationships regardless of this crisis. Relationships are what will set you apart when the world opens back up. It will separate the real photographers and business owners from the frauds.