What is a Photogrepreneur?

Just about every photographer I know has their own business. Most get into it for the art and the love of photography, but there’s no denying that an entrepreneurial spirit is required as well. For the business to succeed, these two personas – the photographer and the entrepreneur – must come together into what I like to call a “photogrepreneur.”

Why is This Important?

As a small business owner, your success depends on your ability to do more than capture and deliver beautiful images.  There are a wide range of things that have to get done for any business to survive, and the smaller the business, the more the business owner must take on themselves.

Photographers love their art – it is why they do what they do.  And while it may be hard to truly love a cash flow analysis or marketing plans, these are just as important to the future of your business as is learning to use that new camera you just bought.

What Does This Mean?

This means that the small business owner has to wear many hats, as indicated by a list of the skills and tasks required to make it as a photogrepreneur:

  • Using a camera and its accessories
  • Processing images (post-production)
  • Designing books, albums and cards
  • Ordering prints and other lab products
  • Continuing the education and training process
  • Marketing and selling
  • Planning, budgeting and daily business management
  • Paying bills and taxes
  • Generating invoices and collecting payments
  • Drafting and reviewing contracts and other agreements

Really?

Really.  And the above list is not exhaustive.  We could go on and on with all of the detail that is required to support any business.  So, what’s a photogrepreneur to do? Two things:

  • Prioritize.  It’s not just a function of having the skills needed; you also have to have the time to actually perform the function.  The three most critical things that the small business owner needs to focus on are:
    • Marketing & selling – nothing else happens if this doesn’t.
    • Using a camera and its accessories – needed to perform the job.
    • Planning, budgeting & daily business management – sometimes referred to as “driving the train”.
  • Learn to get help.  For those things you don’t have time to do – or aren’t very good at – find a way to leverage other resources.  Sometimes called “outsourcing”, this can be a great way of growing your business without having to take on full- or part-time employees.  The key is to know what to outsource and what to keep for oneself.

Are you a true photogrepreneur? Are you properly focused on the business as well as the art? If you’re serious about maintaining a successful business, take a look at your current priorities and where you spend your time. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Think about what tasks make you money and which just waste time. And decide whether you’re willing to grow and do what it takes to succeed. Otherwise, you may just be a “photobbyist” (okay, that term may not be worth trademarking 😉 ).

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Milverton Visuals by LDPhotography and commented:
    Too many photographers consider themselves artists. Your number one responsibility to your clients, is to BE IN BUSINESS WHEN THEY NEED YOU. There are TONS of learning resources online, in case you do not want to go back to college. One of them is http://www.KhanAcademy.org. There you can learn simple accounting and macro/micro economic principles and other business fundamentals. Another course I would strongly suggest, is that of sales. Some call prostitution the oldest profession in the world, but in all reality, SALES is the oldest profession. Try learning something new for your business at least once a month if not once a week. If you can learn 20-30 new business principles this year, imagine your success next year!