Jan 4, 2013

Building my Business: Let the Transition Begin - Part II

The sessions are almost complete.  In less than one month I leave the comfort of my portfolio building sessions and move on to my professional status.  The date is near, but I'm seriously not ready.  In January I have only two sessions booked to date.  Even though it may seem like little, it gives me much needed time to get many affairs in order before the big day.  So, what's left to prepare for the big day?

1) Build My Portfolio

"What?", you ask.  But isn't that what I've been doing all along.  Yes, it is, but now I actually have to compile my favorite photos, photos that I think best represents my style, and create a portfolio that I can show to clients.

2)  Marketing Materials

While I bought some business and thank you cards before embarking on this journey, I don't have anything that is remarkably mine.  I don't have a logo, I don't have packaging materials, I have little to make my final product stand out.  As my friend Emily at Entirely Emily so eloquently stated, "I don't think I can swing my client's last name written in sharpie on a disk much longer."  While I don't currently use a sharpie (I use a ripped piece of paper with their last name written in ink), I need to find some decent materials that will represent my business.  At this stage I want to purchase something that is reasonable and will make a good impression.

3) Consistency

I write this because I am currently all over the place.  I upload different watermarks depending on my mood, my font is inconsistent and so are my editing techniques.  The beauty of it is that this is what a portfolio building phase is all about.  It's about finding what works for you.  However, that phase is coming to an end and I need to make some concrete decisions about how I want to be viewed by others. 

4) Pricing/Packages

Now this is the challenge.  What to charge people?  I've been doing research and jotting down different price points, and it is not easy.  Some photographers in the area start their session pricing at $175 and require a $250 print minimum.  Others are a bit cheaper and lax with their prints, and others are even more expensive.  I have to take a good look at my product and expenses and draw my conclusions from there.  I will, however, keep myself in the competitive market.  If I under-price now, the expectation will be set and it will be difficult to raise prices. 

5) Clean up

It's time to clean-up and prepare for my new guests (so to speak).  I need to work on the blog, I need to work on my Facebook page and I need to complete my Google+ profile.  I need to make banners for each.  I've literally just been throwing "stuff" out there these past couple of months and I need scale back and determine what I want shared and I how I want to share it.

6) Revamp Contract, FAQs and Create a Questionnaire

As I move forward I need to revamp my contracts, FAQs and my client questionnaire to reflect my business.  I've found several template to work from, but now it's time to rework those templates to reflect me.

There is so much that needs to be done at this point, but I'm trying to pull back and only focus on the must haves.  At this point I don't need all the bells and whistles because I'm not there yet.  In time, I'll continue to work to grow this little business venture of mine.  I don't know where it will take me, but I think I have a decent start.

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