There are too many of you walking around like deer at night caught in the headlights. You're still thinking 2018. You have projects to wrap up and orders from last year. You're still undecided on what conferences you're going to attend. And, while you've thought about things you want to accomplish, you're still in a procrastination mode on taking those first steps.
It's Marketing Monday, and while we all think of the first quarter as the slow season, that doesn't mean it has to be quiet for you. Take the time, starting today, and put together your laundry list for everything you've been procrastinating about in regards to your business for the new year.
Here's a list of common denominators, so many of you share:
- Your Website: Let's clean it up! Update your galleries; check your navigation; clean up your about page, and consider a change in design too.
- Your Blog: If you're posting every full moon then stop blogging. A successful blog is about consistency and content that's relevant to your audience. You'll be much better off if you step away from the blog and build a stash of posts to help you maintain a minimum of a twice a week presence!
- Your Gear: Is it time for a tuneup, cleaning, checking your backup equipment? Is there equipment you've needed that you have yet to purchase? If you're in a cash crunch consider leasing or check with your network - is there equipment you could share with another artist?
- Conventions in 2019: It's a new year, and you need to attend as many conferences as you possibly can. Take the time NOW and make those reservations for hotels and travel before you're too late to get the best pricing.
- Insurance: Your business and skill set grew in 2018. When was the last time you talked to your insurance agent? Make sure you're adequately covered. If you're a part-time photographer your homeowner policy will not cover stolen/lost equipment used for business.
- Accounting: Just like your insurance agent, speak with your accountant. The tax laws are always changing - make sure you're running your business as cost efficiently as possible.
- Legal Counsel: Every year I get a emails from photographers asking me for legal advice or if I know the name of a good attorney. Make it a point NOW, and have somebody you can call if there are unexpected legal needs during the new year.
- Practice - Practice - Practice: How's your skill set? Now is the time to perfect some new techniques and step out of your comfort zone. But, it'll never happen if you don't practice and develop each technique you want to master.
- Your Lab: Pick up the phone this week and call your lab and ask a straightforward question - "What's new?" So many of you are missing opportunities for additional sales because you don't know your lab's complete product line!
- Relationship Building: Identify your top 20-30 clients from the last two years. Pick up the phone and check in on them. It's the perfect time to wish them a happy new year and in turn, let them know you're here to help with any photographic needs for the new year. It's all about being soft-sell and just letting them know you appreciate them.
- Lunch: Relationship building isn't just about clients, but your associates. Getting out to lunch with other photographers is a perfect way to keep yourself active and enjoy an exchange of information about business and the community.
- The Community: I've easily written this a few dozen times over the years - people like buying products and services from companies they perceive as giving back to the community. So, what are your plans to get more involved in 2019? And remember, you don't always have to be involved with a camera in your hands. Your expertise as a photographer is an asset, but often, non-profits just need support and it can be in a variety of forms.
Think about the new year ahead. You've got a choice to make - procrastinate and keep doing things the same old way you've done in the past or step up your game and fine-tune your business, so you're ready to handle anything that comes your way. It's not rocket science, but it does take time and patience. And, you've got to take things one step at a time; scratch them off the list and move on to the next area of business!
Okay, so have you got the desire it takes?
And if you need help on some of the challenges - use the comment section on this post, send me an email address and I'll chase you down. There are so many of us in the industry willing to give you a hand. Let's make 2019 your best year ever!