by Skip Cohen
Now and then there’s a quote I find that sets the tone for a post. Jim Rembach, a consultant, wrote,
“When cost is number one in importance, you’ve already lost!”
While things have improved slightly, the economy is still tough. Professional photographers around the world are finding new ways to diversify, expand their skill set and develop new revenue streams. However, in the process, I’ve heard the same comments so many times from photographers,"It’s too expensive!" "We can’t afford the change!" "We have to monitor our costs better!”
I’m not saying you shouldn’t monitor your costs. Being a professional photographer is a business just like any other. The difference is remembering you’re an artist. There are certain tools you’ve got to have, and then there are those tools you’d like to have. There’s a huge difference, and so often photographers hit the panic button and become penny-wise and dollar foolish.
The same applies to your marketing budget. You’ve got to advertise and promote yourself. You need to publish press releases to the local paper, on the Internet, and to the community. Here and there you’ve got to make an investment in time and sometimes money. That means you might need to spend some money and hire a publicist or a marketing assistant. You don’t need to completely disregard the cost, just pay attention and make sure you’re investing in the right activities.
When it comes to spending money on new gear - this is a Photokina year. There are going to be a lot of announcements about new products in September. So, if there's gear you're going to need, now is the time to think about your budget and what you'll have to spend. You'll have new products to consider and probably some nice closeouts on "older" models in the same product line. Depending on what you need, consider leasing options. If there is expensive gear you want to buy, with leasing you can utilize somebody else's assets without depleting yours.
It’s an easy point to remember – it’s not the cost but the impact on your business that matters. Cost is short term. However, better efficiency improved quality and expanded diversification lead to stronger revenue streams, and that’s long term!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.