I've written a lot about this topic over the years. It becomes especially relevant this time of year when I hear people say they're not going to a particular workshop with the excuse being, "I can't afford it right now. I spent so much at conventions over the last few months!" The truth is, if a workshop is going to help you expand your skill set, you can't afford NOT to go.
I shared a quote from Jim Rembach, a consultant a few years ago:
“When cost is number one in importance, you’ve already lost!”
While things have improved slightly in the economy, competition is more fierce than ever. Professional photographers are finding new ways to diversify, expand their skill set, develop new revenue streams and separate themselves from their competitors. However, in the process, I’ve heard the same comments so many times, “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 be consistent in posting to your blog, along with ramping up your online publishing of press releases to the local paper and community. Here and there you’ve got to make an investment in time and sometimes spend money. That means you might need to invest in a publicist or a marketing assistant, for example. You don’t need to completely disregard the cost, just pay attention and make sure you’re investing in the right activities.
I've written a lot about Marathon's Marketing Advantage program. Here it is in two sentences - Most of you don't have the time to be effective in your marketing. So, Marathon assigns you a staff member who becomes your personal facilitator helping you strategize; lay out your promotional calendar for the year; schedule activities like mailings to extend your reach, and even design the materials you need.
So, to wrap it all up, 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 together with a stronger skill set will lead to bigger and better revenue streams, and that’s long term!
Your goal is to thrive, not just survive!
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.