How to improve your photography business in 2023 (15-minute exercise!)

Pinterest image titled: 3 steps to improve your photography business in the new year

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? When you look back at the year you’ve just had in business and hopefully look ahead to the next one. When you're trying to figure out how to improve your photography business in 2023. Soon you’ll be looking for ‘goal setting for photographers’ resources and planning your year.

But please don’t start setting goals until you’ve done this super simple, 15 minute exercise first. It will give you clarity on where improvements can be made and it will give you confidence and excitement about your next year as a photographer!

Ready? You can watch the video below or scroll down to read the blog instead - whatever you prefer!

Before you start setting goals for your photography business

I’ve yet to meet a successful photography business owner who doesn’t set goals.

It’s one thing they all seem to have in common. Let’s face it, that’s not a coincidence. If you don’t even know for sure what you want to achieve, how are you going to go about achieving it?

So I’m going to assume that you believe in goal setting and you’ll be setting some for your year ahead in business.

It’s an exciting time thinking about what you want to achieve by this time next year!

But before you do any goal setting, please take just 15 minutes to do this simple exercise first. It’s going to set you up perfectly. If you do this, writing your goals for next year is going to be so easy.

You’re going to want pen and paper for this. Or if you prefer to do it electronically in Evernote or wherever, then get that open and ready.

1. Think about what you achieved in your photography business this year

No matter how small. Something that you made happen. Something that you are proud of that was a positive step in the right direction.

Maybe you made your biggest sale so far? You set up your business management software. You started phoning your potential clients instead of emailing them. You moved to in-person sales. You increased your prices. It could be as small as you got your first full paying client. It could be as big as . . . you left your day job and went full time in your business!

Spend a moment thinking of your personal achievements too. Again, no matter how small. Did you get that new car you said you’d buy? Did you stop biting your nails? Did you get out of a toxic relationship? Did you manage to spend more time with a loved one?

Whatever your achievements were this year, write them down. Big and small. Business and personal. As many as you can think of.

Do that now.

2. Think back and consider the lessons you’ve learned in business this year

So these lessons typically come from things that didn’t go so well. Yes, I’m going to make you think of the crappy things that happened this year. The negative experiences that you know you need to learn from.

What are they?

So maybe you had a few clients who didn’t show up to their shoots or they cancelled at the very last minute and you never heard from them again. What lesson did you learn from this? That you need a great contract, brilliant pre-shoot communication and a session fee paid in advance?

That’s a great lesson - write it down.

Or perhaps you did a lot of shoots that you don’t actually enjoy this year? You kept booking cake smash shoots but you secretly hate them. You continued to take wedding bookings even though they make you sick with anxiety.

What’s the lesson? Only shoot what you love to shoot? Only show what you love to shoot on your website?

One last example and it’s your turn…

Maybe you never had time to effectively market your business this year. You were chasing your tail with client work and admin, not to mention family and life stuff in general, and as a result you found it difficult to fill your diary with great clients.

Where is the lesson? That working on your marketing should come first each day? That you need to spend 30-60 minutes on this before you start on anything else?

Now it’s over to you… write down the most important lesson or lessons you’ve learned this year. If you want to include personal lessons in there - go ahead!

Do that now.

3. Think about all the things you could have achieved this year in business and in your personal life but you didn’t

The things that didn’t go to plan.

You don’t need to write these down. Just think about what they were. Maybe you didn’t manage to get your website revamped or you are still attracting all the wrong clients. Perhaps you didn’t get nearly enough bookings or you didn’t manage to go on that holiday you promised yourself. It might be that you didn’t leave that day job you hate.

Now you’re going to dig deep and think about why

What has held you back this year from achieving what you know is possible? Is it fear and anxiety? Is it that you worry too much about what others think? Comparison? Negative self-talk? Overwhelm? Procrastination? Is there a toxic person in your life who holds you back? Is it your crappy day job that you hate? Is it money?

So this is the last part of the exercise. You’re now going to write down the thing or things that have been holding you back this year.

The things you know you need to let go of next year

Be honest with yourself for this one.

Often I get people saying to me that it’s lack of time that’s been holding them back. But is it really? You know that lack of time is almost ALWAYS an excuse. We’re all time poor. It’s just that some people use the time they have really well whilst others use it to scroll Instagram. So be brutally honest with yourself.

So take time to write down what’s been holding you back that you’re ready to let go of.

And that’s it! Now you're ready to set your goals and improve your photography business in 2023!

Well done if you actually did that!

Just thinking this stuff in your head doesn’t work. So if you weren’t able to do it along with me right now, block off 15 minutes in your calendar to do it in then next couple of days.

It’s that important!

You’re now in a great place to set your goals and plan for the growth of your photography business in the new year. Just looking through what you’ve just written should give you exactly what you need in order to do that. Use what you’ve achieved, what you’ve learned and what’s held you back this year to put a plan in place to absolutely smash it next year.

I know you can do it, you know you can do it - so go and do it!

We’re kicking off the new year in the The Photographer's Voice membership with an epic 2023 Planning Session. Together with the members, we’ll plan photography marketing campaigns for the year and the best content ideas to support them.

If you’re ready to commit to this kind of action then get yourself over to the membership and join us.

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