Before I even jump in to the content of this, I want to say that I know the fears and uncertainties that are surrounding, well, everything right now.
I've read your emails; I've seen your posts. The overwhelming worry of how your business can survive this, the fear of your immunocompromised child catching this, etc. I hear you. I hurt with you. But more importantly, the Lord hears you. He hurts with you.
While there will certainly be much devastation that comes with this, I truly believe there is going to be so much good. I believe this has the power to change our culture, our society, our hearts, and many people's souls. Slowing down, being intentional, and placing high value on helping others.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
1. Cut unnecessary expenses - NOW.
Look at all your expenses and see what you can cut. We have no idea how long this situation is going to last, but we know it’s going to be several months at the very least. There are obviously expenses we can’t get rid of, like our web/hosting fees, insurance, etc. However, are there other areas you can cut back right now? Analyze your expenses, and if there are any that aren’t pertinent to keeping your business running right now or aren’t contributing to your growth or success during this season, let them go for now.
2. Reschedule, don’t cancel.
This is an obvious once, but it’s worth mentioning. Your goal with all your sessions right now is to reschedule or place them on a temporary hold until we know exactly when we can reschedule.
There is probably a lot of down time for you right now. Use this time to plan for the future which is what these next three steps are for.
3. Make a big-impact plan to help recoup loses.
Sit down and give yourself time and space to brainstorm. Use your creativity that got you into photography to begin with and think through ideas that can be a large income generator for later this year once things have calmed down. Maybe it’s some type of big event this fall to celebrate coming out of this season as a county/world, and they are multiple days of mini sessions. Price them well to turn a large profit, market them well, and work your tail off for a few days to help recoup your loses from this season. This is just one small example; however, I know you can think of something great. Just try to get the creative juices flowing and plan now for something BIG when we are on the other side of this thing!
4. Start thinking about diversifying your income.
I talk about this a lot,and it’s because it is so crucial, especially for small business owners like us. If you are 100% dependent on your photography income, you are likely seeing just how beneficial having other revenue streams would be right now. As professional photographers, we have a huge advantage in this area and opportunities to easily merge passive or semi-passive revenue streams to our business. If you are interested in this, I have a course releasing this week covering exactly this.
5. Set up an emergency savings for your business.
If you do not currently have an emergency savings set in place, there is likely a lot more worry and fears surrounding your business right now. We have monthly expenses we have to make to keep our businesses operating, regardless if there is income coming in. Things like studio rent, web + hosting fees, insurance, etc. Our operating costs will be different from business to business; however, if (and when) the time comes your income takes a dip or a full halt, you need to be able to cover these things without dipping into your personal finances. I recommend having six months emergency savings for your business at all times.
I take a percentage of each payment that comes in and immediately put it in my emergency savings account. In addition to having enough to cover 6+ months of operating expenses, I also add money in this account to cover "unexpected" costs (unexpected is used very loosely as we actually can expect these expenses at some point). Things like camera repairs, computer or gear upgrades, etc.