“If it weren’t for change there’d be no butterflies!”

Unknown Author

​It’s a new year, and most of you are just getting back into the swing of things. But most of us start out the same way – we think about last year; we set a few goals for the new year, mostly in our heads, then life starts to ramp up and take over. Before we know it, we’re gaining momentum, and it seems like it’s almost too late to make significant changes. 

I’m about to suggest a few changes in the way things start out for your business in this new year. First, social media continues to grow. Maybe you did everything right last year, but this year, you need to expand to a broader audience. Second, have you diversified enough in your skillset and the products/services you offer? 

I shared this quote from Ellen Goodman in a post a few years back:

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.

And there’s my point – have you considered the potential to grow your business in 2024? 

Here are a few areas to consider before business starts to ramp up:

  • Diversity in your Skillset: Many of you specialize in one particular type of photography, but there are some terrific extensions. It’s like spin-offs of your favorite movies. For example, a wedding photographer has access to subjects for maternity, newborn, and children’s photography.
  • Partnerships inside Imaging: These play on two different levels. First are partnerships with other photographers who complement the needs of your target audience. For example, a wedding photographer who doesn’t want to do maternity or newborn photography should develop a referral business with a photographer who does. It’s such a logical extension.
  • Partnerships outside Imaging: Look for companies in your community who are targeting the same audience. Florists, wedding planners, limo companies, salons, etc., are all perfect to share the costs for a direct mail campaign. As another example, a boudoir photographer might partner with a salon and lingerie boutique; a children’s photographer could partner with a kids’ clothing store, a children’s venue, etc.
  • Time for an Open House! The first quarter in most areas is pretty quiet for local events. Even if you don’t have a studio, renting a gallery or a venue for an evening allows you to show your images in a gallery-like setting, introduce yourself to the community, and help spread the word about your skills.
  • Community Action: Whatever you’ve done in the past to support non-profit events in the community, there’s no such thing as too much. Look for opportunities that expose you to more community members, with or without a camera in your hands. People like supporting companies they perceive as giving back!
  • Attend EVERY Conference: Whatever conferences you can attend, just do it. That means local workshops, state and local events, and national conventions. This is about networking – with every event you attend, you’ll meet other artists and vendors. They become a part of your network, and the better you know them and the more they know you, the stronger the support system you have. Build your “village.”

A few years back, my good buddy Scott Bourne wrote in a post sharing one more exercise for you to jump into right now:

Whether you’re new to the business and just starting out or a seasoned pro, it’s a great exercise to take some time and look at your business as of right now. Then, think through everything you’ve learned and consider what you might have done differently. I hate looking in the rear-view mirror, but sometimes it’s the best way to see the bigger picture of where you’re headed.

And if you’re stuck trying to build a more substantial plan for 2024 between Marathon’s team and yours truly, there are so many people here to help you through the process. We’re here to help you THRIVE, not just survive in the new year!