Happy Friday, everyone! Today I am VERY excited to present my first-ever guest blog post, by the incomparable Bethany Cox of Bethany & Dan Photography. Bethany approached me a few weeks ago about writing a guest blog post on her blog, and now I am happy to share some words and wisdom from her in return! Enjoy, and be sure to check out Bethany & Dan’s website, too!
The Top Three Things that helped us with the Business side of Business
It seems like there are just SO many people who are photographers and wanting to get into the business of it. Think about how many people you know personally who are aspiring to be professional photographers. I bet it’s more than one–perhaps even more than five. A statistic I heard recently from Zach Gray was that “80% of businesses fail in five years.” That is really scary to me… or perhaps I should say it is a warning to me that I need to make sure that Dan and I are not part of that 80%.
One thing we realized early on was that in order to be seen as professional, we needed to treat our business like a REAL business, because it IS! We needed to have a website we were proud of. We needed to be able to efficiently manage our bookings, and we needed to have an email address that wasn’t “@gmail.com” at the end of it. I know that those seem elementary, but it was 100% worth having these right out of the gate on our “Opening Day.” Here is how we did it:
The first step was to have an website we were proud of.
We stumbled upon Showit. I wish I could remember how we heard of it, but I can’t. At least now you can remember that you heard about it from me! Showit is amazing for 1,000 reasons; however, my favorite part when we first started using it was that it was something that we could use to create a website that was beautiful and didn’t look like anyone else’s site. I loved that we could change it really easily and customize the heck out of it. I love that it wasn’t a template, and if we got sick of our site, we could completely change everything.
It was hard to understand how to use it at first, but we dug in and now I think it’s crazy easy. They also offer training for free every single day of the week. Now that we are “Showiteers,” the real benefit of Showit came out. We didn’t know it when we signed up but we were signing up to be a part of a family. Showit really does focus on serving, and so do its customers. We signed up for a website and what we got was friends, role models, meet-ups, educational sessions, and so so much more. If you do anything for your business, sign up for Showit!
Next, we wanted to have an efficient booking system.
Honestly, what do people do without Shootq? I know I would be l.o.s.t. all wedding season. Shootq is how we manage all the inquiries and bookings that come in our inbox. We add each lead into shootq, and it handles almost everything from there. We create workflows and emails and shootq helps us keep it all organized. We also use shootq for the actual booking process. We send our clients the contract and the proposal and they sign and pay right in the program! Everything we need for legal and financials are all in one place. They best part is that it is easy for our clients and creates and environment for them to feel secure. They know they are working with a real business, who is professional and keeps things organized. To just how amazing shootq is, head to LeeAnn Marie’s Photographers Website and see all the things she does with shootq. Its pretty incredible: http://www.leeannmarie4photographers.com/
Lastly, we wanted an email address with our doman at the end, rather than “@gmail.com”
It’s not that @gmail.com email addresses are bad, it’s just that when you email @bethanydan.com it just feels better. It comes across that we are a professional business, and you are working with a business that is established. Now does that mean that @gmail.com email addresses DON’T say that? No. It just means that the @bethanydan.com email address does. Make sense? As much as I would like to boast and say I figured it out easily, I have to admit that Dan did this part because I just couldn’t figure it out. To save you the time of going out there, finding and falling in love with a husband who gladly does this sort of thing and marrying him, I will provide you with a link that explains it pretty easily: shoestringbranding
No go out there and get to work! Your business is a business, remember? Make it the kind of business that you would want to work with as a client.