I received a message this morning from someone I didn't know asking me why I hadn't been posting photographs on my page lately. She went on to boost my ego by saying that my work was great and that I can't give up now. I explained, as you will learn, that I have been struggling to get the business going again this spring. Apparently, she is a fellow photographer that follows me on several sites. I was honored that she took the time to write me. But, our conversation got me thinking about the future of my wee company.
I'm going to make a statement that will probably make you mad, then again, it may not. If I can't make enough money to survive from photography this year, I'm gong to sell all of my equipment at the end of the year and never ever pick up another camera for the rest of my days on this wonderful earth. That sounds childish, right? From a business perspective, it's not. If you can't make money at a business, you should hang it up before you drown. I have to live. I have bills to pay like all of you. I'm not crying about it. Those that know my family may think that I have gold bars hidden in the cupboard, but I can assure you that you could turn my home and office upside down and would be hard pressed to find more than a few grams of gold.
I worked hard last year to get my name out there locally and on the internet. I worked hard on improving my photography skills and it showed. I have been working for ten years to improve my skills. Photography and all the visual arts came easily to me, but I still had to work on it. I worked for over half my life at jobs that I didn't enjoy only to eek out a minimal living. Again, I'm not complaining. That's just my way of saying that I've paid my dues.
So, why am I telling you all this? I need your help! I need my people in the Upstate to tell your friends and family. If you know anyone needing portraits done or if you know someone getting married and in need of a wedding photographer, I'm you man. If you like what I do, let your friends know. I'll repay you in gratitude and possibly a few bucks if it pans out. In business, only 10-15% of inquiries actually result in a purchase of services. That is a best case scenario. The more people you tell, the more likely I'll be in getting customers.
What a lot of people don't really think about is that when hire me for a wedding, for example, you're not only helping me, but you are also helping someone that I hire as a second shooter, you're helping the company that does the prints and/or books. And, I have to pay taxes on that income, so I only get to keep a small percentage. Economics folks, economics. And, don't even ask about the tens of thousands of dollars I have invested in photography gear. :)
At present, I'm doing IT consulting for a local business. It is a great small business, and I'm grateful to have the income. Without it, I'd be out on the street. I'm hoping with your help to be so busy this summer that I won't have to do that anymore. At least during the warmer months of the year. Over the coming weeks, I will be working hard to publish as much work on here as humanly possible. I will not sleep. I'm dedicated to making this business thrive, but I do need your help. Photography, like any business, is more than just hard work. It is also word of mouth. That's where “y'all” come in. Help a brother out. I'll be forever grateful. :)
P.S.: If you leave a comment and I don't respond, it's because I'm at work. I leave for work at 06:30. I'll respond when I get home. Thank you, all.