Ways to Let Go to Help Grow Your Business
First, thank you to everyone who participated in the poll on IG! It’s given me a fresh boost of confidence and inspiration. I’m humbled you’d like to hear some business advice and I’ve added a few things on the blog for you to check out. For this article, you can check the audio version, which is at the bottom of this post. xoxo
*Before I get started, let me say that I am not a business guru. I don’t pretend to know all the things and I’m not promoting a magic pill.
My business advice comes from lots of trial and error in my business and from the guidance of other amazing creative bosses who have poured into me.
I’m comfortable sharing this advice, because I’ve tried it for myself and loved how I felt once I made the changes. You can take it with a grain of salt.
Okay! Now that the disclosure is out of the way…
“Sis, you don’t need more people, you need more money.” - Rachel Hollis
Sure, we’d all love more money from our business right? But you’re asking yourself, how? A person’s immediate response, which was mine for awhile, is more clients, more people in the pipeline. Sure that makes sense. But what happens when let’s say your monthly income goal is $5,000 and your highest package is only $500. That means you’ll need 10 clients, every month. This is assuming every client you work with invests in your highest package of $500. But what if your biggest premium package is $2500 and therefore would only require 2 clients per month. What would steps would it take to get there?
First, you need a major mindset shift
It’s very possible you saw $2,500 and either one eye popped out or you asked yourself “there’s no way someone would pay that much to work with me”. As someone who has and continues to charge 4 figures for photography packages, I’m telling you it is very very possible. You have to unlearn the idea that you have to be popular or have a lot of followers to even feel confident enough to charge that amount. You have to unlearn that you don’t deserve to charge that much in order to live the life you deserve. You are enough and you do deserve to price a premium rate for your skill set.
I recall a time when I decided I was going to offer product photography packages to beauty, wellness and lifestyle brands. I did a little research and found out photographers were charging $2000 for 20 photos. 20 photos. 20! That doesn’t even cover the stylist fee, creative director, location fee, props, etc. For reference, the article was dated for 2016*
It took me only about 5 minutes to find and read the article, but it’s something I remind myself whenever I feel scared about a number. I deserve to charge this 4 figure rate because I have the experience, I know the end result I’m providing to my clients and more importantly, I deserve to live a full and worthwhile life sharing my talents with the world.
There are several creative info-preneurs who talk about rebuilding your mindset to acquire the success you deserve including: Marie Forleo, Rachel Hollis, and Kristin Sutton. I highly recommend checking them out to help flush out your new and improved mindset. Plus I want to give you a few ideas on how you can let go in order to grow your business.
Review Your Current Pricing Structure
In order to have an idea of how to grow your business, consider reviewing your current offerings and pricing structure.
Are you offering too many menu list items in order to cast a wider net? Are your prices too low to also, cast a wider net?
I talk about why increasing your rate, encourages your clients to meet you at that higher level in another article, but for this example, consider 1. editing your package assortment 2. increasing your rates
(Niche Down) Editing Your Package Assortment - Consider reviewing all of your offerings and see how much each one accounted towards your total income. Also review how many clients for each offering. This is a quick way to determine if it’s a keeper or a dud. Are there character similarities amongst your clientele?Niche down to that one segment in order to get the highest return. Another thing to consider is if you actually enjoy offering the service. Sure you can probably do it, but does it spark joy? Is it an energizing activity or a drain? If it’s a drain, drop it and focus on the activities that bring joy and income. Which leads me to
Increasing your rates - Once you’ve edited your service assortment consider adding more depth, instead of breadth. What that means is, adding additional value to your existing or go forward services. I’ll use my product photography packages as an example. I offer 3 product photography packages. At a surface level, each tier notates how many final images a client receives.
But adding value in these packages looks like, each service includes: concept development, shot list planning, mood board, location scouting, shooting, styling, editing, access to a client management portal to track progress AND final receipt of the images.
My clients value not only high quality photography, but also a full service experience, where they can completely outsource the content creation process with limited approval checkpoints.
My rates are a reflection of my process and the value I’m offering my clients. Once you’re comfortable with your edited service assortment, you’ll feel more comfortable charging a premium price point.
Exercise: Write down all of services and consider which ones are a drain to your pocket or energizing and have room for growth. Next, consider all of the steps included in each of your services and what is the value to determine increasing your rates.
There are plenty of ways to determine how to increase your rates and I talk about that in another article but this is a good start to be able to speak to all of the value in your rates.
Outsource & Automate
Making space allows you to have more time to stay in your creative genius. As a bootstrapping entrepreneur especially a black woman entrepreneur learning how to do it all saves on overhead costs. Eventually however, there comes a time when you have to simply say, I can’t do it all, nor should you feel compelled or forced to.
There was a time where I reveled in the fact I was doing it all. Then I started to feel tired, overworked, resentful and honestly angry. I felt like no one wanted to help, but sis, that’s because I wasn’t seeking help. Please tell me I’m not the only one. I know I’m not, because I hear it in my creative circles a lot.
We revel in doing it all and having the long to-do lists only to make it to the end of the year tired, overworked on our vacations tired and hoping the next year will be different.
I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to be the superwoman in your story. Sure you can be the hero, but not the superwoman. A hero still has supporting cast members… people who can execute your vision, alleviating your to-do lists and giving you more space to breathe.
Automate, Automate, Automate. I’m the queen of automation. I love to delegate tasks where I can and I’m happy to do it. I don’t carry the superwoman mantle. I do what I can when I can and when I can’t, there is a program doing it for me.
I have an article where I share my five favorite automation tools but one that you should start using right now is Calendly!
It is the first program I started using when I simply needed help scheduling meetings and appointments with clients. Instead of going back and forth on email, I set up my availability and share my link. Not only does it put the power in your client’s hands, but it adds an element of professionalism. Plus you’ll feel so much calmer and relieved. Did I mention it’s also Free 99? Get your life sis!
If you liked automating that, try incorporating the other programs into your business. If you want a crash course in automation, consider Nesha Woolery. Nesha Woolery teaches a course on business automation and when I did her free challenge I was introduced to Asana, a project management tool and another program I use for my clients.
Outsource, The Other “O” Word
Can I share a little secret? I used to be ashamed to admit that I needed to outsource services. Especially as a photographer. I felt like I wasn’t good enough because I wanted to outsource retouching or video work or even an MUA even though I don’t do makeup!
Then I realized, outsourcing work to people or companies that can do it better and faster, frees up more space for you to do what you do well, creative direction & photography. More importantly, I realized outsourcing satisfies one of my personal/business goals of hiring other talented black creatives. Now, if I can I find the opportunity to hire other creatives to manage parts of the process for me.
Again this involves a mindset shift, that a rising tide lifts all boats, not just mine. Determine what parts of your business you can outsource within your budget. Maybe it’s admin and followups? Maybe its a part of your process that is a draining activity that can be outsourced? Right it down BEFORE hiring someone because it can be a potential cash loss if you hire for the wrong skill set.
You may just need to begin at automating select parts of your business and feel a huge sigh of relief.
Hopefully this post gives you a little inspiration on how letting go is the springboard to growing your business and making more space to do the activities you enjoy. If you want to here the audio version, simply click below and get started!
Have any comments or takeaways? Please share in the comments below.