Today, I’m talking about the NUMBER ONE mistake I see brand-new business owners make!
It’s a complex mistake, but I can best describe it as discounting someone else in the same profession and even discounting yourself JUST to jumpstart your business in the beginning..
There are two reasons I believe this happens:
2) Being Unsure of the New Territory
Below, I’ll give a few example of most common ways I see this looking is the photography realm, however it’s applicable in other professions as well!
Putting something like this on your website:
“I believe you shouldn’t use flash because it looks fake/weird/etc., and I only use natural lighting in my photos.”
The problem is that there will most likely be times in your career when you need flash, they may be limited but it probably will happen in a professional setting and you should be prepared!
Stating that something looks “fake or weird” to you isn’t productive to building your business either, it just looks like a slam against someone who does prefer that style!
You may also have clients (weddings especially) who want to know that you are equipped to handle VERY low light situations that almost always call for flash!
You could even end up like me and fall in love with working in the studio. When I would say things like this early in my career it was because of the fear of using flash. I wasn’t familiar with what I could accomplish with artificial lighting.. and now I know!
However, maybe you have tried it and you sincerely do not like the look of off camera lighting at all and prefer not to work with it ever! Here’s a better way to word it without knocking different styles, other photographers, or in case you change your mind later.
“I’m an enormous lover of natural light and prefer to work with clients in this type of setting!”
2) Being Unsure of New Territory.
Another mistake I see is when people begin to discredit other’s prices. The problem with this is that this does not take away clients from someone with a successful business who is charging a fair amount. It really only harms the future of your business.
It can look something like this:
“I don’t believe in charging excessive amounts for memories like others, so I only charge $xx for photos.”
The is problematic because you are now pigeonholing yourself into being a “discounted photographer”, and becoming your business’ own worst enemy. And it could be because you likely don’t understand some of the expenses you will have as a business owner in the future.
When you start you need to ask yourself, what happens when your business grows, your skills widen and your expenses begin to double and triple to remain legit? You will have to have insurance, back-up equipment, money for taxes, etc. if you are taking any amount of money from clients! As the cost of doing business and living raises you will need to start expanding to accommodate more purchases for gas to drive to sessions, extra lenses, editing software, etc..
You will not be able to pay yourself if you never raise your prices. It’s just simply business math.
A way to fix this wording so it doesn’t affect your brand in the future and so you can still charge less as you build your portfolio is written below..
“As I start the journey of owning my own business I am offering a limited amount of sessions at a discounted price while I build my portfolio. Thank you so much for your support during this time!”
Then as you begin to expand you can still offer a discount if you really want to shoot something for your portfolio. This way you don’t get “stuck” at a certain price range without room for growth! I mean I still offer discounts for certain projects, but I am only able to do that by charging a fair rate for everything else.
If you are in the first few weeks or months of your business I really hope addressing these two mistakes can help you grow!