7 Tips for Starting a Photography Business While Working Full-Time

7 Steps to Starting a Photography Business On the Side While Working Full Time

The question I get asked most as a professional photographer is how to start a photography business.  Are you passionate about photography and starting a photography business but are still working full-time, here is a guide with step-by-step tips on how to start a photography business on the side.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Photography Business with a Full-Time Job

  • Create a Photography Business Plan. Start by setting a date to launch your photography business. Many people who work 9 – 5 jobs keep putting off the launch of their photography business until the “time is right” but it will never truly be the right time so it’s best to set a goal and jump right in. Set a goal to book a certain number of clients or save a certain amount of money and then take the leap.
  • Use your time wisely. Have an hour lunch break? Why not return a few calls and answer a few emails. Arrange to meet potential clients somewhere close to your office to save some travel time.
  • Put in the extra time. If possible, put in a few extra hours at your full-time job to save some money for your business. Working over holidays is not ideal but it could give you that extra monetary boost that you need. Having some extra money saved up is also a good idea for the slow months but you’re still going to need to cover your expenses. Since you will have slow months when you're starting about you'll want plan how to make money with photography during your less busy times of the year. 
  • Make a point of outsourcing. Not managing their time correctly is a big mistake that many new photographers make. Outsourcing will ensure that you can focus on what’s most important. If you're not sure what to outsource, think about the things that are easiest to outsource. Maybe it's scheduling posts on social media.  You could also start with what you enjoy doing the least. When I first started my photography business I loved editing. But as I got busier and my photography business grew I started to dread editing and culling. It was like a love hate relationship. While I loved looking at the photos after a wedding shoot and choosing my favorites, I didn't enjoy all the hours spent in front of the computer screen. I would have rather spent them with my family.  Once I started outsourcing editing I felt a lot freer and was able to to focus on marketing my photography business and client customer service.  One thing to keep in mind is that in order to outsource you will need to make sure that you are charing enough for your photography services in order to able to afford outsourcing. 
  • Think twice about how to spend your income. Many people think they need an expensive camera when starting a photography business but if you don’t have any clients, you won’t be able to use the camera anyway. Start with an entry-level camera such as a Nikon D3400 and use the rest of your income to market your photography business. You could also consider renting equipment. This is also a great way to see which equipment you like best before making the investment. 
  • Think about full-time perks. If you’re planning to lease a car and use it as a business expense for your wedding photography business, sign up for a lease while you’re still employed. While it's not impossible to lease a vehicle when you’re self-employed, it’s certainly more challenging.
  • Think like a photography business owner. Treat your business like a legit business, even though you’re still employed at your 9-5 job. Your clients shouldn’t feel that you’re running a business on the side; they want to know they can rely on you to provide them with what they’re paying you for. Take your business seriously and treat it like it’s a full-time business.

 While starting a photography business and working a full-time job can feel a little intense, it’s one of the best ways to start doing what you love.

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