What is a business coach for photographers? And how do you find the right one for you?
The professional photography community has seen explosive growth in the 13 years since I opened my business. And with the advances of technology in equipment and software, the learning curve to develop your talent as a photographer has never been shorter.
But being a good photographer – even a great photographer – doesn’t guarantee a successful business.
Many photographers absorb every drop of information they can find online, assembling their businesses in a patchwork of advice from YouTube, Google, and Facebook groups. You really can learn almost anything on the internet for free!
Inevitably, though, this approach fails. Figuring it all out on your own is tough! And it can take a long time to weed through all the information out there. Eventually, information overload leads to overwhelm and paralysis, and we get stuck.
The next natural step is to invest in education, and many photographers will see progress after purchasing online courses and attending photography workshops.
But there is no one-size-fits-all formula to succeed in business. And of course, a one-to-many educational model can’t account for the myriad individual challenges students might face due to things like race, identity, health challenges, location, and more.
Sadly, at this point, many talented photographers hit a wall. They run out of time or money or both, and their passion and excitement start to fade. They question whether they have what it takes to make it in business. And all too often, they quit.
But there’s another way to grow a sustainable, profitable photography business: the photography business coach. (Ahem…like me! ☺️)
What is a Photography Business Coach?
A photography business coach is an experienced photographer who has seen success in their own business, and they use the knowledge and skills they’ve developed over time to help other photographers succeed.
As your coach, my first job is to help you clarify what you want to achieve in your business. Next, we’ll plot out a clear path for you to accomplish those goals. And most importantly, I’m right there with you, as you navigate the path forward, learn from mistakes, make course corrections, and meet and even exceed your goals.
Benefits of Hiring a Business Coach for Photographers
Investing in photography business coaching has many benefits, including saving you time, making more money, reducing your stress, and more.
A Photography Business Coach Helps You Save Time
One of the best advantages to hiring a photography business coach is that they can save you time – and a lot of it.
Think about it this way: if you want to learn to play the piano, you have several options available to you. You could hit keys at random, sounding out the song you want to play note by note. Unless you’re a musical prodigy, I think we can agree it would take a long time to figure out how to play your song.
Or, you could find an online course and follow its step-by-step instructions. This method will help you quite a bit more than the previous example, but if you get stuck, there’s no one to help you and nowhere to really turn. But if you are motivated to stick with it, you’ll probably learn to play your song.
Alternatively, you could hire a skilled piano teacher. Your teacher can sit on the bench alongside you, seeing your mistakes and helping you make corrections in the moment. With this approach, you could be playing your piece in the span of an afternoon.
Similarly, it is much faster to learn how to grow a successful photography business from someone who knows the skills you need and the mistakes to avoid. A coach can be your ultimate shortcut, getting your business moving faster and more efficiently.
A Coach Helps You Make More Money in Your Photography Business
Saving a lot of time equals money in your pocket. The saying “time is money” is cliché for a reason! Your time is your most valuable asset – you can’t get it back once it’s gone, making it the one thing you certainly can’t afford to waste.
With a few tweaks, a coach can often improve your revenue and profits quickly. And of course, over time, the difference in cash flow into your business can be pretty dramatic.
Coaching for Photographers Reduces Stress
Think for a moment about the last road trip you took. You probably planned out everything you needed to do in advance: you filled up the car, checked the tires, you packed a bag – or overpacked, if you’re like me! You also made plans for where you’d stop on the way to your destination and what you would do when you got there.
Now think about how your trip would have gone without the plan you had in place. What if you tried to make it to your destination without the GPS, without gas for your car, without packing snacks for the kids? Your trip would probably have been a lot more stressful, am I right?
Consider your business as a journey, with your coach as your guide. She’s tried many different routes and knows the fastest ones. She also knows what to bring and what to leave home. And she knows what it takes to get where you want to go, with less time and less stress. And of course, she brings the best snacks.
A Photography Business Coach Offers Constructive Criticism
Your partner, your best friend, and your mom love you too much to tell it to you straight. Besides, they won’t know what you really need in your business.
That’s a coach’s job. If your coach sees problem areas in your business is being run, she can help you approach them from a more objective place. It’s hard to get that kind of perspective up close in your business, so this is a huge asset to a photographer!
A Business Coach Helps You Break Through Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are beliefs rooted in negative past experiences that shape how we view the world. These beliefs usually come from messages we received in the past, but they hold us back from taking positive action in the present.
Two of the most common limiting beliefs I see in photographers I work with are limiting beliefs about money and limiting beliefs about yourself.
Limiting beliefs often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you subconsciously don’t believe that you deserve money or success, you’ll subtly sabotage your own business.
A good coach helps a photographer identify underlying limiting beliefs and overcome them so they don’t hobble your business for years to come.
How Photography Business Coaching Works
Expect regular meetings with your coach, on a schedule that you work out together. In between, you can typically have some way to ask questions and receive help as well. You’ll share all of the ins and out of your business as it currently stands, as well as your vision and goals for the future. Be prepared to set aside some time each week to work on your business, not just in it.
How to Find a Business Coach for Photographers
First, ask around to other photographers in your niche to get referrals. And of course, there’s always our friend, Google.
Once you find some options, take some time to get familiar with what they offer. The clearer you are on what you want, the easier it will be to find someone who can provide what you need. Schedule a call and have a conversation with them. It’s important that you feel heard and understood, and feel like you can work well together.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below. Your question may help another photographer find an answer they’re looking for too!
Interested in coaching for your photography business? Schedule a call with me!