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001. How a Dental Hygienist Built a Seven-Figure Photography Business

How a Dental Hygienist Built a Seven-Figure Photography Business // Sustainable Freedom with Photography Podcast hosted by Tracy Lynn of Tracy Lynn Coaching and Boudoir by Tracy Lynn

Even though I’m a photographer and photography business coach for boudoir, wedding, and portrait photographers, I know my personal approach to photography business is different from most coaches AND photographers. 

And that’s why I decided to treat this first episode as a getting to know me podcast. Because I’m so different from most, I wanted to go over my background story, my overall business strategy, and give you a strategy that will guarantee you book a few sessions as soon as possible.

I used this strategy to book twelve sessions in two weeks, seven of which while on a weekend vacation! 

My Back Story

Instead of photography, I actually have a Bachelors in Dental Hygiene.  I worked in private practice for eight years. Maybe I won’t ever step foot in a dental office as a hygienist again, but one thing I do know is that it helped in so many ways professionally AND personally.  It definitely helped me become the photographer and business person I am today.

In 2016, I moved to St. Louis, and decided that it was finally time to make this photography thing work.  WIthin five months, I had a studio downtown.  By 2017, I hit my first six-figure year.

Eventually, I decided I realized I had NO boundaries and decided it was best to put some space between home and work.  At the time, I was too close to my studio, and with no boundaries, I was there all the time! I moved home to be closer to my family, which is two hours from St. Louis.

Photography Business + Boundaries

With this move, I had to learn to schedule sessions efficiently, and spend my time wisely on money making activities. I couldn’t continue to waste time when I was at the studio. If I was there, it HAD to be to photograph a client.

Let’s fast forward to 2022.  I now work less than 30 hours four times a year on my photography business, and Boudoir by Tracy Lynn(my studio) still grosses over $150K per year. 

Before, I was spending over 8 hour per client from initial contact to delivery of products. Now, I spend about 2.5 hours per client total through automations and efficiency.

Side note: I want to clarify something. When I say I am a seven-figure photographer, I want to be super transparent. I’ve grossed $1.3 million total, since 2017. I realize that can be confusing and I’m not trying to mislead anyone.

My Photography Business Strategy

I’ve created spreadsheets I give to each client that allows us to make decisions based on fact, not our emotions at that moment.  It’s important to set these up early in business so that decisions are always made without emotion.

A few of my spreadsheets(which you can get access to in my TLC Photography Pricing Course) include:

  • TLC Full Time Formula:
    • This is the foundation of a photography business.  It gives you a sales average goal and client capacity based on how much you want to work.
  • TLC Budget Blueprint:
    • There are 2 and they help plan AND track your budget to build and maintain a healthy business
  • Sales Average Spreadsheet:
    • This spreadsheet will show you where a problem may lie and then you use your other spreadsheets to figure out how to fix it. 
  • TLC’s Pricing Calculator
    • This spreadsheet literally tells you exactly how much to charge based on Cost of Sales. 

Sustainable Marketing = Sustainable Freedom

My goal for a marketing strategy is to be the go-to photographer in your area for your genre and your ideal client.

What we don’t want is to create a client list of the wrong type of clients, which is a mistake I see a lot of photographers making.  Model calls, Facebook ads, and flash sales are the fastest way to create that client list- and I promise we will talk a lot more about this in upcoming episodes.  But long story short, these clients are only after a deal…

Sustainability is the ultimate goal. A good marketing plan will take about a year, maybe two, of really hard work to implement.

We start with short term marketing, meaning “get clients now” plan.  This means you have to get out there in the community. 

Once the short term marketing plan is in motion, it’s time to start working on the long term plan.  This includes a high converting website, search engine optimization, blogging, email marketing, and social media as well. 

Both short term and long term marketing plans work together.  If you want to work less and make more money, have the ability to work 30 hours or less a month, and spend more time doing what you want, then you can’t skip part of it just because maybe it makes you uncomfortable.

How to Book Seven Sessions in Three Days

We’re in the middle of planning our wedding. I mentioned my photography business to the bridal shop while I was dress shopping.  After a conversation with them, they said they would love my information to refer clients for boudoir sessions.  I told them I would love to do something better.  And this strategy is my secret weapon.  I printed gift cards through my pro lab and mailed them to the bridal boutique.  

They started handing them out immediately, and I booked 7 sessions in 3 days… while on vacation.

The best part is these are great clients! They’re referred by businesses who serve my ideal client so the client values what I offer.  They also trust the business who referred them to me, so in turn, they trust me.

Want a Copy of My Gift Card Template?

As a thank you for listening to this first episode, I’m giving you a FREE copy of my gift card template. This is the exact template I used in my photography business to book seven boudoir sessions in 3 days, while on vacation.  Be sure to grab your copy while you can!

Relevant Links Mentioned in the Episode: 

TLC Photography Pricing Course
Instagram
Gift Card Template

tracy

Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.

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