How to Become a Six-Figure Boudoir Photographer (& Work Fewer Than 10 Hours a Week!)
When I first started my photography business, I didn’t know anything about photography or, honestly, business. It took six months to begin making money. And three years to have my first four-figure sale. All in all, it took five years in the industry before I had my first six-figure year.
In a perfect world, you could become a six-figure boudoir photographer in a snap. But that’s an unrealistic expectation, and I think it’s one of the reasons some photographers give up. They don’t give themselves time to see the results of their hard work.
But you know what? You can make six figures as a photographer, and you don’t have to work more than ten hours a week. It’s possible with a lot of planning and hard work upfront. Read on to learn how to hit six figures with your photography business in just five steps.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- TLC Full-Time Formula
- Episode 057: 5 Must-Haves on Your Boudoir Photography Price List (The 2023 Beginner Guide)
- The Secret to PRICING as a Boudoir Photographer!
- How to Get BOOKED OUT as a Beginner Photographer in 2023
- Episode 009: I Booked 17 Sessions From A Bridal Fair. Here’s How.
- Episode 004: How I Booked Seven Sessions While on a Three-Day Vacation
- Episode 054: How to Rank On Google With Your Photography Website
- Episode 039: Five Reasons Blogging for Photographers is Not Dead
- Episode 014: Email Marketing for Photographers: Using Email Lists Effectively
Step #1: Get clear on your goals.
Your goals guide every step of your photography business. Every choice you make for your biz should be made with your goals in mind. That makes it easier to make decisions and track your progress toward your goals.
So…what goals should you set?
A SALARY GOAL
First, start with your salary goal. Not your revenue goal — your salary goal. How much do you want to pay yourself each month? Take your revenue goal and multiply it by 12. That’s your yearly salary goal.
Once you know your yearly salary goal, you can plan your revenue goal. Multiply your yearly salary goal by 3.33. This is based on a photographer’s average expenses because most of us keep about a third of our total revenue.
For example, if you want to make $3,000 a month, your yearly salary goal would be $36,000. And your revenue goal would be $119,880.
A SCHEDULE GOAL
Now, let’s talk about your schedule goal. How much time do you want to work? How much time can you actually spend working?
Decide how many hours you want to work per week. Multiply it by how many weeks you’d like to work in a year. (Don’t forget to take off for vacation and personal time!) Then, set aside one-third of that time for the administration side of your photography business. This is time spent on bookkeeping, marketing, and creating content — non-client work.
Finally, divide your number by the amount of time spent per client, which averages about eight hours. This final number is how many clients your schedule can handle.
For example, 10 hours per week multiplied by 45 weeks per year minus one-third of that time is 300. Then, 300 divided by 8 is 37.5, which we’ll round up to 38. That’s 38 clients.
(If your head is spinning with all these numbers, my Full-Time Formula spreadsheet can do the work for you!)
Step #2: Set up your price list.
With your salary goal and schedule goal worked out above, you can now set your sales average goal. This is the big number that will help you work out your price list.
How do you calculate your sales average goal? Take your revenue goal and divide it by the number of clients your schedule can handle. Easy peasy, since you already calculated those numbers!
For example, if your revenue goal is $119,880 and your number of clients is 38, then your sales average goal would be $3,155. This is what you’d build your price list around instead of coming up with random prices that feel right.
I discussed finding your sales average goal in a recent YouTube video about pricing as a boudoir photographer if you want to learn more!
Step #3: Build a high-converting website.
Let’s set numbers aside (phew) and talk about your website. How would you describe yours? From what I’ve seen, most photographers have a website, but they could be better. If yours just shows off your gorgeous photos and your contact information, you need more.
You need a high-converting website that takes your leads and turns them into clients. A website that gives leads all the information they need to know about working with you, what to expect, how to book you, your pricing — all of it.
Your photography website needs five key pages:
- A homepage that gives a helpful overview of your business
- An about page that tells leads why they need to book you over someone else
- An investment page that explains what sessions include and how they work
- A gallery page with gorgeous albums so leads can see what they’ll get
- A contact page so you can get booked
If you don’t have that information present on your website, then you’ll have to repeat it over and over and over in calls or meetings! So why not automate it all on your website? A great website is key to getting booked out and saving yourself a ton of extra work.
Step #4: Book sessions ASAP.
I want you to think of booking out your schedule as part of your short-term marketing strategy. You book clients, you increase your revenue, they refer you to other clients, and so on. (We’ll talk about long-term strategy in a minute.)
To find clients to book ASAP, I suggest attending networking events or vendor fairs. Bridal fairs are my top choice since brides are my ideal clients. I know that if I go to a bridal fair, I have a pretty good chance of booking at least a few clients. Or I hit the jackpot and booked almost 20 clients!
Let’s go back to referrals for a second because these are an important part of short-term marketing strategy. If you work with high-quality, ideal clients, you’re more likely to get referred to other high-quality, ideal clients that they know. This actually happened to me while I was taking a vacation, believe it or not.
Focus on building relationships with others and let them bring qualified clients to you. That’s how you work toward making six figures while working fewer hours.
Step #5: Think about your long-term marketing strategy.
We covered short-term strategy; now, let’s talk about long-term strategy. Booking clients can work as a long-term strategy, too. If you build relationships with others and continue to nurture those relationships, you’ll continue to bring in new clients for years.
But I recommend another long-term strategy that helps you avoid that hustle-and-grind lifestyle. A strategy that lets you work less make more, and spend more time doing what you want.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is super important for us boudoir photographers. Good SEO will help you rank higher on Google, which will help you get seen by more of your ideal clients.
One piece of advice I can share with you about SEO is to decide on your main keyword and place it strategically on your website. Mine, for example, is “St. Louis and St. Charles luxury boudoir photography studio.” People looking for a boudoir photographer in the area using that search phrase will find me more easily.
I talk more about SEO and SEO website tips in Episode 54 of the podcast, so give that a listen!
I love blogging because it improves your SEO. Someone who spends a little time on your blog will probably check out your website, which helps increase your page views. (And then boosts your SEO.)
Plus, blogs can help you build relationships with vendors or other businesses in your space if you mention them in your post. They may share your posts with their audiences, too.
Finally, a blog also educates your leads! People who follow your blog are more likely to show up to a session fully prepared without you having to spend time and energy getting them ready.
The last piece of your long-term marketing strategy? Email marketing. Email marketing is a great way to nurture qualified leads and convince them to become clients. Like blog posts, your emails can help educate leads and answer questions that they didn’t even know they had.
Just remember to nurture more than you sell. If you sell too much through email marketing, it’ll feel desperate. You may drive people away and make them unsubscribe. That’s the exact opposite of what we want!
So, give them valuable content in emails that they’ll want to click on. Butter up your leads, and they’ll be more open to buying when you finally do ask.
The bottom line? Have a strategy.
To become a six-figure boudoir photographer by working the hours you want, you must have a strategy. And more importantly, your strategy has to be based on your own goals. Your salary goals and schedule goals.
If you base your strategy on someone else’s success or on nothing at all, it won’t work!
So, outline your goals first. Then, set up your price list, website, and marketing strategies to help you meet those goals. You’ll find that growing your photography business with intention and purpose is so much easier this way!
Want to make six figures without making all the wrong choices? I have something for you! Learn more about my 6-Figures Simplified group coaching program — which is opening soon!