I published a blog post called 189 business building ideas for photographers in 2009. It’s now five years later and I think it’s time to up date my list. Many of the ideas from five years ago stand the test of time. Others need to be updated.
Technology changes quickly, five years is a lifetime in the digital age. We have so much more available at our finger tips. Although I expanded the list from 189 to 197, I could add many more ideas. Maybe you can expand the list and add a few more ideas in the comments.
2) Start a photography blog. I recommend using WordPress.
3) Write blog posts about the questions people ask you related to your photography.
4) Consider using the per-image pricing model.
5) Read John Harrington’s book: Best Business Practices for Photographers.
6) Use Feedly to follow blogs of interest.
7) Define your target market.
8) Create and share your professional story.
9 ) Network with your local chamber of commerce.
10) Comment on other blogs. People really appreciate it.
11) Enter photo contests.
12) Read the DAM Book by Peter Krogh (Digital Asset Management).
13) Hire a good business coach.
15) Create social media ads for your business. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram all have advertising programs.
16) Attend a photography seminar.
17) Learn search engine optimization (SEO). Check out moz.com
18) Invite a successful photographer to lunch.
19) Update your LinkedIn account.
20) Exchange links with other photographers to support your SEO.
21) Host an evening event for your clients.
22) Open a 500px account.
23) Build a social media community around your work and Website.
24) Create helpful and interesting boards on Pinterest.com
26) Create a vanity search (Google yourself) regularly. What did you learn?
27) Send a press release to local media. (Save this for the important events.)
28) Rewrite your business plan.
29) Sign up for a meetup.com account for local event networking.
30) Set up a Google alerts account. Track your name, business name, industry and website.
31) Take a successful business person to lunch and ask questions.
32) Read any book by Seth Godin. I recommend “Purple Cow.”
33) Make sure you have an e-mail signature with valuable information.
34) Visit a new town for photographic inspiration.
35) Champion other photographers in social media.
36) Be a mentor to a new photographer.
37) Volunteer your photography services to a worthy charity.
38) Make a 4×6 portfolio cards to hand out at events.
39) Use moo.com to create unique photo business cards.
40) Speak to local groups about photography.
41) Start a photography newsletter.
42) Use the Combination Code to separate yourself from the competition.
43) Explain and convince a friend why your photography business is different.
44) Create bumper stickers.
45) Create a plan to eliminate all of your debt.
46) Face your biggest fear.
47) Return all e-mails with 24 hours — if not faster.
48) Return all phone calls within four hours.
49) Place an opt-in e-mail request on your Website’s front page.
50) Submit an article about your photography style or tips to a magazine or blog.
51) Create a photo book to give to prospects, clients and friends.
52) Create an e-commerce photo gallery or stock site for your work. Consider using photoshelter.com
53) Call five new prospects today for a portfolio showing.
54) Create a one-year marketing plan and calendar.
55) Learn a new Adobe Photoshop technique on Youtube.com.
56) Upload a video about your photography to YouTube.
57) Use hemingwayapp.com to improve your writing.
58) Learn to code. Try codeacademy.com
59) Define what success means to you.
60) Create new designs for your business using canva.com.
61) Listen to photography podcasts.
62) Introduce yourself to local equipment representatives. (Canon or Nikon, for example)
63) Develop relationships with photography bloggers.
64) Write a white paper on your photography techniques.
65) Review all of business cards at the bottom of your desk drawer.
66) Create an online survey.
67) Call customers who didn’t buy from you and ask why (check your ego at the door).
68) Create a name for your style of photography.
69) Create an affiliate program for your products or photography services.
70) Ask three friends to navigate your web site and report back with problems.
71) Create a unique prop for your studio.
72) Find a good accountant.
73) Develop a social media policies.
74) Increase your photography rates.
75) Find new ideas to blog about using Hubspots topic generator.
76) Partner with companies serving the same target market.
78) Explore Google trends.
79) Train a representative to sell your photography.
80) Send thank you cards after every assignment.
81) Ask current clients for referrals.
82) Create a risk-reversal proposition. (Put the risk on you, not the customer.)
83) Learn to golf.
84) Examine your usage and licensing guidelines. Here is some help from ASMP.
85) Create a photography price list to keep on your desktop for reference.
86) Make a infographics using easel.ly
87) Test everything before you invest big.
88) Create a memory hook. (a phrase that helps people remember you)
89) Sponsor a local sports team.
90) Network with photographers specializing in different areas of photography.
91) Teach five friends how to refer your services.
92) Calculate how much it costs per day/month/year to run your business.
93) Set three new big goals.
94) Ask a photographer you respect to review your portfolio.
95) Exercise for more energy.
96) Learn to say no to bad deals.
97) Make it easier to do business with you.
98) Develop and define your personal brand. Remember, ultimately your brand is your reputation.
99) Make sure you have a Google webmaster tools account set up for your website.
100) Have a studio reopening party.
101) Make sure all your digital files are backed up and easily accessible.
102) Fire bad clients. This frees up room for good clients.
104) Offer a referral fee for new work. (10 percent is good).
105) Create an app for your photography business.
106) Submit your Website to photography directories.
107) Ask for and display client testimonials on your Website. Both video and written work well.
108) Create a poster for clients to display in their office.
109) Sponsor a client social event.
110) Answer photography questions on Quora.com
111) Research prospects with bad photography on their website.
112) Research prospects who have great photography on their website.
113) Rent a billboard for your photography services.
114) Write an e-book. Require a name and email before downloading. This will help you build an email list.
115) Use coolors.co when developing concepts involving color.
116) Create a meme using your photographs and link it to your blog or website.
117) Trade your photography services with select prospects.
118) Rewrite your biography. Make it interesting (and truthful).
119) Hire an intern for business support.
120) Invite guest photo bloggers to post on your blog.
121) Look for a partner to complement your business.
122) Remember your business ideas using evernote.com
123) Read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell.
124) Teach an adult education class.
125) Publish a book through Amazon createspace.
126) Make sure your Website’s “about” page is full of quality and interesting information about you.
127) Review your website using Marketing Grader.
128) Define and focus on attracting your ultimate job.
129) Spend a half hour each day in silence and think.
130) Investigate the business-building options PayPal has to offer. (more than you think)
131) Discover project management systems like Basecamp.
132) Track your time spent on post production tasks.
133) Create Photoshop and Lightroom actions to save time.
134) Create a list of policies that benefit your customers.
135) Call your competitors to keep tabs on pricing.
136) Ask your customers to be honest about your service and how you can improve.
137) Wear a unique name badge at every event.
138) Learn a new skill at khanacademy.org.
139) Apply iBeacon technology to your business.
140) Answer the question: Why should someone hire you?
141) Create side project and develop a kickstarter.com campaign to support it.
142) Develop a new benefit for customers using quality photography.
143) Understand why people are fans of your competitors.
144) Don’t pass a card to everyone at an event. Build quality relationships with a few people.
145) Dress appropriately.
146) Look at your prospect’s Web site before you call for an appointment or bid on a project.
147) Test e-mail headlines.
148) Make eye contact.
149) If you are shy, bring a guest with you to events.
150) Always stand in a “V” so others feel welcome into your conversation.
151) Regularly introduce people. Make it a habit at events.
152) Send a follow-up letter or e-mail to every business card you receive.
153) Don’t shy away from talking to insurance sales, financial people or real estate agents at events. They talk to new people and businesses every day.
154) Set up a booth at a trade show.
155) Spend an entire event looking for referrals for your networking partners.
156) Ask friends, clients and associates the powerful question: “Who do you know?”
157) Send clients birthdays cards.
158) Write testimonials for your best customers and venders.
159) Learn a new language.
160) Give framed photographs to your favorite clients.
161) Ask to speak to your client’s staff. (group learn and share)
162) Create a contest and give away something fun.
163) Learn how to write a grant proposal.
164) Replace beat-up photography accessories. (makes you look more professional)
165) Get a toll-free number.
166) Hire a live, personal answering service.
167) Package your services with networking partners.
168) Join a local BNI Group.
169) Take a road trip across the country to find inspiration.
170) Create and review your model and property releases and keep them with you at all times.
171) Keep a backup camera with you — always.
172) Read the copyright laws and register.
173) Create an easily accessible electronic portfolio for your iPad or Smart Phone.
174) Optimize your social media.
175) Explain to a business owner how poor photography is costing her money.
176) Develop a consulting side to your business.
177) Review your insurance.
178) Make sure your passport is up to date.
179) Take time off regularly to refresh yourself.
180) Build relationships with your local politicians.
181) Keep a list or file of photographers’ Web sites or photography that inspire you.
182) Start your own Internet TV show.
183) Be Positive. Yes, it does matter.
184) Explore creating other types of art for inspiration.
185) Develop a powerful long form sales letter.
186) Crate a powerful short form sales letter.
187) Give your clients more than expected.
188) Remember your copyright has value. (If it didn’t, people wouldn’t be asking for it.)
189) Discover a new social media platform.
190) Listen to your critics for actionable ideas.
191) Use Klout.com to track and measure your social media activity.
192) Conduct a survey about your industry. Try using typeform.com
193) Create unique promotional items with your printed logo.
194) Find a new photographer on the Web who inspires to create something new.
195) Update your contracts and paperwork.
196) Create a voiceover slide show of your work.
197) Create a list of 197 things you can do to improve your business.
This list is just he beginning. What items would you add?