[for photographers] start your business & save your money: workshops

I thought I would share some of my own mistakes and what I have learned about saving money while growing my photography business.  Purely my own opinion, mind you 🙂 

So… first on the list, workshops!  Workshops are huge, huge, huge in the photography world, but they ain’t cheap!  They have some serious potential to drain your bank account, so let’s talk about some ways to educate yourself while saving a buck or two!

1. Make use of that internet, baby! 

Start reading and read constantly

What should you read?  Join some photography forums (Open Source Photo), stalk your favorite photogs on formspring (like Jonas Peterson, Benj Haisch, and Julia Trotti), and get addicted to some photography, marketing, and business blogs (copyblogger.com).  Hunt and dig through those things until you find the good stuff 🙂

There are even free workshops online!  Definitely check out creativeLive; it is the best free photography education out there.

“Hands on” learner or not, you can benefit so much by immersing yourself in the topic this way. And it’s free, so what can you lose?  Save all of those funds for some pretty new camera glass 😉

2. Make some friends! 

Get bold and make some friends.  Send some emails, look for a local facebook group or pug meeting, and start networking. 

It can definitely be scary to stick your neck out there, admit that you’re the newbie, and ask for help.  But trust me, it is so worth it!

Some tips on networking:

  • Try reaching out to people who are at about the same skill level as you or a little bit better, but with different strengths.  You are awesome at photoshop but stink at business, find someone who’s the opposite.  Instant symbiotic relationship! 
  • Ask specific questions.  General questions like “How did you become successful?” are very cumbersome to answer.  Instead, try asking specific questions about business or photography to make it easier for the person answer.
  • Go the extra mile.  Offer to take them out to lunch, travel to them, or just send them a handwritten note, anything you can do to show gratitude and make it super easy for the other person to help you. 

3. Practice some self control!

Believe me, I know it sucks.  All of these workshops sound amazing, and they are all given by people I want to meet and, honestly, want to be.  But we have to resist!  99% of the workshops you think about aren’t the right business decision for you right now.

Ask yourself: Will it bring me more customers?  Will it make me more money?  Do I have the funds for it right now?  Is it the absolute best use of my money right now?  Then, get someone else to hold you accountable and ask you those questions, too.  Justifying spending that kind of money is way harder when I have to answer to someone else.

I do hope that this was helpful.  It is so frustrating when I waste my business money on something I didn’t need, and I hate seeing others do it, too!  Good luck on saving all kinds of good money!!!

P.S. Please let me know what you think.  Is this kind of a post helpful to you?  I have thoughts of doing several more posts about money saving tips.  Let me know in the comments if you like that idea and what topics you would like covered.

P.P.S.  Got questions for me?  Head on over to formspring and ask away 🙂