BoxDropsbySJP New Backdrop Company!

Well, as you may or may not have seen on my facebook/instagram/twitter I’ve been busy these past few days/weeks/months launching a brand new company. That’s right! What do you do when you’re heading into your 4th year of business, finally getting a little breathing room and not having to hustle 80-90 hours a week to get your business off the ground (slowing way down to 65 hours, you know… easy street)… well if you’re me you start a brand new business!

Here’s a look at what I’ve been working on (0-this in 24 hours!)…photography backdrops, boxdrops by sjp, custom photography backdrops

Though this has been slowly in the works for really a year+ it’s all come together in the last week in HUGE ways and it’s reminded me about the fun, excitement, fear, passion, etc that all comes at the very beginnings of your business. I forgot how much there is to do at one time at the kick off of your business, but I’ve quickly been reminded.

I’ve also been reminded of the truly amazing things we are capable of doing, and that other people are capable of doing for us. In just two days I’ve both added and checked off more things from my to do list than I did all of last week. Was I lazy last week, no, I got plenty done then too but with the fire lit under me of a brand new endeavor and a looming deadline along with the responsibility to still meet the needs of my current clients I kicked it into high gear.

photography backdrops, boxdrops by sjp, custom photography backdrops

In the past few days I’ve had moments of blind faith, taking leaps without knowing where they would lead. Moments of shear panic (literally hands shanking unable to type on my phone panic). Moments of pure joy, relieve and satisfaction. Moments of ‘OMG why did I do this, I can’t handle all this, this is never going to work.’ which always seem to be followed by a perfectly timed message from a friend saying something like “I just want you to know you’re awesome.” or “You rock, just so you know.” that seem to pick you up off the ground and send you right back to the “I CAN do this!” stage.

There is really nothing quite like the adventure of entrepreneurship and I know you all get that! I wanted to write a quick post that says I remember the thrill, the passion, the excitement, the shear terror, the hope, the overwhelming to do lists, the LATE nights, no sleep and buckets of caffeine. I remember it because I’m there still, and again.

photography backdrops, boxdrops by sjp, custom photography backdrops

And you know what?!?! It’s ok, no, it’s better than okay even at it’s worst it’s amazing! So hang in their entrepreneurs, I know you need more sleep and an assistant and 14 hands and 36 hours in a day ….. but don’t worry you can do it, and you ARE doing it!! You’re great, you’re a rock star and YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂

photography backdrops, boxdrops by sjp, custom photography backdrops

You’ll be able to shop these drops soon at www.boxdropsbysjp.com but until then you can view the at www.facebook.com/boxdropsbysjp

Small Business Tips (for Photographers): Know Your Numbers!

You know you’re a small business owner when you’re rounding out your 12 hour work day with more work (now going into the 16th hour)! My day was long today but it was filled with some of the things I enjoy most about my job and it all started with a mentor session for a fellow photographer.

I like working with other photographers and entrepreneurs because I absolutely LOVE business and helping others create the lives they want with the careers they’ve dreamed of. I’ve found, though, that many entrepreneurs I meet started their businesses because they love their field and/or are good at it but not necessarily because they enjoy business (or are good at it). So they tend to spend the most time focusing on what they like to do, photography, and not on what keeps them doing it every day, the business!

You’ve all heard a million times that the business has to come first, or there will be no business but what does that mean and where do you start?

I think, you start with the cold hard numbers… Can you answer the following questions (quickly)?

  • What’s your annual sales goal?
  • What did your business gross all of last year? Year-to-date? (Year-to-date is last year up until this day: ie if today is March 12, 2014 last years YTD number would be gross sales through March 12, 2013).
  • How many sessions did you have last year? (Goal # for this year?)
  • How many weddings did you have last year? (Goal # for this year?)
  • What’s your average sale for sessions? weddings?

Do you know these numbers, off the top of your head or with a quick look in your accounting/bookkeeping software? If the answer is no, I suggest you devote a little time to discover the real numbers (not your guess, you’ll be surprised how far off you’ll be).

So why? Why is it so important to know these numbers? For one, this is a great quick look at the status of your business anytime of the year. With accurate numbers you can easily see if you’re trending up or down from the year before and adjust your efforts accordingly. With small businesses it’s easy to think “I’m busy so I’m doing well.” and then you get to the end of the year (or month) and you’re not where you wanted to be and you don’t know why, because you were so busy right?

Right! We’re small business owners we are ALWAYS busy! There is always more to do and we seem to squeeze 25 hours of work into every single day. So basing success on ‘busy’ is a dangerous game.

So how do you know your numbers? Well the easy answer is count… seriously. Go back at least to the last full year and count all your sessions (if you don’t have an accurate count already). Count them by type: family, children, seniors, weddings, boudoir, etc so you can have a really accurate profit projection (we’ll talk about that some other time) and then add them all up! (You’re welcome for that magic formula!).

Now, you need to work bookkeeping into your daily schedule, it should be simple and fit seamlessly into your workflow (or you wont do it). I’m a BIG fan of successware studio management software but I started simply with quickbooks. I enter orders into successware (or quickbooks) EVERY day.

And I check my up to date numbers EVERY week (if not multiple times a week). Excessive? Maybe… but I always know where I stand in relation to the past years. Numbers will vary a bit but tracking this closely will let you see if any changes you’ve made this year are working for or against you.

So what can you do with this information!?!? The shorter answer is what can’t you do! Seriously, think about it… you know # of sessions from last year and your gross sales…. SOOOO you know how much you typically make per client (powerful information people!). And you want to make 20% more this year? Ok, so then what do you need to make per client with the same number of clients? BOOM, that number becomes your average sales goal. Now think about what you WANT to make, and with your average discover how many clients you need to reach your salary goal.

These numbers are ESSENTIAL to your business because they should dictate your pricing, your marketing, your promotions, and even your vacations! These numbers are POWER. Take control of your numbers, your paycheck and your life simply by counting!

Dive it, I promise it’s fun.

 

| Marketing your business | Taglines & Logos | The Marketing Spot |

Hi Photographers! It’s been a while since I had a post just for you (I’m sorry, my clients get my attention most often). But I’m here for a few minutes today just for you!

I, like many of you, am an incurable multi-tasker. I can never just do one thing at one time and this means when I am working as the photographer in my business and doing things such as processing orders or creating albums, I also try to wear the business hat at the same time and listen to webinars or podcasts etc.

the marketing spot, logo design, marketing, small business

Today, I stumbled upon a great FREE webinar series and a fantastic marketing resource for us entrepreneurs. This company is The Marketing Spot. I started listening to the first webinar I found which was on the creation of a tag line and logo and was very informative and inspirational. I LOVE branding and as a very small business owner I am my brand. The brand and I are always growing and changing and I’ve worked for years to nail down who I am and in extension who Sarah Jane Photography is.

This was a great webinar and I suggest you all take a look: HERE

Enjoy!!

Consumer Information on Two Businesses

I did it!!! I bought the big one! Today, i bought the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 lens!

I’m so excited about owning this lens, and no longer depending on borrowing this very important piece of equipment from the University. Hopefully, the work I get this summer will cover the cost of the costly equipment.

I was very excited so I had to share!!

PHOTOGRAPHERS: The important thing for you to note here is that I found a great photo supply company in my search for the best deal on this lens. Adray Camera Supply is a company out of Michigan and they have some of the best deals I found on a variety of camera equipment, and they have a superior reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Check them out at www.adraycamera.com.

IMPORTANT: In my search I also found a less than reputable business that I would like to warn everyone about! 1wayphoto.com offers some VERY low prices on a variety of camera equipment, but they have a very poor reputation. You can read this for yourself here at the Better Business Bureau website.

I hope this information is helpful!!!

Sarah Jane Photography – For Photographers

Soon to come on sjanephotography2:

-Details of my recent visit to Nick Vedros’ studio in Kansas City, MO.

-Links to great photography websites, forums, etc.
-Information on photography contests.

Plus much more! Enjoy!