5 Mistakes I Made When Starting my Business

Starting a business is not an easy feat, by any means. Not only is the legal side of starting a business daunting, but so is the actual work that needs to be put in right away. (Stay tuned for How I Legally Started My Photography Business). As a 6-figure wedding photographer and educator, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs when it came to starting up my biz. Now, I’m ready to share the 5 Mistakes I Made When Starting my Business. My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes and avoid making the same ones in your own journey. 

Business Mistakes I Made:

1. Not Organizing My Bookings

This was a mistake I realized very quickly. Utilizing and investing in a solid Client Relationship Management system became something I knew I needed after booking my first few clients. I had been following along some other photographers’ journeys on Instagram and saw so many of them talking about how wonderful Honeybook was. 

While Honeybook is definitely a pricey option, it’s also completely worth it. Honeybook is designed to organize your bookings, send proposals, house your contracts, send invoices, send out automatic emails, and the list goes on and on! CLICK HERE to get 20% off your first YEAR with Honeybook🤩 

If you have more than 3 clients, I highly recommend investing in a solid CRM. Not only will it organize your life, it well ensure that your clients are taken care of. 

2. Not Continuing My Education

No, I’m not talking about college! I’m talking about investing in resources designed to help photographers and business owners succeed in their ventures. While there are certainly a ton of free resources out there, I wish that I had understood how much further I could’ve gotten had I only invested in courses, workshops, or even guides. 

Now that I am several years into my business, I don’t think twice about if it’s “worth it” to purchase something I know will help my business flourish. The thing with continuing your education in your business is that it will pay for itself quickly. Once I started implementing what I learned through courses, workshops, and guides, I made that money (and then some) back. 100% worth it.

3. Not Investing in a Mentorship

I wish that I had connected with more photographers earlier on in my journey. When asked by my own mentees now how I got to where I am, I honestly can’t say that I did shadowed or even second shot much. The value that both of those hold is substantial, and I wish I had recognized that earlier. 

Investing in a mentorship would’ve also been a game changer when I first got started. Having someone there to help guide and encourage you makes the world of difference. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to learn these 5 mistakes I made when starting my business if I had invested in a mentorship earlier on. Like I mentioned in #2, the money you spend towards your business will come back. 

4. Not Starting an Email List

This might make you scratch your head a bit. While you might not think you have “much” to send in an email, or even have a need for an email list… you do. Think of an email list as another means of communication. 

When connecting with a client via email list, you can send them discounts, helpful tips and tricks, send freebies, etc. Whether you’re coming out with your Fall calendar, announcing a discount on Christmas mini sessions, or just want to send some joy towards your subscribers, an email list is a great tool. 

I’ve fallen in love with Flodesk for all of my email list needs. I’m able to design aesthetically pleasing emails with their templates or I can create my own! I started with Flodesk’s free trial, and found myself hooked pretty quickly. Once you try them out for free and fall in love like I did, CLICK HERE to get 50% OFF YOUR FIRST YEAR with Flodesk! 

5. Not Creating a Professional Website Right Away

If you want to be taken seriously as a business owner, you have to take yourself seriously. That means creating a professional website to show off what you offer and the work you do. As wonderful as Instagram is to share your portfolio, having a website truly elevates the client experience. Not only will potential clients be able to find your services, pricing, etc. in one place, they’ll be able to learn more about you and your brand. 

There are so many options for website platforms that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I love ShowIt, but there’s also WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix. Figure out what works best for you to start with – and know that you don’t have to stay with that one platform forever. 

Starting your own photography business is an incredibly rewarding career path and I’m so excited to be able to share with you the 5 mistakes I made when starting my business. If you’re a well-seasoned biz owner, head over to Instagram (@sarahyatesphoto) and let me know what mistakes you learned when you started!  

Additional Resources:

The Importance of Having a Contract
Associates vs. Second Shooters
How to Break the Ghosting Cycle

*Affiliate Link Disclaimer: If you click the links I’ve provided for Honeybook or Flodesk, it may be an affiliate link. This means that I will be paid a percentage of qualifying purchases (at no additional cost to you).

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5 Mistakes I Made When Starting my Business

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