The current COVID-19 outbreak has hit the creative market in the UK hard, with many marketing departments having their budgets pulled or even worse, losing their jobs. 

Photography has been hit particularly hard and here are 5 lessons we can take to help improve our businesses going forward.

Gear means nothing

It’s times like this that it really hits home that having ~£20k worth a gear sat on a shelf in the studio, does nothing but massage the ego.

It’s time to start looking at all the gear and deciding what you actually need to carry out jobs and which were just purchases because you simply thought you had to have them.

I’ve been working from home for the last two weeks, using my old Canon 1ds mk3 and a 24-105mm lens, which could probably be picked up for a few hundred quid.  I’m still managing to complete jobs and that setup has easily made me over 10x its value back in such a short space of time.

As you can tell, this camera has seen better days but it still takes great pictures!

Keep excess spending down

As well as your kit, it’s time to look at what else you are spending money on in your business and how you can trim off the excess.

Now is not the time to have huge loans out and a car lead which you cannot afford. 

If you want your business to survive you need to be keeping money in it for a rainy day and I think there are many more rainy days to come before we see the sun again.

You need to keep making money

This one may seem obvious but cash flow is king.

If you’re stuck in your house, see what you have around you which can help you continue working.

I’ve converted a spare room into a small studio which allows me to continue serving clients even though I can’t physically leave the house.

If you don’t have this available to you, how else can you make money?

Now is not the time to be proud.

Look at what excess equipment you have lying around, can you sell something that you haven’t used in a while to cover any bills?

Take a look through your kit bag, is there anything in there you don’t need?

Keep a pot of savings

If you have been spending all your money between jobs, then it’s likely that this pinch has hit you harder than most. 

Going forward, it is worth putting at least 20% of your monthly profit away until you have a healthy savings account. 

ISAs and shares are a great way of making your money work a little harder but at times like this, they will be taking a downward turn too.

I try to keep at least 6 months of wages in the bank, this relieves a huge amount of stress and allows you to concentrate on growing your business at this time rather than panicking how you are going to make rent.

Keep opening your mail

There is a lot of contradictory advice going on at the moment about what financial aid is available to different businesses

Make sure that your accountant is keeping you up to speed with all the change and that you’re not avoiding letters which look like they are from HMRC.

Now is a great time to be updating all your accounts and putting any receipts through, if you have anything outstanding, make sure it is paid.

Let’s end it with a positive…

Although the creative industry has taken a downturn as whole, I’ve been encouraged by the amount of clients reaching out still wanting to pass work my way.

When this all comes to an end, and it will soon, there is still a huge need for photography.

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