If you’re a photographer who is currently struggling to get work in, it’s important to know you are not alone. While things may feel out of your control, it’s important to take as many steps as you can to ensure you have a business at the end of it all. Here are some tips on how to reduce your overheads as a photographer.

Check your income

The first thing to do is to check your income.

Depending on which market your business services, it is entirely possible that you have lost most, if not all of your current work.

Now is not the time to be sad about it though, we need to be 100% proactive.

Get in contact with every client who has used your services over the past 12 months and ask them “What can I do to help you?”.

Now is not the time to be selling, although you may need the cash flow the most.

Many marketing departments are worried for their own job at the moment and if they’re still in position they’re going to be fighting fires. 

If you can genuinely help them, it will take a tremendous weight off their shoulders and show your value when this is all over.

I touched on this idea in my marketing in a recession post but now is the time to be taking stock of every client who has used your services and finding similar clients, reach out and see if you can help them too.Do not sell and do not tell them about all the awards you have won, nobody cares right now.

“WHEN THE OUTFLOWS EXCEED THE INFLOWS, THEN YOUR UPKEEP BECOMES YOUR DOWNFALL”

Bill Earle

Take control of your expenses!

Now we have made every attempt to keep some cash coming in, it’s important to control your overheads.

I came across this video from online education platform, The Futur this week and although very American-centric it has some absolute gold advice if you’re willing to give it an hour of your time.

If you prefer reading information, Errol has combined it all into a word doc which can be downloaded, for free, here.

The one area that every photographer can control now is our expenses.

“WHAT IS MEASURED IMPROVES” 

Peter Drucker

Go back through the last 6 months of your operating expenses.

If you’re not using an online system such as Quickbooks, now would be a great time to check them out. They often have huge discounts for the first 6 months and it could save you a tonne of time!

Even if you’ve just got your expenses in a spreadsheet, it’s time to take action.

Step 1: Organise your expenses from largest to smallest.

Step 2: Take just the top 10 items, they will probably account for ~80% of your outgoings.

Step 3: Focus on lowering the top 50% of your outgoings, any savings here will have the largest impact.

Some quick wins

If you really want to cut some costs check out my free resources guide.

The quickest way to trim business costs it to remove things that you’re not using.

If you find yourself without work for a couple of months, cancel all the subscriptions that you won’t use.

Take a look at any business subscriptions you have such as Adobe, Capture One and any social media software you have and ask yourself if they’re really necessary.

This also goes for personal subscriptions, if you can cancel things like your Sky contract, it will make a massive difference.

Look at any phone or utilities contracts you have in place, is there a cheaper deal available?

Any insurances you have in place which won’t be used if you’re not working should be cancelled, there is usually a fee involved with this but if it’s less than the price you will be saving, cancel it.

If you’re paying heavily into a pension or savings account which is becoming unaffordable, pause those payments for a few months, it’s no point saving for the future if you don’t have a present.

Finally, take a look at any debt you may have, is there a better way of organising it?

If you have access to 0% accounts, now is the time to use them but make sure you pay them off before the end of the period or you could end up in a worse situation.

I know that most of us would rather be working but making these changes now will put your business in a much better position going forward and will give you the greatest chance of survival.

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