There are two major questions creatives and small business owners are asking themselves right now:
1. How do we make money during quarantine?
2. What should I be doing now to best set my business up to thrive after quarantine?
With all the uncertainty around Covid-19 and the long to-do list we all have as business owners, it’s hard to know where to start. The second question in particular can be really daunting, when there are just so many things us small business owners could be working to improve at any given time. What we want to avoid is decision paralysis! So we’ve compiled 2 action plans to help you get focused. These things will set your business up to make some money during the quarantine and leave you in a better place to attract new business when things go back to normal.
ACTION PLAN 1: HOW TO MAKE MONEY NOW FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
These are people who already know you, love you, love your work, and support your business. They want to see your business make it through these hard times and would love the opportunity to help! Set up a marketing campaign in your gallery store to offer them products that you make a profit off of. We use Pic-Time for our gallery hosting and their service includes a print shop with all kinds of great products for clients to enjoy.
Marketing Campaign Success Tips:
- Use Pic-Time’s sales automation to create beautiful campaigns.
- Offer sales or discounts, or promote a special product.
- Put a time limit on your promotion and set up automated email reminders.
- Use great copy in your campaign. Speak from your heart and share why you’d appreciate the support of a product purchase during these hard times.
Your family and friends are your #1 fans and even if you haven’t taken photos of them, you can still offer a valuable service. If your mom is anything like Brandon’s mom, she probably has thousands of iPhone pictures from all her vacations over the years. And they’re probably just sitting there on her phone not ever being seen. Offer to edit vacation photos and set them up with an online gallery where they can purchase their own products to remember their vacations with!
Marketing Campaign Success Tips:
- Market to your friends & family through social media, text, and email
- Offer vacation photo editing packages to non-client family and friends
- Set them up with a Pic-Time online gallery of their own
- Offer combo packages of vacation photo editing & album design.
Some financial info from the photographer that got a degree in finance + accounting 😂 Not sure that was worth the 30k debt in student loans, but it’s come in handy during the apocalypse so 🤷🏻♀️
Quick facts: Small businesses, sole props, and freelancers qualify for these benefits. You can get up to 2.5 months of payroll expenses through the PPP loan, a 10k cash advance, and additional SBA loans. Loans may be forgiven if used on qualifying expenses/meet certain criteria within 8 weeks of receiving the money. Loan terms for money that is not forgiven include a max interest rate of 4% and payment will be deferred for 6 months. These loans are easy to qualify for.
These are new programs and banks are still figuring out how to accept and process applications, so it may take some time to see the money. But it’s absolutely worth it and you should start your applications today. Start by calculating your average monthly income, operating expenses, and payroll expenses (or however much you typically pay yourself each month). This will help you figure out how much you’ll need to get by.
Injury Disaster Cash Advance of up to $10,000
- An SBA (small business administration) loan available to businesses, sole props, and independent contractors
- Cash advance that can be forgiven if its spent on certain expenses like payroll and other operating expenses
- Deposited within 3 days of application approval
- Apply here
- Apply with a local lender, contacting your bank is a good place to start
- Loan can be forgiven if it is used to pay certain operating expenses within the first 8 weeks
- SBA website on Covid-19 relief
Unemployment benefits have been extended to freelance workers
- You can receive state unemployment benefits AND up to $600 per week from federal unemployment benefits
- Find out how to apply with your state here
ACTION PLAN 2: PREP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS TO THRIVE AFTER QUARANTINE
Creating a robust workflow through a CRM (Client Relation Management) software is a super effective way to improve all aspects of your business and client experience. CRM software helps keep you and all of your projects organized. We’ve used many CRMs and Honeybook is by far our favorite one. All of our emails, messages, notes, invoicing, contracts, photos, email templates, client questionnaires, and automated emails are managed through Honeybook in one easy place. It’s incredible! With Honeybook you can set up client workflows to send out automated emails, task reminders, and questionnaires based off specific actions or dates with each individual project.
We’ve compiled all of our email and questionnaire templates that we use throughout our entire client journey and made them available to purchase and download. You’ll learn tips on how to convert more inquiries into successful bookings through effective early communication strategies. You’ll also learn about all the things a pro elopement photographer should be communicating to their couples throughout the planning process. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOWNLOAD HERE.
- Transfer all your current clients to your CRM
- Integrate the CRM contact form with your website so you don’t have to do anymore manual data entry
- Input all your contracts, emails, client questionnaires, and proposals to your CRM templates
- Create automated workflows from all your templates so you never miss another email, reminder, or questionnaire.
If you’re overwhelmed with wanting a full web redesign, updating all the text on your pages, dozens of weddings to catch up on blogging – stop right there. All of that can wait! Instead, focus on one easy thing that will be incredibly effective for multiple marketing tactics: an elopement planning resource blog post.
Create one “How – To” or “Best Of” or “Top 10” blog post and get incredible milage out of it.
Multiple benefits from one easy resource blog:
- Create a resource for your current couples to enjoy
- Add this resource to the workflow you created in the step above
- This blog becomes a great marketing tool for future couples
- This blog becomes a traffic driver to your website improving your SEO
- Use the blog to share on instagram and facebook
- Use the blog for content to pin on Pinterest
If you’re trying to decide which social media platform to focus your efforts on, we highly recommend Pinterest for a variety of reasons. Pinterest is an easy platform to learn and master, it can be used as a resource for your couples, it’s an easy traffic drive to your website which boosts your SEO, and it’s a great marketing tool to connect with new clients. With very minimal effort, we brought our Pinterest up to 150k monthly viewers in the course of a few months.
Tailwind is an incredible software that automates your pinning AND has a ton of free learning resources to become a Pinterest master.
Pinterest helps boost your business in many different ways.
- Create boards that your clients can refer to for planning resources
- Create fun pins with text that encourages click-throughs
- Every click through from a Pin to your website helps boots your google rankings
- Reach newly engaged couples on a platform that they’re actively looking for inspiration on