Business

Ep 92. Planning Your Business for the Year

business plan
I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

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You want your business to grow, obviously. But.. there are just so many things to do!

Let’s talk about creating a business plan!

I know, I know. It sounds intimidating. But stick with me here, and I will show you how to set your business goals and how to plan your business strategy. As busy mamas, our time is very limited. Let’s make sure you’re focusing on the right things in your business. Remember, this is part three of our four part series “Planning Your Most Epic Year Ever!” So be sure to check out parts one and two if you haven’t already so that you’re ready to take on this next step! And be sure to download the workbook for this next step in creating your business plan! If you’re ready, let’s get right into it!

Take Care of Yourself First

This is step one! Episode 90 and 91 are really crucial episodes. They are all about creating your personal plan for the year, and taking care of you and your family first. That should be the priority. Everything next in the series will be hard to put into practice without the personal planning down first. The past two parts had a special set of worksheets that accompanied the episodes, and now Episodes 92 and 93 will have special worksheets that go with them as well. Be sure to go grab that over at thepurposegathering.com/epicworkbook.

Having CEO Time

Now I want to talk to you about creating space in your calendar to think about your business plan. When are you actually going to sit down and review what is being taught in today’s episode? You need to have a set work block, or CEO time, that needs to be in your schedule every week. Try to dedicate at least two hours in a week where you can focus on the future of your business. If you can do a CEO retreat every single quarter, whether by yourself or with your friends, this will help you to figure out the most actionable steps to take for the upcoming quarter. If you don’t carve out time in your schedule to do this, none of this really matters.

The biggest struggle that I hear mamas facing is time management, and never having enough time. I believe that it’s not about having enough time, but about making time for the most important things. Creating those work blocks to work on your business, creating that space in your schedule to focus even more on a higher level, every quarter, is going to be really important.

Key Areas of Marketing

What I’m about to share with you are the five key areas of marketing. I have actually heard these from a couple of different people. First of all, I want to give credit to Haley Birkhead and then secondly, my coach, Rachel Cook. I’ve taken what I’ve learned from both of them, adapted the information and created a very similar outline.

  • Visibility
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Nurture
  • Invite
  • Epic Client Experience

Each one of these will contribute to your business growth and should be factored into your business plan. Let’s explore them!

Visibility

You probably know by now that to be successful as a photographer, people need to know about you. A lot of us fall into this habit of thinking that we can only be visible on Instagram or Facebook. So we pour a lot of our energy, our efforts and our attention into social media. While I do believe that it is a helpful place to be, don’t get locked into this idea that you have to only use social media.

You need to think about other ways to be visible.

While we’re on that note of social media, there are ways that you can leverage your visibility strategies. If you’re using Instagram or Facebook, you could leverage your past clients and ask them to share some of your work with their audience. For example, you could create a slideshow of some of your favorite images from a client’s session and share them with the client, so they could post it on their page or their stories.

You could also think about being more visible at in person events as apart of your business plan. I know that trade shows are opening back up again, and small boutique vendor fairs. This is a really great opportunity for you to be more visible to an audience that maybe hasn’t met you yet!

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing sort of overlaps with visibility and can be a really great way to be visible.

In the instance of relationship marketing, as it relates to vendors, a great way for you to be visible is to partner with likeminded vendors. So, the more people that you can create and cultivate relationships with, the faster your business will grow.

As you think about relationship marketing, it’s important to think about the niche of photography that you currently have. If you haven’t niched down yet, and want to learn more, listen to Ep 72. The Power of Niching Down. I think relationship marketing becomes so much simpler when you know your audience and whom you serve. It’s essential that you have that niche first, before you start thinking about this. Otherwise, you’re going to be overwhelmed by having lists of so many vendors and different people to connect with.

Therefore, go find other photographers who don’t have the same niche as you and network with them so that you can refer business to their niche, and they can refer business to yours.

Let’s talk about relationship marketing as it relates to potential clients. This simply means getting onto Instagram or Facebook and starting to engage with people that are in your area. In general, whether it’s on social media, or just going out in the world! I really recommend getting out there and getting to know people that are in your area.

A really cool strategy to implement is to tell three people about your business in person. Whoever you meet, just tell them what you do and have business cards on hand. Just say, “Hey, I’m challenging myself to tell three people about my business every day and I would love to hear what you do..” or whatever! Again, it doesn’t have to be super awkward and weird. How much more successful would our businesses be if people just actually knew what it is that we do, and we weren’t relying on social media all the time.

Nurture

How are you going to stay relevant and top of mind to those people who are following you? I truly believe that every photographer needs to have a way to serve their past clients, future clients, and new potential clients. Aside from just being on Instagram, you need to have your own platform that you can repurpose. So, when we’re talking about nurture, I want you to think about creating anchor content, which basically just means that you’re going to create one piece of content, and then you’re going to be able to pull from that. For example, this four part series. Something you’re going to be able to create different reels, different podcast episodes, different emails, all on that anchor content. Work these into your business plan!

Invite

You’ve connected with someone, yay! Now, what’s the next step?

  • What’s the call to action?
  • Are you going to invite them to hop on a call, so that you can learn more about their session?
  • Send them a proposal?
  • Are you going to invite them to join your email list?

Sometimes I’ve had clients reach out to me before and it doesn’t work out. But instead of me just leaving it at that, I invite them to join my email list, so we can keep in touch in case they need a photographer in the future. You always want to be thinking about cultivating those relationships, even with people who maybe can’t afford you at the time, or maybe found another photographer that was available on their date, or whatever the case may be.

Epic Client Experience

Now that you have these clients, and you are bringing in revenue, ask yourself:

  • How are you going to take care of your clients?
  • What will you do to make sure they feel taken care of?
  • How are you going to make sure that they are never left wondering what’s next?

You should always be one step ahead of them. If you can provide an incredible experience for each of your clients, they’re going to be so much more willing to come back to you in the future, or become your biggest raving fans. They’ll become the ones to create that marketing machine for you.

Brain Dump all of the Things You Want to Do

I know this whole business plan thing has kind of been a lot to marinate on, but the next step that I want you to do is to brain dump all the things that you want to do in your business. Find out where they fit with these five key marketing strategies. Go through each section, the visibility, relationship, marketing, nurture, invite, and then that client experience and write down those goals that you have that fit each one of those. I recommend picking just one thing to be your main focus and then you can have some extra things on there that you want that are maybe bonuses. But I want you to just focus on one thing for each right now.

Then, I want you to go through and narrow down those top five goals. Then create the action steps that you need to take that are checkoffable for you to actually get to that goal. Once you have all of these steps, you can start to decide which goals are going to go in which quarter. You could have a running goal list where you take this big, audacious goal, and you’re going to break it down into quarterly action steps.

Now that you have it broken down by quarter, you can break it down further into weekly action steps, to achieve your overarching quarterly goals, and then your yearly goals. Anything else that’s does not fit into any of your goals, create a shiny object list and add them to that list.

ACTION STEPS

I know it’s a lot to resonate with, but I want you to take the first step.

  • Make a simple list of what you want to accomplish in your business this year
  • Refine it to the main goals you want to work towards
  • Build on it by listing out tasks that would help you towards each goal

You just have to start with a list! If you take the time to think about this, write your yearly goals, and then think about each of the action steps that are going to go with it and start to map it out, it will all make sense. I hope that you have found part three of this series helpful and that you feel fired up to go make your business plan for 2022.

As always, Mama, I am here rooting for you. And you are not alone on this journey.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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