Inflation is slowly killing your business, and many photographers haven't seen the big picture yet. Inflation is an on-going process but the past couple of years have really taken a bite out of the small business success story.
Pricing Scares Photographers
Already photographers feel uncomfortable around the topic of pricing, which is why I believe many are photographing at no-cost but justifying the actions. Not only should we face that uncomfortable conversation, but we should routinely check-in and see how we are doing with the marketplace.
Is everyone raising their fees and we are stagnant? Did you only raise your fees by 2% and the average is 6%? Learn to check in with yourself and make that a habit for your business. Running a successful business means ongoing management.
How Inflation Plays Into Your Business
Inflation will always be a part of the story, we've been going through inflation every year but the past couple of years have particularly been painful. So, the United States government announced that inflation was 6.8% for 2021 and while many business analysts disagree with the figures (some say it's 10%), let's assume the government was being honest with the 6.8% inflation.
What that means is your $1,000 in the bank should be worth about $930 by the end of the same year. Leaving your money in the bank is detrimental, not raising your fees is consequential, and not facing this fear is damaging.
How Is Inflation Affecting My Income?
For easy math, let's assume that you charged $1,000 for your average photo shoot. That was your 2021 price and your 2022 price should be different, it should be higher. Because charging the same $1,000 in 2022 really gives you the buying power of about $930. That's only after one year, imagine what inflation will be by the end of 2022. The government keeps printing more money, and the money in your bank is worth less. You must adjust for that!
Let's also face reality, we're all aging. We're getting more tired and not only are you making less money each year but you are also doing it with less energy. Yes, ring the alarms! You're going to have to make a change and commit to it.
The Wealthy Are Doing It
Multi-billion dollar companies have increased their rates, even Amazon increase their rates, and I believe they are worth in the trillion-dollar range. The happiest place on earth, Disneyland, increases their prices too. The list goes on and on but photographers like you and me are slow to adapt. Why would we allow multi-billion dollar companies to do this and as multi-thousand dollar companies we are not making this adjustment?
That's the beauty of big brands going ahead of you. They have already educated the market on the need for increased pricing. You don't have to have an uncomfortable conversation with your client, not more than it really needs to be. The market has educated the market, when you raise your fees it will not be anything new. In fact, I would bet that some clients would wonder why it took you so long?
The 4 Stages of Raising Your Photography Pricing
In this video, I broke down the stages for raising your fees. Watch the video in its entirety and I hope that you recognize how easy it is to achieve profitability. Let me break down the basics of the first steps:
- REALIZATION: you have to realize that you've been underselling yourself with your photography pricing, undervaluing yourself, under-representing yourself. You have to realize that it's a slow decline downward, not up. Do you have to realize there is no trophy for being a martyr?
- DECISION: the second step would be to actually decide that you deserve better, that you want better. In order to move to our third step, you have to wholeheartedly feel step two. Are you just saying it? Or do you really feel that it is time for a change? Once you feel it you can move into step three.
- ACTION: Seek relief. In this case, the relief you were seeking is additional funding for your photography business. The other relief you are seeking is to become profitable, not a declining business. What do we need to do in order to see relief? Raise your fees? Sounds like a great plan! OK let's go to step 4...
- RELIEF: one of my favorite authors, Esther Hicks talks about seeking relief. She says she shouldn't worry about how or why something is happening, just seek relief. Do you want more money? Raise your prices, that is a relief.
As you watch the video, I will dive deeper into each stage but this is a quick preview for you. I will also answer questions like "How do I discuss this with my clients?" and "Should I increase my rate in steps or at once?"