With so much to see and hear at PhotoPlus Expo, it’s a real challenge to balance looking at new gear, networking, and making time for the seminars. It’s impossible to see every one, but I did manage to catch the seminar on Building Multiple Revenue Streams by Derrick Story.
You might recognize the name, Derrick is the social media face of @LowePro. He’s also a working photographer and writer, and he gave a great talk about how widening your net of photography-related income is key to succeeding in the business these days. Visit Derrick’s blog The Digital Story.
Here are 10 tips on how to build your photo empire in the new economy…
1. Run your business like a business
This isn’t your hobby anymore, so don’t treat it as such. Be professional, efficient, and diligent. And if it’s still your hobby, running it like a business will help you take it to the next step.
2. Develop a daily discipline
Again, be diligent. Work hard. Schedule and/or make time for all the important areas of your work, as well as play. Don’t let the goof-off time fall by the wayside; it’s important too. So is spending time with your family and friends.
3. Realize that not every job is for pay
If done right, Free is Marketing. This doesn’t mean that you need to give all your work away for pay, but you do need to evaluate which jobs are potentially worth more in PR than they are in a single paycheck. Be very careful with this one.
4. Invest in equipment, but wisely
Yes, buy new gear when you need it, but be smart about it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “If I only had that…” There’s a fine line between professional gear and spending more money than is worth. If in doubt, try renting that body or lens first.
5. Save for a rainy day
Derrick’s advice is to sock half of every paycheck into a savings account. This will help you during those lean times, and believe me, there will be lean times!!
6. Play and experiment
The best imagery and revenue streams evolve organically from the interests that you love the most and that come the most natural to you. Be yourself. Do what you love. Play. Experiment. Create. Ultimately, the work and ideas that come from your heart will lead to the most success.
7. Improve your writing and communication skills
Whether it’s blogging, article writing, or PR, writing and communication skills are more important now than they’ve ever been in the past. This doesn’t always come naturally to those who spend their time behind the camera, so learn and practice your writing. A couple of years ago, I ramped up my own writing and look where it’s taken me—today I’m Senior Contributor to this wonderful website!!
8. Focus on telling stories
It’s all about the story, and I don’t just mean Derrick Story. This goes in hand with the play and experiment heading. Find a way to communicate more than just the image. Whether you’re telling the “Behind the scenes” story, creating an in depth photo essay, or just expanding the impact of your imagery in a compelling way, find new ways to create stories that drive your audience’s imagination and interest and bring them to your brand.
9. Partner with Others
This is a big one. Whether it’s through affiliate sales on products (your own or others’), advertising, trading guest posts on other blogs, or simply swapping images for inspiration with friends on Twitter, partnering up with other creatives will help you expand the scope of your own imagination and revenue possibilities. This also helps create those additional revenue streams that are vital to your success.
10. Become your own store front
Take control of your own sales. Whether you write, sell products, prints, books or eBooks, teach photo workshops, or anything else that makes money for you, establish a method that lets you distribute these things for yourself so that you can retain higher royalties on your sales.
Senior contributor Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.