I'm doing this now.
First thing was to look at the problems I had last year and put things into place to eliminate them.
I'm drawing up check lists, procedures and workflows to make things as fool proof as I can work out.
When you shoot thousands of pics a week, even .5% of bugger ups is a lot of work and customers you have to appease. I do well with it at the moment but I want to make it as perfect as possible.
Also working on creating Bullchit customer service. If something goes wrong, I want it fixed in a ridiculously short time. In what I'm doing I can literally have 500 stoked clients and I'll get one that whines and carrys on ( usually without foundation) and they undermine everything else. It's crap but it the way it is so have to knock that on the head asap and turn the whingers to converts.
Next thing is new markets. I have Identified one that I'm going after that seems competition free and has plenty of Customer saturation and venues I can set up at.
I'll go in and do a test marketing exercise and then try and screw down 3 year contracts.
There are a LOT of venues in the market I can approach and I conservatively figure each one is worth $50K+ a year. It's big money but an easy procedure with little to go wrong .
I am also looking at the photobooth market only where I offer a live photographer and studio setup at the same price. I do this with corporate and charity events, just going to see how I go marketing it to a different group.
I want to not do any regular photo work myself this year. I'll Hire and train people to do the grunt work for me and I'll work on it not in it. I'll keep myself in reserve so if someone is sick or can't come in that day, I have myself as reserve and backup.
There is otherwise plenty for me to do just running round keeping things going , lining up new work, moving equipment around etc.
My health has not been as good as I had hoped and I did way too much 4th quarter last year and suffered badly for it.
Made a lot of money but geez I paid a heavy price. Not going down that road again. Have to work a lot smarter and a lot less hard or I will kill myself.
Other thing I'm working on right now is converting the studio to an office and printing room. All the work is outside now and I need space to administer it and do the printing we don't / cant do onsite.
I may be hiring someone just to do printing later in the year so I'll set up for that now.
I thought of going back to weddings as I have a fantastic lead but I can't see that being practical. Weekends are too valuable with the other work. I might look at going upper end market so I don't do too many but the ones I do are worth it. See what happens.
One thing I have decided to do this year is take a long weekend off every month. I have recently connected with my father after 30+ years of him being married to a **** that died 12 months ago. Things have been going very well between us but now I'm sad that our time will be limited and I don't have much to make up for a lot of years.
I have decided that I'm going to go for a drive every month up the country and spend a weekend or maybe a couple of days through the week with him.
If I don't make that a priority, Time will slip away and so will he and it will be too late then. Not a mistake I'm going to make.
Now the **** is burning in hell, he's taken a new interest in his Business ( at age 75!) and it's keeping him interested in life and brings people to see him instead of him being lonely. I have been giving him some business help with that and what was seen as stupid, he's now surprised at how well it's worked. I want to keep him busy in a way that's not demanding on him physicaly or otherwise and I'm really enjoying playing in a new market that's fresh and different with new challenges to what I'm used to.
My real goal with that is to build it up so the old fella can get the best price for it when he doesn't want to do it any more and wants to sell it off. The more he gets the more comfortable he can be in his retirement.
Despite all the gloom and doom people go on with, I think there are endless opportunities out there for those that are prepared to do what it takes over just what they want.
I look around me and I see people spending and making fortunes all around at the same time I hear people bleating about the economy etc. It was supposed to be bad last year. If that' was bad, I hope this year is just as bad for me!
From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.