Thank you SO much to all of you who filled out my professional photographer survey this last week! So far, 212 of you have shared your goals, dreams and frustrations with me and I am SO grateful for your transparency, time and willingness to share. I'm seriously blown away. Reading through your answers makes me want to sit down and have coffee with so many of you. In many cases, I can relate to your goals and dreams as well as your frustrations.

I wanted to share with you some of the results of the survey in a very general fashion.

Most of you are women:
In your 20s & 30s:
Some have a clear specialty and some are still trying to figure that out:
There is a wide range for how long you've been in business, with most being somewhere between 1-5 years:
The remaining 8 survey questions were open-ended. Meaning ESSAY :). I knew this would mean loads of reading for me, but I couldn't bear to do multiple choice because I didn't want to put answers in your heads. I wanted to get the most accurate, nuanced answers I could. And you gave me just that!

Even though I've been reading through your answers nearly every day for 10 days, I'm still no where near being done with them. I think I may have bit off more than I could chew -- ha! But I'm still loving it! So far, I've read through 120 of the 212 responses and am working on tallying them as I go, to get a general feel for where you're all at. I can't possibly summarize all of your responses here, but I will give you some general impressions and the most popular responses to each question:

What is your biggest goal for your business this year?
54 of the 120 responses I've read so far have goals in the area of marketing and booking more clients. This is by far the most common goal. Other goals were largely in the areas of website & branding, raising pricing & profits and workflow & organization.

What is your biggest dream for your business over the course of your career?
Oh, how I loved reading these. You guys are AMAZING! Fifty-six of you mentioned dreams that fell in the area of having a full-time, profitable business that also gave you flexibility in your lifestyle and time to spend with your families. Other dreams included being respected/in-demand, and enjoying what you do/creating something beautiful. You also dream of making an impact on others, building relationships with your clients and making them happy. It seems like most people want to pay the bills doing something they love that matters to others.

What frustrates you the most about your business right now?
The most popular responses fell into these categories:
40 - Not enough business or money for equipment, and frustration with marketing
29 - Not enough time, difficult to balance all there is to do
22 - Pricing, confidence in sales, dealing with price-shoppers, clients not seeing value
12 - Economy, saturated market, the competition, and trying to differentiate

In what area of your business do you feel the most insecurity and lack of knowledge?
Popular responses were:
26 - Flash & Off-camera lighting
25 - Marketing & Branding
22 - Bookkeeping & Finances

What is your least favorite task of all the things you have to do for your business?
Far and away, bookkeeping/taxes and culling/editing took the cake on this one.

If there was one thing someone could teach you that you would pay big money to learn, what would it be?
Many of your answers fell in the areas of marketing/branding, and building a solid and successful business.

In a way, I wish you could all read one another's answers. I think there is so much value in knowing you are not alone. So many others out there share your struggles and frustrations. We're all on the journey and there is not one single person out there who has it all figured out. We're all in process and the important thing is that we're all moving in the direction of our goals and dreams. One step at a time.

Thank you all so much for entrusting me with this information. I promise you I will read through every response. And I will be using this information to help me reach some of my upcoming goals. If you're a professional photographer and you still haven't had time to fill out the survey, I will leave it up for a few more days. I would love to hear from you!

And as promised, I randomly picked one photographer who took the time to fill out the survey to win their choice of a free hour of coaching (Skype, phone or in person), a free bundle of my album design templates, or a free album design through Align. And the WINNER is....Jill Koch of Photography by Jill. Yay!
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