list of goals for first year photography business
Only 4% of Americans write down their goals. Are you one of them?

Putting pen to paper makes your goals concrete, allows them to enter your subconscious, and provides a bit of accountability. And if that isn't enough to motivate you, this next factoid may send you over the edge: People who write down their goals make 9 times more money over the course of their lifetimes than those who don't. WOW! I'm guessing that's because people who write down their goals actually accomplish 9 times as much over the course of their lives than those who don't. And the money is just a side effect of productivity.

If you've been following my blog, you know I'm a fan of writing down my goals. Not only have I attempted to complete two rounds of 101 goals in 1001 days, but I have posted it all on my blog for the world to see. I love the accountability this provides. And I love being able to celebrate with you guys every time I get to check one off my list!

There's something about a new year that makes it exciting to dream, set goals, and look ahead. If you haven't done so already, I challenge you to spend some time dreaming and writing down your goals. A few tips I've found helpful:

1 - Make your goals concrete. Make them definable and able to be checked off.
2 - Don't be afraid to dream. Failure in this case isn't not finishing your list, it's not being willing to dream and write one in the first place.
3 - I'm a person of faith. If you know you're in the center of God's hand, write down your goals, but also surrender them wholeheartedly, knowing God may have a different (and much better) plan for your year.
4 - Be brave enough to write your goals down. Then be brave enough to share them with others. If you have a blog -- post them and share your journey.

Now, for those of you who are just starting out in your photography business journey, I thought I'd put together a hypothetical list of 50 goals to complete in your first year in business. This is ambitious, I know, but if there's one thing you need to have to start a business, it's HUSTLE. Feel free to tweak this list and make it work for you. But remember the above tips. Make your goals concrete and definable!

50 Goals For Your 1st Year in Business:
1. Start a blog.
2. Blog x times per week.
3. Get business trademark registered with the state.
4. Get set up to pay sales tax (and start paying it).
5. Get business insurance.
6. Get bookkeeping system set up along with a list of expenses that can be written off for tax purposes.
7. Get a business license with a tax ID.
8. Attend a workshop.
9. Shoot at least two sessions or weddings/month. On months I’m not able to book that many, set up a personal shoot with friends for free to practice.
10. Learn how to shoot proficiently in manual mode.
11. Learn how to use back-button focus. (Click here for a back-button focus tutorial.)
12. Create a business page on Facebook.
13. Post 10-15 favorite photos from each session to an album on business Facebook page and tag clients.
14. Join a local wedding network association. Attend as often as possible.
15. Make one quality connection at each networking meeting. Focus on quality of relationship over quantity. Follow up with that one contact and go to lunch. Ask them how I can help their business then follow-through to help in that way.
16. Rent lenses to test them out with the goal of discovering which ones I want to eventually purchase.
17. Choose two local photographers who I admire who are further along in their journey. Write them encouraging emails to let them know how they have impacted me. Follow their blogs and regularly comment.
18. After 3 months of doing #17, ask them out to lunch.
19. Start a Pinterest board for visual branding inspiration. Pin textures, colors, typography, patterns, logos, clothing, architectural elements, home décor, and anything else that I TRULY LOVE to it.
20. Start an Instagram account for business or begin to convert my personal account to use for both business and personal purposes.
21. Create a contract and have it reviewed by a lawyer. (Click here to purchase a wedding photography contract that has already been lawyer-approved.)
22. Create a wedding workflow checklist that contains steps for everything I do for one wedding. Begin to use this for each wedding. (Click here to purchase Melissa Jill's wedding workflow checklist to use as a starting point.)
23. Begin to save emails I often write as templates for future use. (Click here to purchase Melissa Jill's email templates to use as a starting point.)
24. Find a solution for online proofing, print fulfillment, and digital download delivery.
25. Whenever I leave for a shoot, have one very clear goal in mind for what to focus on. As I edit the photos from that session, evaluate how I did and decide on the best goal for my next shoot that will help me improve.
26. Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
27. Purchase Adobe Lightroom and begin using it to cull and edit photos
28. Learn how to read a histogram (Click here for a tutorial on how to read a histogram.)
29. Find a good accountant
30. Read Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
31. Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and get debt free
32. Read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
33. 2nd shoot for 2-3 photographers I admire
34. Put the money I earn back into my business. Create a list of what I need to purchase and put it in priority order with lenses and a website at the top.
35. Register a website domain
36. Set-up website hosting and get an email address with domain name in it, rather than “”
37. Purchase a monitor calibrator and begin calibrating monitor to print lab’s settings monthly
38. Figure out a solution for archiving photos both in the cloud & on physical hard drives
39. Find community with other photographers in the area either by attending an existing group, or starting my own
40. Find one or two other photographers similar in style & price-point and start a referral group.
41. Read Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff
42. Create a mission statement and a strong WHY for my business
43. Get to know the local market. Find out who’s who and actively build community with planners and vendors whose work I love. Buy them lunch, follow them on Instagram, comment, get to know them as people.
44. Learn to see and seek out directional light, shade, and backlight. Figure out which light I love best and master it to the point where my work begins to look very consistent. (Click here for a tutorial on backlighting.)
45. Practice shooting at wide open apertures (on inanimate objects at first) until I nail focus every time
46. Start a business checking account
47. Swap with a photographer friend and get professional head shots taken
48. Create a simple pricing structure and lay it out in a clean one-page .pdf
49. Take a hard look at personal expenses and try to tighten budget by eliminating non-essentials. Use the savings to grow my business.
50. Create a professional-looking, simple and clean website using ShowIt and a GoLive pre-designed ShowIt theme.

Cheers to a new year! Let's DO THIS!!

Did you find this post helpful? Click here to receive special email access to my most helpful content!
A list of 50 goals for a wedding photographer to complete in their first year in business
+ Comment +