things to do when business is slow
Whew! Perhaps the whirlwind of a busy photography season is behind you with a new year at hand, OR, maybe you are just not booking as many clients as you’d like. Regardless, you've made it this far! While it might be tempting to consider this time as an “off season”, I am here to tell you...there really is no such thing for a business owner. Can I get an amen?

When working directly with clients slows down a bit, it's a perfect opportunity to turn our energy and efforts toward other aspects of our work that will increase our leads and also help us serve clients best when the busy times come. There is no time like the present to focus on the important parts of being an entrepreneur that can easily be pushed aside during the busy season. In the spirit of fostering business, even when things feel "slow", I created a list of 20 things to consider putting your attention toward during this time.

As you read this list, remember...these are just ideas. Each idea on this list can help every photographer to some degree, but it's going to be key to pinpoint which ones will give you maximum impact. You might know which ones you need to implement instantly in your gut after reading this, but if you need additional guidance, don't be afraid to set up a coaching session with a photographer or business owner you respect who can help you evaluate where your time and effort will best be spent.

1 -- Update your website portfolio.
Chances are your website is out of date. If you're showing old work, you're not inspiring potential clients with your best stuff. Make sure every photo you show in your portfolio is consistent with your brand and style and will appeal to your ideal client. Be critical -- out with the old; in with the new! Showing 10 really strong photos is much better than showing 100 mediocre ones. Check out this post for more tips on curating your website portfolio!

2 -- Optimize your social media strategy.
The top platforms where brides are likely to find their photographer are Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Pick one and work on optimizing your strategy! If Pinterest is your platform of choice click here to learn how to optimize your blog for Pinterest!

3 -- Improve your craft.
Now is the perfect time to take a workshop, learn how to create reception images you love, or do a personal project that will inspire and stretch you!

4 -- Increase your value.
Consider how you might add a product or service to your offerings that will increase your value to your ideal clients. If you are wanting to reach a higher-end bride, consider researching and learning how to sell custom albums well. Update your sample album(s) with photos from your favorite wedding from the past year.

5 -- Dial in your systems and workflow.
You want to be able to scale and handle growth when it comes, right? Set up studio management software, and evaluate whether you should outsource anything additional to free yourself up to do things that will help your business grow.

6 -- Create a sustainable blogging strategy.
Get strategic with your blog and start creating content that will attract your ideal client. To read about 5 Things I've Learned in 10 Years of Blogging, click here!

7 -- Submit your best weddings for publication.
In order to attract more of your ideal clients, you need to showcase the work that resonates with you most and exhibits what you desire to shoot more. It takes some courage to submit your work, but it is well worth taking the leap...even if you have to do it multiple times before publication! Click here to read more about how to get published!

8 -- Network your little heart out!
Take your favorite vendors out to lunch one by one and find out how you can help THEIR businesses flourish. Follow up by adding value to their existing services and seeking to help meet a need they may have.

9 --Systematize your workflow to improve your relationship with vendors.
Send images to vendors and create a sustainable strategy to continue doing so in a timely manner for upcoming weddings. Click here to read all about this "#1 Marketing Opportunity Photographers are Missing"

10 -- Read a business book or ten!
Downtime is the PERFECT time for gleaning the wisdom of those who have come before us. Read. Do it as much as possible. Your kindergarten teachers didn't lie...reading is invaluable to your success in the world. Click here to find out which 10 business books I believe every wedding photographer should read!

11 -- Find a coach.
Find a photographer or business owner who is an expert in an area that you want to grow in. Maybe it's how to get more clients? Ask them to evaluate your business and give you 5 action points to help you reach your goals.

12 -- Create, create, create!
Set up a personal shoot with friends or a styled shoot with vendors to create fresh images for your portfolio designed to attract your ideal client. Make sure the time and effort spent are worth the effort by collaborating to create something you truly LOVE and are excited to show off. Even better -- aim to have the shoot published.

13 -- Grow relationships with other photographers.
Intentionally seek to foster genuine relationships with other photographers in your local community. Offer to 2nd shoot for 2-3 photographers you admire. Seek to find like-minded photographers with a similar price point and style with which to form a referral network.

14 -- Create a mission statement and a strong WHY for your business.
Evaluate everything you're doing and putting out there against this standard you create. Make sure your branding, website, and social media presence are all clearly communicating your WHY.

15 -- Evaluate your "About Me" page.
If you don't have an approachable, updated head shot of yourself, swap with a photographer friend and get professional head shots taken. Write a stronger bio with a strong narrative that helps people connect with you as a person, not just as a photographer.

16 -- Evaluate your pricing.
Perhaps there is a simple fix that will get leads flowing again. Consider hiring a more seasoned photographer you respect for some one-on-one coaching to get a fresh set of eyes on your pricing.

17 -- Update your branding or website.
Again, this isn't necessary for everyone, but if your website is out of date or you haven't updated it in over 5 years, it might benefit from a refresh. Check out GoLive for amazing websites that are fully customizable!

18 -- Start an email newsletter.
An email newsletter is a great way to grow your client referral base, stay in touch with your most engaged followers, and expand your business over time. To learn how to use an email newsletter to drive more traffic to your blog, click here!

19 -- Reach out to some of your favorite past clients.
Consider taking them to lunch, or connecting with them on a personal level in some other way. Ask them for feedback and, if they are very positive about you, ask them for referrals. See if they have any friends getting married in the near future. If they do have constructive feedback, make sure to implement changes if needed and circle back with them to share your progress.

20 -- Take a deep breath.
Realize that as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, business WILL pick up again. I've been there before and while it can be scary, I want to remind you that any business has a natural ebb and flow to it. Slower times are not just normal but to be expected in the photography business.

However you choose to invest your energy during the slower periods you experience, don’t miss out on the time it offers you to pour into and strengthen your business in active ways! Hopefully this list inspires your journey through each season. Although sessions may slow down at times, the possibilities for feeding and recharging your business are always endless!

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20 Things For Photographers To Do When Business Is Slow
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