I always tell people that shooting boudoir looks easy from the outside looking in.
The same holds true with having a boudoir photography business.
But we all know there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Below are 5 reasons why you might fail at having a successful boudoir business… so step inside and get a clearer understanding of some obstacles you may have to overcome.
1. Your Photography Isn’t Good Enough
If you have clients unhappy with their photos there are two main reasons for this.
One is that they don’t like the way they look in any photo taken of them by anyone. These women are very self-critical when it comes to their body and looks and there’s really nothing you can do about it even if you’ve provided them with stellar images.
The other reason is that your photography isn’t quite up to snuff.
If you have a handful of clients not happy with how their photos turned out then maybe it’s a sign that the problem isn’t with them… but with you.
There could be one or more areas you need to work on such as posing, composition, or lighting.
If you think this may be you then find someone qualified to give you some constructive criticism, and be humble to the fact that maybe you’re not as good as you thought you were… or being led to believe by others.
2. You Don’t Know How To Effectively Market Yourself
Marketing yourself is a huge topic so I’m just going to give a bird’s eye view on this.
You may have to try a lot of different ads, offers, images, and strategies before you find something that works.
For some boudoir photographers they may already have a large network of women from shooting weddings, family photos, or infant photography that they can tap into.
With others, expect a lot of experimentation and a combination of different tactics that span across several platforms.
The key takeaway here is two-fold.
Number one is that you have to have your images rockin’ so when you get people’s attention they want to find out more about you… otherwise you’re just throwing your money away.
And number two is that learning how to market yourself takes time because you have to allow usually around 90 days to find out if something is working for you or not.
I will tell you this though, a large part of marketing is just putting value out there for free without asking for anything in return and making people aware that you exist over a long enough period of time.
It’s equity in your brand that you’re building up that may not pay off until later.
It’s like planting a flower. You put the seed in the dirt, water it, make sure it has sun and although there’s no flower the next day, eventually it will start to grow, sprout, and blossom.
Check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” for starters.
You’re also going to need some money, not necessarily a lot, but some. Whether you’re creating gift certificates to give to businesses for cross promotion or running ads on social media.
3. You Don’t Have Enough Drive, Passion, Or Ambition To Keep You Motivated
What’s motivating you to do this business?
Is it to help women?
Create a home business?
For artistic expression?
Whatever the reason, it has to be strong enough for you to survive the ups and downs that most businesses will encounter.
If you don’t have a strong enough drive, passion, or ambition and things aren’t going well, you’ll run out of steam and eventually quit.
4. You Don’t Have Another Source of Income While You Work On Building Your Boudoir Business
Having another source of income that pays the bills takes the pressure off you having to have a successful business right out of the gate.
There seems to be a bit of an entitlement mentality when it comes to starting a boudoir business. Many new to the genre and new to photography see other successful boudoir photographers and are led to believe that all you have to do is X, Y, and Z and “Presto” you’ll be a huge success!
When that instant success doesn’t happen they feel frustrated and get de-moralized.
Remember this, everything takes a lot more time, energy, and money than you think it does. If you have this mentality going into your new venture then you’ll be more mentally prepared to handle the pace that things may actual progress at.
5. You Aren’t Patient Enough
Everybody wants things right now, because more and more things in our society have become practically instantaneous for us.
But not everything works that way.
For some, our businesses will grow fast. For others, not so fast. And for others still it will take longer.
We’re all different and operating under different circumstances. Don’t judge yourself by others but by where you were three months ago… six months ago… a year ago. Stay focused, keep learning, keep improving, and you’ll get to where you want to be in time… in your time.
If you don’t have #4 above then you’ll never have the patience for your business to come to fruition.
There are many parts to running a boudoir business and they all take time to learn, so allow yourself the time for that to happen.
Ask yourself this question.
Would you want to spend your hard-earned money on a boudoir photographer who’s only been shooting boudoir for a week? A month? Two months?
Or would you rather spend it on someone who’s been doing it for a year? Two years? Or even five years?
If you’re shooting for practice, that’s one thing. But if you’re marketing and pricing yourself as a full-blown professional without the ability to deliver at that level then that’s a recipe for frustration and resentment.
Don’t put yourself in that situation.
Enjoy the process and take the time you need to improve steadily over time in every area of your business.
The Experience You Give Your Client Isn’t Good Enough
When I say “experience” it comes down to three main things.
You’re personality, your space, and the quality of your work and image products.
First of all you have to have a personality that people want to be around, that’s pleasant, light-hearted, and enjoyable.
That’s why having a pre-shoot phone consultation, video call, or in-person meeting is so important.
Potential clients get to feel your vibe, and you theirs. Any red flags that might be looming on the horizon on both sides can usually be spotted here.
You want to make sure the two of you are a good fit — that you see eye-to-eye on the type of shoot you’re offering and the type of images she’ll be getting. The tone, look, and feel of the images should all be evident from your website.
Your space needs to be clean, safe, and pleasant to be in. It also needs to be in a part of town where she’ll feel confident her car will still be there when she’s done.
A lot of photographers advertise a “luxury” experience and it’s far from that. What would you expect from a “luxury” experience?
If a hotel was advertising itself as a “luxury” hotel and it was just a regular standard type of hotel, I think you’d be pretty disappointed and feel you’d been misled if it fell short of your expectations.
You want to exceed expectations, so it’s better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver.
And lastly, your photography and products need to be of good to great quality.
If you made it this far then congratulations.
But then most people won’t be successful because they’re not willing to do the work that isn’t sexy.
They only want to do the things they already know how to do or like doing, because learning a new skill or having the willingness to put in the time required simply isn’t in their DNA.
As my blog grew and I started creating products to sell, there was a period when I was constantly having to learn a lot of technical behind-the-scenes stuff that makes everything work… and I’d get very frustrated.
Then one day I said to myself that this is the world we live in now. It’s never going back to the way it used to be, so you need to stop whining about it and just accept it… and grow with it.
I had to change who I was in order to pursue success… and I chose to become a better version of myself.
What will you choose?
Thanks for your time,
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