HOW I MADE $52,995 IN JULY + BEING A SOLOPRENEUR

HOW I MADE $52,995 IN JULY

Plus what my strategy was and a list of things I got accomplished. BONUS: Questions & Answers linked at the end of this article! 

July felt incredible. I want to switch it up for this income report and spend a little more time talking about something more personal rather than business strategies. If you work for yourself or chasing a dream, you'll probably be able to relate to this as well.

When I started my business, it was just me with a big dream wanting to pursue what I was passionate about. I knew that the work I had to put into my business had to come directly from me, no one was going to do the heavy lifting for me, or pull all nighters working on ideas and concepts. There's a lot of business owners out there who are quick to hire a team of people to help them run their business. It's often a step small business owners dream about when their start their business. Then there are some of us who are considered more of a Solopreneurs. A person who likes the work aspect of running a business and has a hard time delegating jobs that come with running a business. And I'll be fully honest with you, sometimes I struggle with the fact that I am years into my business and have yet to hire someone on to my team. The truth is that I like running my business by myself. Sometimes I think it would be amazing to have a team of people to help me manage all aspects of it, but I also love the feeling of being on the front lines. That even now, years into my business venture, it's still just me.

When you email me; you'll hear back from me.

When you hire me as your photographer; you'll get to work with just me.

I have never out sourced any of my editings because the truth is that love that side just as much as shooting the session.

When someone signs up for my business class; they'll connect with me, not someone who is managing my private group or consent.

Everything you see is a direct reflection of my work ethic.

Literally, all aspects of my business are run only by me. And although I see a lot of business out there growing and hiring a team of people to help, I have become really great at managing it all by myself. I think it's awesome for small companies to hire others but also see the great side of getting so good at automating my business to a point where I don't have to hire anyone.

And this is certainly not to say that hiring others onto your team isn't the right thing to do, I think it's a wonderful options for those who want to grow their team and want the extra set of hands, but I think it's also good for other small business owners to see that it IS possible to do it alone. Sometimes running a business feels overwhelming and impossible as a single person chasing a dream. I try to lead by example and show that you can do this on your own. That you CAN build a pretty incredible business by yourself and that you don't always need outside help to do so. You don't need to have a team of people if you have outstanding work ethic and figure out ways to automate your business. You can get this done!

I might be the only one driving my business forward, but I couldn't do it without my supportive husband who has cheered me on from day one and is now doing big things with his web development skills.

So why work so incredibly hard? Why push for these big dreams and income goals? Why do I bother in building a business around what I am passionate about that also brings in a great income? What on earth do I get from this income I make?

Time to live life with the people I love.

Time with my family and personal freedom to do whatever we want. I get the reward from working hard every single day when I get to spend my entire day with my husband and two kids. The 4 of us wake up every morning and spend all day together, and that usually starts with pancakes. It's a combination of homeschooling in the morning, Working in the evening, and enjoying life together in between. Since moving to Maui we spend most of our days chasing waterfalls, going to our favorite beaches, learning to surf, exploring nature, hiking around, hanging out with sea turtles.

Every now and then we spend a little money on special treats like going to our favorite pizza place at the north shore (Flatbreads), or get a bowl of shaved ice. But most of the time it's just us being together having fun.

Time is what I value and it's why I work so hard. Having built a business that provides my family with a great income gives us that freedom. The freedom to do what we want and live life and I'm lucky to mentor other dream chasers to do the same.

Being financially stable allows me to focus on life and not have the stress of living paycheck to paycheck anymore. That's not to say that other things dont come with stress. I have to manage a business, and a lot of that is learning to take calculated risks. At the end of the day it's up to me.

I take full responsibility for ever triumph and failure that comes my way.

The point of all this is to make it clear that you too can build a business around your passions, do what you love every single day and enjoy life. But don't be fooled, the real secret to a happy life are not shiny expensive things. It's as simple as how you spend your days, because that's how you'll spend your life.

When you're writing the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen. Focus on what matters most to YOU. On the real things.

1. THOSE YOU LOVE
2. YOUR PASSIONS
3. YOUR TIME

Here are a few life snapshots from my personal instagram (@Mrs_Ringo). A side not often shared on my business page but always tied to why I work as hard as I do. 

I'm sure you all are ready to read about this months income report, here's a little bit about me for those who are new...You are totally welcome to skip this part, haha.

I am a mother, wife, business coach, product creator, and photographer who specializes in naturally styled portraiture. I started Modern Baby Photography & Modern Bride Photography with a passion in documenting real moments. My passion grew more and more over the years, and I realized that I also loved creating products to help make it easier for me to run my business. I started sharing these products with other photographers, and that's when Modern Market came about. It's now the largest online marketplace for professional photographers around the world with products ranging from pricing tools, marketing templates, blog themes, educational resources and so much more. I love dreaming big and helping fellow creatives turn their dreams into a reality through personal online business coaching.


Once a month I take the time to go over my personal business finances. I write down what I made, as well as how many expenses I had. It's a great way for me to hold myself accountable in reaching my personal goals and showing others that owning your own business by doing something you are incredibly passionate about is absolutely possible.

In addition to writing down my income and expense report, I will also go over what strategies I plan to implement, what I am currently focusing on, as well as my goals for the upcoming month. By reading these income reports, you'll get a front row seat to watching me run my business, so that should hopefully be interesting. Hopefully, I don't put you to sleep with talking numbers and showing you graphs. 

Important Notes: 
The following numbers are gross income from my entire business which includes sales from my online store, my portrait, wedding, and product photography. I look at my business as a whole and have used the same business success steps and marketing strategies for all aspects of my business; these are the same strategies teach to other creatives in my Business Success Class. 

Let's get started!

 

MONTHLY GROSS INCOME: $52,995

Gross Sales: $49,477 (Net Sales 45,196)

Photography Business Class: $3108

Essential Studio Manager: $410

MONTHLY TRAFFIC REPORT: 37,541 VISITORS

I wanted to add this display graph to show you how increased traffic = increased sales. The problem isn't usually that people don't know how to make more money, they just don't know how to increase what's working and have that translate directly to their income. If you look at what you are currently doing and think to yourself; If I could DOUBLE everything that's working, it would certainly increase your income right? It comes down to being a numbers game regardless for what industry you are in. If you can increase what's working, increase traffic, it will in the end also increase your outcome. 

 

MONTHLY EXPENSES: $18,521

Vendors: $1524

Paypal Fees: $875

Website Payment Fees: $140

Facebook: $13,149

Pathwright: $94

RetargetingApp: $2274

Post Planner*: $19

GoDaddy: $2

Rare.io: $39

Pixieset: $50

Social Login: $2

Privy: $24 

Adobe: $10

Quickbooks Bookkeeping: $29

Accountant: $290 

 (Anything with an * next to it is an affiliate link)

 

GROSS INCOME TO DATE $1,154,761

(income in graph below is only for January 2015 - now) 

FACEBOOK, E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST GROWTH

  • Facebook: 101,201
  • E-mails: 51,906
  • Instagram: 9,107 
  • Pinterest: 5,744

TOTAL REACH: 167,958

It was important for me to add this information into my income report because I do use social media to grow my business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and e-mail subscription is what really made it possible for me to build my business so quickly. If you compare starting a business to the time before social media was in our life, it was hard. Someone had to open up an actual store business to be found and then count on foot traffic and phone books to be found by potential customers. We live in an incredible time where we have tools such as social media to make it easier than ever to connect to the right people. For me, using these social platforms has helped me grow my businesses and reach hundreds of amazing clients & customers. Below I'll go over how I personally love to use each platform. They each unique, and I have different things I love using about each of them. 

MY STRATEGY BREAKDOWN: 

FACEBOOK STRATEGY
I have facebook listed first, aside from my own websites, this is what I love spending most of my time. I love it over other platforms because I feel like it allows me to engage with people on a deeper level. The people that follow me on there. (photographers, creatives, and my amazing clients) are extremely involved and I love that it feels more like a community than a fan page. My strategy on Facebook has always been to be as authentic, helpful and encouraging. I love inspiring others to pursue their dreams and share my own work with people who truly care and have that same positive mindset as me. 
I try my best to put out as much good content as possible and give people a place to learn and connect. I love giving people direct answers and advice on their own path and love how easy Facebook makes this. I get a ton of messages and comments every day and do my best to respond to each of them. I love it when I get personal messages from other dreamers, and love chatting with them. It's really time-consuming to stay on top of all of it but it makes me happy knowing that people can come to a place to get more encouragement. 
A really great way that has allowed me to grow my client base is uploading client photos and tagging them directly. I'm friends with all my clients and love seeing comments on their page. (you can only see them if you're actually friends with them). I might get 10+ comments on my fan page, but there's usually another 50+ on my clients page. There's usually a few people asking for more information and I'm glad to always see my clients tag my page or me personally under the comment which allows me to connect instantly with another potential client. 
If I was to draw out my client base and add a line between the ones who know each other it would be a huge spiderweb of lines. They all know each other in some way and I love that about it.
I spend money on Facebook boosted posts and feel like it's a great way to reach more people who are looking for a photographer, or love to connect with another photographer. 
Other social sites are great but Facebook works really great for me since I do have so many aspects of my business. My portrait photography business, wedding photography business, store & business coaching. Facebook makes it really easy for me to have all those on the same page. 

E-MAIL STRATEGY
Growing an email list has been something that I've been working on over the last few years. I find creating newsletters extremely time-consuming, but know what an awesome way it is to reach all clients or customers at once. So although I don't enjoy it as much as Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest I do my best to still stay on top of it.
The way I collect email address is by giving away free content, or some sort of giveaway. For my portrait business, I have done monthly giveaways for people to enter and have collected email addresses that way. For weddings, I have done a wedding package giveaway. For those I will usually only do one giveaway a year, and only if I want to book more weddings. For my store side and business mentoring I giveaway one business class seat each month.  
Giving away free content, advice, products, sessions etc is a great way to get a long list of potential clients or customers. Once I have those collected I reach out on a later date to see if they are still interested in the service or product. Collecting email addresses is a great way to open communication with hundreds of potential clients. 
One of the reasons I collect email addresses for newsletters is because I have no idea where social media will be in 5-10-20 years. I might not use newsletters a ton, but I know that those contacts will be on my list forever, regardless of where social media goes. So growing that list long term is a great way for me to ensure I have a direct contact with the right people. 

INSTAGRAM STRATEGY
I use Instagram for my portrait and photography business. Instagram strives on visuals and using my photography on there has been a great way to reach more potential clients. Connecting with other businesses has also been a wonderful way to raise more awareness on my own brand. I don't most a ton of content to Instagram but use it to showcase more of my work. 
In 2016 I split up my personal and business page to help create a 'prettier' Instagram. I love sharing my little personal life moments on Instagram but hated how it just didn't fit into my photography style. For those who follow my work know my work is very bright and airy with lots of white. My personal life is a little messier and has a lot more color. I share lots of pictures of my two kiddos and our little adventures. Splitting the two apart has helped me share more personal moments while keeping my business side nice and pretty. 
Here's a quick look at my business Instagram. @modernbabyphotography
And here's my personal Instagram. @Mrs_Ringo

PINTEREST STRATEGY
I use Pinterest for gathering ideas and inspiration. I showcase my own photography work on there, as well as link my blog post content and products. I often use it to create vision boards for upcoming sessions and love the amount of knowledge that is available on there. I also use Pinterest to find other vendors to work with. One thing I do like to do is keep my Pinterest page really organized and pin only things I personally really love. Overall I keep Pinterest pretty simple. I love using it, who wouldn't. 
The next few things are tasks I started in the month. Some are on going and some have been completed. 
THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS SUCCESS CLASS PLATFORM
Running a business kind of means building one thing until it's ready to launch and then continue working on that one thing making it better. My business class is PACKED with info, and I'm in the process of switching platforms for it. I've used one site for a long time but wanted more flexibility in the design of it. I want to make it more fun to read and easier to navigate. I've been working on this for a while now and getting close to being done. It's been a very time-consuming project, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

BUSINESS BLUEPRINT FOR MY OWN BUSINESS
As someone who teaches business, and runs their own business I take time for myself do re-evaluate my business using my Photography Business Blueprint. It's a printout that comes with my class and walks you through some important questions on what you want your business to look like long term and create a plan to make it happen. I have a successful business but re-visiting this questionnaire twice a year is an awesome way for me to always keep an open mind to where I want my business to go and make sure that the plan I have is the right one in place and not overlooking anything important. It also allows me to add in new things I'm interested into my overall business plan. Sometimes things come up that create a spark and taking the time to fit these things in correctly is important for a growing business.

ESSENTIAL STUDIO MANAGER UPDATES
We have had a lot going on with The Essential Studio Manager in July. From adding new features to a complete re-design incorporating a more user-friendly interface.

We added two new awesome features:

Custom Checklists – Which allow you to create different checklists based on your needs and then you can assign those checklists to a session so you can stay organized and track each step of the session process.

Google Calendar – We also added the Google Calendar API which allows you to sync your events to your google calendar automatically.

As we’re adding new features we noticed the website was losing its user friendliness, so we decided to do a complete re-design with the user in mind. The new interface will be much easier to navigate and will also include lots of helpful tools to help you if you get stuck on something.


PRICING 1:1
Something I'm also working on is some sort of 1:1 pricing mentoring. I've done this with many of the people I mentor and realize how incredibly helpful this is. It takes about 30-60 min and is a 1:1 personal chat about pricing specifically. A lot of people struggle with coming up with the right numbers for their business pricing and talking to me 1:1 allows me to ask important questions, figure out where you want your business to be and then help determine what your pricing should look like. It's fast paced, and I have a lot of fun with it. Often it's that people have some sort of mental block with the numbers and being able to sit there with them and explain it as we are figuring out numbers always results in them understanding the process better and being a million times more confident in their pricing. I'm doing this privately with those in my business class, but I am thinking about possibly opening up appointments for people outside of my business class.

WEBSITE DESIGN
I feel like this is in almost all my income reports, so maybe it's a never ending thing as well? I've spent some more time improving my website design. It's time-consuming but having sites that reflect my brand and vision is key in attracting the right clients.
EMBRACING BEING A SOLOPRENEUR
You see a lot of business owners out there who are quick to hire a team of people to help them run their business. It's often a step people dream about when their start their business. Then there are some of us who are considered more of a Solopreneurs. A person who likes the work aspect of running a business and has a hard time delegating jobs that come with running a business. Sometimes I struggle with the fact that I am years into my business and have yet to hire someone on to my team. But the truth is that I like running my business by myself. Sometimes I think it would be amazing to have a term of people to help me manage all aspects of it, but I love the feeling of being on the front lines.

When you email me, you'll hear back from me.

When you hire me as your photographer, you'll only get me.

I have never out sourced any of my editings because I love that side just as much as shooting the session.

When someone signs up for my business class, you'll connect with me, not someone who is managing my private group or consent.

If you get stuck with something, I'm the person you can come to.

Literally, all aspects of my business are run only by me. And although I see a lot of business out there growing and hiring a team of people to help, I have become really great at managing it all by myself. I think it's awesome for small companies to hire others but also see the great side of getting so good at automating my business to a point where I don't have to hire anyone. I think it's also good for other small business owners to see that it IS possible. I try to lead by example and show that you can do this on your own. That you can build a pretty incredible business by yourself and that you don't always need outside help to do so. You don't need to have a team of people if you have outstanding work ethic. You can get this done!

As always, questions are welcomed!  

 

BONUS: CLICK HERE TO READ THE QUESTION & ANSWER SECTION

That sums it up for this months income report and Q&A. I had a lot of fun answering all those questions so if you have any at all, feel free to leave a comment below, or in a comment on facebook, or message me personally on facebook, so I can be sure to answer it in the Question & Answer post!

JOIN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS SUCCESS CLASS TODAY

I teach photographers how to build their dream business, with strategies they can implement right away to build a striving business that has an income they can count on! I cover everything you need to turn your passion into a profitable reality. I'll show you the process that helped me go from making 10K in a year to one that made me over $105,000 during 90 days! This class is for photographers who are truly ready to build the business of their dreams and learn the important steps in developing a strong business, brand, and client base. If you have any questions then please feel free to reach out to me. I'm always happy to answer additional questions about joining my class!

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