HOW I MADE $66,337 IN AUGUST + WHO INSPIRES ME

HOW I MADE $66,337 IN AUGUST

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

This income report will be completely different than all the others. When inspiration strikes I can't help but write about it. A few weeks ago I was sitting in my office checking my emails and messages when I opened up this heartfelt letter from someone. Someone who stumbled across my million dollar blog post and found my story, dreams and humble beginnings so familiar. Living her life, on her very own journey, building her own business and chasing her big dreams. And it just made me think...out of all the people in the world, she could have come across anyone and somehow she found my story and our paths crossed. I'm a huge believer that every thing happens for a reason, that there's always a bigger picture in this life we live. I read every single incoming message, comment, email and her message is to date still one of my all time favorites. Reading through it, I no longer felt like this person with these huge dreams was a stranger, I felt like I knew her. Maybe because I see how much we have in common and see myself in her. We might be in different parts of our own story, but we have that same big dream and drive to live a life we want. And I love that. I can't wait to see her grow into the person she dreams to be, who lives at the beach and watch her business grow. I have no doubt that she will make her dreams of running her own successful business true, and that one day she will live at the beach looking back at this time and remember how hard she worked to make this happen for herself. And that one day she will visit me here in Maui and we'll enjoy pizza and champagne at the beach celebrating our dreams. 

I have two goals for all this; 

First, I want to encourage people to reach out to those who inspire you, regardless of who that might be. Those people you look up to, the ones who have made it big, they are the same as you. They started with nothing and built something around their passions. They have gone through the struggles you might be facing every day and pushed through. They have big dreams just like you. Allow yourself to connect with those people. Cultivate a relationship with those who inspire you. Those people are dreamers too, just like you. 

Secondly, I want those who have "made it" to never forget how hard it was when they started. How lonely it felt to be on this path with no one to talk to. To always stay humble and that when someone reaches out to them to take the time to read their stories. I might have a million things on my plate between life, family and running a business, but I make sure to take time to help as many people as I possibly can. If we had more people in this world willing to lend a helping hand, inspire more and uplift those around us, we can help more dreams come true. 

I remember when I started my business, the people at the top inspired me.

Now that I've built my business, the people who inspire me the most are the ones who are fighting for their dreams, the ones who have a vision that no one else but them can see. The ones who are willing to have sleepless nights, work with a baby sleeping on their chest, and dedicated to making their own dreams come true.

So this is for you, whoever you might be, wherever you might live, realize that this hard time you're in right now, trying to make your dreams happen is what inspires me. I might not know you personally but know this; I'm cheering for ya!

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: $66,337

Gross Sales: $59,666 (Net Sales $54,997) 

Photography Business Class: $6216

Essential Studio Manager: $455

MONTHLY TRAFFIC REPORT: 41,717 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: $20,619

Vendors: $1036

Paypal Fees: $964

Website Payment Fees: $135

Facebook: $16,012

Pathwright: $154

RetargetingApp: $2300

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 $1,221,098

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

FACEBOOK, E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST GROWTH

  • Facebook: 103,064
  • E-mails: 51,999
  • Instagram: 9,525
  • Pinterest: 5,802

TOTAL REACH: 170,390

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. 
SHOOTING IN HARDER CONDITIONS 
I also enjoyed pushing past what was comfortable. It's easy to shoot in conditions you understand and light you know. I wanted to make it a goal to try new things, including shooting in harsh light to see how that would go. 

Since I had to shoot this session at 3 pm we had that rough lighting...you know the one you avoid like the plague as a photographer because there is nothing flattering about it...you can hardly see what the back of your camera looks like and you feel like no matter what way you turn your clients it's going to come out bad?

That's what I wanted. Harsh lighting, strong winds and the type of type of place we like to hide from because we know it's hard. I wanted to try and create something beautiful there and show the power of connection. That no matter your location, lighting, rain or shine that when you place documenting real moments between people first, above everything else, you'll somehow create something beautiful.


SHARING MY FAVORITE POSING TIPS! 
You feel like your work is missing something and you just can't put your finger on it. You go into every session with a game plan, a vision in your head and then when you get home and take a look you realize you somehow didn't get that vision to come alive. Even worse, you go online to look at what others are doing and realize that OTHER photographers work have something special in their work. Something you don't feel you have yet, and you have no idea how to make get that magic to happen for your own photos.

If this sounds familiar, it's OKAY. I have been there, so many times. Let me explain what exactly happens (or isn't happening) and how you can go about making a few simple changes and start seeing that magic happen in your own work. I took the time to write down my absolute favorite posing tips, in hopes to shine the light on creating real emotions during sessions and how I go about finding my favorite moments to document. #5 is my favorite so I'll add that below; READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


#5 LOOK FOR THE MOMENT AFTER THE MOMENT 
I will never forget the advice my father gave me, shortly before shooting my first wedding. He looked at me and said, look for the moment AFTER the moment. I wasn't really sure what he was talking about because surely I would be doing something wrong if I was focusing on the moment AFTER the moment, but I realized that he couldn't be more right. So what was he talking about? The moment AFTER the moment. The moment AFTER the kiss. That's the one you want. Often you can give your clients direction and photograph that. You say "Ok, now a kiss!" and you photograph the kiss, and then you move onto the next thing. And then the moment is over. Here's the thing though, something magical happens in that blink of a second after a kiss, it's real, it's raw, it's the most in-the-moment photo you'll ever get. It's one I never even noticed or realized excited. So when you want something like that, look for the REAL moment, after the moment you directed. Images below to show you what I'm talking about. These two shots are SECONDS apart and somehow completely different. Both beautiful in their own way but to me there is something amazing with that "moment after the moment". Maybe because I know just how real it is.


NETWORKING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE 
Sometimes the most random appointments turn into the best opportunities to network and connect. I found an incredible hairdresser here on Maui. I used the power of Instagram hashtags to find him and quickly decided to book an appointment with him weeks ago. I went in that day to get my hair done and me being a photographer came up in the conversation. It turns out that he has niece in town who was only there for a few days but will be getting married here on Maui next year. A few days later I set up a session with her. She came into the salon to get her hair and makeup done professionally prior to her session. The awesome thing about all this is that is came from a simple hair appointment. 

I got my hair done and that lead me to; 

  • Connecting with an incredible local hair and makeup team, one that I can recommend to all my future clients. 
  • Photographed an adorable couple. 
  • Booked a Maui wedding for next year

Never underestimate the power of networking with the right people. And don't think that networking only happens at big networking events. It could be as simple as talking to your hairdresser. Being a photographer means I also get to work with other talented creatives, and knowing someone on the island who is great at hair and makeup allows me to have someone that I can recommend my own clients to. This place now knows more about my own business, and next time they know someone who's looking for a photographer hopefully they think of me and can recommend their clients to me. 

The important thing here is that you don't shy away from opportunities. Learn to talk openly about what you do. Be proud of being a photographer because you never know who might need your services. 
CONSIDERING STARTING A SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING WORKSHOP
I get so many questions about Facebook advertising and have considered putting something special together for those who would love to learn more about social media marketing. This online workshop will be built around ALL types of businesses (this way it can be applied to all types of businesses). I still have to wrap my head around how exactly I want to present this content and how it can fit with my Photography Business Success Class. Advertising isn't something that will launch a business, it's something that can help a good business grow and this is so important and sadly often ignored factors when it comes to people starting ads. So as always, it's important for me to get people to understand that this will be 100% around ads, not about building a successful business. (If you're interested in building a successful business then join me in my other class ;) 
LIGHTROOM CLASS
As most people know, I love love love using Lightroom. As a portrait and wedding photographer, it is my absolute favorite tool to use when it comes to creating consistent work. After starting a private group (HERE) for those who use my Lightroom presets, and adding lots of free video tutorials I think it's time to create a place for people to learn even more. My goal is to create a completely free online class for anyone who is interested in learning how to use Lightroom. It's going to be time-consuming to create but I know it will help so many photographers who WANT to use Lightroom, but just need a little extra help in getting started. 

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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