Episode 147 – The Top Secrets to Reaching $100K From My 2022 Yay Award Winners (Part 1)

The Top Secrets to Reaching $100K From My 2022 Yay Award Winners (Part 1)


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Go Boutique Live is the only event of its kind on the planet!

After doing this event now for our fourth year, one thing remains my favorite part, the Yay awards.

At this year’s event, we have more honorees who have reached the $100K mark or more in their photography business from January through December of 2022 than ever before.

Some are longtime photographers and others just started their business a year or two ago.

They are from different cities, states, and countries all around the world, and I asked them to share what changed the game for them in 2022!!

Debra Lawrence:

I have three big habits that I live by as a photography business owner that help me continuously hit six figures every year.

The first one is to STOP.

COVID made me have to stop and step back in my business but it put me in a position where I was able to see what was broken in my business.

I was going 90 to nothing.

I was working 60+ hours a week and I was making a very small profit on a large number.

I was doing six figures before I met Sarah Petty, but my profit was somewhere around the 20-35% mark, and that was when I was working my butt off.

I was bringing in over $100,000, total gross, but my net was $20k-$35k.

That’s awful for working 60 hours a week.

There’s a really big difference between gross and net.

With COVID, I was forced to stop and get some rest.

So now I’ve learned when things don’t feel like they’re working quite right, I need to stop.

I need to step back, give myself a break, and do something that’s fun.

Failure is actually learning and it’s important to learn from it and move on.

The second thing is learning how to manage my time.

Some of it is learning what you can delegate or outsource.

You can manage your time if there are fewer things you’re doing.

You can’t make more hours in the day, but you can take on fewer things.

There are definitely things you can say no to.

So the first thing I do is go through my list.

What is not that important?

Is it going to help me meet my goals?

I identify those goals and I base my time management on the goals I’m trying to reach.

You have to assess your failure and you have to manage your time so that you can do well.

Tip number three is about combating head trash.

Sarah Petty talks about head trash all the time.

What does that look like for you?

It looks different for everybody, and believe it or not, even the people that are really killing it with the $100,000+ businesses will have head trash that creeps in.

It’s about recognizing that there’s a head trash moment here and hitting it head-on.

I’m not going to ignore it.

I’m going to walk myself through why I am feeling that. Is it true?

If it’s true, what can I do to change it?

If it’s not true, let’s go ahead and rewrite it and then let’s repeat it over and over again, the reversed thought to replace the head trash.

I have the manifesto that sits up in my office that Sarah Petty gave me, and I read it over and over again daily.

I say that manifesto and it makes all the difference in the world.

Chloe Atnip:

One big change I made in my business last year to hit six figures was that I actually started getting on the phone and talking with my inquiries.

I had problems feeling comfortable talking with clients, and I was really excited to learn how to do it more comfortably with the scripts and practices that she provides.

I decided to use Zoom to talk to my inquiries because I do not have great cell service where I live.

I was really nervous about it at first, but I had no choice.

That was a really big change in my business last year. too I would send an email out to the clients and give them a link.

They were open to having a Zoom with me, which I was not thinking that would be the case.

Another thing I did was I had some videos made.

I got involved with a videographer who made a set of three videos for me.

One video showed me doing a newborn session, how I set up the viewing presentation, and how I present it to them later.

Then I created another video of me doing a maternity session and how I show them in ProSelect, so that they can really put in their head that they would have the photoshoot and meet with me after to view the images.

The third video included all the products that I recommend and sell, which are the signature products that Sarah recommends.

And they all really worked out well for me!

I had a client named Emily order $7,000 in artwork from me.

It was super exciting to see all that Sarah had taught and prepared me for coming to fruition.

Beth Hontzas:

If someone were to ask me how I got to six figures in my photography business, I would say it was all about planning for me.

It’s like having a bird’s eye view or a roadmap for your business.

There were two key parts of the planning that really helped me.

The first one is when we all sit with Sarah in January and she helps us look at the year overall, what campaigns will we work on, who will we connect with, what seasons and holidays are coming up, and so on.

When we were looking at that, there was one gap in particular that Sarah asked me about, and that was when my daughter and I go back to my home state of Mississippi for a big chunk of time.

She suggested that I do sessions while I was there and then when I go back, do the sales appointments and just really tap into that community.

I was amazed she had pointed out something so obvious, but it was potential opportunities that I’d completely overlooked!

The second part of the planning that Sarah has us do is our 30, 60, and 90 plans.

What that means for me is working on your current project while always prepping for what is coming next.

A fun part about making it to six figures was looking back at what I’d made in the years before I joined Sarah.

In 2019, I grossed $18,436.

I joined Sarah midway through 2020, and midway through the year to the end of the year, I grossed $27,966.

That was during the pandemic.

In 2021, it jumped up to $84,000, and in 2022, it jumped to $105,000.

I was super excited about that!

But if you want to become a six-figure business, you have to push yourself and you have to make a plan.

Erin Lackey:

One big change that I made in my business in 2022 to hit six figures was to plan out my financial projections for my business for the year. 

I looked at my whole year’s calendar and I decided when I wanted to do certain events and certain kinds of promotions.

I also looked at how many family sessions, high school seniors, and pet portraits I wanted to do.

I was able to look at all of that and make a financial plan and projection.

Because I did that, I was able to look every day and see whether I was on track or not to reach my goal.

Having that plan in place really helped me feel like the year was solid and it helped me to not feel like I was flailing or wondering if maybe someday I would reach my goal.

I had it on paper – all I had to do was make it happen, and that was transformational for hitting my goal of six figures.

Jennifer Pisani:

One of the things that made my business become six figures in 2022 adding extended family sessions! 

When I started booking the extended family sessions, I had conversations with all the point people so that they knew where my pricing was.

If I didn’t speak with them, I made sure that it was very clear that they had my pricing information.

I do each ordering session individually per family, whether in person or on Zoom.

My two largest sales for the year came from extended family sessions!

Another thing I did in 2022 to help me hit 6-figures was raising my prices.

My average sale with my seniors went from $3,000 to anywhere between $4k-$4.5k per senior.

That was a huge piece of leveling up in my business!

Brittanie Marion:

I wanted to share a few habits that I live by as a photography business owner to continually hit the six-figure mark.

The first habit I continuously live by is to do the hard thing first, or “eat the frog” as they call it.

I’ve just found that if I have something on my list that I don’t particularly love to do or I put it off, the more it just amplifies the dread.

I’ve just started implementing a system where I can start my day by doing the hard things first.

It helps to get the tasks out of the way that need to be done that we don’t always want to do.

The second habit is outsourcing to save time and sanity.

I feel like as business owners, we think that we have to do everything because we are the ones running our business and no one else is going to do it for us – so we have to do everything.

While that’s true in some ways, I feel that it’s not always true.

There are things that eat up a little more of your time than they should, why not outsource them?

The third habit, and I would say the most important in my opinion, is continually investing in growth.

It’s so important to invest in both professional and personal growth.

I make it a point every year to go to a conference or some kind of workshop to refine my technical skills and uplevel my photography.

I also invest in my business and am always refining my processes so I can become a better business owner in general.

Another habit that I live by and continuously do as a business owner is networking.

Networking hasn’t always been my favorite thing.

I’m definitely more of a self-proclaimed introvert, but I quickly learned when running a business that if you don’t get out there and meet people and stay involved in your community, your phone isn’t going to ring.

Things are not going to happen by living under a rock.

Now, I’m at the point where I go to an event at least once a week, even if it’s just a ribbon cutting with my chamber or another networking group that I have found in my local community.

Sara Rostotski:

Here are some of the habits that I’ve used in my photography business to help me achieve six figures!

Number one, I make a business plan.

I am really consistent with making a business plan at the beginning of my year and planning all aspects of my business to ensure that I’m reaching my goals every month.

I really like to start off my year planning it from January to December so I know what to expect.

Number two, I make a wish list of people I want to work with and then find a way to reach out to them.

It ends up being a constant list that I keep adding to.

This list is constantly changing, but it’s nice to have it and have a vision for the different things that I would like to do with certain people!

Number three, I work with charities to help raise money at auctions.

I’m a second-generation photographer. In our business, this type of support within our community was started before I ever actually got involved in our business.

We’ve always been supportive of auctions in our community, and we find that a lot of our clients are really involved in a certain charity or another.

Number four is constantly learning.

I like to give myself a chance to grow, evolve, and be inspired.

I find that that helps my artist within, and so I’m constantly getting better and coming up with new ideas to do the things that I love.

I find that that helps keep my clients with me because it’s always something new. 

Sarah Petty:

I firmly believe in taking business advice from people who are where you want to be!

If your business hasn’t hit six figures, I hope these tips can help you if that’s a dream of yours.

I’ll be back next week for part two of this amazing series. 

Download the Episode Transcript Here

The Top Secrets to Reaching $100K From My 2022 Yay Award Winners (Part 1)
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