All right, there's no more putting it off. It's time to vocalize some of the business goals I've set for 2014. A couple weeks ago, I sat down and wrote a four page business plan for myself that includes my main 2014 goals, marketing goals, education goals, financial goals, expected business expenses, strengths, weaknesses, and a timeline for accomplishing all the things I want to accomplish.
I broke down my overall goal into "minimum," "target," and "ideal." So, for the sake of ambition I'm going to vocalize my IDEAL goals because that's what will make 2014 a dream come true. And if I meet my ideal goals, I get to buy the fancy equipment that I really want, but probably don't need yet ;) For example, if I reach my "ideal" goal for 2014, I'm going to upgrade to a 5d Mark III. Hitting my "target" means I can buy my laptop. There is nothing for "minimum" because minimum is not acceptable and shall not be incentivized!
So here are the ideal goals for 2014.
Shoot 15 Weddings and 20 Portrait Sessions
This would be huge growth for me. Ginormous growth. I think it's completely do-able, but it's dependent on some of my marketing goals. This is the big one. This is what all my other goals weave into. For the rest of the year I'm going to have 15/20 stuck in my head because that's what I really want.
Become LLC Company
I don't know why I keep putting this off, but yesterday I actually got the ball rolling on this one and unless I'm very confused, it's way easier than I realized. I was under the impression I needed a lawyer and all sorts of other stuff, but after about 15 minutes poking around the Virginia small business website, I was printing a certificate that says I'm an LLC company. So I may have accomplished this goal on day 1 of 2014, that would be pretty cool ;)
Develop my Brand
I'm learning more and more, how important it is to show my clients who I am in an instant. As much as I wish my prospective clients would take the time to read a few blog entries, people don't really do that. Jasmine Star says that for clients, your website is your hello and your blog is your conversation. I am better at the conversation, so this year I need to work on my hello. I'll have an exciting development that relates to this goal to announce on Monday. I've been dying to show it off and it seems fitting to start with a new year.
Be Featured in Three Publications
I've thought about publications and what the point of them is for the last few months. At first, I thought getting featured was all about stroking your own ego as a photographer (cynical much?). Then I realized that if industry peers are affirming and supporting your work, that tells your clients something. When my clients visit my site, I want them to see that unbiased wedding industry leaders respect my work and deem it relevant to today's market. I still kind of think it makes us feel better about ourselves, but hey there's nothing wrong with that right?
Develop Editing Presets
I edit all my photos in Lightroom now. Last year it was all Photoshop but a photographer friend of mine said I'd lose my mind if I tried to shoot weddings without using Lightroom and he was totally right. Lightroom is incredible. It has saved me so much time on editing that I haven't taken the time to fully explore its features and find out how much MORE time I could be saving. One of those extremely important features is setting presets. Right now I hand edit everything. Yesterday I created my first preset which I think will help me at least get a good base edit before I sort through and finish the photos. Part of putting this goal off has been a search for my editing style, but I'm starting to lock that down and know more what I want.
Learn Off Camera Lighting
Why is this so scary? I'm a member of lots of photography boards and Facebook groups and lots of people are scared of flash, especially off camera flash. Some might not even be scared, but just too lazy to add something to their routine. Well, I do not want to be afeared any longer! Last year at this time, I couldn't use my regular flash on TTL. This year I want to learn to really understand and control my flash and extend that to off camera lighting as well. Step 1? Justin and Mary to the rescue. My workshop is at the end of this month. I am ridiculously excited/terrified.
So those are my big, must accomplish goals. I'm not going to go into the marketing goals because that was the longest part of my business plan and included a lot of tiny little steps (blog 2-3x per week, connect with vendors at weddings, write a weekly "to do" list, etc.), that will hopefully all add up to my big 15 weddings, 20 portraits goal.
I hope that a year from now, I'll be reading this post again, happily checking items off the list. I hope I'm not making excuses for why these goals weren't met, but am instead laughing at how humble I was. Growing quickly is not easy, but here's hoping.
Do you have any New Year's goals or resolutions? As much as I've been talking about goals I didn't really determine a resolution this year except to accomplish all these goals. Oh, and I want to work out more but that's too cliche a resolution to even be mentioned, so I think I'll just go make some cinnamon scones instead ;)