How to Play the Long Game for Success

How to play the long game of success and build a sustainable business as a photographer: tips for practical growth as a business owner

When building a photography business, there are so many moving parts and pieces to creating a successful business. It can be overwhelming for new photographers in the early stages of business to figure out the best place to focus their energy and play the long game of success. During the building phase of your business, it’s important to know that success is relative and takes time. Measure your success one small win at a time. And, remember that success to you is going to look different than everyone else – and that’s okay. We meet big goals through small steps and achievements, so celebrate those milestones along the way! 

Continue to invest in building on the areas of your business that help to create a long-term, sustainable business. While scrolling your IG story feed is tempting, it won’t help move your business forward. You want to focus your attention on the foundational building blocks that will allow you to create a successful and sustainable business. These areas might now reap immediate rewards. But, they will be investments into the areas that can make the most impact in your business. 

Here are 6 places to invest in the long game of success by building a sustainable and profitable photography business. 

1. Invest in setting up all parts of business.

Photography businesses are often started as side-gigs. While this is a common path for many, it’s easy to blur the lines between hobby and business. Some photographers will make the mistake of treating the busy as a hobby. When this happens, they don’t invest the time in setting up the business completely. This means making sure you have all the foundational building blocks of a business. Make sure you are making your business legit from a legal perspective, setting up the time to create the best client experience, setting up systems that help you run your business in the most efficient way, investing in a professional looking website that helps attract the clients you want…and the list goes on. 

If you need a kickstart, check out the Photography Business Bootcamp, a comprehensive program to help you start, launch and grow a successful and sustainable photography business! 

2. Build an email list. 

A mailing list is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have in your business but it’s something that takes time to build. Even if you don’t have a plan for how to use it in your business just yet, take the time to set up a system for building your list. This could be creating a lead magnet on your website to incentivize people to subscribe to your list for the freebie, making your booking process exclusive to your mailing list and more. If you want more ideas – and want to understand exactly why this mailing list is critical for your business, check out this article! 

3. Focus on gaining experience.

To become the best photographer you can be, you need to focus on the importance of gaining experience. The more you shoot, the better you get. It’s plain and simple. Continue to build your portfolio and make sure you are keeping yourself busy. You will grow as an artist and business owner. 

4. Continued learning to keep improving.

As with any experience, it’s important to continue learning. Whether you are all new to business and photography, or a seasoned pro, there is always room to grow and learn. There are multiple ways to learn from mentors, courses and online learning groups that will continue to challenge you and help you grow. Building these connections is important not only for support, but also as a group that will challenge you and encourage you to do things you might not have done otherwise. 

5. Nurture client relationships.

When it comes to growing a business that is sustainable, one of the best places to invest is in your client experience. Take the time to set up a system that nurtures your client relationships and elevates your client experience. It will be much easier to grow a successful business if you have a core group of returning clients year after year. It’s much harder to acquire new clients than keep existing ones. 

6. Invest in your website and SEO.

I can’t mention the long game of success without talking about SEO. If you want your business to be seen and found organically by new clients on Google, you need to invest in setting up the SEO for your website. SEO is a long term strategy however. You need to take the time to set up a plan for implementing it, maintaining it and then give it the time it needs to develop. Blogging is a great way to improve SEO on your website and keep you front of mind on Google and in your clients’ minds. See my tips for blogging HERE. 

While it can be tempting to put all of your energy and money into things that seem like quick success markers, the sustainability of your business is much more important. Consider putting energy into these tasks that will ensure your business has long-term success year after year. 

Other related articles:

The 5 Biggest Mistakes New Photographers Make

How to Create Lifelong Clients in Your Photography Business

3 Key Places to Market Your Photography Business


about Danielle Blewitt

Hi, I’m Danielle. I’m a Pittsburgh, based family photographer and marketing expert. I help family photographers build and grow successful businesses using simple, organic marketing strategies. This space is designed to give you some of my best practical tips to implement in your business.

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