How To Reflect On Your Year: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself This Year

How to reflect on your year: 8 questions to ask yourself about your last year in business to make changes and move forward.

As the year winds down and busy season comes to a close, it’s the time of year for many photographers to reflect on their year before they begin digging into their projects for the slower season. This is a great time to do an inventory of the year and reflect on what worked and what didn’t while it’s fresh in your mind. After busy season, photographers have usually stretched their schedules and pushed their workflows to the max and should have a good idea of where any bottlenecks existed. As the year ends, set aside some time to reflect on your year.

Today, I’m sharing an 8 questions to ask yourself this year as you decide what worked and what didn’t for your business!

Make sure you download the FREE Year in Review Worksheet so you can calculate and record your info. DOWNLOAD IT HERE

Ready to reflect on your year?

Carve out some time to sit down and focus for a little bit of time. Remove distractions from your workspace… Yes, that means close your email and your phone. Turn off the music and the podcasts. Give yourself the mind space you need to think.

Before you begin, make sure you have this information available to you.

Your Numbers

You will not be able to draw any conclusions on your data if you don’t have the data. Makes sense, right!? Make sure your accounting is up to date before you sit down to reflect on the year. Gather this information before you begin:

  • Total revenue or income (the money you brought in)
  • Number of sessions broken down into types of sessions
    (i.e. 30 family sessions, 40 mini sessions, 20 newborn sessions, etc)
  • Number of sessions broken down into total revenue/income per session type
    (example:  $8,000 family sessions, $6,000 mini sessions, $20,000 newborn sessions)

Make sure you download the FREE Year in Review Worksheet so you can calculate and record your info. DOWNLOAD IT HERE

Here’s the checklist for reflection:

Q1: Goals Check — How did you measure up against your goals?

How did you measure up against the goals you set for yourself this year? If you had income goals set, how did you do? Did you see an increase or decrease in the money you brought in relative to last year? If you saw an increase, figure out how much you were up by doing this calculation:

Amt of Revenue Increase/Decrease / Last Years Revenue = % Growth

For example, if you made $63,000 in 2022 and $43,000 in 2021, you would do the following equation: ($20,000 divided by $43,000 equals .465), or otherwise this means you had a 46.5% increase in your revenue.

Think about the other goals you set and how you measured up against each of them.

Q2: Income Breakdown — Where did your income come from?

Next, once you have an idea of how you did with your goals that you set for yourself, let’s dissect the work you did and analyze where your income came from.

If your income comes in from various places or you shoot various types of sessions, I want you to think about how you can break down your income into areas that will be helpful for you to have. In my business, my main income sources come from family, newborn, maternity and mini sessions. I also have films and education that contribute to my overall numbers.

Figure out the total quantity you did for each segment of your business and then add up the total income/revenue from each segment. From here, you can calculate the percentage breakdown of where your money came from and what were your most popular sources of income.

If you would like some help, with this data – you can find a link to a calculator in the FREE Year in Review Worksheet. You can simply plug in the numbers into the excel spreadsheet and it will calculate your numbers for you.

Once you have these numbers, analyze it. Did anything surprise you? Were your numbers in line with where you felt you spent most of your time this year? Is it in line with what you really want to do in our business? This is all an important step as it will be critical in helping you set up your goals for next year.

Q3: What worked well in your business?

With the numbers and calculations complete, now it’s time to take a look at your business from a different perspective. What did you do or change in your business that worked really well? Did you try anything new that was successful? Did you try a new pricing structure or booking strategy that worked well? Think about your entire business and note what worked well so you can repeat it and improve upon it in the next year.

Q4: What did not work well in your business?

On the flip side, what did not work well in your business? As a business owner, there is always an element of trial and error – we all do it! Think about what things you tried that did not work well or need some adjustments. Ask yourself the following questions…

Q5: What did you love doing?

In addition to figuring out what worked well and contributed to your bottom line, you should think about what you loved doing. As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to pivot and build a business you love that is fulfilling to you. Make sure you think about that things that were both successful and the things you loved doing. These should be your focus in the new year.

Q6: What did you not loving doing?

On the contrary…was there anything you didn’t love doing? Was there a type of session you booked but you really didn’t love doing them? If the other areas of your business are successful, perhaps you want to eliminate this from your offering. Think about your business critically like this. As your business grows, you want to mold it into a business that you truly love.

Q7: Where were your bottlenecks?

Coming out of busy season, most photographers have stretched their systems and workflows to the max. Now is the best time to note any areas that caused a bottleneck or slow down in your business. Did you find something was holding you back? For instance: if editing consumed your time, you might want to think about outsourcing your editing in the next season. If you found the customer communication to be tedious and time consuming, perhaps you need to consider investing in a CRM or studio management system. It’s these types of things that can be refined over time to make your business work for you.

Q8: What changes or ideas can you implement moving forward?

Last but not least… After you have surveyed and inventoried your business, it’s time to apply what you learned to the new year. Start making a plan for any changes you want to make moving forward. What did you learn in this past year that you should or could change for growth in your business. Is it time for you to raise your pricing? Do you need to pivot in the types of sessions you offer? Did you find most of your clients came from referrals – maybe it’s time to begin nurturing your client base more with an email strategy so they will continue to refer you. Think about all the things we just analyzed and begin figuring out how to make changes in the new year.

Don’t forget to DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE YEAR IN REVIEW WORKSHEET HERE so you can begin analyzing your year and getting ready to set actionable goals for yourself in the new ye

Want to see a behind the scenes debrief of my business? I’m sharing my personal stats and notes from inside my photography business in the next post so stay tuned!



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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