She said it again.
I guess she could tell I wasn’t listening, that my mind was somewhere else. I’d heard her, but I just didn’t want to acknowledge that what she said was probably right.
“I hate to say this Chris, but we need to start thinking about selling off some of our gear…”
I looked out the window, a knot forming in my stomach as I scanned the cloudy February-in-Nashville sky (33 degrees and rainy, basically), hoping that somehow a solution would come to me in a flash of brilliance.
“How did this happen? Last year was the best year we’ve ever had. We grossed over $100,000?!? Where did it all go? What are we going to do?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t know…” (followed by my go-to eternal optimist phrase…) “We’ll figure it out…”
Our best year ever, financially, and here we were, looking at our bank account, looking over last years’ numbers, looking at our tax bill and thinking…
We were learning the same hard lesson many, many professional photographers (and small business owners, in general) had learned before us.
Slow season sucks.
Slow season, if you’re unfamiliar, is the Bermuda Triangle of months for photographers, especially wedding photographers in the US (except for those who live in San Diego, they don’t count…).
The Bermuda Triangle = December through March or early April
It’s claimed the lives of many a photography business. As you travel through it, you see businesses around you falling off the radar. You’re not sure if you, yourself, are going to make it through in one piece… in fact, the only thing you can be sure of is, if you do happen to come out the other side, you’re going to get the hell beat out of you before you get there.
Veterans, you know what I’m talking about.
Newbies… prepare yourself. Winter is coming.
Ok, ok, ok. Enough of the doom and gloom. Here’s the long story, short:
We got lucky. Really lucky.
We booked a $6500 wedding at the beginning of March and they wanted to pay in full. In cash. In a dark parking lot. At night. (Seriously… it was so drug dealy…).
That’s the only thing that got us through that March. And you know what we didn’t ever want to count on again?
So we fixed the mistakes that got us into that situation (there were some big ones, too) and starting figuring out what we needed to do to weather the storm the following year.
It took some creative budgeting throughout the year, but we were able to make it through the following slow seasons relatively unscathed. But I’ll never, ever forget that lesson.
And thankfully, you have something available to you now that we didn’t have. Something that will keep you shooting in the off-season, something that you are uniquely qualified to do as a pro photographer.
Something that will get you the holy grail of small business…
Recurring, passive income.
“Wait… what? As in, not trading time for dollars, wake up and there’s money in my account that wasn’t there when I went to bed last night (and it wasn’t that bank error I’ve always dreamed about)?”
Yeah, actual ongoing income that will help both you and a small business owner in your area. Money you can count on, month in and month out, busy season or slow season.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Nope. It’s called StickyApps.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s created by the same brilliant minds behind StickyAlbums (seriously, Nate is one of the smartest guys I know).
StickyApps is a brand-new platform that allows you to use your unique skillset as a professional photographer to help small businesses create custom, mobile apps for their business.
The business gets a modern, updated, beautifully-photographed mobile application to market themselves and you get guaranteed recurring income.
It’s a win/win that will have you worry-free through the slow season.
Just ask Kate Treick, a StickyApps user:
“As soon as I saw StickyApps, I knew that it had a ton of potential to make my income more consistent. Within just a couple of months of following up with small businesses in my community, I’ve reached my first goal of $1000 a month of additional income through my custom websites. My clients have received only positive feedback on their new sites, and they are thrilled! It is also bringing new opportunities to my portrait business. I highly recommend this platform to any photographers who are looking to expand their business!”
That’s an extra grand that Kate gets to wake up to once a month. And she’s only just gotten started.
Think of the opportunities this presents you, to be able to hit it hard during your off-season and just collect payments throughout the rest of the year. Have a slow month or few weeks here and there? Keep building your client base of small businesses. Chip away at it, little-by-little, throughout 2016 and think about how well you could be doing come slow season next year.
I get excited thinking about how this will help photographers never have to go through that terrible February realization we did.
That you won’t have to rely on luck to make it through.
That you can build something on the side that brings you recurring passive income, while honing your skills, expanding your vendor network and standing out in a sea of photographers offering to just hang a canvas on the walls of local businesses.
Want to see more examples of photographers like Kate who are taking full advantage of this game-changing opportunity?