How to Save and Budget in Your Photography Business

Let’s talk Money! It can be a big hang up for some creative entrepreneurs who just want to take beautiful photos BUT…if you can get organized in this area you will see massive results.

Why is this a big piece of making a business successful? Pricing your services and having a handle on your budget overall are directly related. If you want to make money with photography then this is for you.

You have to know your CODB (cost of doing business) in order to price for profit and be confident you are saving.

I get asked a lot about pricing photography services, and I have a few videos on this, but we do also need to keep in mind your business costs, your money goals, and I personally think pricing becomes clearer for you as the business owner when you get clear on this budgeting stuff too.

There are tons of reasons you’ll need to save as a photographer. For upcoming gear purchases, education, investing into retirement since you work for yourself, or even to be able to take a break from your business or a maternity leave (which I’ve now done twice.) See below for 3 tips to help you budget better and save more in your photography business.

Where do you start when budgeting as a photographer? I’ve broken it down into three steps:

1. Separate your Personal and Business Finances

If you haven’t already, separate your personal and business finances. Doing this will create ease of management and tracking, but also protect your personal money from your business money. This makes book keeping far simpler as well!

2. Think about your money in buckets (percentages)

Once you’ve separated out your business money from your personal, you’ll want to think about your money in buckets through percentages. These buckets include:

  • Business Expenses (30%)
  • Taxes (15-30%)
  • Salary (40%)
  • Profit (~10%)

You’ll set each of these numbers based on your needs in your business and life. Look at how much you want to make, how much you’ll need to pay in taxes to make that, what your business expenses are, and how much of that is profit –> that’s how you’ll price your individual services.

  • I also recommend you separate out an expense account for albums, second shooters, or printed goods when someone books those. You set it aside like you would set taxes aside. Then, when they want to order their album, you aren’t kicking yourself for not having that money ready or spending it on something else.
  • You NEED to ask a CPA about this – because the way your business is formed (LLC vs S-corp, VS. Sole Proprietor) and your overall income, and where you live, will all play a part in your tax percentages. Annoying I know. But you can figure this out!!

Get the book, “Profit First” to hear more about this and to know how much you should be allocating to each area.

3. YOUR MINDSET + COMMON MONEY MINDSET BLOCKS

There are some really powerful money mindset blocks that we have that are often lies. The biggest one is telling ourselves that our brain isn’t capable of understanding numbers. This simply means that you have to approach money and numbers differently! You can overcome this if you believe that you can learn it in your own way.

Another common lie or mindset block is that we can only charge as much as someone else in our industry. We limit ourselves with a ceiling of what we think we can charge and associate our worth with it. You’re unique and how you do them is special, so consider improving your client experience in a way that allows you to increase your price.

Do any of these blocks sound like something you’ve experienced? OR maybe you have felt something different – I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Remember:

You aren’t just pricing to cover your CODB- you are pricing for Profit. You are a business!

OK this next part is AWESOME…

My friend Val Duvick provided a FREE spreadsheet for you to get the numbers in your business in order. I was so thankful she provided this, because some of you guys have already grabbed it and said it was AMAZINGLY helpful.

Val joined me on the Called to Both podcast where we discuss Mastering your Business Finances and Money Mindset. Linking the episode below, where you’ll be able to listen to the whole interview and grab the free financial planning sheet.

Budgeting as a Photography business owner

Being the owner of your own business requires you to make decisions about what you will invest in and what you will wait on – something you have to navigate for as long as you own a business. So creating a system for making these budgetary decisions is going to serve you for a long time!

A few things that help with knowing if you can invest in something (a new lens or camera, a coach, or workshop etc):

  1. Separate out your accounts so you can SEE what money is yours to spend and what is set aside for taxes and salary
  2. Ask yourself if it’s something that is directly tied to you making more money

You May Also Like:

Steps To Starting Your Photography Business Part One
Steps to Starting your Photography Business Part Two
50% Off Honeybook Your First Year 
8 Ways to Make Money Quickly as a PhotographerHobby to Pro Toolkit

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