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How I pivoted my business in 2020- Business Strategies

2/11/2021

2020 was the year of pivoting. We all pivoted in one way or another. Some pivoted to just work less, some went from weddings to just sessions, some a combo of micro weddings & sessions etc.

My usual slow season is from January 1st-March 1st each year. So I started the year with only a couple sessions like normal, some creative shoots and was gearing up for my first weddings starting in April. Then March came and we all know what happened after that. I was out of work from March-about middle of June 2020. I was able to go on unemployment after a while. I realized quickly that if we wanted to keep up with our bills I needed to make up at least some of the difference of our income from 6 months almost fully off. So I pivoted a little and here is how. Hope this helps you guys brainstorm ways to pivot in another year of maybe doing a similar thing.

  1. Taking on last minute elopements. Leaving room in my schedule to allow for weekend last minute bookings that might even include some driving has helped a lot. Last year I went from 25 weddings to 7 real fast but I gained so many last minute ones that I ended up doing 15 total weddings in 2020.
  2. Setting up a print shop. I have traveled a lot in the past decade, so I took the time to set up a print shop with my travel pictures through pic-time. I am selling high res downloads and physical prints. This has been more successful than I thought it would be. People usually buy the physical print for their house or for a gift. I launched a couple weeks before Christmas this was so helpful!
  3. Taking on more sessions. This is not ideal in the grand scheme of things and man it killed my body. However, we were able to pay our bills such as my student loan, car loan, medical bills and adoption. Most years I do one wedding a week or every other week. I also shoot about 2-3 sessions a week. In 2020 I did not have as many weddings, so I took on about 5-6 sessions a week. I really took on more senior sessions, headshots, family shoots and man even some dog shoots. In normal year I really only do couples shoots and 18 senior sessions but this year I took on pretty much anything that came my way. I was so grateful for the work and honestly it pushed me to be more creative.
  4. Marketed in Instagram stories for more than just couples sessions. Most years I just post about couples shoots and seniors. However, this year I posted in my stories about promoting family shoots, branding etc. It really paid off as more people would re-post the stories and I would gain new eyes on my work. I will be real with you all after 6 years of business it is humbling to take on things you normally would refer out, but I think I needed it. I needed to create things out of my normal wheelhouse and also not be
  5. Allowing my weddings to downgrade and being flexible with my calendar. I became really flexible with my 2020 weddings. Allowing weddings to downgrade packages, change locations last minute and dates. Was this ideal? No, in fact it was super hard at times. However, I wanted to be there fully for my couples and we all went through so much last year so I wanted to be a encouragement to all my couples. This is something that I realistically cannot do each year and was very specific to 2020 as no one knew this pandemic was coming. Now that we are in 2021 I am still very flexible and here to help every couple with anything they need. I am no longer downgrading very much, but instead offering to keep the hours and pictures to tell the full story of the elopement day. Literally this been life giving for me to realize that even elopements need the full day story to be told.

6. Serving my clients more than ever. For my senior reps I communicated with them way more, for my weddings I gave them their full gallery within one week of the wedding and making sure I was on calls each week if they needed to brainstorm their wedding. I did this for one to be a kind human, but also you want to build trust, credibility and amazing reviews for your business. Through all of these things and people re posting pictures more than ever this year I was able to build up my clientele.

7. Content Shoots– Setting up contents shoots that allowed myself to be weird, try new things, new places and new types of editing even. I have done this for years, but it was not until 2020 that I fully gave myself the freedom to be an artist. The more I got out of my box and posted it the more it attracted people to my work. I think people could see my passion and love for my work come out even more in those shoots. It also started seeping into my work at weddings and regular sessions

8. Worked on my website– I worked a lot on my website refining what I am putting out there. I am also going to be even more purposeful with documenting things as they are I added a stories section of my website that has almost full gallery of weddings on it to music. I am also in the works of adding a branding video/BTS video to my site. Video is a huge part of people understanding how you work and who you are before they work with you. I think me slowly implementing it on my website and Instagram highlight reels has been helpful for booking more.

9. Working on selling education courses- I worked on prepping my online courses which I filmed in 2021. This is not for everyone, but if you have a niche & are an expert in it, then make a video for it on podia and sell it! For me I love all things business related so I made business courses to help small business owners grow. If you love macrame then do a class showing how to make it. While you are at it start an Etsy shop too! If you love painting then do a class on that and attach your Etsy shop for your work. Think outside of the box this year with other things you are passionate about.

10. Offering to help my couples plan their elopements– While I necessarily did not plan all of my couples days, I did send them pictures of different locations, airbnbs, places to eat at, reached out to vendors for them and sent them money for chocolate. While I offer this to my couples even in normal years, this year couples took me up to it way more than ever before due to COVID-19. I loved helping each couple and man it was so fun to dream up such unique elopements with each couple.

These things on their own did not gain me clients overnight, but working on marketing in different ways and thinking outside of the box this year lead me to pivot & gain more income to make up for the loss. In addition, I plain old just had fun and loved trying out new things!

Pictures by: Alyssa Luzaich Photography

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