Starting and maintaining a business isn’t cheap. And staying ahead of the curve in the high tech area of photography can be very expensive. But, who am I telling? As a professional photographer, you are well aware of the financial challenges posed by running your own business. Hopefully, that’s why you’re here – to discover proven methods and innovative approaches to generating start-up funds and income for your photography business.

Tap your Financial Resources

To start, you will likely want to fund your new or burgeoning photography business with financial resources you may already have available to you. The Frugal Entrepreneur and small business gurus Emily Chase Smith and Stephen Kay discuss some important pros and cons of tapping these resources for your business. Once you’ve weighed these factors and you choose to move forward, the following are possible funding source to explore.

Personal Savings

If you’re a savvy consumer and thrifty with your finances, it’s possible you have some personal savings amassed. Whether or not you wish to use these funds depends on exactly what you have been saving for. Is this account for your retirement? A rainy day? Have you actually been saving diligently in order to launch your business? All of these factors must be considered when deciding whether to empty your savings account to fund your new enterprise. In any event, think long and hard before making this drastic move. It’s important that you maintain an emergency fund for those pesky unplanned events that life tends to throw at us. So, even if you do elect to dip into your savings, only take the bare minimum you require to meet your needs. Instead look to some alternative income streams for more of the heavy lifting in financing and running your business.

Immediate Investments

If you own any financial instruments that can provide you with quick access to funds, such as shares, annuities and bonds, this may be the time to cash those puppies in.

Structured Settlements

Similar to annuities, if you have a structured settlement, a smart option may be to sell structured settlement payments for business capital. You don’t need to unload them all – and frankly, you really shouldn’t. But with some sound financial advice from a professional, you should be able to determine what number of payments would be safe and prudent to sell in order to raise some much needed business funding.

Generate Income by Offering Guidance to Amateurs

Once you’ve tapped into some capital to get your business off the ground, you want to generate income early and often. Naturally, you expect to earn a living by providing your photography services to clients. But don’t stop there. Think bigger. If you’ve been taking photos for a while now, you have definitely been asked for your advice in your field of expertise. When people know that you’re an expert in any professional field, they will often turn to you as a reliable resource. As Trent Hamm explains for The Simple Dollar, you can use this facet of human nature to generate both a buzz about your business and more income for you through your passion for photography.

Set yourself up as an authority through blogs

Write about what you know. Talk about photography, equipment, lighting, angles, subject matter and whatever else you are knowledgeable of and familiar with. Create FAQs addressing questions you hear from clients, friends and amateur shutterbugs. Consumers use the internet to search for services. They research topics in which they are interested online. By creating a resource through your website blog, you are more likely to reach these potential clients and budding photographers. You draw attention to yourself, your business and your talents. This all translates into traffic for your website, which means more clients and more business.

Offer workshops or “lessons” to amateur photographers

Now that you’ve attracted an audience with your blogging, offer them a service. Naturally, sell your photography service to clients who have come to your site seeking a talented photographer. But in addition, use your experience and know-how to educate others for a price. Whether one-on-one or in a group, create lessons or fun workshops to help amateurs learn more about the art of photography and how to take better photos. With a little research online, you can determine a fair and competitive rate for the expertise that you are willing to share.

Market to Other Photographers to Supplement Your Income

Now that you are thinking big, think income streams and monetizing your knowledge. Network with other photographers and use your blogs to make valuable use of these business connections with affiliate marketing and Amazon’s Associate Program. With product reviews, gear guides, blogging and even deep links, you can open up a respectable stream of revenue tied to your photography business with very little effort.

By touting products that you believe in, educating other photographers about trends, gear and techniques, and providing links in your website to affiliate websites, you can earn lucrative commissions from retailers in the photography field. The Modern Tog details a number of passive income methods for successful photographers.

Stay Open to Possibilities

With more funding solutions arising nearly every day, it’s imperative that you remain receptive to new and emerging income prospects. Some other options for business capital include crowdfunding, bringing on a partner and P2P Small Business Lending. Explore these and other opportunities to ensure you generate the funding and ongoing income you need to give your photography business the best chance of success.

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