In the first few years of business, I think most photographers are focused on getting clients and not thinking about the possibility of becoming a millionaire. But it is possible in this business! And I bet it looks a lot different than what you’re imagining in your head.
A friend mentioned the book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, and I was intrigued. I mean, who doesn’t want to know the secrets to becoming one of America’s millionaires? 😂
One story the authors shared really stuck out to me. They held an event for decamillionaires (people with liquid $10 million +) and went all out with the food and drinks. They had different fancy delicatessens, caviar, and the finest Italian wines all ready to go for their wealthy guests. Turns out, no one drank the expensive wine. One guy showed up in jeans and requested Budweiser “or whatever free beer you have”. The caviar and other fancy hors d’oeuvres sat untouched at the end of the night…but the guests did eat the bread that was next to the caviar. 😂
After all of the guests left, and when they surveyed what was left and thought about the conversations they had, they realized this pretty much matched what they had been uncovering during all of their research. A very high percentage of the millionaires they found weren’t living in the most affluent areas. They were in the “middle class” areas and they weren’t driving the fanciest of cars or wearing the crazy expensive watches. They were living more “modestly”.
I laughed when I read this story because I would be the one pulling up in my minivan and eating the bread and skipping the caviar and probably going for a beer (although, I do love me some wine). Not that I’m a decamillionaire (yet 😉 ), but I noticed that once I changed my own mentality and behaviors around the spending I was doing in my business, things got a WHOLE LOT more lucrative.
What did I do to increase my profitability? I trimmed because I wanted more money in my pocket. Millionaires get there not just by increasing their overall income, but also by trimming their expenses.
- I downgraded my studio to a space that was much cheaper rent.
- I stopped buying more and more for my client wardrobe.
- I called around for a better, less expensive insurance policy.
- I didn’t get tempted to buy the new shiny lenses (I still shoot with my Canon 85mm 1.8 that cost $500, as opposed to the 1.2 for $2000+)
- I listed out every single expense I had and looked at where I could cut back.
And this helped. A LOT. You don’t realize how much you are spending if you ignore it! Now, I’m not saying not to spend money. Of course, there are expenses that are unavoidable. But, don’t avoid looking at what you are spending! People don’t get wealthy by overspending.
There is a happy medium there, at least that’s the balance I’ve struck. I enjoy the experiences and buy the things I truly want/need, as long as I am NOT accruing any debt to do so and and if I’m not living beyond my means. I was in debt for many years of my life and it was not a fun place to be!
Here’s my challenge to you this week: make a list of at least 5 expenses in your business that you could do without or you could find cheaper options for. Then take action. Get on your way to millionaire status!