Archive for January, 2012

31
Jan
12

Another Month Over

 

So we are supposed to be in a double dip recession, and everyone is meant to be feeling the pinch, but the orders for baby photos are still flowing nicely, thank you very much.  Despite it being a short month (my first sitting wasn’t until 14th January) I still managed to sell over £1,600 worth of photos, a record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So sales are climbing, but I am still trying to find the right balance of appointments to work load; I reckon 10-12 sittings a week is about right.  I need to spend more time doing marketing, in order to secure the customers who will spend more to increase my average order volume, which this month was just over £200.

I also need to work more on my processes, as I am still getting a number of sitting and viewing no shows, and a few families who only take the free gift.  One of the great things about being part of a franchise is the support I get from other franchisees.  One franchise holder is a whiz with software, and he has been a great help with ProSelect and loading up templates.  Another has passed on a lead for some work he can’t undertake.

On the negative side, this month, I received a ticket for illegally using a bus lane, and my car was clamped when I parked in the wrong place.  These have pushed up my motor transport costs to over £500, which is around the same I would hope to pay on a month’s rent for a small studio.

The search for a studio has started; I am looking for a premises of around 500 square feet, in the middle of my franchise area, with adequate parking, but not on a high street. Preference is for a ground floor premises, as a lot of my clients will have push chairs/prams and won’t want to negotiate stairs.  I am hoping to keep the annual rent below £6,000 per annum, but that may be hard this close to London.  I have spotted a warehouse on a business park and a couple of shops where I may be able to negotiate the rent to within my budget.

14
Jan
12

First week back and I have been busy and sick!

So my body just wasn’t ready to come back to a British winter, and I soon succumbed to a cold, which laid me out for a couple of days – not nice when combined with jet-lag.  And, I didn’t have time to relax, having several orders of photos to deliver, but seeing the happiness and satisfaction on the customers faces was a real tonic.

On Friday, I went to the Society of wedding and portrait photographers (SWPP) convention, in London, which was combined with my franchise day.  OK this convention is nowhere near as big as CES, or even the FOCUS on Imaging convention, but its nice and chilled out.  Looking around the trade show, there were three things that caught my eye; first was the Canon EOS 1Dx – this was nice to hold, had a couple of extra buttons, but I think I will stick to my 1Ds, thank you very much.  The next to attract my attention was the Pentax 645D.  This 40 million pixel behemoth was just beautiful, they allowed me to play with it, and the enjoyment is to hard to describe.  The autofocus is slow, but, oh, so sexy – like driving a car with a well engineered gear box, it just feels right.  In the UK, these are retailing at £10,500 – basically out of my price range (hmm, that insurance policy matures in March), but the guy at the stand told me they were trying to set up a 2 year interest free loan deal – which could make it very attractive indeed.  The final item to grab my interest was the Wacom 24HD Cintiq tablet.  Oh, yes, you can keep your sports cars and luxury yachts, just get me one of these babies!  And, at a snip under £2,000, its a purchase that may use up part of my bonus this year – along with a re-enforced bench to support it – the think weighs close to 70lbs or 30kg.

Speaking of weight, I may have to rename this blog soon, as I have started to go on a diet.  I had lost 10kg, since my return from Hong Kong, and basically I was back to my pre-Hong Kong weight; but, having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I need to make some changes.  So, week 1 of the diet I lost 7lbs, lets hope i can keep it up, theres another 42lbs to go!

Anyway its back to the baby photos this weekend.  Good to get back into the saddle.  The main target this year is to open a small studio.  More on progress to do this later in the year.  Just wish I could incorporate a fish tank full of beer!

06
Jan
12

Although, I am meant to be on holiday

I have had a very relaxing time in Thailand; although I have probably had too much alcohol than is good for me, but, hey! It’s a holiday.

Despite it being a vacation, I have managed to work on my sales forecasts and business plan for 2012, and even managed to fit in a baby photo sitting for a couple of friends, that resulted in a respectable sale. It’s making me think that I may be able to run a small photo studio in Phuket for the expat community here, and high end tourists. We can all have a pipe dream can’t we?

So, tomorrow, I head home, back to what I feel is going to be an exciting year of portrait and wedding photography.