How To Set Business Goals As A Photographer

January 10, 2023

New Year, new you? Of course, we all want to start the year with intentions for growth and alignment in our business. But how do we actually make it stick? I know I’m not the only one who has set resolutions that didn’t last past January, right!? That doesn’t mean lose all hope though. I’m […]

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New Year, new you? Of course, we all want to start the year with intentions for growth and alignment in our business. But how do we actually make it stick? I know I’m not the only one who has set resolutions that didn’t last past January, right!? That doesn’t mean lose all hope though. I’m going to walk you through how to set business goals that you actually stick to and feel right.  

How to set goals as a photographer | Jillian Goulding Photography

Review the previous year & the growth that happened.

It’s so important to reflect on the past. There are a bunch of things we can learn from things we went through, good and bad. This is also a great way to figure out what kind of goals you want to set if you’re stumped. Did you reach a new income goal that you want to double? Did you have more photo sessions and now you want to improve the experience? 

What kinds of things happened that helped you grow in life and business? What struggles did you go through that stuck with you? Oftentimes when we go through struggles, we naturally try to forget and move on. But more often than not, those are the things that shape us. As much as we want to keep personal and business separate, they go hand in hand. We are humans running a business for other humans. Those human experiences are what people relate to and what adds to our story. 

Related: Click here to listen to my podcast episode with Jesse Salter, “How Failures, Struggles, And Hard Work Can Mean Success” on Fill Your Frame Podcast. 

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude is the thing that propels us forward. When you appreciate the things you already have, the universe rewards you with more goodness. Let’s call it good karma? A good practice is starting every day by writing down things you’re grateful for. Try the 5-minute journal app for an easy way to make that consistent! 

Don’t know where to start in your goal planning? 

Decide on categories! It may be easier to break down your goals into different pillars of your life and business. Try taking it even a step further! Once you decide on your goals, work backward to create smaller, easily achievable action steps. This is helpful to make each goal feel more tangible. 

Here are some ideas for business pillars to start with: 

  • Personal development: This goes hand and hand with business and how things run!
  • Professional skills: Maybe you want to master manual mode, or refine your skills in Photoshop.
  • Relational: Are you trying to network in the industry or maybe offer a next-level client experience? 
  • Strategic: Is it time to work out a launch strategy?
  • Operational: Do you want to implement new tech into your business like a CRM? 

Tips for goal setting:

Now, let’s get to the fun part, how to set goals for your business. This part is so important in making sure you stick to your goals throughout the year- the how in how to set your goals. We want these goals to be big, and exciting, but tackle them in a really achievable way.! 

Make your goals unrealistic.

Yep, you read that right. We’re done playing it small. If you want to see big growth this year and at any time in your business, the first step is owning that! If you could wave a magic wand and make your dream business come true, what would it look like? Will you reach every one of these huge goals? Maybe not. But by shooting for the stars, you’ll either surprise yourself by making it farther than you expected or heck, you could make it to the stars! Don’t sell yourself short when setting these goals. Make those goals unrealistic

Weave your goals into your lifestyle.

This is the key to your goals making it past January! We can’t expect to throw a new routine in our lives and for it to just *magically work*. We know this. So, why do we still do it? Instead, after breaking your goal into smaller, manageable steps, figure out how you can fit each of those steps into your daily routine. Make one small change every day that works towards your goal. If you remember one tip for how to set goals in your business, make it this! 

Related: Read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear for more on this “habit stacking” method! 

Become your ideal self.

Take a moment to visualize the version of you that already accomplished these goals. It’s December 31, 2023, and you met each and every one of these goals. How does that feel? Really feel that feeling inside you right now. What is that version of you doing every day? What kind of habits do they have? Where are they spending their time, energy, and money? Let’s make those feelings more familiar and embody that version of you every day. 

Say goodbye to the comparison game.

Imposter Syndrome is a thing of the past… I wish. Unfortunately, you’ll probably always go through phases of imposter syndrome and comparison spells. Even the most accomplished business owners do. But, work on becoming more aware of those mindsets and shift the narrative when you can. 

Find an accountability partner.

Sometimes we need a little extra encouragement to keep going if we lose track of our goals or fall off a bit. Make it your partner, your best friend, or a business bestie- someone who loves you and wants to also see you succeed. Much like a workout buddy or playdate mom, this can be such a fun way to stay on track and reach your goals together. 

This is one of my favorite things about my group courses. In every course I offer, I included a private Facebook group where the women share their wins, struggles, issues that come up in business, questions they have, and sometimes that mom vent that we all just need sometimes. Being a part of a like-minded group with similar goals is a great way to get that accountability I’m talking about. 

Click here to view which of the mentoring options works best for you! 

Go with grace.

Above all, allow yourself grace. The absolute best way to not reach your goals is to put too much pressure on yourself. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and proactively fall into burnout. So, remember to be patient with yourself. There is no timeline but your own, and no competition but yourself. How refreshing! You know how sometimes we start the year with resolutions and by the time March rolls around, we’re in the same spot we were a year ago? We are saying goodbye to those broken commitments and calling in our year of success and abundance. If that means we need to take a step back and refocus a few times throughout the year, that’s okay too! 

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I’m Jillian Goulding, a photographer and educator raising babies and building my life in Sacramento, CA.

Over the years, I’ve transformed my side hustle into a thriving photography business that has taken me and my camera to the beaches of San Francisco Bay, the pages of People Magazine, and the screens of Extra TV.

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