Biz Advice

How I’ve Pivoted My Business from Photographer to Online Business Educator

November 24, 2021

6 years ago, I started my business as a wedding photographer. In the last 2 years, I’ve pivoted my business into being an online educator. I’ve gotten a LOT of questions about how I did this, why I did this, and what brought it on… so today, I wanted to chat with you about how I pivoted my business. If you’re feeling the need to change things up, I hope this inspires you and makes you feel empowered to do so! 

how I pivoted my business from wedding photography to online business education

WHAT IS PIVOTING?

Pivoting is simply changing your business offerings. There’s so many things you can do if you decide what you’re doing now isn’t really your passion or what you want to do anymore. Pivoting is an option for you – just like hiring other people to do the work for you, selling your company, and so much more. For me, my business, and the goals I had, I knew I didn’t want to manage other associates and didn’t want to sell my business. So, pivoting made the most sense. I went from photographing weddings and have pivoted into education around content creation and video marketing. In the end, I knew my heart really lied in educating others so it felt like the best decision for me! 

WHY I PIVOTED

There’s a lot of reasons I decided to stop being a wedding photographer. The first thing was that I recognized that I was burnt out on shooting weddings. If I were to keep booking, I would have been doing a disservice to my clients. I cared too much about my couples to keep booking services for something that was burning me out or to just make money. In the long-term, I also knew that photographing weddings wasn’t going to be something I was going to do forever. Weddings are hard on your body, your time, and energy. I loved every minute of what I did and the couples I worked with – but I always knew I wouldn’t be photographing weddings until I was 50! 

THE STIGMA OF NOT SHOOTING WEDDINGS

I’ve had a lot of people question why I’m not shooting anymore. In the photography world, there actually seems to be a little bit of a stigma around leaving the shooting world. I hope that by sharing some of my story, we can break that stigma. I think it’s important to pivot and grow into what’s the best fit for you, your life, and your business. It’s so, so normal to change your mind and your dreams!! 

One of the other big reasons I began to pivot in my business is because I knew I wanted more flexibility than I would get with photographing weddings every weekend. Since I’m pregnant (!!) and we’re growing our family, I’m so glad that I’ll have a business that allows me to be home and work when I’m able to, instead of having to disappear multiple nights a week or over the weekends. 

HOW I MADE THE PIVOT  

The next thing I get a lot of questions about is HOW in the world I made this pivot. The most important thing when you pivot your business is to take it slow and steady. Avoid a sharp turn where no one has any idea what’s going on. My business pivot took about 2 years completely. It was better for my brand and my income to make this slow turn into what I want my business to be now. 

In the fall of 2019, around November I began to realize I was burning out after a super busy wedding season. It was about then I was ready to move into offering more education. At this point, I had systems and workflows in place that made managing my photography business easy. But I also knew pivoting meant in some ways, I’d be basically building a new business. It felt like it was a good time to start the pivot! So in January 2020, I stopped booking weddings. At that time, I was still getting a TON of inquiries (I actually still do!) so it felt super scary to turn them down. 

My Exact Strategy

Around this time, I came out with my first online course for photographers all about how to photograph details on a wedding day. I began to slowly release other products and then in November 2020, released what was my biggest course to date: The Business Confident Photographer. I was teaching what I knew. It was the easiest way to move into the education world. But, I knew that content creation and social media education were where I really wanted to wind up. So at the same time, I began to put a lot of energy into my YouTube channel, focusing on those topics. Once Instagram Reels were released in 2021, I began to really teach on those! Over the course of 2021, I also began to release my presets and this fall, I released my Instagram Reels Mini Course

A quick note: I thought I’d be done photographing weddings in 2020. But, because of the pandemic, a few weddings got pushed into 2021. So, I decided to offer branding photography during the course of 2020 since I still had my gear and had that “mode” of business still operating. It was SO fun and I really enjoyed all of my clients when I was photographing these sessions. After my weddings finished up, I was officially done with photography (as of August 2021). As you can see, things don’t always go as planned – but I felt good about how it all went! 

 By August 2021, my pivot from wedding photography to education was pretty much complete! While I was working through these offering changes, it was important that I worked on bringing my audience with me so they weren’t completely lost when I said “no more photography!”. 

Ready to pivot your business? 

If you’re ready to start pivoting your business, there’s a few things yo ucan do! Think about what your end goal is and where you are now in terms of your business (and your pivot). Determine all of the baby steps you need to get through to bring your dream to life. Additionally, I think that having a personal brand is one of the best things I could have done as a business owner. My audience follows me as a person and they love what I offer – no matter what it is – because they know me. But, I want you to realize and understand that you will lose people as you pivot your business. And that’s OKAY! As long as you know where you want to go, start making those changes. 

If you ever have any questions about pivoting as a business owner, please let me know! I’d love to chat with you and encourage you! 

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