heidi hope with balloons

Have you considered how much time you need to be profitable?

Let’s do some fun math today….shall we??

When business planning, one of the biggest factors that is overlooked is the investment of time in growing and maintaining a business.

Biggest frustration we hear from pretty much every photographer we talk to…?

Not enough time.

So that’s what we’re gonna talk about today.

What is the realistic amount of time that you should expect to spend on your business if you want to produce more than minimum wage?

Minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour or about $15K per year which would be considered an amateur photographer’s income

Professional wages of a photographer is averaging at $15.00 per hour (see statistics here) or $31K per year.

(Crazy numbers right??)

So since we are business owners, we don’t get to look at sales as income….so we have to do extra math to figure out how much we have to SELL to get those wages from our business.

Here’s some lovely numbers for you to cringe over:

Amateuer: $15K per year
$15K Taxes, CPA, Bookkeeping
$7,500 Cost of goods
$7,500 Overhead (equipment, internet, website, etc)
$1,500 Marketing
$2,500 savings (emergency funds)
$1,000 further education (creative/business)

Professional: $31K

$37,200 Taxes, bookkeeping, & CPA
$18,600 Cost of goods
$12,400 Overhead
$6200 Marketing
$6200 Savings
$6200 Education
$6200 Outsourcing

(When I said this was fun math, I lied. Sorry.)

What this means is that an amateur who is earning $500 average per client needs to be photographing 100 clients per year to meet their necessary income goals of minimum wage. That’s 2 sessions per week.

A professional photographer who is earning an average of $1500 per client needs to be photographing 82 clients per year… 1.5 sessions- 2 sessions per week.

Stay with me….okay?

If you are shooting 2 sessions per week that’s going to be an average of

  • 3 hours of client time (email communication, shooting, travel to session, phone time, etc.)
  • 2 hours of editing per session
  • 1 hour of uploading gallery online or 2 hours in-person sales session
  • 1-2 hours of product order & production

= minimum of 8 hours per client or 16 hours per week for both that are client focused.

That’s a part time job right there….and that’s only a fraction of what needs to be done to make the money, honey.

Then there’s the other part time job which is what actually brings in the clients = marketing (blogging, newsletters, networking, social media, etc), education, financial management, emails, bookkeeping, etc.

If you spent

  • 2 hours a week blogging
  • 1 hour a week doing your newsletter
  • 3 hours a week on social media strategic (30 minutes a day) marketing
  • 2 hours a week networking with local & online businesses
  • 3 hours a week of business education time (reading books, reading blogs, taking courses, workshops, etc)
  • 1 hour a week of bookkeeping

….you now have a full time 40 hour a week job. And those numbers are very limited numbers to be investing in the growth part of your business that keeps the 2 clients per week coming in.

If you are investing these hours with children at home in the background….double those hours it should take for every distraction and interruption.

We love our babies….but they are productivity killers when doing business whether you work from home or you are working in an office building. Children aren’t allowed to be in office spaces for a good reason…..bless their souls.

If you skimp on these hours….you’ll have 0 client sessions per week….but then you’ll also have more time on your hands. (Silver lining?!)

So all of this to say.

If you want to make minimum wage with your photography business. It takes TIME to make that income…..about 30-40 hours per week. If you try to do it with less than 20 hours….I promise you that you will not hit that minimum wage for earnings. 

If you want to make professional wages of $31K+, you’re also going to need time to make that income regardless if your prices are higher….actually, you may even need others time to make that income with outsourcing.

Is this doable?


If you’re ready to grow your business and invest in your career- than it’s crucial that you figure out your hours. Don’t move past go. Do not collect $200. Stop right here and figure this out.

If you’re not ready to give your business 30-40 hours a week….than readjust your earning expectations and client intake.

Do the math, figure out what you have to give- divide it equally between client’s and growth. If you have only 5 hours a week- than maybe only one session every other week is all you’ll be able to handle.

How much time do you really have?

Is the number of hours you want to invest in your business even possible? Or do you have even more time that you are currently spending on something of lesser importance? (5 hours a week of house-cleaning, which could be outsourced for $15 an hour, allowing you to spend 5 extra hours per week taking on an extra client maybe = more earnings?)

Go through a weekly calendar and block off time slots to get an idea of how much time you really have to give to your business.

Block off times in a week for:

  • Personal time (exercise, reading, talking on the phone, spending time with friends, etc.)
  • Family Time (dedicated time that is family or spouse focused)
  • Activities (work, church, sports, family, kids, etc.)
  • Client hours (shooting, sales, phone calls)
  • Business & admin hours (editing, blogging, writing, email, marketing, office work, etc.)
  • Education & growth
  • Appointments

*(Use colored pens or pencils if it helps you categorize your time better, so that you can see what categorizes into business, personal or household time.)

  • How many hours per week on average can you dedicate to your business?
  • How many hours per week do you realistically need?
  • How are you able to give your business more hours? (What must be sacrificed?)
  • How can you protect your household/family time, to keep business and extra activities from taking over?

Get clear on what it is that you can take on and give yourself grace for the season of life that you are in.

When the time is right to invest more hours- be wise with where you invest them.


(Click here to watch a replay of our free mini masterclass ‘The Top 10 Reasons Why Portrait Photography Businesses Fail’)


Heidi Hope’s 2016 Holiday Backdrops Coming Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day!!! 

Here are some important things that you need to know about tomorrow’s backdrop release.

#1- We’re having a 24 hour sale to kick off the Holiday 2016 backdrop release!


Use the coupon code 24HOUR when purchasing both the Frozen Forest & Rustic Pine backdrop to get the Rustic Pine drop free! 

The 24 hour sale begins at 10am EST (9am Central, 8am MST and 7am PST) and goes through 9am EST Saturday, August 13th.

#2- Backdrops are shipping September 2nd to all buyers!

#3- Just like always, each backdrop is only reproduced in 250 and these hand-painted reproduction designs will not be available again to purchase. If you are dying to get your hands on one- NOW is the time because they aren’t coming back and they will be selling our quickly!

#4- Full pricing and details are available right now- but cart doesn’t open until 10am tomorrow so pages will currently be showing SOLD OUT. Have no fear- they aren’t sold out yet!




OMG. The Rustic Pine giveaway that we announced on Tuesday was so much fun! We loved getting to see all the Pinterest Inspiration boards that were created to go with the Rustic Pine backdrop. You can go here to see all of the boards that were shared and create your own inspiration boards!

The winner is:


We’re dying over her board of Woodland Fairies and Lost Boy theme and we can’t WAIT to see how she pulls these off with her Rustic Pine backdrop. Run, don’t walk, to check out what she put together. We dare you not to swoon.

We also couldn’t resist giving away two runner ups our Mini Session Marketing & Management suite as a bonus giveaway!

Jocelyn Martinez pinned a rustic glam theme

And Connie Marleau pinned an amazing wardrobe selection


Congratulations ladies and thank you so much for playing with us!!! 

Lastly, this week’s Mini Masterclass will not be airing on Facebook Live. If you have purchased the mini masterclass subscription, you will receive this week’s class in your account on Thursday the 18th. This week’s Mini masterclass topic is on Discovering Your Business Viability. It will also be available for purchase in the shop next week!

See you tomorrow when the backdrop sale begins!!! Remember, 10am EST SHARP!





Here’s the secret to keeping your business plan on track.

Remember reading Little House on the Prairie books??

In one book, during a blizzard, Pa tied a thick rope to the house when he went outside to care for the animals, to ensure that he could find his way back in case the snow blinded him. It kept him anchored, so that even if he stumbled or was disoriented, it still would lead him home to what mattered.

A Purpose Statement is the rope that will always lead you back to your business purpose, no matter how deep the snow gets, or how blinded you become by the external storms.

This is not the same as a business plan. Having a business plan helps you with your long-term and short-term goals. Your goals can then be broken down into projects, tasks and daily operations.


It keeps it pointed in the direction you know that you want to be headed regardless of what you are doing. But most importantly, the Purpose Statement helps keep your heart and mind focused, and when you do derail (because it’s not a matter of IF it will happen, but WHEN) your Purpose Statement is there to remind you of why you’re doing this business.

Your Purpose Statement declares the heart and soul of why your business exists.

Remember, it doesn’t exist just to make money because money isn’t always the guaranteed result of every endeavor you will pursue with your business.

There will be other tasks, projects, and seasons that will not generate money, and you will need your Purpose Statement to remind you why you are doing those things, otherwise you will avoid them because of lack of financial gain, or you will feel defeated by them when they don’t produce what you expect that they should.

Don’t have a purpose statement for your business yet?? I’m going to share with you on how to craft a purpose statement for your business through knowing YOUR WHY.




You are more than just a photographer. 
You do more than just take pretty pictures
You do it for more than people who value art 
You do it for a deeper emotional need
You do it to change people….to help them fall in love with life and a little more in love with themselves. 

    • Class description | This 25 minute class covers why so very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. WHY does your business exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning to find people to serve when money isn’t coming in? And WHY should anyone care about what you have to offer? You may say WHAT you do, you may sometimes say HOW you do it, but it’s rarely said WHY you do WHAT you do to the people that you want to matter to. People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. 
    • Worksheets | How to craft and share your purpose statement. By asking questions instead of “What can I do to be more competitive in the marketplace” instead “Why did I start doing what I’m doing in the first place and what can I do to further bring my cause to life considering all that is already available in the marketplace.” These worksheets will help you communicate why you’re doing what you’re doing and guide you in how to share your purpose with your audience. 
  • Bonus videos and resources | Over a dozen of our favorite TedTalks and free video resources for further understanding your purpose and how to craft a statement that feels good.


  • This 30 minute video class has been pre-recorded on Facebook Live and is available to watch now. By purchasing this download, you will have lifetime access to it in your online account created at time of checkout. Included with the masterclass video is the bonus worksheet download as a PDF. 

  • CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: $9 through Wednesday, August 10th. Regular price $24.95 
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