A Review of My Worst Year in Business as a Photographer Business Coach (the lesson here might surprise you)

Why I wanted to review my business publicly

Oh heavens, where do I even start with this year? You know those times in life when you start a year with great intentions but business and life let you know who is really in charge? All your planning flips you on your head and makes you cry mercy

Well, that was what 2022 was like for me, my friends.

And because the social media business culture is full of sunshine, dollar signs $, and rainbows, I wanted to bring you a different perspective. Of a year in business that wasn’t record-breaking and didn’t leave me wanting to race to social media to humble brag about.

I wanted to be transparent with you to share my wins and woes in hopes to encourage those silently going through similar situations. Let’s break it down.

Behind the scenes of photography business coach

How it started (January – April)

The first four months of 2022 were incredible! My coaching services exploded (I sold out most of the year!). In April, I launched my new branding and website. It proved to be a massive success and a step in the right direction for Tografy.

When clients realized I did my own branding and website, I started to get more inquiries to create strategic sites for photographers. Honestly, I never saw myself becoming a web designer, but I’ll admit I love it! It scratches a creative itch that I don’t always get to with coaching and course creation.

Flash forward and I’ve built 6+ websites this year, and am already booking into 2023! 
But don’t get too excited. Designing websites for photographers has been the only portion of my business that was awesome this year.

Where it went off-course (May-September)

But then May came around and my husband was offered a job out of the blue that he couldn’t refuse. It signified a massive pivot for our family because for the last 3 years I have been working mostly full-time and my husband was taking a break from practicing law to spend more quality time with our four kiddos. (He’s an Intellectual Property Attorney!) 

So, with him pivoting back to work, I had to really assess what Tografy was going to do and how it was going to continue to function. Because it wasn’t as simple as “hustling” and making it work. I had to pivot back into managing our household, homeschooling our four kiddos, and continuing to keep Tografy alive for myself and my amazing clients that rely on me and support my husband in this new job.

That took a while; it didn’t come naturally. And quite honestly, there were lots of frustrating, hard, and difficult times. It takes a lot to run a business, be a coach, market, and find time to be there as a good mom.


There were multiple times I really wanted to give up and shut my business down.

Picking up some of the pieces, finally (October – December)

By the time fall rolled around, I knew something had to change. I had done enough soul-searching to know I wanted to keep Tografy alive, and also had taken some time to recap my finances and surprisingly came to realize that even though my year had derailed, Tografy had almost made (at this time I was off by about $10,000) just as much money in 2022 as in 2021 (one of my biggest years as a photographer business coach). This realization, along with the fact that I knew I wanted to keep Tografy going, led me to sit down and come up with my top 3 business focus points. 

  1. I wanted to take the rest of 2022 to focus on my current clients. I love them, and they are my #1 priority in business, always.
  2. I needed to refocus, build and serve my email list again. I have an automated sequence people go into when they sign up but no new emails were being sent out. A lot of people who completed that workflow hadn’t seen me in their inbox for months.
  3. I needed to build my SEO up again, which had tanked after the website launched in spring. I could see it in the waning sales, organic traffic, and sales each month.

That was my plan.

So, I took a step back and decided to take some of my own advice (a little late…but hey, I got there) and outsource. After Tografy’s 3 year existence, it was time my one-woman business grew beyond me.

I had finally gotten to the point in my business where I could no longer manage 100% of everything at the rate at which I was going and still maintain the quality of service I desired. 

Ironically this chorus isn’t new to me, almost 100% of my coaching clients are singing the same frustrations in their businesses, which is how they end up coming to me for help! Another reason why I wanted to write this raw blog post. So you know, not even your coaches are living perfect business lives.

My approach to outsourcing business tasks

My #1 focus point – my clients – was not, and will never be, something I am willing to outsource. That meant I needed to free up time with other things so that I could continue to serve my clients. This put extra pressure on solving my #2 and #3 priority.  

So, I hopped to it. I researched, interviewed, and finally came up with a team of people to HELP ME address my top 3 focus points. 

I found an amazing SEO Strategist and a Content Marketing Strategist. The SEO strategist helped me initially get my website back to ranking and see organic traffic again. (Thank you! She’s a genius!) Meanwhile, my Content Marketing Strategist takes my notes, products, courses, frameworks, and ideas and transforms them into strategies, blogs, graphics, and emails that serve my audience and bring highly necessary and untouched topics to photographers.

And the pressure pot I’ve been in all year?

It’s still there. I don’t even have a home office anymore! But we’re in a place where I can lean on my team when hard weeks come and I don’t feel like I’m going to end up crying on the bathroom floor. 

I can breathe again!

I’m finally in a CEO capacity and I feel the weight off my shoulders. My clients feel it in the way I show up for them again. And my pocketbook feels it in my ability to focus on created courses and templates photographer so desperately need to run their own businesses smoothly.

Photographer Business Coach Analytics

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My biggest business lesson this year – Grace

Needless to say, 2022 isn’t what I had anticipated. I didn’t achieve all of my goals, and it wasn’t the easiest year for my business or family. However, I’m proud of myself that I stuck with it, problem-solved, and rolled with the punches as they came. 

And I guess as we look into 2023, that’s the piece of advice I would love to pass on to you. 

You may not achieve everything in 2023 you wish to, and that’s totally okay. Learn the ability to give yourself grace.

What is important is that you continue to make progress toward your goals. And I think that’s where people get hung up at times. They set one goal and get so narrow-minded and focused that they lose sight of the global picture. 

✔️ What’s really important to you? 

✔️ What do you really want out of your business and life? 

✔️ And ultimately, how do you continue to solve your immediate problems and hurdles so you can spend the time doing the things that are the most important to YOU?

Kara Hubbard, Business Coach for Photographers, Hope Sign

Looking forward – what I’m excited about for 2023!

I’m glad 2022 is almost over. I am so excited looking into 2023 at this point, my exhaustion and frustrations of 2022 are in the past. I’m grateful to have systems and people in place to support me in continuing to build the business I want! 

That absolutely would not have been possible without outsourcing! 

Plus, There Are Even Bigger Changes Coming to Tografy…

Every year I give my photographer coaching clients these THREE PIECES of advice:

  1. Reevaluate your offers to make sure they align with your clients’ needs and your own goals
  2. Make certain your pricing structure is reflective of your offerings, experience, and goals
  3. Make a list of all of the tasks in your business and assess what you can and cannot automate and outsource

Well again, I decided to be smart and take my own advice.

So here are THREE CHANGES that are coming to Tografy in 2023, after evaluating my goals, my offers, and my outsourcing…

Change #1

I am now limiting my coaching clients to only taking on 10 a year. With my family demands, and my own desire to be more available while my kids are young, I need – want – to scale back.

  • There will be 5 spots available from January to June, and 5 spots available from June-November.
  • At this time there are only 2 spots remaining for the January 2023 start date.
  • If you’re interested in starting in January you can book a free consultation to see if we’re a good fit =)

Change #2

I will only be accepting 2 website builds each month. My web design service is a full concierge service. Not only am I designing, all of the image selection, but I’m doing the copywriting and my team is doing the SEO too. That takes time. So, to ensure I give my clients amazing results, 2 is my magic number. January 2023 is FULL.

Change #3

I’m picking the pen back up to continue to create and produce educational courses, digital content, templates, and free business education for photographers. I love creating but had to pause until I could get my head above water again. Now that I’m there, the itch to create more resources for photographers is back. In fact, I launched a new product today for photo editors

So, was 2022 the worst year in my business yet? Kind of, sort of. I totally didn’t meet my goals, but was 100% financially successful (and that is totally worth something in small business).

But I feel like I’m back! I made it through quite possibly the worst year since starting my business, not necessarily on top but definitely still there. And for those of you who met your own challenges, I hope you find the solutions and grace to make 2023 even better.

Cheers to a better business in 2023 friends!

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I’m Kara

I HELP photographers BUILD BUSINESSES THEY LOVE

Through my best-selling courses, thriving 1:1 tailored coaching experience, professional done-for-you business services, and powerful business templates, I inspire and empower photographers to take control of their businesses and realize that “Wow, I can do this!”

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Kara Hubbard, Business Coach for Photographers, Photographer Educator, Owner of Tografy, Ozo Coffee Branding

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MEET KARA

Kara Hubbard, Business Coach for Photographers, Photographer Educator, Owner of Tografy, Whole Foods Branding

hi there!

I’m Kara Hubbard

LET’S GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER

Through my best-selling courses, thriving 1:1 tailored coaching experience, professional done-for-you business services, and powerful business templates, I inspire and empower photographers to take control of their businesses and realize that “Wow, I can do this!”
 
I do this by teaching photographers how to run their businesses and not how I successfully ran my own. I firmly believe that with proper business education and tailored resources anyone can build a life and business they love through the incredible art of photography.

KARA

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