March 18, 2010

Think Before You Buy!

There are so many options out there for photographers - posing books, forms, templates, marketing kits, website add-ons, it's a huge market. Well, I didn't think before I purchased something and I'm now kicking myself. I picked-up an add-on to my website for just under $200 last year. It took me all year to figure out what I wanted to do with it, so because of my slowness I just had the supplier start the project a few weeks ago. I'm not going to go into all the details because it's not their fault I didn't pay attention, but I wasn't exactly sure what I was buying, didn't ask questions and guess what, I could have done it on my own!! I by no means am a web designer, but I did take web classes in college while working on my BFA, so I do have a clue and I've been playing a lot with coding lately while tweaking my SEO. I think I was just kidding myself in the whole process that I couldn't do it, even though I didn't know exactly what it was. So just a reminder to everyone to think about what you're buying before you buy it. Now, I'm not saying spend months on something and spin your wheels before you realize you can't do it. Then you're just wasting your time which is money.

Ask yourself the following questions before you hit the buy button. It makes me sick to know I spent money that I didn't have to, but it falls under the live and learn category!

• Is it something you can do, research or learn on your own (of course with help of the trusty internet!)? I didn't know exactly how to create this add-on, but after a little bit of research found all the answers on the internet, in less than a day.

• Do you have the time to do it? My sessions don't start up again for two more weeks, I could have been working on this in the winter.

• How much time can you spend on it? If you start out thinking it will take 2 hrs and it takes 40 hrs is it worth it to not spend the cash? That's your call depending on how much down time you really have and when you need it buy.

• Does your business really benefit from this product or service? Just because all the other photographers are buying it, doesn't mean you need to too. Will you learn something? Will it save you time later on in the year? Or do you just have a case of I want what the cool kids have.

• Do you have what you need to create it correctly? In my case I already purchased all the software and plugins that I needed. I emphasise the word correctly because in the case of logo design you should always have logos created as a piece of vector art then changed to jpeg or tiff format. A lot of people design logos in photoshop and when they need a vector file down the road, they don't have one and it may cost them time, money or both. If seen this happen a lot!

Just a reminder that you don't NEED everything out there, even though you may WANT it all. There are tons of fantastic products out there to save us time, save money and increase our client base, be sure to do your own research before you hit the buy button to make sure it's worth the cost to your business!