Is selling-yourself-short a good business strategy? I decided to try this taboo concept and here are the pros and cons I experienced firsthand. I work in the media on a freelance basis and once had a thriving business doing wedding photography on the week-ends. This week-end gig is my supplemental income that I use to pay 25% of my living expenses with the lion’s share going towards savings.
When the economy went south there was a sharp decline in business from packed weekends to just a few engagements a month. My extra income all but fizzled. The recession has devastated most people and hiring a professional wedding photographer is seen as a luxury most are willing to do without. I had to rethink the way I did business if I wanted to reclaim my extra income from the fires of financial ruin.
This is what I did.
After reviewing my wedding packages I slashed prices by 50%. The rationale is to have the steady influx of work compensate for lost income due to drop in bookings.
I gave up my rent lease for the business, retain my assistant on a freelance basis (tough choice) and converted an adjoining part of my house into a photo studio.
I found a reputable website company and made a site for my business.
Located a great place where they print photos for cheap and still do good work.
Advertise in the local papers offering “wedding specials”
Give clients the option of making their own packages.
When contacted by potential clients I would follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
I learned how to convert potential clients into paying customers.
No longer having a business rent to pay saved a ton of cash.
Having a website means your store is open 24/7 and at a subscription cost of a few hundred dollars yearly.
Clearly rent in cyber-space is far more economical than rent for a brick and mortar place.
More confirmed bookings with little convincing.
The down side is that I have to work longer and harder to reach the financial target.
Plus there is the extra wear and tear on my equipment.
Sometimes freelancers are unreliable and can leave you in a jam.
I once had a friend say to me that underselling can do harm to my business after the recession’s over, since it would be difficult to raise my prices to what it was before. Maybe, but what I know is that to weather this brutal economic storm, a very useful skill to have is the ability to be flexible. I am able to save again and that is proof-enough for me that underselling your services can be beneficial when it is absolutely necessary.