What to do if your small business is making no money

Today I would like to introduce you to a woman named Tiffani who wrote an email that spoke straight to my heart. A woman who, like so many of us, feels discouraged and as if she is not good enough. She feels as though she has tried everything to help her business succeed, but nothing seems to be working. Her email showed a woman so honest, so open, so vulnerable, and so ready for change. I have to say a huge thank you to Tiffani for kindly allowing me to share her story with you today. This is the longest Chatty Tuesday episode we have ever had, but it is jam-packed with incredible value for all kinds of business owners, and I hope it brings up just as many reminders for you as it did for me.

“If you focus on scarcity, you will find scarcity. If you focus on abundance, you will find abundance.” – @alexbeadon

It’s funny, through doing these videos and answering your questions it’s as though I am answering my own problems, my own difficulties and my own questions. It’s so easy to see things when you’re standing outside looking in, but so difficult when you are the one actually living it. So for that, I thank you, brave Tiffani – I know with this go-getter attitude you are destined for success.

Don’t forget to leave a comment letting Tiffany know what YOUR advice for her is, what YOUR words of wisdom are, and any other loving, supportive comments. We would LOVE to hear from you! And also – let us know what you thought of this video!

Huge hugs
xoxo

PS Please do not mention Tiffani’s business name in the comment section, we DO NOT want Google to ever link this to her in case future clients may ever find this critique! Thanks for understanding!

67 thoughts on “What to do if your small business is making no money”

    1. Kristin,

      I am THRILLED that you enjoyed this video, and thank you so much for giving Tiffani the thanks and acknowledgment she deserves for really putting herself out there for all of us to learn and benefit!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      Big hugs!
      xoxo

  1. Unlike Tiffani, my area is FULL of fabulous photographers so trying to get my name and brand out there is taking some time! But your advice from this video really inspired me to stop and remember I still have great work to give, and to keep moving forward and wishing for the best! thanks alex!

    1. Hi Latonya!

      The voice inside of you that’s telling you that you DO have something to offer is 100% correct. Not only that, but what you have to offer is 100% different and unique to what any of the other fabulous photographers in your are are offering! There are people out there who are CRAVING what YOU have to offer! There is a huge gap in the market just waiting for you to come in and be seen, so keep investing in yourself and aiming for the highest level of success!

      I’m glad the advice in this video inspired you. You said you’d be wishing for the best – don’t wish. INTEND for the best 🙂

      Big hugs and love!
      xoxo

      PS I just checked out your site and you are incredibly talented, so excited for you!

    1. Melissa,

      You ROCK for offering this to Tiffany, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having someone as talented as you on board! Thanks for being so generous!

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  2. Hi Alex. Loved this! I learned so much. Its sometimes hard to hear the truth, but your thoughts and ideas were spot on for me and brought such clarity. I have been building a photography site http://www.bornbarefootstudios.com but didn’t really have a focus. I was just posting my great adventure shots (no kids, no people). I think its because I am not ready for offering my services yet so your video gave me mucho stuff to think about. Thank you for taking the time to talk about it. When I looked at the site you were showing in the video, I didn’t know why it wasn’t drawing me in, I just knew it wasn’t. Its amazing how the subtle changes you speak about can make the difference. My mind was mentally shutting down and going into “No buy” mode. I loved Tiffany’s About writing, but the difference between the two, tying Tiffany to the reader makes so much more sense. I have some work to do!! Thanks again.

    One quick question…I have a paid for website with BlueHost. I also have my own Facebook page and Mailchimp is my newsletter service for http://www.WorthHerWeight.com (not photography related). How do you get an email address that is your own? Right now its WorthHerWeight@cox.net. I am thinking you are saying it should be TarynPyle@WorthHerWeight.com right?

    1. Hi Taryn,

      I am so happy that you loved this video and that you learned so much! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment!

      It is hard to hear the truth, in the same way that it was very hard for me to tell the truth – I tried to do it in the nicest way possible and I knew that it was coming from a good, positive place because I want her (and everyone watching, including myself) to always be the best they can be and never “settle”.

      You are so right on the importance of focusing, especially when it comes to your online presence – because what you show people is what you will attract, and if the message is unclear, the clients will be unclear.

      You’re right – it’s not 100% clear what’s not drawing you in to her website, but it’s clear that whatever it is – it’s not drawing you in. I think now that she knows she needs to really focus on knowing who her target market is and what she offers, she can design her website with them in mind.

      Yes! In my opinion a professional should always have an email address that ends in their website! I have BlueHost too! What you need to do is sign into your bluehost account, find the email section, and then add a new email address for yourself! It’s pretty simple but if you run across any trouble, use their customer service team – they have an online team available to chat with you 24/7 and they are SO HELPFUL and will literally walk you through every step of the way! I have mine hooked up with gmail so that I sign in through gmail, but my email ends in @alexbeadon.com – I hope that helps!

      BIG HUGS!
      xoxo

  3. Alex you are awesome. This was brill. Loved the critique on Tiffani’s site. Really helpful questions for anyone with a website to ask themselves. (Holla when you are back in London! 🙂 ) x

    1. Jordanna!

      I am so happy you enjoyed the video, and happy that you saw the surprise of your website being featured – it’s just SO GORGEOUS, I had to include it 🙂 I will let you know when I am back in London for sure, right now it’s looking as though it may not be until April!

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment – comments make my day! 🙂

      BIG HUGS!
      xoxo <3

  4. This was great Alex! You have so many great points in this video! I’ve learned a few things I want to reconsider for my own website and brand! Thank you Tiffany for allowing Alex to critique your website!

    1. Hi Shawna,

      Thank you so much for your comment and for giving Tiffany the huge thanks she deserves! Putting yourself out there like that is never easy, so I really have to applaud her for being brave 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the video and learned a thing or two 🙂

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  5. Fantastic information! Thank you thank you thank you. I learned a lot for my own online presence and will definitely be careful about what I post.

  6. ALEX! Thank you so much for everything and for taking the time to really show me what I need to work on. I hope that my facebook page and that my BORING website can be great examples of what not to do and what to work on for others as well. Thank you all for posting love and your thoughts. I hope one day I can look back on this and laugh at myself “OMG, WHAT WAS I THINKING” kinda thing! I have already learned so much from this post and I truly am grateful that some one has given me the brutally honest truth and is able to show me love through it! THANKS AGAIN

    1. Tiffani,

      THANK YOU SO MUCH for allowing me to do answer your question so publicly. I am so happy that this has helped you and I really hope that it has inspired you to make a few small changes which I know will make a HUGE difference! I wanted to mention to you as well, that since your town is so small you should definitely not shy away from the bigger cities around you! I did some googling and I see that you are less than an hours away from three major cities! Keep them in mind when you’re choosing your target market! 🙂 I know that one day you will look back at this and smile, grateful to have come such a long way and knowing that you learned so many valuable lessons along the way!

      BIG HUGS!
      xoxo

  7. Hi Alex, again I can’t say how much I love Chatty Tuesdays. Even though Tiffani wrote in with her problem, it seems like most weeks you got the questions right from me. It’s amazing how as outsiders we think everyone else is doing great in their business, yet there are so many people struggling with the same things. You are such an inspiration and I love waking up Tuesday mornings and having coffee while watching your weekly videos! =]

    I was wondering, would you be able to give me some feed back on my website and Facebook like you did for Tiffani? Thanks so much! <3

    1. Hi Tina,

      It’s so funny you say that because I hear that very often! I think we are all going through similar struggles but for some reason we always tend to feel so alone in them! I hope this has given you some sort of reassurance that we’re all in this together.

      It makes me SO HAPPY that you look forward to these videos every Tuesday morning – you have no idea how much comments like yours inspire me to keep going!

      I have added your website to my list of people who are willing to be critiqued on Chatty Tuesday – thank you so much for putting yourself forward 🙂

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  8. Hi Alex!
    I love this video! It is my favorite! I would love to have you critique my website and brand to know what a professional thinks. Tiffani is so lucky to receive such great feedback and guidance from you. I learned a lot and will definitely be looking at what I need to change in my business.

    1. Hi Leslie,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment – I am thrilled that you are loving this video! If you are up for a critique I would be happy to put your website on a list of people who want to be critiqued next for a Chatty Tuesday episode. Just let me know! 🙂

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  9. Do you critique websites/blogs/Facebook pages? I would really love some critiquing on mine because I feel like my website and blog are not drawing clients in. Loved this Chatty Tuesday!

    1. Hi Cassie!

      I currently don’t do any “professional” critiquing but I will definitely be doing more of these kinds of episodes. If you would like to add your website to the list of those to be critiqued in the future definitely let me know! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment – so glad you enjoyed this Chatty Tuesday!

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  10. I am not a photog, but my goal is to make my blog a business. Your tips for growing a biz are wonderful…I get so much from them every time!

    Cheers, Alex.

    1. Meredith!

      Thank you so much for stopping by the blog, I’m THRILLED that you were able to take something away from the video to work on – that’s awesome! Big thanks to Tiffani for putting herself out there 🙂

      Hope all is well on your end!
      Big hugs
      xoxo

  11. Hi Alex, my first chatty Tuesday and I am hooked. I love that you’re so positive yet honest. Really fantastic!!

    I meet you at Kat’s workshop in Kings Cross.. I was the pregnant one!! I love your branding and am completely wowed at how dynamic you are. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Jessica!

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed this week’s Chatty Tuesday! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂 If you love it – sign up here for weekly updates, they are SO worth it! Plus I share tips there that I don’t share anywhere else 🙂

      http://alexbeadon.viprespond.com/newsletter

      And YES I REMEMBER YOU 🙂 haha. Of course! So excited to “see” you here on my very own blog 🙂 Love it!

      Big hugs!
      xoxo

    1. Hey Jamie,

      I know exactly what you mean – I think it’s comforting to know that we’ve all been there at one point or another!

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment!
      xoxo

  12. This was so insightful! The critique was great, such a helpful resource for other photogs (myself included). My site has come a long way from what it used to be, but of course the work is never really done! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Amanda,

      You are so right – the work is never done. Scary but exciting all at the same time when you come to that realisation, isn’t it? haha.

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed the critique and that it’s been able to help you in some way or another 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  13. This episode was amazing. I personally struggle with many of the same problems as Tiffany. I have upgraded my site and am currently working on branding and focusing my photography business. I am trying to work out a niche in a very saturated market without excluding to many potential clients. Tiffany keep working at it and you will see the results.

    http://Www.cyphergallery.com
    Pete

    1. Hi Pete,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m glad that you enjoyed the episode and I think we all struggle with Tiffani’s problems at one point or another, so it’s really a great reminder to us all!

      Keep working hard, Pete, and if you loved this video make sure to sign up for more amazing tips & hints: http://alexbeadon.viprespond.com/newsletter

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  14. Alex, Thanks for another great ChattyTuesday. I love your advice and enthusiasm! I am thinking about what you said about having photography be your passion. I am still working on your last chattytuesday video and implementing that into my business, yet I still feel the passion isn’t there. I am jealous of other photographers who say “photography is my life, my passion, everything I love!” I have never once thought that and so now I am thinking maybe this isn’t my line of work? I feel I am in too far to go back now and try something else. The reason I got into photography was because a friend was willing to teach me the ways of her photo business and I was dying to quit my desk job. I gave it a shot and its going well, but now I am losing the will to go on. I never had the passion there is the first place, is there a way to get it now?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Aubrey,

      Thank you so much for leaving such an honest and heartfelt comment!

      I’m a strong believe that the best thing you can do for yourself is follow your heart, and if you’re heart is not in photography – then I feel you should figure out what it is that you DO want to do and work on making that transition!

      What is it that you are truly passionate about? I’d love to know!

      Big hugs
      xoxo

  15. Hey Alex, GREAT video!!…i have to admit i have been following your videos and inputs for a while now, but i have been a little shy with comments or questions. This one really did it for me!!!:-) I feel really quite lucky to have learned things that i might have had to learn the “hard way” by myself and my own experience.

    That said, I’m really at the beginning stage of becoming a professional. I guess some people would call it the “portfolio-building-stage”. I haven’t charged anything so far and i feel, I can only do so successfully as soon as I have my branding and target market and all those good things figured out and in place, which i’m still working on. Nonetheless i felt it was important for me to start with a first blog and facebook page, to maybe even work some of these things out in the process of creating these pages. So I recently got in to that (literally, my facebook page isn’t even a week old:-)
    That brings me to my question (finally…haha!!):

    You were mentioning that you found a detail or object shot not suitable for a facebook profile picture if you are a portrait photographer. And as much as i understand and agree with your argumentation, i still thought that making a shot from a session a bit problematic as it singles one client out and gives his/her session an emphasis, that might make other clients feel unfairly treated (…if this makes sense?!?) and at the same time i was thinking that in that case it would be better to choose a “neutral” shot, that can still show your style or brand!
    Anyways just a thought i had…i’d love to hear your ideas on that, since this is really nothing i’m very sure about, just something that popped into my head…
    Sorry this turned out to be so long…
    here are the links to my pages…if you have the time check them out and let me know what you think….would be much appreciated! (but i won’t be mad if you dont get to it…:-)
    http://jilldrescherphotography.wordpress.com/
    http://www.facebook.com/jilldrescherphotography

    1. Hi Jill!

      YAY! I always love hearing from first time commenters 😉

      I’m so thrilled that this video really made a positive impact on you, and I hope it has inspired you to make great changes.

      Welcome to the world of photography, I think it’s great that you are in the beginning stages and really thinking everything through before diving into it full time – good for you! I’m excited for you because it’s such an amazing time for growth and development – and a strong foundation is so important!

      To answer your question, I believe that putting a photo from a session is a fantastic idea because it shows people what you can do. I don’t think it will make other clients feel unfairly treated, but if you feel it may be problematic for your customers you should definitely try putting a photo of YOURSELF there! This is what I do on my own Facebook page. I chose to put a picture of myself because I want people to know who is behind the camera. To me, that’s very important as the number one thing that makes my business different to all the others is the fact that I’m the creative mind behind it. I hope that makes sense 🙂

      The truth is that you can decide to do whatever you want with any aspect of your business! Just because something does or doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean that it will have the same effects for you and your business. Try, experiment, and see how it goes 😉

      If you would like I can add your pages to a list of potential candidates for a future web critique Chatty Tuesday episode. Let me know if this would be something you would be comfortable with!

      Oh – and if you LOVE this episode you should definitely sign up to receive weekly tips & hints from yours truly: http://alexbeadon.viprespond.com/newsletter

      BIG HUGS!
      xoxo

  16. Good luck to you Tiffani! Show that negative voice who’s boss!

    Alex~

    I am a first timer to your blog. La-la-LOVE it! I have been stuck in a rut both with the business side and my creative side. So bad that I’m considering throwing in the towel, waving the white flag, and moving on. I believe that some things are meant to be and happen for a reason. I was meant to stumble upon your blog today. It was the breathe of fresh air that I needed so bad. Thank you!

    1. Syl!

      Thanks so much for your comment to Tiffani! She is AMAZING for sharing with us like she did in this episode!

      And thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I’m thrilled that you are loving it and that you feel as though it came to you at the right time and place – I love fateful moments like that! 🙂

      Most of all thank you for taking the time to leave a comment letting me know how much you loved the post – it really helps to get feedback and yours is so appreciated!

      Big hugs and I hope to see you back next week 😉
      xoxo

  17. Great advice! It would be great if you’d give feedback on a ‘mid-level’ professional website as well, that is, someone who’s getting business but who feels they’re a little bit stuck.

  18. Hi Alex, I just wanted to say how much I LOVED today’s Chatty Tuesday and how much it has made me realize certain mistakes while attempting to be ‘professional.’ The main issue with me is my website, as I’m incredibly useless at HTML/CSS and web design. I tried using a few sites, and I really didn’t mind about the price tag at the end of the month, but I just couldn’t find a way to customize the site in the way in which I wanted it to look!

    I’ve asked a few people who are good at web design, and that never ended up happening, so I ended up going with something quite simple just for the time being, and paid a yearly fee for quite a good price, but it still isn’t a great website. I’ve looked at hiring someone over the internet to create exactly what I want for me, but for me I would like to meet up with the person, show them visually what I want and actually talk to them about what I want on the website and how I want it to look.

    This video was such an inspiration, and I completely agree about listen to the voice of love, which I have been doing for quite some time now, and things have looked up a lot from there. I always used to feel like I was being attacked if someone gave me criticism, but now I’m grateful for having someone there to tell me the truth and save me losing potential clients. I also agree with never giving up and always striving to be the best you can be, and also that everything you post online depicts your business!
    Thank you again so much <3 🙂

    1. Hi Laura!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for actually taking the time to leave a comment! It means more to me than you know!

      Have you tried Showit or ProPhotoBlogs, they have some great web solutions and both have amazing customer service available if you get stuck.

      Also, I tend to use Tweaky if I ever have any HTML/CSS problems, they’ve been great to work with.

      And if you’re looking for an excellent designer I can highly recommend Melissa Love – she rocks my socks.

      From your comment I can truly tell that you are on the right path. It is so refreshing to speak to people who actually get what I’m saying and the importance of positivity and listening to your intuition, most people just think it’s all made up. Keep up the amazingness, my friend!

      BIG HUGS!
      xoxo <3

  19. Wonderful Chatty Tuesday! I am so glad Tiffani asked this question. This video was extremely helpful… as all your videos are 🙂 Huge thanks to Tiffani for putting herself out there to help all us other photographers and huge thanks to you Alex for using her question for this week’s Chatty Tuesday. Oh and Tiffani, congrats on the gift from Alex!! Melissa Love is AMAZINGGGG!

  20. Wow I Love this Video!I’m a 1st to this page but for sure will be back! Thanks Alex for all the great tips!! I definitely can benefit from using your insightful tips coming from a clients perspective on how to improve my branding. Look forward to Tuesdays now…:)

  21. I LOVED this. I watched it on my lunch break at work! It definitely made me think really hard about where I was going with my photography and such! I am about to go through my facebook and get rid of all the negative and stuff like that (even though I do try not to say things on my business facebook) Thank you for posting this video, your videos have really been helping and encouraging me! Keep it up!

    Michaela
    Michaela Shanae Photography

  22. Tiffani, I have no advice to give (I’m struggling myself!), however, I want to wish you the best of luck! Congrats on this great opportunity to work with Melissa Love.

    Alex, as usual, this video was amazingly helpful and I’m already working out ideas in my head about what I need to change with my brand. Thank you.

  23. Alex- Very gracious and on point response. I think something that needs to be said in this age of digital photography and self-taught photographers is that just because someone LOVES taking pictures doesn’t mean they should open a business right away. This girl obviously has a passion for photography which is great but there needs to be a long period of learning before charging. Things like composition, color, design, exposure etc, these are basic things that MUST be mastered before opening a business. I get emails often about “How should I start…” and I always say LEARN. Volunteer your time for a succesful talented photographer. Take a class at a community college, work your way through a Scott Kelby book. You MUST learn the basics of design, color, editing and photography before jumping in to owning your own business. Passion is great and necessary but you need to pave the road under it with hard work and learning- they you can be succesful. Best of luck to this aspiring photographer- keep going, work hard, be humble to learn and you’ll get there! 🙂

  24. Hi Alex!!! My name is Chris and i´m from Brazil. I want to say that this was a great video!!! I´m learning a lot with you!
    I´m in same boat as tiffani but just like Latonya here said, my city have a lot of photographers and one in particular is considered one of the world’s best in wedding photography. I had classes with him and i’m finishing a course of a institute of photography of New York. Still i´m having the same problems of Tiffani!
    But your videos are helping me a lot!! Thank you!

    My advice to Tiffani is the same as you and Michelle here said, take a time to learn and invest in herself! Take courses, study, search in the internet, books. For me, we never fail. I believe that failure is just a learning experience. And finally believe it yourself. If you have your own confidence, others will trust you!!

    If you can, just check my site. Is all in portuguese but you can see the design and the photos.

    Thank you Alex!! You are awesome!!

    P.s.: Sorry for my poor english!! 🙂

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