The Power of Stability in Business with Annemie Tonken

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Are you wondering about how to achieve stability in business? Have you ever considered offering a membership program to your clients?

In this blog post, based on a podcast episode from The Unexpected Entrepreneur Podcast, we will explore the benefits and strategies of implementing a membership program in your photography business.

We will be drawing insights from guest expert Annemie Tonkin, a successful family photographer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has found tremendous success with her membership program.

Keep reading to learn all about the power of stability in business!

The Unexpected Epiphany

Annemie Tonkin, the host of the This Can’t Be That Hard podcast and a family photographer, stumbled upon the idea of a membership program during a challenging time in her life. After undergoing surgery and facing a four-month recovery period, she realized the need for stability in her income.

This experience led her to explore the concept of offering a membership to her clients, providing them with a convenient and consistent way to work with her.

KP and Jessie sit on a bed with podcast mics.
Image by WorkPlay Branding

The Benefits of a Membership Program

Annemie has found many benefits to running a membership program in this unique way – instead of the traditional educational-based membership, this one is unique and is offered to clients. Here are some of the benefits she’s found!

Income Stability: One of the most significant benefits of a membership program is the stability it brings to your income. You can rely on a steady revenue stream by offering a monthly payment option, even during slow seasons or unexpected circumstances. This stability provides peace of mind and financial security.

Client Retention: A membership program allows you to build long-term client relationships. By offering them the opportunity to work with you on a regular basis, you create a sense of loyalty and trust. This leads to repeat business and encourages clients to refer you to their friends and family.

Streamlined Workflow: With a membership program, you can streamline your workflow and reduce the time spent on marketing and onboarding new clients. Instead of constantly searching for new clients, you can focus on providing a consistent and exceptional experience for your existing members.

Annemie’s Membership Journey

Annemie launched her membership program in August 2019, and within the first year, she had 35 clients enrolled. The success of her program became even more apparent when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.

While many photographers struggled to find income during the lockdown, Annemie continued to receive payments from her membership clients. This stability allowed her to weather the storm and avoid financial hardship.

KP and Jessie chat intensely on a bed.
Image by WorkPlay Branding

Tips for Launching Your Membership Program

Interested in launching your own membership program? Here are Annemie’s tips!

Start Small: You don’t have to launch with many members. Begin by inviting a select group of clients you enjoy working with and trust. This allows you to test and refine your program before scaling up.

Use Recurring Billing Software: Automate the billing process using recurring billing software. This ensures a seamless and hassle-free experience for both you and your clients. Research a solution that fits your needs and integrates well with your existing systems.

Avoid Overpromising: Ensure that you set realistic expectations for your membership program. Deliver what you promise and avoid making commitments that may be unsustainable in the long run. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver.

Who Can Benefit from a Membership Program?

Offering a membership program can benefit any photographer, regardless of their niche. Whether you specialize in family portraits, weddings, or brand photography, a membership program can provide stability, consistent income, and a loyal client base.

KP and Jessie lay down with podcast mics.
Image by WorkPlay Branding

Will you launch a membership to achieve business stability?

Incorporating a membership program into your photography business can profoundly impact your income and client relationships. You create stability, loyalty, and growth by offering a convenient and consistent way for clients to work with you.

Take inspiration from Annemie Tonkin’s success story and consider implementing a membership program in your photography business. But remember to start small, automate billing, and set realistic expectations.

With dedication and strategic planning, you can create a thriving membership program that benefits both you and your clients.

Psst – are you ready to finally stand out in your industry? Click here to check out our services. We’d love to collaborate with you on a brand and website.

Keep up with Annemie:

Krystianna Pietrzak


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Krystianna Pietrzak

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