As artsy types, us photographers are generally not all that good with business. Most stumble along, take great photos, but can't seem to land any real work. It's that artsy frame of mind that we think is the problem, but in reality we get in our own ways.
This is not a long post about changing your life and becoming a top tier photographer. It's merely a few suggestions from experience about how you should think for bettering your chances at landing more photography jobs.
One of the first things most people think is that because they are artsy, they can't be a business type. This is completely wrong. We have an advantage in the business world, we are creative and artsy, because of this, we can approach business in a fresh and unconventional way. This can actually help you land more clients. So instead of trying to be a normal business person, embrace the fact that you do things different. There is no set in stone way to land a client, just do what you feel is best. Approach businesses as you would like to be approached and respect their time.
The biggest piece of advice I've ever learned in photography business, is that you are not just trying to get paid and land work. YOU have the most to offer. They may have money for hiring you, but you are a valuable asset because your work is something they simply cannot create and is better than the competitions. Your work may be a service, but it is also a product. If you think of it as a product this can help you since you realize that all business is a transaction to benefit both parties, and you have a product to offer the client.
Instead of thinking about how much money you could make, think about what you can do for them that no other photographer can. Do you have better lighting skills? Are your angles more creative than anyone they've used before? Is your winning personality going to land you the job since the last photographer had a bad attitude? We all have a lot to offer eachother. It's a relationship that we need to develop with clients!
The second most important thing I've learned is that work will rarely come to you, and just because you've setup a sweet website with great SEO, doesn't mean you will land a single job. As much as most people appreciate being able to hide behind e-mail and websites, we still live in a world where face to face business is what really matters. You have to get out there! You have to tell everyone you meet what you do, not in a showy way, just letting them know what you do and showing your passion. You'll be surprised how much business will start to come in if you start talking. Get out in the real world!
Experience takes time and sometimes it takes a lot of work just to land one job. Don't get discouraged! Make connections and you never know what will come knocking.