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Photography Business Tip – Set An Intention

October 10, 2014 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business by admin

Today’s tip is to set an intention.

Goals Vs Intentions:

I talk a lot about goal setting in my posts and videos. That’s because I believe setting goals is really important, but it’s not the most important thing. Goals are very business oriented. They can help you focus and visualize an outcome that can keep you operating profitably. That’s because goals are specific and measurable. They are all about time frames and dollar amounts. So, from a profit and loss perspective, goals are necessary. But, they are not always the best way to get the outcome you are striving for. Especially if you have a tendency to attack challenges head on.

Let me explain what I mean. Let’s say you have a goal for a $2000 sales average in your studio. Coming from this place can have some unintended outcomes. With this goal foremost in your mind, you might come on a little strong. You might end up being veiwed as pushy or aggressive. And this could serve to alienate your clients. The energy that you exude when attempting to “sell” someone is much different from the energy you put forth when you are, let’s say, building a friendship. In a friendship, your “goal” is not to sell them, it is to relate, to communicate, to share and to experience growth and meaning together.

This is where using an intention can come to the rescue. I’m not suggesting that you remove your goals. But if you can add an intention to your sales presentation, that super cedes any other goal that you might have, then you can add a human element, a relationship element, that will be much better for your overall outcome. For example, if you add the intention that your client be well served in the sale… that they are thrilled with the portraits they choose… and that they leave your studio feeling like they just made the best decision of their lives, with portraits they will treasure for a lifetime… don’t you think that you will act differently in that sale? When your focus shifts from what you want ($2000) to what they want (thrilled with purchase) you will be able to ask the right questions and assist them in choosing the best items for them. If you intend them to leave thrilled… then you have a much better chance of them doing so. As for that $2000 sale… believe it or not, you have a much better chance of obtaining it this way than you did pushing them into it. And a much better chance that they will tell their friends about how great you are.

Intentions can be life savers. Difficult conversations, when begun with a positive intention, will flow much more smoothly. When your focus stays off of getting things your way, and shifts to the health, happiness and benefits for the other person… Magic Happens!

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Join Professional Photography Organizations – Photography Business Tip

September 10, 2014 in Business Tips, How to start a photography business by admin

Even if you are brand new to the photography industry, you can greatly benefit from joining professional photography organizations. My husband Charles and myself are both members of Professional Photographers of America, Southwest Professional Photographer of America, Texas Professional Photographers of America and Austin Professional Photographers of America. And that doesn’t include memberships that we have held throughout the years with the National Association of Catering Executives, The Austin Chamber of Commerce, The Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The International Special Events Society and The Better Business Bureau. (Ok… that last one doesn’t really count. If you have been in business for any length of time you have probably already figured out that the Better Business Bureau is mostly just an organization that charges you to say that you are a member. There are not really any other real benefits to paying your dues. Don’t get me wrong… having an A+ rating with the BBB is a good thing to have, but when you first get into business, you usually don’t realize that you don’t need to pay the BBB membership dues to be listed with a rating. They have to rate the businesses fairly, and just because you aren’t a member doesn’t mean you don’t run a reputable business. I am proud of my A+ rating, but I no longer pay dues to the BBB) But I digress.

Being members of professional organizations, not just in photography, but in other areas of business like the chamber of commerce and networking groups, can really help build your business. Why? Because people don’t really trust easily these days. Marketing and advertising has many folks feeling leery. Most everyone has been burned at one time or another, and many of us don’t make decisions like choosing a photographer lightly. When you join an organization you get the opportunity to meet people and get to know them. You have a chance to build trust inside in a safe environment, where you aren’t trying to sell them anything. You get to know who people really are, and if they are the type of people that you want to do business with. Building relationships in these types of groups will help increase your referrals. Referrals from people who know, and like you are hugely powerful, and they will trump an ad or a social media post any day of the week.

As for the photographic organizations, well, you would think that you would never receive a referral from another photographer. But that simply isn’t true. Because photographers have their specialties, and because they want to take good care of their clients, if someone needs a photographer for a job they don’t feel comfortable with, it’s great to be the name on their lips. Building relationships with other photographers can be very rewarding, not just for referrals, but for many other reasons as well. Charles and I are both serving on the Austin Professional Photographers of America Board of Directors this year. The insights that you can gain from other pros are invaluable. And, the camaraderie can be especially powerful when times are tough. Serving on a board of directors in photography can open doors and opportunities for you, and it’s a great thing to put on your web site. Potential clients will view your serving on a photography board as a sign that you are a true professional. Plus it’s exciting to be a part of directing where your local photographic association is headed. I highly recommend it!

I know, as photography business owners, that we have a TON of things we have to handle on a daily basis. And, it may seem like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get out there and build relationships. But I promise you won’t be sorry if you do. Making money and running a business doing what you love is great, but you’ve got to remember to connect with people. At the end of the day, relationships are really what it’s all about.

 

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Overcoming FEAR

August 26, 2014 in Business Tips, Fear by admin

Today’s blog is on FEAR. Although I consider myself a relatively courageous person, from time to time fear steps in to remind me that I too am human, and vulnerable to that ever so powerful emotion of False Evidence Appearing Real. That happened this weekend while my family and I visited a new local water park… Hawaiian Falls in Pflugerville. In today’s video blog I tell my story of the fear that gripped me, and how I managed to overcome that fear… at least long enough to do what I needed to do.

In our business and in our life we are going to come up against fear. Maybe you are terrified of cold calling, or maybe you are afraid of meeting and talking with people you don’t know. Fear can crop up many places. But you can handle fear if you have a way to tame the thoughts in your mind, and calm the uproar in your body. If you have something to focus on that is bigger than you.

I call that something A Stand. A Stand is what you stand for in this life. It’s much bigger than a goal or an objective. It’s who you want to be for the world. My Stand is to make a difference for people. And, when I am faced with a giant fear, that’s what I draw on to move forward. I look around and see how what I am about to do is going to be a benefit to someone else, and I focus on that benefit, instead of what I am afraid of. Sometimes that fear can be like a wave that still comes rushing back in, but if you can calm your fears, even for a moment, that small moment can be enough to help you show up in the world as who you want to be. And that is the way that you get to be who you were meant to be, and how you get to help others along the way.

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Mindset

August 24, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

I talk about mindset a lot more than I think you would expect for a photography and business tips blog. Mindset doesn’t seem like a business tip, and certainly not a photography business tip, but mindset is really everything. I don’t care if you are doing everything else right… and I mean EVERYTHING else. You can have the perfect brand, the best products, the most gorgeous photography, the ultimate sales process and the most fabulous follow-up system imaginable in your photography business. But if you are working with the wrong mindset, then you are doomed. Your belief system, and your mindset effect how you do everything. They are what infuse your actions with passion and purpose, and that is what leads to effectiveness. Every day you need to be working on YOU. You are your business, and creating the right mindset at the beginning of your day will carry you farther than anything else that you can focus on in your photography business. I make sure that I start my day with exercise, fresh air, a big glass of cold clean water and a focus on the positive impact that I can make that day. I listen to CD’s or books that inspire me. I get myself into the right mindset to make a difference in the world, and that helps me to stand up against the things in life that try to knock me down.

I ran across this fantastic quote from Rocky today, and I thought I would share it with you. Reading this kind of thing to start off your day can really help protect you from the slings and arrows of life. Here’s to your success!

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And no pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!” 

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International Print Competition

August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

(If you came to the site within the last 24-48 hours and ran into issues, I apologize. The site was being migrated to a new server. The post from yesterday on International Print Competition may have been missing as well, as it was lost in the transition. Below is my re-creation of that post. It’s different, but includes the images and the critique, which were the most important elements.)

Entering International Print Competition is a fantastic way to quickly grow your photography skills and confidence level. This year I entered four images into IPC (International Print Competition). I am so excited to announce that I received a merit for each one, and my prints will be on display at Imaging USA in February. Being relatively new to International Print Competition myself (this is only my second time to enter), I am not surprised that none of my images got into the Loan Collection. But after listening to my image critiques, from PPA, I am hopeful that after another year of practice I may be able to “go loan” next year.

If you have never entered IPC before, or if you  have never purchased the critiques, you are in for a real treat. I have decided to upload one of mine so that you can hear what an IPC critique is like. Keep in mind that the whole purpose behind one of these is to make you better, so not all of the comments are going to be positive. But the information is extremely valuable, and I hope you learn as much as I did from it.

Enjoy!

 

Asleep At Last Baby MosesJust_Me_And_My_MonkeyLadies_In_Waiting

 

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Ghost Pepper Part One & Part Two

August 8, 2014 in Uncategorized by admin

The International Print Competition for 2014 is over… and what a week it was! I am totally excited to have received 4 for 4 merits for my prints (which I will upload for you next week). Woo Hoo!!! I hope you all entered IPC this year, or at least took at look at the live streaming for PPA members. For those of you who did, the pressure is finally off. There’s no more waiting, you now know how you did. Congratulations to those of you who did well. And… better luck next time if you weren’t happy with your results. You will grow immensely as a photographer, just by entering.

So today I offer a bit of comic relief. Introducing… Matthew and the Ghost Pepper!

OK… so it’s probably not a great idea to teach your kids to do stupid things… but in my defense… it wasn’t my idea either. We were all excited about trying a new restaurant here in Austin called Hopdoddys (it’s not new to Austin… just new to us). We’ve been experimenting with “going Paleo” and Hopdoddys appeared on a local blog for gluten-free and paleo friendly cuisine. When Matthew saw that the Ghost Pepper Burger was the daily special on Hopdoddys menu he simply couldn’t resist the temptation to try the “hottest pepper on earth”. As you have all probably figured out by now… I am a risk taker, so it should be no surprise that I am not what anyone would consider an overly protective parent. Even so… the ghost pepper seemed like it required at least a tiny bit of motherly protective nature. So here is my video test of Matthew’s ghost pepper sauce at Hopdoddys. It’s pretty funny, but the next video… of Matthew trying the ghost pepper… is about 1000 times more hilarious!

By the way… don’t worry… the four year old that you see on the screen is NOT the one who tried the ghost pepper. :-)

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International Print Competition

August 5, 2014 in Print Competition by admin

If you are a member of PPA and haven’t been watching International Print Competition, now is your chance. IPC is streaming LIVE 8:15 AM – 6 PM ET August 4-7, 2014.

It’s easy to watch:

  1. Go to stream.theipc.org on your *desktop device.
  2. Log in with your PPA account or complete the short registration.

Whether you entered International Print Competition or not, you will learn a TON watching it. There is no faster way to improve your photography than to understand what goes into a merit worthy image, and the live streaming for International Print Competition only happens once a year. You don’t want to miss it!

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Photography Business Tips Blog – Feedback Wanted!

August 1, 2014 in How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship by admin

Thank you everyone for being patient with me. I had intended to take one week off from video blogging in order to provide some time for reflection and planning to determine the direction of the blog from here on out. That one week turned into almost two, as a health issue I have recently been dealing with took over most of my time and energy the last two weeks. So… I apologize for being gone so long.

My blog’s new direction is still coming together, as much of my energy is still being directed toward resolving the migraines that have crept into my life the last three months. The problem isn’t that I can’t figure out what to do or how to do it… but that I have so many ideas, I am running into difficulty deciding which ones to do, and what to do first. (The fact that my head is constantly pounding isn’t making the decision-making process any easier). I even tried to create an update video yesterday, but the lights were so bright that I couldn’t concentrate well enough to put two sentences together.

Don’t worry… the blog is not going away. I will be back recording more videos as soon as I am able. And, in the meantime, I will write until I can stand the bright lights without  getting that piercing icepick feeling where I feel like I’m going to pass out.

A couple of decisions have been made. The first is that I will be doing less video blogging. It has come to my attention that daily posts are not the best way to provide value for you. So I will be doing only one or two videos per week instead of 5. This change should make it easier for you to tune in to each one of them, and not have you feeling guilty if you simply don’t have the time to watch 5 videos every week. We are all overloaded with information these days, and I don’t want to be part of the problem… I want to be part of the solution.

Secondly… I am going to continue to do some photography and business tips, but I am going to change things up a bit. Every other week there will be a tip. And on the following week I am considering creating a sort of reality show of my own businesses. What does that mean?… you ask. Well… I have studied many many people in both business and photography for more than 25 years now, in hopes of gleaning the information that could help me to excel in my own life and business. I have learned a ton of information from the books, classes, online courses and interactions I have had with these successful men and women. And… I realized that I don’t really read blogs very much myself… especially photography blogs. They pretty much bore me. Why? Because most of the ones I have seen either post “Rah Rah… look at how great I am” or offer information that is so technical that it would put an engineer to sleep.

So, I spent some time thinking about what I would want to read or watch on a blog about photography and business. I asked some coaching clients, and I talked to some friends. What I decided was that I would want to know what it’s really like for successful photographers to run their businesses. I know what they tell me it is like in their classes, but I would want to know how they really work with real clients and how they really do their marketing on a daily basis. I would want to know what they are thinking about the industry and where it’s heading. Now… maybe the reason I don’t see blogs like this is that it’s not good for business to be so completely transparent. Maybe it’s totally freaking SCARY to bare it all in such a public way. Actually, just thinking about doing this is kind of freaking me out. Maybe it’s just too much to expect that blogs tell us the truth… not just about the successes, but also about the failures. But, that is what I would want to see, and that’s what I am looking to create. I am going to tell you what we struggle with, and I am going to tell you what we are doing right now in our business to overcome challenges. I am going to give you real numbers… real sessions… real sales averages… real actions for today. NOT the photography business tips that served us 15 years ago, the stuff that we are doing TODAY. And I am going to share with you the results of our efforts. I am going to seek out successful photographers to interview to get the “up to date skinny” on what is really working RIGHT NOW!

What I haven’t yet decided is how the format is going to work. Will it be a membership site, like an exclusive tv channel for my coaching clients and followers? Will I charge for it? Maybe I could do the Creative Live type model, where it’s free for a limited period of time and then goes into an archived system for members. I don’t know yet. I haven’t worked out the details. And, I don’t know how much time and effort is going to needed to be put into it to set this whole thing up. So, before I do set this whole crazy thing up… I have a favor to ask. Please tell me what you think of my idea. Would you rather that I just continue to give you isolated tips on photography and business, or would you like more detailed information? What do you think of following me around via video camera in my own business? Is that just ridiculous, or do you LOVE  IT? If you have been in the photography business for any length of time you already know that it takes about 10 times longer to implement something than originally planned, so I don’t want to create a whole new format if it isn’t going to serve you. I want the process to be fulfilling for me, and I want it to be valuable for you. So… Please, Please, Please give me your opinions. Even if you’ve never left a comment before… please do so. Even if you think it’s a terrible idea… heck… especially if you think it’s a terrible idea. Because if I’m going to risk falling flat on my face in front of everyone, then I want it to at least be worth it. :-)

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Free Photography Business Coaching Sessions still available

July 18, 2014 in Business Tips, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

I still have a couple of free photography business coaching sessions left, but they are almost gone, so click on the mini coaching session button the right to register and claim yours today!

We will be taking next week off to implement on some things for the new blog direction. We are very excited about where we are going, and we hope it is going to be hugely transformative for your photography businesses as well.

If you came to see a photography or business tip, we have lots of previous blogs still posted that you can review by just scrolling down. :-)

If you registered to receive a coaching session, but didn’t receive the phone number to book your appointment, feel free to contact me at our studio @ 512-997-7429.

See you in about a week!

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Free Photography Business Coaching Sessions still available

July 17, 2014 in How to start a photography business, Photography Entrepreneurship by admin

We still have a few free photography business coaching sessions available. Just click on the pink button that says Mini Coaching Session to register. They are going fast, so don’t delay. If you missed the Free Action Planner, I am afraid that it is no longer available for free, and we haven’t figured out how that’s going to work just yet, but we will have it offered later for a nominal fee. So hang in there if you missed it.
If you came here today to get your daily photography business tip fix, and are disappointed by the fact that we are using our available energy resources to transform the blog, be assured, there are tons of videos on the site, and you probably haven’t seen them all. Just scroll down to see photography and business tips videos dating back to December 31st, 2013.
And finally… I want to say Thanks to everyone who has registered so far for their free mini coaching session. I am already getting great information that is going to help me improve the blog… which will ultimately improve your businesses as well. THANKS!

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