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Photography Business Boundaries

August 16, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

Today I want to talk to you about photography business boundaries, and boundaries in general. In the 16+ years I have been running my photography business, the thing that has wreaked to most havoc for me and my company, has been difficulties with boundaries. And, I believe, that if you have problems setting and keeping strong boundaries in your business and in your life, then getting your boundaries established and strong will be the single best way to improve your photography business.

Why do I say that? Because boundaries effect everything. Boundaries are the limits you set on outside influences. Boundaries are your first line of defense against invaders, and boundaries are your protection from harm. As creatives, we photographers tend to have more permeable boundaries than other people. And this can really get us into trouble. Here are some examples.

Pricing – pricing is the boundary you set on what your photography business’s products and services cost. Do you ever find yourself discounting your pricing when someone tells you that they cannot afford you? Do you set your pricing so low that you can’t earn a decent living? Do you fail to stand behind your pricing as being fair and appropriate for the service that you provide? Then you have a pricing boundary problem in your photography business.

Hiring, Training and Managing – your employee policies are your boundary for human resources in your photography business. Do you ever find it difficult to confront an employee that is taking advantage of you and your generosity? Do you have a hard time firing employees that are not doing their job? Do you avoid discussing issues like tardiness, absenteeism and insubordination, hoping it will just go away, or take care of itself? If so, then you have an human resources boundary problem.

Accounting – your accounting practices are the boundaries you set on where the income is coming from and where the money is spent in your photography business. Do you jump every time you see a cute new little prop pop up in your inbox? Do you set income and expense goals for your business, but always find yourself breaking your own rules. Does your expense column outweigh your income column? Then you have a boundary problem with accounting in your photography business.

Marketing – your marketing plan is the system you put in place to keep your income high enough to stay in business. Marketing effectively and consistently, with discipline, is quite possibly the MOST important boundary you need working well in your photography business. Do you plan to make a certain number of calls or visit a certain number of potential clients each week, and then chicken out? Do you find every possible excuse for why you are unable to create enough time to follow through with your marketing plan? Do you bury yourself in “research” or “education” to avoid marketing? If you do any of these things… and I’m sure you can think of plenty other examples, then you have a really big boundary problem in your photography business. And this boundary problem is YOU. You are unable to set limits on yourself, and follow through on your promises to yourself. And this, my friend, will destroy your photography business.

Time Management – how you manage the time you spend in your business and the number of hours you work are the boundaries you set on time management in your photography business. Do you find yourself working so many hours that your kids have given up trying to even get your attention? Is your workflow disorganized or not followed? Do you convince yourself that spending hours each day on Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram etc. is the best use of your marketing time? Do you try to do everything in your business yourself, never delegating or outsourcing, and continually running yourself ragged? If you have any of these problems, you have time management boundary issues in your photography business.

There are many other places that you need boundaries in your photography business, but these are some of the biggies. I have had problems in all of these areas in my business at one time or another. Photography business boundaries, or my lack of thereof, has caused a lot of damage. And, I don’t want these challenges to cause damage to your photography business.

So, what can you do? Well, the truth is, boundary issues are not quickly or easily dealt with. If you have boundary problems, they are, to some extent, part of your personality. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements that will have a big impact. If any of the examples above ring true for you, you would be well served to find, and read a good book on boundaries. One of the best out there is “Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud.

But, if practically everything above rings true for you, then you are probably experiencing significant difficulties in operating your photography business. And, you need to get help right away! One, two or three of these can cripple your business, but if you are having a hard time with all of them (to some degree) it will literally suck the LIFE out of you and your company.

If you are in this place, you are probably feeling overwhelmed, and maybe even hopeless. But there is hope.

I am offering a FREE 30 minute photography business coaching session to anyone who needs help right now with boundary issues. I am in the process of writing a book for photographers to specifically tackle these issues, both in their photography business, and in their life. If you would like to receive your FREE 30 minute coaching session, and/or are interested in participating in research for the book, please call me @ 512-997-7429 to schedule your appointment. All participants will remain anonymous.

 

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The Loss Leader in Photography

July 31, 2015 in Business Tips, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Marketing Tips, Photography Tips, Photography Workflow by admin

Today I want to talk to you about using a loss leader in your photography business.

The portrait industry didn’t start out using loss leaders, but once corporate, multi location studios began popping up everywhere, the loss leader became the name of the game for portrait photography. I imagine most of you already know what a loss leader is, but for those of you who don’t, this is how it works. You run an ad. It’s a very attractive ad, because it offers a ridiculous number of portraits for a very small price. The photography ad draws in lots of business! You take lots of pictures. You even sell some. It works, right?

Well, let’s look a little deeper. It’s called a loss leader because is leads your customers into the studio… but at a loss. A loss, you say? Yes… you see, you can’t possibly stay in business offering portraits for less than they cost you to produce them. So, why would anybody do that? The supposed logic behind this strategy is that you will attract lots of buyers, and you will, but the only way for you to keep from losing your shirt in the process is for people to buy more than the deal. If they don’t, you will spend more money than you make, and that’s a terribly bad losing strategy for any business. You might as well be sitting on your butt watching tv rather than taking pictures at a loss. So why did the photography industry build it’s entire marketing model on this strategy? It sounds terrible, doesn’t it? The reason is that it works… at least it did for a long time. And, not only for photographers. The big box stores still use this strategy all the time. They advertise a few items at a big discount, knowing they will lose money, just to get you into the store. Why? Because, when you take the time to get your kids dressed and into the car, to drive all the way to Walmart in 100 degree heat (in Austin anyway), you sure as heck aren’t going to leave the store with just that one little item on sale. So yay for Walmart. It still works for them, and probably will continue to do so.

But the loss leader doesn’t work for photographers. It worked for the big chains at one point, but even they can’t use it much anymore. Why? I believe there are several reasons.

1. Digital has made it possible for people to scan their photographs and make more themselves. When Olan Mills gave you one 8×10, they expected you would buy more for friends and family… and you did. But, when your client can essentially steal your images from you, they have no incentive to buy more. Even some people who would never consider taking a piece of candy from a grocery store without paying, won’t think twice about copying and distributing your images without permission or compensation to you. That’s not a judgement about the morality of our clients… it’s just a fact about the way most of our society has come to view digital images.

2. One of the main reasons why the loss leader works for big chains is that they are BIG. They can spread out the risk. If 100 people buy their deal, and only 50 of them buy additional items, they are probably still going to come out ahead. But if you, as a photographer, only do 10 sessions each week, and half of them only take the deal, well, how can I say it… You’re Screwed!

3. Your work is custom. It takes a lot of time, energy, skill and creatively to produce a portrait. When Walmart’s client doesn’t buy an additional item, they might lose a dollar or two. But when you give something away for free, or, God forbid, at a loss, you lose $100’s or $1000’s of dollars. Why? Because you are one person, spending a lot of dedicated hours on that one client’s portraits, and you are not making any money. You also have an opportunity cost, because you cannot photograph another client or work on a paying client’s images during that time period. Walmart can spread out that labor, but even if you have an employee or two, your risk is extremely high.

4. Probably worst of all the loss leader is … well… deceptive. People are getting more and more marketing savvy. They can smell a rat. And they already know that the loss leader is a rat. They know you will want them to buy something else. Heck, they know you “need” them to buy something else. Even if they have no idea how much you really should be charging for your work, they know it’s more than what you are advertising. This sets up an adversarial position between you and your client, a psychological tug of war, and a very messy situation for both of you in the ordering appointment. Even if you get away with it and they do buy, you probably won’t get this client back in the future, and they sure won’t recommend you to their friends, because they won’t want done to their friend what you did to them. Ick!

So, is there ever a time to use a loss leader? Sure! I just used it a couple of months ago… and very successfully. But my goal wasn’t to make money or even produce a profit at all. My goal was to get images for my marketing, and FAST! So, what did I do? I gave it all away. I ran a Facebook ad for a FREE newborn session with 5 high res digital files. WHAT, you say? Kate!?!?!? How could you do that? I told you, I needed marketing images, and fast. I had just returned from an amazing class with Julia Kelleher at Texas School on newborn photography, where I learned a TON of new tricks for photographing newborns. And, I wanted to completely update all of my marketing and pricing with beautiful new images that reflected my heightened skill level. I also needed a test run for my workflow. How long was it going to take me to do a session with all these new props and wraps and such? How would I track everything with all the new steps I was putting in place? Would I need an assistant? I had lots of questions that needed answers, and photographing a gazillion babies in a short amount of time was going to answer a lot of questions and provide me with exactly what I needed. So I did it. I photographed 22 babies in  about a month and a half. I processed every image myself, presented every image myself, charged, tracked, culled, backed up, and posted to Facebook every image… myself. And I got exactly what I needed from that campaign. Did I make a lot of money? No! I had a lot of people take their 5 free images and go. But I also had a bunch who bought additional photographs, because I did a really, really good job for them. So, I said it was a loss leader, but as you can see, it really wasn’t. Because I was compensated in many important ways. And, I wasn’t being deceptive. I really meant it when I told them they were not required to buy anything and I wouldn’t be upset if they didn’t. Because I meant it. I knew I was getting something as valuable, if not more valuable, than the money. I set up a complete newborn studio system that creates repeatable, consistently beautiful images, that thrill my clients in less than two months, and I couldn’t have done that without using my Facebook “loss leader” ad. Will I ever do it again? Probably not. Everything I needed from that ad I got photographing those 22 gorgeous babies. And, my work got MUCH better because of it. So, now I’m worth more.

The loss leader does permanent damage to your brand. If you train your clients to expect a deal, they will expect a deal, every time. Be straight with people about why you charge what you charge, and don’t discount it. Can you run a special every now and then. Sure. But I would run specials that add value, rather than take away money. Then it is more like you are giving gifts. And most clients would rather receive a gift than a “gotcha” any day.

 

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Photography Business Goal Setting – Leave a Legacy

April 15, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business by admin

Photography Business Goal Setting – Leave a Legacy

One of the best exercises I have ever participated in was one I learned many years ago when I was voraciously reading every book I could find on personal development. I was running a photography business for another company at the time, and I really wanted to succeed. I wish I could remember which book I was reading, because I would recommend it to you, but sadly… no. Anyway, in this amazing book, that I can’t remember the name of, there was an exercise on how to leave a legacy. You see, one of the biggest differences between successful and unsuccessful people is how long term their thinking is. Unsuccessful people, and business owners, think very short term… they have a paycheck to paycheck type of thinking (or mentality). They don’t really plan for the future. They let life happen to them (and their businesses). If you asked them what their 12 month goals were, they would probably tell you that they don’t even have goals for this week. But successful people, and business owners, think long term. And the more successful they are, the more long-term their thinking is. One reason why running a photography business can be so overwhelming is, that as artists, we tend to get easily distracted. “Squirrel” or “shiny object syndrome” seems to dominate many photography business owners thoughts. But this is mainly because most photographers, especially those without much business experience, are thinking way too short term. The solution to this problem is to take a long term approach to your photography business… which brings me back to my favorite exercise… the question of how to leave a legacy.

The way that you do this is to stop for a few minutes. Turn off all distractions, and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Then picture your funeral. Picture your loved ones around your casket. And then … imaging what they are saying. What are they remembering about you and the mark you left on the world? Were you loved? Did you love? How did you contribute to your family, your community and your friends? What do they remember as your best qualities? What legacy did you leave?

Now open your eyes and ask yourself if you are on track to becoming the person that you want to be remembered as. Are you designing your photography business and your life so that you can leave a wonderful and inspiring legacy? We only have so much time on this earth to be, do and have all that we were put here for. If you aren’t the path that you want to be on… then now is your chance. You get to decide the legacy you want to leave. Design that legacy now… and get to work… while you still can.

One of the reasons why I have not been blogging as much, or video blogging, like I was in 2014, is that I to have been designing the legacy I want to leave. I have been soul-searching to make sure that my photography business, and my coaching businesses are aligned with my long term goals. I have been working on developing ideas for courses and group coaching, so that I can impact more people’s lives and businesses. Stay tuned. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to add new and exciting dimensions to the blog, that I hope will have a positive impact on you and your photography business.

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Photogenesis 2015

January 17, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Tips by admin

I am just now catching up from my trip to SanMarcos, Texas to attend and speak at Photogenesis 2015. 2014 was my year to start this blog, and begin connecting with photographers and photography entrepreneurs around the world. And now… 2015 is my year to start speaking. Photogenesis was a great place to get my feet wet, since they needed speakers for walkup workshops. I did my 2015 Success Roadmap class, and it was so fun! There were several other walkup workshops happening simultaneously at Photogenesis, so I didn’t have a ton of people. But that was ok with me ’cause I had more time to spend with each photographer personally. If you were able to attend Photogenesis and see my class, thanks for attending! It’s wonderful to have attentive excited photographers listening to grab a bit of inspiration. If you weren’t able to be there… never fear. While getting your 2015 plan done in January is always ideal… February is a great time to put new systems in place as well. And I am going to videotape my presentation from Photogenesis (obviously I won’t actually BE at Photogenesis, but it will be that presentation) and put it up here on my blog. Anyone who wasn’t able to attend will have the opportunity to get a plan into action for 2015, and if you were lucky enough to have joined me, and hundreds of other photographers, at Photogenesis 2015, then you can watch the video and get a refresher.

This video will be packed with the big picture for your business for the year. This is the best place to start from… what you want your business to be, do and stand for. And it will get down to the details of your strategies and tactics for creating your vision in the real world. It’s going to be exciting, so stay tuned.

Happy New Year everybody!

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Choose Your Stand to grow your photography business

December 31, 2014 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, Photography Entrepreneurship by admin

Today’s photography business tip is to choose your Stand. We have talked about creating your stand before, but I want to re-visit it today as we are on the precipice of a brand new year. Today we say goodbye to 2014, and we usher in 2015. Today is a great day to celebrate everything you have accomplished this year, and to ponder what is next for you… in your life and in your business. And that’s why I want to talk about choosing your Stand.

Millions of people will be making New Year’s Resolutions today and tomorrow. They will be creating grand promises… passionate goals for the upcoming year. And that is really cool! I love the idea of a fresh start, with a new year and new goals to get inspired. But I also believe that there is something far more powerful than any resolution or goal, and that is your Stand.

What is a Stand? It’s exactly what it sounds like… it’s what you stand for. It is who you are in the world, regardless of the role you are playing at the time. Your stand is timeless. It is Who you Are, not What You Do. It is not your career choice (photographer) or your goals (do a million dollars in sales), it is not your resolutions (lose 20 pounds). It is your Why. Why you exist in this world. What you exemplify with every particle of your being.

Getting clear on why you are here on this planet, and choosing a word that you can call upon to ignite your passion and inspire yourself and others is quite possibly THE most powerful thing that you can do for you, your clients, your family, and your business. When you can get clear on your Stand, people will rally around you to assist. People who are inspired by your why will be drawn to you. And people who don’t fit your why will start to fall away… leaving you surrounded by those who will add fuel to your passion and propel you toward your true purpose.

So why do I care about this so much right now? Well… because I have just recently realized that I have been disconnected from my why. I got caught up in the details, and I got sidetracked by trying to save something that I really needed to let go of. I was so busy stubbornly holding on to this thing that I thought was really important, and trying to get it to work, that I missed the fact that it simply wasn’t workable… and it never was going to be. When I looked up from my dogged pursuit of problem-solving, I realized that I had lost nearly everything that was important to me. I had let this thing do severe damage to my business, my family, my health, and my emotional well-being. And I had lost track of my stand… my purpose… my very being.

Maybe you feel a little like that too. Maybe there is something in your life that has been draining you of your energy and your passion, but you haven’t been willing to let it go. Or maybe, you just don’t feel lit up with passion about your life. Well… if that is so… Today is The Day! Today is the day for freedom and clarity. Today is the day to reconnect with who you are and what you stand for. Most of us were raised to think that much of what we are able to be, have or do in this world is limited. But it is not. We are unlimited beings, full of possibility, and able to choose who we want to be and what we want to create. So now is the time.

What do you stand for? Ask yourself this question, and think about what lights you up. What has always lit you up? If you could no longer be a photographer, what would still be there underneath “photographer” that is who you are… at your core? Find a word that lights you up.

For me that word is possibility. That is what I stand for. I stand for breaking through seeming impossibility myself, and assisting others to do the same for themselves. Whatever blocks seem to be in your way can be removed. They can be broken through. Your challenges can be overcome. And who I am is the person who will get you in touch with that belief, while, together, we clear away the fog that is obscuring your path.

The really cool thing about choosing a Stand is that it is who you are regardless of what you are doing. For example, above I explained how Possibility fits into my coaching practice. But what about when I am not coaching? What about when I am speaking, training or photographing clients? Because my Stand is not about What I am doing, it infuses everything I do. It inspires every action and gives me a strong foundation from which to make every decision and every choice. Remembering this is what eventually pulled me out of my recent situation. I thought that I was standing for possibility. But I was actually trying to force something, and force is the opposite of possibility. Force is a product of fear, and possibility is a product of love. I believed, while I was operating from fear, that I was doing everything I could to solve the problem. But I was actually perpetuating it by succumbing to fear and manipulation. When I was able to step back a bit and get in touch with my Stand of possibility, it became clear that the solution was to let it go. From my Stand of possibility, I am present, and I am clear. I am a better speaker, trainer, photographer and coach. Because I am focused on why I am doing what I do the What of what I do gets handled in the background. I am more connected to source energy, and best of all… I am free.

Having a clear Stand, or as some call it, Why,  can simplify everything in your business and your life. It can remove the distractions of the details that can become so overwhelming at times. Creating a marketing plan, setting up your chart of accounts, payroll, hiring and firing, all of the things that you need to handle in your business will become easier when you have an undercurrent of an amazing purpose for Why you do what you do. Your Stand is the rock on which to build your business foundation. So, if you haven’t already done so, create your Stand TODAY, and start 2015 with a strong foundation for success.

If you want to learn more about this, “Start with why” is an amazing book that can help you get even more clarity of purpose. I highly recommend the audio version, that you can carry with you on your phone to help remind you every day how to live from your Stand … or your Why.

Please share with me your Stand, so that I can support you in being who you have chosen to be in the world. Give me one word that speaks to you, and everyone around you, what you stand for and/or why you do what you do.

Happy New Year!!!

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Photography business tip – Speak to grow your business

November 1, 2014 in Business Tips, Fear, How to start a photography business, Photography Tips by admin

Today’s Photography business tip is to speak to grow your business.

This week I had the honor of speaking for the Digital Divas of Precision Camera here in Austin, and it reminded me of one of my favorite photography business tips… Public speaking. Public speaking has been shown in studies to be higher on the list of human fears than even death. So don’t be surprised if the idea of doing this sort of thing on a regular basis makes you break out into a cold sweat. But, if you really think about it, the fact that speaking to groups strikes fear into the hearts of most people , is really a business advantage…To You.  Since setting yourself apart from all of the other photographers is quite possibly the best way to grow your business, if you can learn to speak, then you will have a distinct advantage over them.

Ther are lots of opportunities and reasons to speak as a photography business owner. Here are some of my favorites.

Opportunities: PPA Guild Meetings, mother’s groups, event networking groups, photography enthusiasts groups, photography conventions,mand wedding and bridal planning events.

Reasons: networking, be seen as an expert, become known as someone who gives back, share ideas with other speakers and photographers, earn additional income, and many others.

This January I will begin teaching at Precision Camera. While this is a great way to position yourself as an expert, you don’t necessarily need to create a course or formal class to gain big from speaking. Just developing a twenty minute presentation to a mother’s group can be a great way to find new clients.

And, if speaking does scare you, you will get the added bonus of overcoming your fear…which can give you a great feeling of accomplishment…not a bad bonus!

My speaking experience this week was a ton of fun! What a fabulous group. These ladies sure know how to throw a party. And, it didn’t hurt that it was a Halloween party, and most everyone was dressed up. I can’t remember the last time I spoke in front of people when I wasnt nervous at all… Well maybe a tiny bit. But all those costumes kept me from having to picture the audience members in their underwear.

If you want to grow your photography business by speaking, you can start slow. Join a networking group and ask for five or ten minutes to tell the other members about what you do. The more you talk in front of groups, the easier it will be, and someday, like it has for me, it may even become fun!

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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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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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by admin

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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