First 2 Years: The Truth
I was on Facebook and Twitter over the last few days and I keep seeing posts coming up like, really? Sue Bryce again? (laughter) You know (chuckling)? And then somebody said last night, "It seems like CreativeLive have just turned it "into the Sue Bryce show," and I kind of have a little bit of a laugh about that, because I kind of think, this is my fifth CreativeLive, and if it's the last one I do, then this is the anniversary of one year from my first CreativeLive. So, what a journey for me, for starters, and, you know what? This is the Sue Bryce show (laughter). And I'm not talking about CreativeLive. This is the Sue Bryce show. So, welcome to the Sue Bryce Show! (laughter) I'm gonna embrace that. I thought, I'm not gonna get offended by that. I'm gonna embrace it. What I've done is, I was watching Tim Ferriss on CreativeLive, and Tim Ferriss in the first 10 minutes said, "It's the questions you ask. "You just gotta ask the right questions." Right? No matter what you do, ask the rig...
ht questions. And the right questions are, who is leading in their field? So, if you look around you and you're in a field, and you say, who's leading in my field? Okay? Then you go to that person, or before you do, you say, who is leading in my field that shouldn't be, and why? Why are they leading in their field? Why am I a leader in my field? Right? That's what you have to ask me. Why is she a leader in her field? Then he said you can go to that person and say, if you were to teach me how to be you in 28 days, what would that look like? And if there was a million dollars riding on it. A million dollars. Like, could you teach me how to be you in 28 days? And when I watched that, I just went, ding, ding! And I went to my computer and about six years ago, seven years ago, so 2013, 2007, six years ago, I wrote this business presentation and it was still saved on my computer. And I trained my two photographers in my second year in business in 28 days. Right? In 28 days, one of those photographers who wasn't a photographer when she started. She was a graphic designer. Had never touched a digital camera. Made 42,000 dollars in my studio. Now, we were already established in the studio and marketing. Yes, we were bringing her the work. Right? But I watched her go from zero to sales in 28 days, and I tracked it down to the last dollar. Four of those sales were 7,000 dollars apiece. So, it occurred to me the 28 days, the four weeks thing, was really significant. And it also occurred to me that I've been coaching you through the last year on CreativeLive. I don't do private workshops, as you know. I don't do one on ones. I shoot and I do CreativeLive every two months. And I thought if I could wrap up this year, then I really need to give you that 28 days. So, last CreativeLive, I sat on the couch at the end and I said, "I challenge you to be better than me." Okay? Now, all I'm seeing when I look in the private groups on my Facebook, on the 300 emails I get every day of you sending me work, all I'm seeing is the same mistakes over and over again. So today, I'm going to strip them right away from you. All those mistakes. And last night, I had a conversation with the students that came to my first CreativeLive. They're here. And we're gonna look this afternoon at their businesses after one year. But as we were talking, I was talking and one of the girls started to tell me about their, you know, crash down, hit rock bottom, climb back up again. Now, I'm a champion at that, 'cause I've hit rock bottom a couple of times, if not three or four. I've learned every time and then I've climbed back up my mountain, you know, dragging my way, knuckles beating all the way. But it occurred to me when I turned to her and I said, "Your whole drag yourself back up thing "is noble and I admire it, and it inspires me, "but I don't really care." Lovely. We've all had trials. Guess what? Life is real. You could get hit tomorrow and you don't even know. A family member could be taken from you, a loved one. You do not know what comes to you in this lifetime. And trust me, every person sitting here has a story. I have a great one. I don't need to tell it to you. I have dragged myself through the mud a million times, but I will say one thing. What interests me is not that you climbed up. What interests me is, what did you do wrong? Like, how did you screw that up? That's what I want to know. Because, do you know why I want to know why you screwed it up? I want to know so I don't screw it up! (laughter) And it just occurred to me that all my career, I've wanted two things. I mean, sing praises. You know? Lift up high, all the rest of it, you can do this, rah! Bullshit! It's hard. Everybody knows it's hard. So what I want to know is, why are you screwing it up? Why are you getting in your own way? And so I wrote this to, these next two days are about eliminating every single hurdle in front of you. And you're gonna meet them, you're gonna go, oh, I know that one 'cause that's already in my life. Some you won't know. Some you won't care about. And then, I'm going to give you a map for 28 days to challenge yourself to master my craft. Okay? So, all you have to do then is practice it and get out of your own way. It's that simple. I'm just not interested in the stand up, the stand up and climb that mountain. It doesn't teach me anything to hear you say you overcame something. I haven't overcome something. I'm sitting here today, listening to you, going, okay, well, that's wonderful that you've overcome something, but right now I just need to be told how you screwed it up to get down there in the first place, 'cause that's probably the truth of where I'm at. Right? So, I thought long and hard about how I can teach that to you, and that I know really well. I hear a lot of people say, let's talk about fear. And then they talk about fear and they go, and we're gonna address it! And then they come to address it, and what's the, everybody comes with, just do it? Well, thanks. Nike have been telling us that for ages. Doesn't make me run a marathon. You know? I buy the shoes. It's written on the side of (laughter), it's written on the back of my pants. (laughter) And you know, it just doesn't work. You know? Just do it doesn't work. So, I'm gonna teach you a whole lot of other skills that are way, way better than just do it. So, obviously, I am Australian Portrait Photographer of the Year. I'm a New Zealander. I've been living in Australia for the last four years. Winning this was the greatest honor for me because, to me, the Australian National Awards is one of the greatest in the world. That body of photographers is one of the finest, and to actually compete on that level and be recognized in my field was one of the greatest honors for me. Now, as you can see when you look at my work, I'm very good at what I do now. I have mastered my craft. I enjoy it. I love it still after 23 years. It still drives me and fills me with passion. You'll laugh that in some of the videos that I'm shooting live and they're filming me, you'll hear my voice shake and I start talking rapidly because I'm enjoying it so much. I was born with this gift. You know? Like, I was shooting since I was nine years old and it's just my natural eye. (scoffs) Really? No? (laughter) Okay, no. It goes like this. Here's the truth. You want to know the truth? I'll show you the truth. I'll show you so much truth right now that it will shock you. I read a book called Mastery by Robert Greene. He's also written The Art of Seduction and The 48 Laws of Power. He also wrote the 50th Law, which, by the way, is about 50 Cent. Okay? He met 50 Cent. 50 called him up and was like, "Come and hang in my crib (laughter)". And Robert Greene was like, sure. Well, that's freaky. And he went and actually toured with him for six months and wrote a book about him, because did you know, 50 Cent started from nothing and he climbed that mountain. Right? He climbed it, and so he understood The Laws of Power. Now, I am fascinated by anything metaphysical. I'm fascinated by any mind power, any overcoming my own self. That fascinates me, right? So I'm gonna read anything like that. Mastery by Robert Greene is an incredible book, and one of the things he wrote in it was this. All masters in their craft have one common denominator. Do you know what that is? They're very emotional people. 'Cause in order to master something, you have to do it every day. In order to do something every day, you have to love it. Okay? So, you can talk about passion until the cows come home and all that sort of stuff, but the truth is is when you love something so much you do it every day. So if you don't like what you're doing in your business right now, you need to change it to something you love. Once you love it, you do it every day. Once you practice it every day, you master it. Once you master it, you live and breathe it and every cell in my body believes in glamor photography. Even when it was out of fashion, you could not have stopped me. There isn't a cell in my body that doesn't believe that. It still makes me tremble now. That's why I still do it now. If you love something, you will keep doing it! Like, I can't tell you how strong that is in me and that every cell believes that. That's why I mastered that. I'm a black belt in karate. I did karate for six and a half years. I broke 16 bones. I'm a black belt, and I went every day for six and a half years. Every day. Even with broken bones I trained. You could not stop me. I loved it that much. I just loved it! I didn't have to. I'm not one of those incredibly, incredibly structured, motivated people. I mean, if I was, I wouldn't eat so much. (laughter) Or drink so much (laughter). This is not a gift that my personality where it's all, oh, Sue's so lucky! She's one of those people that can just focus on something. Hell no! You couldn't get me to. I remember one day I was at work and I photographed this hot guy, like, so gorgeous I could barely talk or look at him 'cause he was just so gorgeous, and at the end of the shoot he asked me out on a date, and I was like, he said, well, what are you doing after work? What are you doing tonight? And I was like, I'm going to karate! (laughter) And he went, oh. And then I went, oh my God (laughter)! And I walked off, and I remembered thinking, I'm going to karate! You know? And then I thought, well, hang on. Karate was more important than hot guy at the time, and I would have loved to have gone out with hot guy and I probably blew it, but the truth is, is at the end of the day, it was training night and I was doing a three hour endurance training and that's all I cared about. So, when you love something, you do it. So if you don't do something every day, you don't love it. Let go of it! You know? Let go of it. You don't love it, so let go of it. When it came to building my own business, you all have this really great idea that I was working for 10 years before I built my business, so you all think I walked into my business with this amazing folio. 'Cause I remember even saying in my first CreativeLive, I was so lucky. I got to build an incredible folio. And when I actually heard that back, I thought to myself, hm. I don't remember feeling that incredible when I built my business. So, I revisited my work from back then and I brought a hundred images to show you the truth of where I was and how incredible I was, wasn't. (laughter) All right? And this is so cool, 'cause you actually get to see the reality of starting a glamor brand. Because I'm look at all of your work going, hm, oh, that's on the nose. Ooh. Oh! Ooh! And I'm looking through your work and then I look through mine and I was like, (gasps) (laughter) And I built a business in my shabby little garage in Caracas. So, talk about small town. Small town, awesome. Big town, hard. Big city, real hard. Okay? Because we have something in small towns that other people don't have, and do you know what that is? We like to talk to each other. Big cities, not so much. Can you imagine me being in New York? Like, oh, love your shoes! Hi! Oh, you should come in for a photo shoot (laughter)! And I was kind of, think about. Small town. For me, it was all about small town. And for me, small town is about community and you know, I like this and I like this, so yeah, you're right. You need to glam up Minnesota and you need to glam up, where else are we gonna make really beautiful over there? (audience member murmurs) Oh yeah. Okay, they need beauty. Everybody needs beauty. (laughter) So, when I moved to Australia, everyone was like, you're moving your business to Australia and nobody knows you! And I was like, yep. And they're like, that is impossible! And I said, why? And they're like, there's 22 million people there. How are you gonna stand out? And I was like, well, if there's 22 million people, that means 11 million of them are women that need to be photographed by me. All right? That's my demographic. You're a girl, you're my business. So, there I was in my little rural town, building my business. Yep, there I was. My little garage. My blue carpet. Very blue. All right? My side of the road make up table. Pulled it off the side of the road, painted it white. The make up chair was a gift. The make up chair didn't even go up and down. The hair chair was a gift. The couch was vinyl, although it looked like leather. The Ottoman that a thousand people have emailed me about and said, how big is it? And I say, long enough for a person to lie on. I don't know how big my Ottoman is (laughter)! I'm a girl! It's like when you ask me, what's your new car? It's silver! (laughter) I'll throw it out there. Oh, my Ottoman is 600 wide by 1200. Long enough for somebody to lie on! Nobody emailed me that ever again. (laughter) Okay, my wall prints were just wall mounted shots but they were big and they were my very favorite shots. The flowers were fake. So, I used to go and cut big green leaves and wrap them around the bottom and the inside and fill them with water, and people used to go, oh, those flowers smell so beautiful (laughter)! Really, it was me. I was like, (hisses). And they thought they were fresh. And there I was every day in my little studio with no money, trying to make it work with no marketing budget, no confidence, filled with fear and anxiety, filled with not good enough, filled with, how can I achieve this? This is just too hard. Filled with, it's not possible. And I'm gonna take you through that year. Okay? One of the most incredible things about that year is when I look back, there was only one time that I was ever happy. And do you know when that was? In the morning. When I would get up, do my hair and make up. I would walk out to my garage. I would open the door, and for 20 minutes I would vacuum the floor, light a candle, and I would just sit in my space, my little country garage with shitty windows that didn't even open. You know? A budget toilet, a budget floor, and I would sit in my little space and say, I created this. And it just filled me with joy. And then the clients would come in and I'd be like, (groans) (laughter)! And then I'd be like, working and shooting and retouching all night and stuff in there, but that filled me with joy, that space. So, I knew I was on the right track. I was just doing it too hard. So, here's the truth. The truth is, is I look back through this time and I think to myself, in all my lifetime, I have never met a purple human being. But somehow, (laughter). I've also never met a green one (laughter). But again. I've never met a de-saturated person with red lips. (laughter) And, anybody who really looks like that to the camera is a fashion model. They're not really a client, so they shouldn't really be trying to sell portraits that look like that. These are all paid shoots. Every single one of them. These aren't rejects. These are all paid shoots. Matched the mauve eye shadow to the tee shirt. One of my favorites. And then, turn it blue under hue and saturation on Photoshop. (chuckling) Put hands where they don't belong, like just coming up out of nowhere (laughter), and doing nothing. And more hands that don't belong anywhere, that have absolutely no relevance to any body language or feeling. More hands that really don't belong (laughter), because when at any time, when at a bar, at a pool (laughter), any time are you standing like that? It's kind of like (sighs). It's like, crack! (laughter) There's no reason, especially not in a swimsuit. Little fingers that come in the top of the frame for no reason. You know? She didn't need to have her hand over her head like this. And little hands that pop in the sides. And crotches, 'cause everybody wants a picture of their own crotch (laughter). When it's hot pink (laughter). A hand on each tit (laughter). You know, a hand on each tit and the bum. No space around the body. I particularly like the caught in the headlights expressions that I was particularly getting. And then the husband and child that doesn't want to be there, and the glamor photographer that wishes she just had the girl on her own. Okay? 'Cause he didn't care. He certainly didn't care. And I just wanted her. Yeah. So, all of those, paid shoots. All real shoots. Right? And all of those mistakes were made by me, and all of those mistakes were made by me six years ago. Okay? So, not long. Yeah. Wasn't born with this gift. Mastered it, practiced it. Made as many screw ups as everybody else. Right? What's important is that I tell you how I overcame them and how I mastered them, because I've only had two desires in my career. Two. And I am feisty. Like, I am competitive. You know? 'Cause I'm not just a black belt. I have 10 gold medals. You know? I want to win. Yes, that is definitely one of my personality traits. But the two things that I always strive for is to be good at what I do so that everybody can say, she's really good at what she does. Like that matters as long as you're paying me. And the other one was, to make money. Because all of a sudden, I'd been a photographer for 12 years and I had no money. So, I was sitting there thinking, how do you make money doing this? You must be able to make money doing this! I know average photographers that make boatloads of money! Average photographers! So why can't I? Why can't I make money doing this? Look how good I am (laughter)! I'm better than everybody else! I used to say that too, you know? Like, what's that idiot making money for? His work is hideous! Look at mine! Mine is fabulous (laughter). I definitely spent a lot of time in my ego in my early years. That I'm gonna teach you as well. Can I just say one thing? Aside from the little headlights, the girls in the headlights there, I did make a lot of fundamental mistakes back then. But can you just look for one second when I go back into their eyes? See? I got one thing right, and you know what that was? Connection. And every one of those girls, for all their bad hands, and crotches and bums, and they're looking right at me. And that sells portraits. Okay? You can make fundamental mistakes with posing, but you screw up your service and you're dead. You don't have a business. You get that connection and you can sell photographs. That's it. Full stop. You can all go home (laughter). Go. Live long and prosper (laughter). So, this is what it comes down to. Aside from my bad runs, I went through my orders file. Orders is everybody who has ordered photographs, who has purchased from me and I pulled a hundred photographs out. Okay? I didn't question who they were. I don't, this is not my best work and it's not my worst. Well, it's my, it's my everything. It's my best and my worst from that first year in business. That first year in business I learned how to make money for the first time in my life. I wasn't born into money, you know? My parents, blue collar workers. Worked their whole lives. Still blue collar. Still working. Well, they're kind of semi-retired on a bus working. And, I had to learn how to make money. It didn't come easy to me. I didn't know how to keep money. You know? I have a shoe problem (laughter), fetish thing, so you know, money in, shoes, and that's it. I live, I get paid. That's it. So, somebody had to actually teach me that and this is how I learned. So, before I go to that, I'm going to show you, a hundred shoots from my first year in business, and I want you to compare it to the first 10 images that I've showed you that I've shot in the last six months. Okay? Six years ago. See all my mistakes? Those knuckles, the fingers, the feet coming out of the back, out of her bum! The not connecting the shoulder, the turning the face away, the not connecting the shoulder, the hidden hands, all the mistakes I made, all those mistakes that I now see that I now see other people making. All the mistakes that I made and learned as I was practicing my craft, and the little, and yet the same thing remains consistent, and that was that connection that I have with people and that connection that I have in bringing people together. So, if that was my strength, then that's how I made money. So, I want you to look at this work and understand one thing. You know? Missing arms at the back and all of those things. I want you to understand that, do you understand now how achievable it is for you? Do you identify easier with me? Do you look at your own work now and do you look at your own work and go, I'm actually better than her. You can say it. One of you is thinking that, I know. Maybe three of you are thinking that (laughter). But that's okay. I don't have a problem with that. And I don't have an ego, so you be better than me. Challenge you. (laughter) We'll have a glamor off. (laughter) We'll do it live on CreateLive now (laughter). On the Sue Bryce show (laughter). Amazing. Every time I look at these. You know what? When I looked at these last night, I kind of had a bit of cringe factor. You know? There was a different moment for me where I looked at them and went (groans), and then I thought, this isn't hard to show for me, 'cause you know something else? I'm going to tell you something else. I don't care what you think of my work. I don't care. I'm so past caring. You know? I cried. Somebody called me fat the first time I stood up on stage and I cried for three days, and that was like three years ago. And I was like, oh, it's kind of true, so then I got over it. And it took me a long time, not to get a thick skin, but it took me a long time to understand, you know, how people hit you on social media and I call them drive-by's, because you never see them coming. It's a bang and then (laughter), and it's always anonymous, you know? And then it occurred to me that I don't actually care what you think of my work. So, when I show this work here and I think to myself, I don't really care what you think about it because that year, I made 480,000 dollars in my garage. And I went from having nothing and a credit card debt to having 75,000 in the bank. And I had never experienced that in my life, and it I did it with this work, with these women paying me for this work. And they all loved them, 'cause they all bought them. So, whatever fundamental mistakes I made, I serviced them well and I gave them good connection, and that is what people buy when they buy portraits. And throughout that time I learned and I got better and I mastered my craft, and now I'm where I'm at now. However, people think they have to become me now to make money. It's not true. You can make money now. You're good enough now. All right? And I'm gonna tell you how. It's that simple. I just, I'm blown away by looking at this, and I'm blown away by that experience of that first two years and how hard it was for me. I remember so many of these women and so many of their stories, and I remember so much about them as people, and it's just incredible to me of how much of that I remember. So, I thought about the 28 challenges that we could possibly throw to you, and I realized one thing. I trained these two girls in 28 days, so I'm gonna tell you how I did it. This is what I wrote and I just updated the picture, 'cause I've got bangs. "People always ask me how I did it." So, I wrote this in 2000, 2006. "People always ask me how I did it. "I don't have a marketing or a business degree. "I did have common sense and a fast conclusion rate." Okay? "Mostly, I think I had a whole lot of passion "and a whole lot of fear." Okay? So, the passion was good. I loved what I did. And the fear, nothing like driving you that you have to eat or pay rent, okay? That drives you. That really drives you. And that keeps you alive with pure terror, and that makes you work really hard. Plus, I needed to survive. It was that simple. I was nothing, at nothing. And so, "I converted my 60 square meter garage", 60 square meters, roughly the size of this white space, maybe a bit bigger. Back to that curtain and narrower. "In the country in a white space, "and I registered my company in April 2006." It's not long ago, right? Nearly seven years. April 2006. "I didn't know a lot about goals or projections. "I thought I was being ambitious when I set "our weekly target to 4,000 dollars a week." Can you imagine earning 4,000 dollars a week? That would be good, right? Okay, 90% of you are nodding. Right. I thought I was ambitious doing that. When I reached our first target the first week we opened, I thought, huh. Maybe I should have thought bigger. And then within six weeks, we had reached 12,000 dollars turnover a week. So, I kind of thought, right. Something is going on here. In the 13th week of business, we hit 20,000 dollars. There is nothing on the planet that would have prepared me for 20,000 dollars worth of sales. I was like, are you serious? And then I realized that I had built a business and I had built it really, really quickly. Anyone can do this. You can be a complete idiot. You can be, you know, a complete asshole and you can build a business like that. What you can't do is sustain it. Okay? Anybody can build one. What you can't do is make it run, and therein lies your problem. So, that was our weekly income, and then I started to take myself seriously and so did others, but not until I did. "What started as a small at-home income "soon became a 220 square meter inner city boutique, "and in April 2007 we built "the inner city studio, Newmarket", which is called you. "Creating for me comes easily. "I designed our brand. "I designed our website. "I designed our vouchers from the ground up on Photoshop. "I worked hard, I worked sincerely, "and you get a sense quickly that I love what I do. "I believe in what I do and I learned "to see the value in what I do." That was the hardest thing, and I'm gonna teach you how I did that. It's learning to see the value in what you create. And, "Building this business brand "and gorgeous studio and watching it grow "has been the greatest experience of my life so far." Braces, I've never done anything like it. "I do have some unique talents, "and none of those talents equate to making money." Okay? None of them. Yeah. And I'm not gonna share all of those with you. "Until I applied this to my business model." Okay? Do you understand? Let's put it over here. Creativity and photography is in this box. A business model is over here. This is a system. It's a formula. Okay? This is where we hate being because we're all, but I'm creative! I don't wanna be in the formula box with all the accountants! And then you're over here, but here's the thing, creatives. You're not gonna get over there if you don't apply it to a formula, and it's really basic. And, "After that moment, I could build, create, "and grow, and this profoundly changed my life." So, I applied it to a basic system, okay? And then I made it work. And then I took all of my creative energy and I applied it to my business and marketing as opposed to my photography, and then I started to get bums on seats. So, all of you are in the same boat. Oh my gosh, we are going to address that. Tomorrow, we're going to address, I'm going to give you, lay out all 28 challenges. I am going to tell you why I chose each one, like how it correlates to making money. End goal, making money. So, each 28 challenge will make you money. You got that? Every single one will make you money, 'cause that's what you're here for, right? To run a business and make money. Yeah. And shoot better and make money and give better service that makes money, market better that makes money, get bums on seats, that makes money. Okay? Money, money, money. Money, money, money. So, for all the people out there that go, I don't do it for the money! You can just turn off now (laughter). 'Cause I will repel you with my capital pig-ism, (laughter) and I was born in the year of the boar, so I'm allowed to because I needed to make an income doing this. I'm not gonna go back to my job. Do you know how many times I hear people say that? I might as well go back to my job. You don't have a job. I have a career. You know? I have a career and I have a business. I might as well go back to my job. This whole photography thing is not working out for me. In fact, best you do. There's another loser in our industry that can just, go on back to gray suit wearing corporate whatever. Really? You committed to being an artist and a photographer and offer a service and run a business, and you're thinking about going back to your job? Who's thought that? Oh, come on. I might as well go back to my job. Yeah. Who has thought that this week? Good girl, thank you, 'cause that's the truth, right? Yeah. I'm not making this work. I might as well go back to my job. Yeah. I'm gonna free you from that, 'cause that's how I did it. This is Chrissy on the left. She came to me as a client. "Chrissy came to me as a client in "with her five best girlfriends." Okay? Girls day out. Great marketing demographic, one of your 28 challenges. Make you a lot of money. 9,000 dollars, her and her five 25 year old friends paid me for a shoot. 9,000. 1,500 bucks each. Girls day out, cheese and crackers, best day ever, and you know why it was the best day ever for me? I not only got to photograph six beautiful women and make 9,000 dollars in my garage in Caracas, I met Chrissy. And I liked her so much, I said, "Chrissy, do you want to be a photographer?" And she went, "Oh yeah, that would be really cool!" I was like, "I know, right?" And so I gave her a job. She was a graphic designer and she'd never touched a digital camera. Okay? But you know what I like about Chrissy? Look at the connection in her eyes. That girl can look at somebody and connect with them immediately, and I was like, I don't care that you're not a photographer. I'm gonna teach you. I'm gonna teach you in 28 days. She was shooting on her own within 10 days in my studio with this formula. It is a very basic formula. You can put all your own spin on it. You can change the outfits, change the backdrops, shoot it outside, whatever you do, but this is the foundation of my business, right? And it's really simple. So, I taught her that, and when she returned from her OE, we offered her a job and she became our first employed photographer in February 2008. I decided, we built the big studio that I was going to grow an empire, and so I stepped up to business and marketing and teach to photographers so I could go and grow my empire. I lasted about six months in the empire growing office and I was ready to cut my own wrists, because I had stopped doing the one thing that I truly love, and that was taking photographs. All right? Big mistake. I should have hired Chrissy to be our business manager and marketing manager, but instead I thought, it's time to move on. And then six months later I was dying. Every part of me was dying. So then Chrissy was working as a MAC designer, a graphic designer. She had no experience with a camera or with portraiture, and she did have a basic knowledge of Photoshop, though, which was ironic, 'cause she was a graphic designer. And she was shooting on her own within two weeks. Keryn came on board. Keryn was 23 years old. Chrissy was 27. "Keryn completed a diploma in digital photography "at Aotaki in 2006 and she struggled "to get a job in the industry. "We met her, we liked her immediately, "and she joined us in March 2008 as a re-toucher." Full time re-toucher. So, she was telling me about her photographic education. I really liked Keryn and I said, "Keryn, do you want to be a photographer?" And she was like, "Yes, but I realize I'm going "to have to work for many years "to work my way up to that." And I was like, "Oh, I was thinking "of putting you in the studio. "Would you like to do that?" And she was like, "Yes!" And she was shooting on her own within two weeks. So, trying both of them simultaneously and with the work that I just showed you, so I'm gonna show you their first training manual. Okay? The manual that I made which now becomes your training manual which you will have, but you have the better version. And I'm gonna show you how I did that with that manual, and so here's a crazy thing. Keryn was, we asked Keryn if she wanted to become a photographer. She said yes and we gave her a job and she was shooting two weeks later. Okay? We were told at that time in our business, 'cause our business was growing so fast. 480,000 in its first year, then we hit like 680,000. We went up 200,000 in our second year in turnover. Big studio, hiring staff, going out of control, me dying (groans), it was just, this great time. But we were told that a business doesn't make money when you're not there, because that means you don't own a business, you just have a job. So if you're not, you know, taking photos, retouching them, and selling them, you're not making money. So if you get sick, you don't make any money. If you're not there, you take the weekend off, you're not making any money. That's called, oh, you don't have a business. You have a job, all right? So, a business, I am told, 'cause I'm learning about business, I'm in business. A business is when you make money while you sleep. So, that means you have to have employees so that you can go out and then you can, you know, still make money while you're out. And so we thought, we'll get photographers in, we'll get photographers in. Big mistake. But anyway, not a big mistake hiring these two. Big mistake for me personally. All right. "The hardest decision we made was the decision "to replace ourselves as photographers." Do you know how hard that was for me? I'm a hard boss. I had very high expectations. I expect people to perform at their highest level consistently. It is a very hard thing for you to accept if you ever are one of my staff members, one of my best friends, or one of my boyfriends. I expect you to perform at the highest level, 100% all of the time. I do, 'cause I do. I push myself that hard all the time and I expect that from everybody around me. So when I say "froggy", you jump. That's, to me, my rules. And I pushed these girls hard, really hard. And I must say, who would be good enough to take over from us? And I didn't want to employ a photographer that was already shooting because I figured I could make you me. I employed two girls with great connection 'cause I wanted to make them me. It was that simple. And these two girls here, both joined us. "Both girls matched each other in progress "and sales from the beginning." Okay? So, they were neck and neck in shooting. Chrissy was technically better than Keryn, and Keryn had more connection than Chrissy. So, Chrissy had to open her personal self up more and Keryn had to take more attention to detail. So, they were shooting differently in the sense that Chrissy was definitely a more grounded, she was definitely looking at the whole shoot, at the pose and everything, and Keryn was just going straight for connection and making the same mistakes. So, that made Keryn more like me, right? So, Keryn was definitely my style and Chrissy was definitely like Sierra, my other business partner who I trained in 28 days. So, we were definitely divided by our styles. And one of you out there, I find a lot of the boys are very technical photographers. Technically brilliant. They put a lot of the girls to shame. A lot of the women are not very technical photographers. We are very guilty of that, and I know a lot of the guys are like, you know, that's out of focus and that's not sharp and you could have let that this way and blah, blah, blah, and at the end of the day, I was always like, I don't care. Look how she's looking at me. And that sells portraits. So, there's two types of photographers and you're definitely more technical based or emotional based. I know that that's a cop out, and all the technical photographers are like, whatever, but the truth is, is at the end of the day that's where I was sitting. So, after two weeks of assisted shooting, okay, and the interesting thing about when I shoot is, come up. What's your name? (audience member murmurs) Mandy?
Come here, Mandy.
So, you've got a camera and you're shooting these people here, yeah? And this is me. (chuckles) You shoot them. Right. No, shoot them. Lower. Lower. Lower. What are you doing? (squeaks) Don't cry! (laughter) Okay, lower down. Lower, I told you lower! Hands to the side. What's her shoulder doing? There's no expression in there. Ask her for the expression. Why have you stopped talking? You sweating?
You're sweaty and you're gonna cry. All right. Keep going. And that was it. And I would be like, that's no good, no! Yes! No! Remember the manual, remember the manual! You need to attend to the shoulder, you need to attend to the shoulder! And then I'd make the client laugh. I'd say something like, oh my God, that was so funny! (laughs) And she'd go (both laugh), and I'd say, you were supposed to take that photo (laughter). And all right, go like this. And I'd do it to Simone. I did it to Susan Roderick. I stand behind them and I go like this. Click, click, click, click, click, click, click! (laughter) That's when you're supposed to be clicking! I'm making her laugh! You know? And then they put down the camera and they go, ha ha! She's really funny, right? And I'm like, are you serious? You just missed the best (laughter). Go and sit down (laughter). And you know what? That's how I, and if you think that that's joke, it is kind of a joke, and what's so funny about it is that it's true, and, it's very hard for me to do, because you know, one of the things about my personality type is I find it very hard to watch people screw up something that I do really easily. After 20 years of mastering it. Okay. So, when it comes down to it, a month later, they were our single source of income. I stopped shooting. Just like that. Build your own business. And, (sighs) they were both lovely girls with easy going, open, and warm personalities. Teaching them was easy. They both achieved 7,000 dollar single sales within their first month of shooting. Chrissy's first month of shooting alone can be tracked to the dollar, and she turned over in excess of 42,000 dollars in one month, in her first month of employment in my studio. Now, we had developed a style that is clean, contemporary, and easy to assimilate. After one week of sales training, they both present and sell their own work. They shoot, present, and sell their own work and retouch it. All right? "We have developed a style that is clean, "contemporary, and easy to assimilate. "Finding these two wonderful girls, "training them and tracking their progress is a testament "to the fact that we have created a brand "that is marketable, easy to learn, "and an incredible opportunity to have a creative career "that is rewarding both personally and financially. "Both girls are available to give a verbal reference "at any time." I wrote that in 2007. So, I wrote that six years ago. And I pulled this file out, looked at it, and that's how 28 days came about being on CreativeLive. Because, and to address the Sue Bryce show, I'll tell you something. A year ago, two years ago, I couldn't speak to 20 people. Somehow I got over that fear. I came to CreativeLive in March and I did my very first CreativeLive. You were all there. And the best part about it was, you got to see that little bit of every part of my business. You heard my story, you loved my work, you resonated with how I taught you, and you went, I want to do this. And then everyone has been conflicted on Facebook between I'm shooting glamor, thank you, Sue Bryce, and look at all the people trying to be Sue Bryce, which really annoys me, 'cause I'm not trying to, I'm not trying to inspire you. I'm trying to teach you a business model. I want to relaunch glamor to the world. I want you to enjoy it for the next five years. Maybe it'll die away again. I don't know. Make lots of money. Enjoy it. Build a great folio. Have incredible connections with your clients, with women. Introduce an amazing formula into your business that makes money because that's how I did it and that's how I learned. That's what I want you to do. If you only follow my map, like if you never go outside of it, I don't care. If you look like me, if you work like me, I do not care. I wish you the best, 'cause I know you are going to make money, 'cause I know as soon as you get out of your own way, you're gonna make it work. It's that simple. So, this is an easy business model and I have proved it. We were at our weekly studio. We were doing 12 shoots per week with an average sale of 1,850 dollars. An average sale of 1,850 dollars. So, that is a really amazing average for a studio to be turning over on average. We're gonna talk about that. We're gonna talk about pricing. We're gonna talk about valuing ourselves. We're gonna talk about fear. We're gonna talk about all 28 challenges and how they make me money. We're gonna talk about these girls when they, where they are now, and they've both got their own businesses and how they're doing, and we're going to talk about, people in their first year of business for my first students, and then we're gonna lay that all out so that you can go and do that business model. And I have a business cheat list for you this afternoon that's going to take you through the bullet points, because I learned something this month that really, at first it upset me, and then when I understood it, I invited the students from my first course. You see, I caught them, caught them, on a private thread on Facebook that I am a part of, but you know, I am part of about 68 groups because people just join me to groups all the time, so I've turned my notifications off. You can't physically do that. And so I just happened to one day click this link and I found these students talking on this thread and I read it. And it was a thread about how hard this is and the struggle and the giving up and, and I looked at that thread and I emailed Sandra from my first class and I said, you need to come to CreativeLive. You need to come back so I can interview you and talk to you about it. And I asked them questions about where they're at in their first year in business, and I just want to say one thing. You just heard the story of my career, right? It didn't take me one year. And there will be people that give up in the first 12 months. Let them go. But if you really love it, you'll stay with it and build a business model out of it, and that is the most important part. So, after that I built this beautiful big studio and there we were, in business with two employed photographers. And this is a quote from Chrissy. I asked Chrissy to send me some quotes and she said, "I remember those first weeks. "I cried (chuckles) a lot (laughter). "But with Sue it was sink or swim, "and you know, she set me up for life." Oh yes! I taught her something in a month that set her up for life in a business. I can't even tell you how amazing that is! She now has her own business. She's actually having babies and she's due today. So, she's probably in labor, not watching the class. (laughter) You know? And so I want to take you through that and I want to take you through their training manual and how I did it back then with even that. So, first year of business, before we go to break, I just want you to know that every part of this, every part of this is see through and it's identifiable and it's real and it's how it happens and that is my reality, and that this isn't a magical story. You know? I don't have, extraordinary gifts. I just practice one craft that I love doing over and over again until I got really good at it, and now I get the opportunity to do this. The 28 challenges come out every day, and every day it's a one hour video based on one thing, and it can be really basic. Like, I'm talking you need to master how you're shooting your before and after so that you can market your business with it. And you are all shooting bad before and afters. Okay? Your before shots are looking better than your afters in some instances, and I'm going to teach you the most basic thing and then you're going to master it. Have you seen my before and after gallery on my website? You know? It's where everybody goes on my website, straight to the before and after gallery. Everybody. Just over two million hits on my website this year, and everybody's going to that before and after gallery. And did you notice the consistency in my before and afters? The consistency in the before shot. Okay? I've got to teach you stuff like that. I need you to master each one. And each challenge, no matter how small it is, to posing four women, and I go, pose two, pose three, pose four, and then change set. Pose two, pose three, pose four. Posing couples, posing men. Everything from shooting to selling. Whatever the challenge is, you get one a day and you have to work on that one challenge over and over again, and some will be easy for you and some will be really hard, and then you get to chicken with me, and every time, every week we put the challenge up, you're going to learn and then you get a chance to show me your progress over 28 days to come back and wrap it up for me. And so if I could do this with these girls in 28 days, I can do it with you guys 'cause you are already in business and you're already photographers. All right? So, this is where it's at. So, we have to talk about everything that's gonna get in your way before I even lay those out, because once we clear that ground, you are off and running. I want you to understand that the most important thing that you can learn is connection with people because you are servicing them as a photographer. One of the most important things you can learn is not how to run a business as such, but how to provide a service to people, 'cause as soon as you, provide a service you are in business. And that for all the fundamental mistakes I made, I'm still successful at it. I was still incredibly successful at it. Are you kidding me? 480,000 dollars in turnover in my first year in business shooting this was outstanding. An outstanding achievement. Did you know I had a bank manager at the time that when we walked into the bank he would run out of his office to meet us? And he said, I have never seen a start up business in its first five years make an income or a profit like you. I was like, wow. It's amazing.
Hi. Do you want me to stand? (chuckles) My name is Natalie and it's great to be here. My question is, I've been shooting for five months, so I've just started with everything that you're talking about. And as far as building my business model and, a lot of people are contacting me now about prices and I don't know what to charge, and I have this horrible anxiety when I'm face to face with a client and they say, well, what do you think you should charge me?
And I want to say, well, what do you think I'm, you know, I don't want to put it in their court but I don't know what to say and I don't want to scare them.
Imagine if you went to Versace and you were like, oh, look at that dress! What would you pay for that (laughter)? 80 bucks? (laughter) 80 bucks is good? Yeah, 80 bucks! 80 bucks with the shoes? Okay. Tomorrow there's an entire keynote. I did something really interesting on the In Bed With Sue page. And you might have all been part of this. On the In Bed With Sue page, I wrote something about fear and it got 1,363 comments in one hour, and I've got that thread here so that we can read it and I'm going to tell you the common denominator of every single one of you in your baseline thought is, I don't value myself. I don't value my product. I'm not good enough. I'm not good enough to earn money. And I believed the same thing. I used to sweat when I used to tell people how much my images were. I used to go along the images and not look at my client, and I would say, this one is 275, this one is 540, this one is 690, this one is 845, not look at them. And then my client would, and then one of my clients said to me one day, really? Six dollars 40 for that big print? Awesome. And he did it on purpose. I know he did it to me, and I was like, trying not to like, (giggles). But the thing is, is I overcome it and I can show you how to do that. So, that's actually crazy that I remember that because I forgot that it used to make me sweat. Yeah. I'm three and a half thousand dollars now. I'm cheap. I've heard that most of my life. I'm okay with it. I offer a great service (laughter). That's just the way it is. I'm three and a half thousand dollars. I mean, you know, I don't have to justify that to you or if somebody's out there going, three and a half thousand dollars! You know, whatever. I mean, I could be 10,000 dollars. I could be 50,000 dollars a day. I mean, whatever. What does it matter to you what I earn? That's your problem with your money. All I know is I know I never used to make it and now I do, and now I know why, 'cause yeah. I'm gonna talk to you, I found a quote by Rumi and it said, "Your task is not to look for love, "but to look at all the blocks you put up against it." See, love is eternal and it's everywhere and it's all around you. The only reason you would not feel love from someone else or from yourself is because you've told yourself you can't have it or you put a block up against it. What if we changed the word? I'm just gonna change Rumi's poem. Props to you Rumi, but I thought your task is not to look for money, but look for all the blocks you put up against it. And every time you tell yourself you're not good enough, you don't price yourself, you don't value yourself, you simply will not make money. And those are the blocks that you put up against getting it, and I'm going to show you how to remove them. So, tomorrow in the afternoon keynote, after we've laid out the challenges, I'm gonna hit you with everything that's gonna get in your way, and that is a big one. That will significantly shift you, significantly shift you. A huge change in both your emotional and mental ability to rethink your business. It's incredible and it's a conversation, Kenna and I were just talking about this, it's a conversation we have all of the time. Okay? Then in the third keynote, what we're gonna do is, I'm going to open a conversation both online and here on what I believe, and I'm gonna be real ballsy here, what an international portrait standard price list is. Nobody says it. You know? There's people charging 25 dollars for 10 eight by 10s. You know? They're not gonna be in business for more than a week. That's okay. But I'm going to throw out what I think it should be. I'm going to throw out how much it should be. I'm going to throw out what a start-up should be. I'm going to show you the difference between a la carte and full menu pricing, and then I'm gonna teach you how to go after a dollar average that you want that suits your business and your product. So, if you can't price yourself and then say it with great enthusiasm by tomorrow afternoon, then I haven't done my job well enough. And I know that I have, because I have put so much into that keynote that I am going to explode that. You're going to lift your prices, you're going to change your value set, and you're gonna lift your idea of your clear vision for your business, 'cause that's how I did it and it's easy. It's so easy once you apply it. You know what? Here's the cool thing. Get out of your own way. You're the one in the way. You're the one that doesn't believe it. You're the one that's sulking, whinging, bitching, moaning, on Facebook. Me, me, me, talking about other photographers. You're the one working from a place of ego and hate. You know? I'm not. Okay? I'm working from a place of enthusiasm and joy. Trust me, that doesn't come easily. I wake up in the morning and sometimes I am filled with inertia. You fill me with inertia. Okay? And you know, I've got friends that say that I'm a bit of a drama queen. I prefer theatrical. (laughter) And I do wake up and I am filled with inertia, and then I go, oh, that's right. I have a really cool job and I love what I do and I take really awesome, kick ass portraits because I love it and I've been doing it all my life, and then I get up and I kick my own butt and I get into it. I don't sit in that mindset. Now tell me that mindset, you know, that negative, I can't do this. Why am I doing this? There's so much struggle. I don't want to sit on Photoshop today. There's so many people around. So and so down the road are doing this. So and so up the road is doing this. Everybody's doing this. Everybody in the world is becoming so wise, so why would I try to survive (laughter)? Oh my God, oh my God, it's so bad. I'm gonna get on Facebook and then see how bad it really is, and then I'm gonna get on Facebook and I'm gonna talk about it and then I'm gonna say, and then you know what? I'm gonna look at everybody else because I just don't understand why she's making money when I am way better than her. And it goes on and on and on, and then you realize what you're doing. You know? It's you're not working. (sighs) Yeah. In fact, you're avoiding working on every level. You're certainly not working from a place of joy and you're certainly not creating anything, least of all money. Yeah. And once I turned that around, I turned everything around. So, it's all doable. It's all achievable. Are there any questions online?
There are definitely. I know that a lot of them will be things that we will be addressing later--
So let me get just kind a very basic, NVU Photography from Savannah, Georgia, says, "Sue, do you think that you could do what you did then "in your first year now with the way the economy is "and how everyone that can own a camera has purchased one "and automatically (laughter) think they are photographers "and cut the price of photo sessions?" What do you think?
Oh, do you mean the recession in 2008? That one. Hm. Like there was six years ago when I was making how much money? In 2007, 2008, 2009. Yeah. I don't believe it. I don't believe it. Here's the thing. Creative Mind in New Zealand, they have a landscaping business. Big landscaping business, 20 star. The recession hit and I was speaking to her on the phone. I was in Australia starting a start-up business in an economy that had crashed and nobody knew me. Nobody. I was nobody, and I had a bad year. Bad ego year (chuckles), let's get that straight. And what I did was ring my friend, and she said, you know, her husband is losing his business, and I was like, really? Why? What happened? And she said, well, he's just sitting on the couch every day and that's not working. And I was like, why isn't he out knocking on the door? Because when the work falls away, you go and find it. 'Cause what happened with the economy is, we all panicked and stopped spending money. That didn't mean the money went away for everybody. It just went away for a small percentage, right? The money was still there, but everyone held on to it. And then there was a big shift in power, and that power came from, why should I spend my money with you? So, people used to come to you willy nilly. And I love this notion that it was that easy back then, 'cause I was in business. You know, I've been in a portrait business for 23 years. I don't remember people like, I want to spend my money with you! The economy is great (laughter)! Like, when did that happen? You know? Nice little fantasy, people, but that did not happen. You know? We were peddling for money before the recession and we peddle for it still. It just changed, and what changed was we had to go out and get the work, and all of a sudden, all of us little creative photographers that are filled with ego were like, oh no, I have to go and market myself but I'm not good enough. But I'm better than her. But I'm not good enough (laughter). But I'm better than him. Why does he make so much money? Oh, he markets himself. Oh, but I'm not good enough. Hm. Really? Well, I had two things. I had money in the bank when the recession hit and I had a marketing plan to die for, and I knew that I would survive. And when I watched people fall away who were in total apathy of their own careers, I stood there and I said, I put makeup on people and photograph them and sell it back to them and I've had a fantastic year. I'm a luxury item. You don't wake up in the morning and go, I'm gonna go and drop 3,000 dollars on a portrait session today if you're in a recession, right? And yet what happened in the recession is, everyone wanted to feel good about themselves. Gym memberships go up. Diet memberships go up. Oh, we're controlling our money so we'll control everything else, and I want to feel good about myself. It's weird. That's how it happened. I just don't believe that mentality anymore 'cause I smashed through it, and I've also been in a portrait studio through two financial crises. 'Cause, you know, there's been several over the last 20 years, and the other one was about, I think, 19, oh, don't quote me on that. 93? But I remember being part of that and I was getting a wage at the time. Do you think I cared about the economy? I was 23 years old. I got paid, I went home. I still spent my money. It was no different for me. The only people that were really in trouble were losing their jobs, and that percentage was high but it wasn't for everybody. So, a lot of businesses survived. Also, it's recovering. Okay? The only thing that hasn't recovered fast enough is our mentality around it. 'Cause I know a lot of people that are like no different. I watched a studio in Sydney turn over 1.2 million dollars every year for the last five years doing family portraits in the suburbs, and I said to him, did you dip in the recession? He said no. And I said, why? And he said, I had money in the bank and an awesome marketing plan. And I said, okay. So, you're telling me that you still made that much money? He was like, yeah, every year for the last six years. And I said, okay. So, then I don't need to believe it. The only belief is that there's not enough out there. That's a scarcity belief, right? I said, that's me thinking bad. And he said, yes. I said, all right. I shifted that immediately and I started to make money. And that's something else we're gonna talk about tomorrow, because I believe that that is a real big one and I believe you can open that up and I'm gonna teach you how.
All right. The internet is burning with questions, Sue.
All right. From Shoebox Photos, "Is someone your client "if you have to explain to them your pricing "or worth to them, or does your client have "to be taught that is what your art is worth?"
Yes. You must educate your client and you must educate your client well. What was your name? Natalie. When Natalie stood there and said, and then I'm filled with an anxiety when they ask me how much they charge. If Natalie was sitting here going, filled with anxiety, going, I'm trying to price myself. I don't even know what to say. And I'm standing next to Natalie saying, this is my experience. These are my images. Three and a half grand. Who's gonna get the job? Yeah. But you must educate your clients. You educate them on the experience and you educate them on the cost. And they don't come to you until they're fully educated on both, and then they spend with you because they already know what you cost. Now, if somebody's gonna say no to you, they best say no to you before the shoot than after you've photographed them and they can't buy them. When they're sitting in front of you going, how much are they? Why are they so expensive? Oh God, that's horrible. I've been there. And you're just sitting there, you know, like trying not to cry, because they're sitting and you think you've done the best work of your career, and they're like, really? And then they start to shut down. Like, I'm not buying that. And then you feel not good enough as a photographer. Right? Squish, squish. Oh my God. I know. And we do it. We all do it, and it's the best part. So, you know, I'm simply like, Julianna, do you want to be photographed by me? Okay, so a shoot with me is three and a half thousand dollars. I'm available on these days. Let's talk about what would happen in that shoot for you. Like, how do you want to be photographed? I'm gonna ask that question first. Okay? Julianna is gonna go home, she's gonna talk to her husband, he's either gonna kibosh it or she's gonna get around him. (laughter) Let's face it. He's not gonna go, honey, I want you to spend three and a half thousand dollars on photographs and we can put them on every wall in this house (laughter). And then she's gonna call me back and 50 50, she's either gonna say yes, I can or no, I can't. Best I know now, 'cause if I was to photograph Julianna, avoid educating her on how much I cost, and then sit there and try to sell her three and a half thousand dollars worth of images, don't you think that's gonna be a little difficult? Yeah. Now, do I believe I'm worth three and a half thousand dollars? Hell yes. Like I said, I'm cheap. Yeah? So, I'm kind of like, well, yes, I'm three and a half thousand dollars. Let's talk about the shoot. And I'll tell you what happens for that. You know what really annoys me? I was in, (snaps) I was booking into my hotel here yesterday. This happens to me a lot here. Really intrigues me that there's something going on with the money thing. And he writes what it's gonna cost me to stay in my hotel room for eight days, and he goes, your total will be, (laughter) and I went like this. Okay (laughter). And I thought, well you know I booked the hotel online and it said the rate, so I'm quite good at math, so that times seven plus resort tax, sales tax, all these other taxes and the room service that will inevitably order, I had budgeted for that. So, I was kind of like, why are you doing that? It's like your hotel room is gonna be. (laughter) And what am I supposed to do? Like, oh my God! I'm at the hotel in Vegas! There is no way I can afford that! And I kind of think to myself, does he think I can't afford it? Like, I know I'm a bit shabby when I got off the plane, but I mean, I kind of look like I can pay for it, don't you think? And then I thought to myself, you know how often this happens? And you know, I get it when, the other day in Banana Republic, I was buying a dress and she said, do you need a bag? And I said, well yeah, I'm not gonna walk down the street with a dress. (laughter) What are you asking me whether I need a bag for? Then she said that this, with the golden part it's an extra five cents. I know. I went like this (gasps). That's fine (laughter). And I kind of think to myself, if you treat your clients like they can't afford to pay for you, then you're going to treat them like that. Treat them like they're rich and that you're servicing them and that they're important, and that it's worth every penny for you to service them, and you can't wait to do it. You know? And madam, this is your room bill. It's this much money. We can't wait to have you. This is the best part about your stay. You know? Give me something, but don't, (whines). (laughter) (chuckling) Crazy (laughter).
[CreativeLive Professional] All right.
Loony Productions, speaking of crazy (laughter). Loony Productions says, "Can you follow your business model "and be a photographer that doesn't specialize in one area?"
Yes. You can do this with newborns. You can do this with boudoir. You can do this with, well, weddings might be a little different in terms of production, turnaround, and price, but pretty much any portrait, this is a portrait business. It's not glamor business. This is portrait. This is all about portrait. Yeah. Because I'm a hybrid. I market myself as a glamor photographer but I set right on that, I shoot families. You just saw the kids, the families, the husbands. You know? You saw the inclusions, generations, and different people, so you saw me. I'm a contemporary portrait photographer and I make more money bringing in those extra people than just doing glamor, and I've taught that right from the beginning, so now I'm actually gonna teach you how I pose them, how I add them on, how I market to them. That's the cool thing about the 28 day challenge. It's about challenging you to open up a portrait business, not a glamor studio. Okay? The glamor aspect of what I do is really the base of where I come from. And I do do a lot of glamor, but I do a lot of families, contemporary family portraits in there as well and they're big sales for me.
Thank you for clarifying.
So, Annette D, building on that, from Palm Beach, "So, how did you, in that first year of business, "settle upon your niche?"
Settle upon my niche of being a glamor photographer?
[CreativeLive Professional] Mm-hm.
I decided that if you start a business with no money in the bank, minus 3,000 dollars that I owed my parents, then it stands to reason that whatever I show, I will get. And so I didn't want to show babies. I didn't want to show newborns. I didn't want to show weddings, because I didn't want to do any of them. So, I figured that whatever I show would walk in my door, so that's what I did. That's only what I showed. And it was a gamble and everyone told me not to do it, and I said, I don't care. I'm only gonna show what I want to shoot because I'm so tired of not shooting, of shooting what I don't want to do. In fact, you know the best thing? I'm gonna make you write a list after your business checklist this afternoon. I'm gonna make you write the hate list. I love the hate list. The hate list is my favorite. I hate doing this. I hate wedding photography. I hate babies (laughter). I hate babies and I don't care what you say (laughter). And I wrote this hate list, and then I realized that everything on my hate list was 90% of what I was doing in my life, and I was like, I hate it! I'm not gonna do it and you can't make me do it! And I don't want children in my studio (laughing), ever! And then I just suddenly started to go, I hate that and I hate that and I hate that, and I thought, sometimes it's easier to tell yourself what you hate and start there than it is to say, I love doing glamor! Because it's like, pipe dream! And then over there the hate list is fantastic. And you know I'm gonna make you write one. You're gonna have fun writing it.
Okay. YR Photography says, "I'm 16 years old. "I have a huge passion for photography, "but my age seems to be setting me back. "I don't know what to do to get my clients trust "and bring in the business. "Help, Sue!"
Help. Let's turn your greatest weakness into your greatest strength. Let's take what you aren't and make it what you are. My whole life, my whole life, I looked for that answer to what is self esteem, what is good self esteem. I used to, I was intrigued by it. Why do some people seem to like who they are and others just don't? And how do you love yourself? How do you love yourself if you had a parent that didn't love you enough? If nobody taught you that, how do you love other people if you've never got taught that? That was my journey through life. I wanted to know how to love myself, because you know, I got into my 20s and I could get skinnier and hotter and it didn't make me like myself more. It didn't matter, you know? I doubled my body weight in my mid 20s, and I still felt the same way. I lost it again and got really skinny, and then all my friends called me Maisie, and I still didn't like myself. And so I was like, well, it's not food and it's not about my body. So, what is it? And then I realized after my first CreativeLive, I was reading the thread on Facebook and everybody was writing, writing, "You've taught me how to love myself." "You're teaching people how to love themselves." And I realized the answer was right in front of me. My greatest weakness has become my greatest strength, and that's how I run my business and the answer to the question of how do you love yourself, you stop hating yourself. And when you stop hating yourself, that's all that's left. And that blew me away, that you were all showing that back to me. And when you were showing that back to me, I didn't even know it. I didn't even know it. And I also found out something else. Once I stopped hating myself, I realized how much I loved myself and how much I honored that. And so for the 16 year old, your greatest weakness is your age, then you should be the greatest protege that ever walked on this earth, because at 16 you've started a business. And you should be on the Today show telling everybody about it, because you deserve that. And whatever your weakness is, whatever your perceived weakness is, it is probably the strongest part of you because it is the biggest part of your life. And that is power. And if you can tap into it once you find it and embrace it, then that is your answer. That's your answer to everything.
Wow. Done. (laughter) I love that. I really do. Let's get back to your first year of business.
From Marie. "How did you let people know "that you were open for business?"
Ah yes! That's the hardest part, isn't it? The irony is, is we have this incredible network around of us of people and we talk to them all the time. The problem is, is all they hear with start-ups is the nay-sayers and the negativity and the blah blah blah. That would imply that you're out talking about your business and people are giving you feedback that is not positive about it, so, they're pretty much going, yeah, everybody is a photographer these days. My cousin Jane is a photographer. She couldn't make it work. She couldn't do this. She couldn't do that. She couldn't do that. And you know, there's a million different reasons you can't make it work, but the truth is, is at the end of the day, I told everybody I talked to. I would be in a shop. You guys like to talk here, by the way. In New Zealand, if you go to a shop and you get service, they don't talk to you. It's kind of, do they? New Zealand's watching. You kind of walk into a shop and it's like, don't speak to me. You don't want anyone to speak to you and they're like, I don't want to speak to you. I just want to like, can I help you? No. Good (laughter). And then they walk away. And then you walk up to the counter and then you pay and it's like, thanks, cool, yeah. You very rarely do have a conversation. Over here, you buy something and it takes longer to wrap and chat than it does to actually buy. Like, I'll go and pick up a dress. Oh, I like that! Try it on. Oh, that's great! I'm gonna buy that. Walk up. Hi, how are you doing? And what are you doing today? Where have you been? Where are you from? Oh, that's a great accent! I always just sit there and think to myself, good God! Wrap my dress! I need to go! You know? Chat, chat, chat! So the other day I'm chatting away in Nordstrom's, and a girl is like, oh my God, what do you do? I'm like, I'm a photographer. And, oh cool, I like photography. My sister's a photographer! And I was like, oh, cool. You know. Does she watch CreativeLive? What's CreativeLive? Oh, so I told her about CreativeLive and I'm here to be an instructor and then next minute I'm showing her my website on my iPhone, because you know that's what you do, and she's like, (gasps) can I have a card? Oh yeah, I'll give you my card. And I'm being served at Nordstrom and I'm pitching my business to a beautiful young girl who is, you know, really interested and she's probably watching right now and really, really interested in what I do. So, I tell everybody, and the opportunity to talk over here is endless. You get in the lift and people here want to talk to you. So when I first came to America, I'd get in the lift and people would talk to me and I'd be like. (laughter) I was like, oh no! And I'm trapped in the lift with this person! And I've gotta go, and I'm like, they're speaking to me and I don't know what to do! And then I realized that they just like wanna, hey, where are you from? And I was like, oh! (laughs) Now I get in the lift expecting to talk to people. I'm always walking in there like, hey! How's everybody going in here (laughter)? Are you all right? What have you got in there for dinner? (laughter) And I realized the opportunity to promote yourself is everywhere. You tell everybody. You tell everybody. You tell them online, you tell them on Facebook. You tell them on Twitter. You get on your social media. You blog about it. You get excited about it. You hand vouchers out to everybody. You give away vouchers. You do free vouchers, money vouchers, whatever it takes to get people in the door, and you do it with the greatest enthusiasm that you can 'cause whenever you pitch from enthusiasm, you will be successful because you never, never, never get work on a, I kind of started this business, and it's not going so well, but we're trying to, I don't know how much to charge them and anxiety right now because you're talking about money. And you know, I'm just kind of like, oh, I shoot this, I shoot this, I shoot this. And clearly I used to show this. You know? Like, oh look, I'm amazing! Look at me! I guess it's like magazine stuff right there, right there! And people were like, oh, I'd love to do that! I was like, I know, right? Here, have a voucher. I'd carry them around with me. They were always in my purse, and you know, you tell everybody. That's how you start. And then every client, if you service them well, brings you another five clients. And Facebook now probably the biggest marketing engine on the planet. We know it. You know? It's about to hit, what, a billion users? And with an average friend of 648. 648, average friend on Facebook. That's a massive network and it's a massive talking network, and that social media will pump you up and bring you down just as fast. Okay? That social media will just destroy you if you don't bring goods to the table that are sincere.
Along those same lines, Jake Deaton says, "I'm sure you've noticed a different mentality "between Australians and Americans, "so do you think this affects our photography market?" I mean, we do have a global audience watching CreativeLive, so do you think they can just, no matter where they are, just take this system and make it work, or is it gonna be something they're gonna have to figure out for their own market?
There is a big difference between Australians and Americans. Americans are way nicer. (laughter) And, also, we were at The Grove in LA. We were walking along and they had these big film cameras and there was a guy there. What was his name? Mario. (audience murmurs) That's it! And he was like, cute and make up on and stuff. He was like so petite, and we were walking along and I was like, oh, I've seen that guy before! I go like that. You know me, I'm kind of like, you know, look at people. I'm like, oh, do I know you? Oh God, no, I don't know you (laughter). You're on TV. So, the camera is turned around and then he goes, "Can we interview you?" And I was like, hell no! You know? I was like running away (laughter). And I look over and there's like a hundred Americans that are lined up going. Standing up. And I was just like, in Australia and New Zealand, if you put a camera on the street, people would cross over and flip you the bird (laughter). I was just like, this culture is so open and so amazing! You're an amazing culture. You're the biggest supportive culture that I've ever experienced. You are the biggest business supportive culture that I have experienced, and personal, and you are also the most open culture that I have experienced, because Kiwis and Australians, very, very suppressed. Very, very suppressed. So Americans, I love this too. This is my favorite part. All Americans are like, sorry dear, you need to speak up. You speak so softly. Everyone's like, I've got such a soft voice. On the online, everyone's like, I love your voice! I love your voice! Just so you know, I'm loud where I come from. Like, where I come from, I'm the girl that they look at like this. Like. (laughter) Does she have to make that much noise? So when I came here, everyone was like, oh, you're so softly spoken! I'm like (laughter). Hysterical! So yeah, I don't. And you know what? Okay, to answer your question. I'm being a smart ass now. The answer to your question is this. There's 325 million people in America, and that means there's quite possibly about a 150 million, 12,000, and 500 women that need to be photographed by me. I don't look at social anything. I can get on with anybody. I can live anywhere. I've been to just about every continent on the planet and I've made a friend in each one. I can smile, I can, you know, show people my business model and they're all amazed by it because everyone wants the same thing, to make money. And everybody wants a nice photograph of themselves. Everyone. Every culture, every person, every human being. In fact, there was a collective consciousness that shifted when they invented the mirror because we saw ourselves for the first time. Can you imagine living in a culture with no mirrors and the only reflection you would ever see would be in water? And all of a sudden you were dealing with people, not from how you look, but from how you act. And all of a sudden, now it's all turned back to how you look. So you're interacting with people concerned about how you look, because we know what our reflection is now. So, I don't know. I believe my brand is universal and I don't know a woman, you know, I don't know a woman that doesn't want to look gorgeous.
Wow, that's so interesting about the shift with the mirror!
Of course. Because all of a sudden, you now know how you look to me, Kenna! And you're concerned about that. Like, all of a sudden, how you look is not good enough or it's compared to me or it's what, and so it was kind of like, when did we do that? When we invented the ability to see ourselves. And do you know we have a fascination with looking at ourselves? We are fascinated by our own reflection. There isn't a day that I don't just flip my iPhone, just to have a look (laughter). I'll say, I'm gonna take that and post it to Facebook.
It's true (laughter).
I do! I'm fascinated. I still get a fright when I look in the mirror because I cut my bangs. I still like walk in there, I go in the bathroom, (gasps)! (giggles) (laughter) And I go like, (squeaks).
I think, (laughter) I've seen her do it (laughter). I think what's so interesting about that is just also that wouldn't you see yourself as reflected by the people that you're looking at and interacting with, and now you're looking at your self for that?
See, the thing is, Kenna, is that's amazing. The thing is, it's mind reading. Okay? I'm gonna walk into a room and I'm at a party and all of you, all of you women, it's a lot of women at this party. One hot guy over here. I'm gonna walk into the room and women are all gonna do the same thing. It's gonna be like, oh, hot guy. Judge all the other women in the room. (clucks) (giggles) Hi, how's it going? Women walk into a room and everybody looks at them and they look at how they're being looked at. Okay? Then what happens is you gauge in your mind where you're at physically. So, let's say I'm looking super hot today. My body is smoking hot. I've been working out. You're all looking at me going, I can they're all jealous 'cause I've got it. Okay, let's say I have a bad day. I've put on heaps of weight, I hate myself. I've had a bad emotional week. I walk in and it's like, all of you are judging me for being fat. Different mentality, right? None of its true. 'Cause I can't read all of your minds. I was only looking back at you and how you were looking at me, and I was deciding what I think of myself based on that response. The thing about a photograph and a particularly good photograph is, the truth is that the truth is somewhere in between that really hot photograph and the reality of how you wake up in the morning, but you want to see yourself at your very best. Don't you? You don't just want an average photograph. You want the photograph that goes, oh my God! Look how beautiful I am! That is amazing! You want that photograph, and I think that's the one that everybody wants to look at. And that's why we're portrait photographers. So, a lot of men were photographed in the early 20s, 30s, and 40s that aren't now. You know? The grandfather portrait. We all have one. And I asked my mum about it and she said, 'cause all the men were going to war. All the men were going to war, so they had to have photographs taken in case they didn't come home. And I said to mum, oh God! So you're really saying portraiture is really about women and children. Women, 'cause we want to be pretty, that's how we're made. We want to be attractive. We want to stand out. We want to look gorgeous. We want to feel that. And children, because you want to document your children growing up. So, those are the two biggest markets for me and photography if you look at the last 60 years. There's women and children. I mean, the guys, sure. They'll come to the family portrait and they'll be part of that process, but they're not the ones booking the shoot, and they're not the ones booking the individual shoots.