Identify Your Strengths
People in the chat rooms are curious if they can find out a little bit about what your current marketing plans are because that comes in over and over and over. So people would love to know if you guys could talk a little about that.
Well that's both of their struggles.
The irony is that it was both of their struggles. So we can work through that today. You just did a show?
I did, it was called the Northwest Women's Show. There are different women shows all over the country. And I booked nine shoots from that. And what is great is that from each of those clients I'm booking one more and then one more. So I'm running into what happened to you where I'm not continuing to market.
Okay so Nikki did, so interestingly enough, you say marketing is your hurdle. But you've only done thing to market your business in the last two months.
Right, well I also joined a networking, a women's business networking group. And so I'm doing a speech. I have me three minute intro of my bu...
siness to them and I'm offering, you know, the hundred dollar vouchers. So I'm excited for that too.
All right so Nikki's doing something very different than what I did when I started my business. I gave away free shoots for the hundred dollar discount. Nikki is just doing the package straight away. So two things, two significant differences that Nikki started doing that I could not do. She already pre-selling her package so if she sees my first package is 12 hundred dollars, they're coming in knowing that. So if they don't book, they're turning away their package right then and there. Whereas I did it the other way. I gave away the free makeover with a hundred dollars to spend on photographs and then I would sell them portraits. Well she's not getting the drop off rate that I'm getting, that I got. She's not getting the no-sale rate that I was getting, but she's also not getting the volume I was getting. So you play this average, which one works better for you? Which are you doing?
The opposite, we're trying to get people in and then relying on--
The sale afterwards.
Them wanting the sales afterwards.
And that's, I'm curious too, which one is working better? I'm wondering.
I don't think they do. I think I would
Depends on your market.
No, because the market's the same everywhere. Really it depends on you because I did it the opposite way and now I do it Nikki's way. So she just modeled her business after my now business at a lower rate. And I did say to Nikki, you can have your prices up over the 12 hundred dollars but don't go up to two and three thousand dollars until you're offering my level of product. I said you wanna start at around the 12 hundred dollar amount. When we did the folio shoot with 28 days, we showed why the 12 hundred dollar amount what financially viable. I mean it's the lowest rate that we could really afford to take for a shoot where we're making a good profit, paying people and making it worth our while. And then upselling from 12 hundred. So if 12 hundred was her lowest package then upselling to 18 hundred to 2,400, three thousand by adding on extra product. You know, I think that was really really important. It really comes down to what you feel comfortable with. I couldn't even say I was worth 12 hundred dollars. The fact that she can say it now in her first year tells me she'll be in business in 10 years because I couldn't never say what she's now doing in her first year of shooting. I was unable to. But then you tell people that you're wedding package is three and half, four thousand, four and a half, five thousand. So why wouldn't you tell them your portrait package is 12 hundred? And so I think there's a lot of questions around that and I know that you'll get a lot of questions around that and I'm quite happy to answer them Kenna, but at the end of the day, if you're prepared to say, I shoot an event for nine hundred dollars. I shoot a wedding for four and a half thousand dollars. My portrait packages start at 12 hundred dollars. It seem to me if there was a problem in saying that it only comes from you, right?
I can say I could shoot, it's 35 hundred starting for weddings like it's nothing and as soon as I'm talking about portraits, I'm like sweating. Like 12 hundred?
I don't know.
I've gotten better. It goes back to my value. It goes back to am I worth it? Who the hell do I think I am charging 12 hundred dollars?
Who do you think you are charging three and a half for a wedding?
It's something I struggle with.
With our weddings we say, you're gonna spend four thousand dollars and people don't scoff. They might go dark.
'Cause you don't scoff.
Well but then we say that's gonna be our starting package is 750 or whatever for portraits and they go, pffff.
I think more people are willing to spend almost more for a wedding. At least that's, like they expect to spend that.
Now obviously this isn't true because
There are people out there who do portraits that don't have that problem. That's just what we see coming.
How we justify it.
Yeah how we justify it when we see it coming back at us.
How do I change that? How did I change that?
They can come in the door with no risk.
And that's where we've had more success.
There, we'll get your numbers up, but we'll get you more no-sales, more no-shows. You definitely get more no-shows, more non-committed people. So they can come in with no risk which means free shoot, free make-up, buy your portraits if you like them. That's how I built my entire business. But I've seen that argument go back and forth on Facebook. But what I'm asking is how do I change how they value their portrait shoots? How do I change that? Let me show you something. This is Nikki's logo. This is Nikki's studio. And it a gorgeous little space and it's got really nice natural light. She's figured out, it doesn't have a lot of photos on the wall. It's, you know it's just really simple, really clean. It's got a good vibe, a good energy when you walk in. And I asked all of these people to give me some images and if you follow Nikki on Facebook, what's you business page, Nikki Closser Photography?
Then obviously you get to see Nikki's work. All of Nikki's folio here is existing at the same level as how I built my new business. In terms of what we were producing on a daily basis, what we were producing at an average sale of 18 hundred dollars every week for four years. Good connection with every single one of her clients. Perfect consistency with how she looks. Great editing, producing work that a client likes and that clients want to buy. That's the best thing you can ever hope for in a working photographer. And some wedding images because I do think it's important that we talk about these guys being both wedding and portrait. So at what stage, ah beautiful Danielle. At what stage do I say then that Nikki is not deserving of that money? When her wedding work and her portfolio work is just as beautiful. So I'll keep going 'cause I wanna show you, yes?
I have a question for Nikki about when you're now, 'cause I'm looking at you, watching you look at these images and seeing a smile on your face. And I'm wondering, when you look at your portrait images and your wedding images, do you feel that value after the fact?
So it sounds like before the fact you're still struggling.
I do, I really feel it. And just watching that was a little bit emotional because every one of those women, I'm coming back to how I made them feel. I made the experience about them. I'd say 75% of those women cried and said to me, this is priceless to me. There's a grandmother in this photo who said to me I want you to know, we don't spend this kind of money. This is not us. But we could not leave without these photos. They spent two thousand dollars. And she said, I want you to know, this is not normal for us. That's how good they are.
And that was just last week.
Yup, that was last week. And it just.
So what do you think it is? And Nikki and other people in chats who feel the same way, that after you see it, you see the value but you're not feeling it before.
Okay let's get something very clear. I don't value, did not value myself, did not value my work. And after the fact when I take it, after the fact, the entire way I felt about a shoot was based on how much they spent. So if they didn't like the shoot, I was back to square one. I'm a loser, I'm hopeless, I can't do this. I'm no good at this, cry, cry, cry. Whinge, whinge, whinge, cry, cry cry, fail, fail, fail. You're self esteem is not based on how much your clients are spending. Some clients spent $80, some clients spend $8,000. You need to find the service in that and get away from the self validation and I talk about self validation all the time. There is a large component of what that woman did that validated Nikki, but what Validated Nikki most was the two and a half grand. Come on, let's face it. If she said, we never spend this kind of money, two hundred dollars is a push, but we're gonna value this portrait forever, she'd still be like me, you couldn't of valued it that much 'cause you only bought one. Or she'd bought one and not said anything but still valued it, she would still not have felt the same way. And there's too much of us wrapped up in that. There's too much validation wrapped up in that. I know it's the same with Amy. Amy's a lot like me. She's a creative photographer that works on always trying to be better. But I need to be better. But I need to be better. But I need to be better, but you're already averaging nearly four and a half thousand dollars with your wedding photography. You don't need to be better, you need to pull yourself out of the work and make it about the woman you're photographing. I also had the distinct pleasure of photographing Amy and when I first knew that she was my client. And so what I love about that is when somebody is in front of you at their most vulnerable, the way she feels about herself was like, oh you know I'm self conscious. I'm this, I'm that, I'm that. And I actually invited Dustin into the shoot because he was waiting outside. He was gonna walk around town. And I was like, oh tell him to come up. And our conversation instantly fell into, as client-photographer, fell into she doesn't like this about her body but I think she's beautiful. Didn't it, I mean we had that massive. And you know, you think that's a conversation I only had with women you were amazed at the fact that she feels like that. We all talked about it and Amy said they're going like this. And he was like, you know she looks incredible and everything. And I can't believe she feels that way.
She still does that every day. The story is not changing, it's getting better.
It is better.
But I think it's a personal thing and that also as a photography thing and you can look at validation by people saying, aw you're so beautiful. Or you look so good, but the truth is is that at the end of the day it's who you are and what you're giving. And I feel like if you push it into service, that changes. If I go to, I'll show you their studio. So Drozian Photoworks and they are based three hours north of San Francisco in a little town called Chico which I call the boondocks. (all laugh) And so you're in a little town called Chico with how many weddings booked this year?
This is actually Red Wolf which is smaller.
It's only 13 thousand people yeah.
Thirteen thousand people and you've got how many weddings this year?
You must be the only photographer in town.
We do most of our work in San Francisco.
There you go, so, isn't that hilarious. I love that idea. And this is their beautiful little space. I love that the three of you, and Mapuana as well, have very similar spaces. But the one thing Aaron said was as he was loading the images, he said all three photographers are shooting your style but they all consistently have their own thread of what their style look like compared to each other. So when people say, you must get upset about people, let me show you their studio. I'll come back to that.
It was a pain getting that couch up there. (all laugh) It was a little tiny narrow staircase.
And exactly the same thing. It's beautiful work. And it's great connection and it's beautifully lit and it's beautifully Photoshopped and I can see that every single one of these girls are looking at you the same way that my clients look at me which to me is more important than just about anything else. And their wedding work is also just as beautiful. So I've put Dustin, Amy, and Nikki and Mapuana on my I Recommend page. I've started a new I Recommend page. It went live this morning. It's on suebryce.com. I'm overbooked so I have a bigger profile than most people so it's easier to market when I'm everywhere and people like my work. I have a lot of spill out. I can't photograph any more, I cannot physically take any more shoots. So I recommend these guys now. So I've just put up a page today. Not only gonna recommend you if I've mentored you, if I love you, if I trust you, if I believe that you're going to do your best for my clients. So you can go to that page if you want any more links.
Thank you for that.
My pleasure. It's, what do you do if people say can you recommend somebody then 'cause I need to be photographed and I like your style. And I go, yeah I've got a whole load of photographers around the world that are working really hard at it doing beautiful contemporary work. Mapuana who's not here. I'm gonna show you her studio before get a break because I really want you to see her fabulous studio and I'm so sorry she couldn't be here today. And we gotta talk recommend walls because, ah sorry, reveal walls because it's really important. This is Mapuana's folio her glamour folio. Again absolutely beautiful, consistent. Consistent editing, consistent connection, beautiful before and afters, consistent work. And you know, regularly posts her gratitude of being able to shoot these clients every single day because I just know how much she loves it and how it is important it is to hear. I feel like that really is a common thread. That the people I know that are being really successful at it they're just loving it so much. If I made you guys write your business on the ten area at morning break and have a look where you're falling down the most and just focus on one. The lowest one. Do that so the ten challenge is there. I need you to write them down. I want you to break your business into, you're business and style which is the name and the style of your website and what you're showing the world is who you are and what you do. Your product, your price, your marketing and networking, your shooting, your sales, you, your balance your family, goals, service and production, Photoshop, money management and business goals. Business goals meaning how much work you want, how much business you want, money management being, I suck at it or money's not a problem for me. Because it tells me a lot about what you value and what you spend your money on. Photoshop, are you outsourcing it? Do you need to less of it? Is it tying you up? What is the problem there? Are you not good enough? Do you need to learn more? There are a million brilliant creative live courses that teach you about Photoshop. But what I know is most photographers are simply getting overwhelmed doing too much of it. The you balance is where I would put my personal goals like relationships, anything you based, your health, your balance, your need to go to the gym. You know I worked for the first two years of my business, I worked an average of 20 hours a day. I slept for three or four hours a night. And the only way I could do that was by eating pasta and, you know for breakfast, and oh my gosh I used to drink five large lattes and then I found out they were like 250 calories each a day. And I was just eating and eating and eating and while I was building this really great business, you know, I put on another 50 pounds. And I just got to the end of it one day and I just looked at myself and I had all this money in the bank. I was really overweight, I was sick. I don't know how I was managing my stress. I was barely managing my personal relationships because I was a nightmare. You know I was tired all the time. I was cranky and bitchy and grumpy. I wasn't giving time to my friends, my family. And I certainly wasn't giving any balance or time to my body. I just put myself last in order to be successful. Rrrr, and I was trying so hard to be successful and I need you to really ask a question on this break when you do your rating. And that is what are you really trying to get? 'Cause some people are chasing the wrong thing. You think, I'm just trying to make it work! And it's like, it is working. You're learning, take you time. Back off a little bit. Stop giving yourself such a hard time. What are you really trying to achieve here? Like I wanna be instantly known around the world? Go and kill somebody. (all laugh) No, it was a joke, please. You know that's not gonna happen for you. It doesn't happen like that. At least you've got something that's completely ground breaking new. And trust me in the creative world that's few and far between. What are you trying to get so hard? Because everybody keeps telling me they're struggling or they're not working. What is not working? Are you not being supported? Okay I never feel supported as a human being. I'm an over giver, I never feel supported. Okay cry me a river. I don't ask for help. I am an over controller, I micromanage my staff. I deserve that because I do not know any other way. The best thing I learned when I was in business was to turn to Nikki and say, I need your help. It is the hardest thing for me to do. I struggled, they bought me dinner last night. I struggle with it. I woke up at four thirty this morning and I thought, I can't believe they paid for my dinner. It was my birthday dinner. But I can't ask people to help me. I can't ask people to do things for me. It's not my nature. Is that you're not being supported? Maybe you're doing that. Is it that you're trying so hard to be instantly successful when you haven't done your time yet. Slow down, build a folio. Somebody wrote on my website, you said built it and they will come. Most misquoted line in the history of man, one of them. It was build it and he will come. And it's from a Kevin Costner movie. It is not, build it for they will come. No, you are not Noah. You're not gonna build a studio and then people will be lined up at your door to give you money. You know, it's a horse and you might have to whip it. But whip it good. (all laugh) Because you have got to make this work. And you are the one that is sitting there going, it's not working. What's not working? Tell me what's not working. And stop telling me it's just not coming to you. Because so may things come to me. But I am so open to attracting them so whether you believe I that or not, yes. But the only time something doesn't come to me is when I block it. So when people go, how do you identify what is a block versus what is a real problem? (laughs) it's the same thing. A real problem is a block. I used to have this woman that I worked with, and I hated her. Going to work everyday I would drive in the car and I smoked cigarettes in my young years. I used to smoke like three cigarettes on the way to work. And I'd think I hate her, I hate her but I'm gonna be nice to her. Oh we drive on this side, that's why I'm flicking my ash out that window. (all laugh) I don't smoke anymore. I smoked many years. And I used to think, I'm gonna be nice to her though. 'Cause I'm gonna be nice to her. She would walk in and I'd go, uh. I just could not be nice to this girl. She was horrible. And she was ruining my life. I hated going to work and one day I read this book, and it said, maybe you should love her away. And I was like, how can, I can't love this woman. She's horrid. And so I started to think, I really hope the best for her. And I started to really hope, and I was young and stupid, you know, it was all everybody else's fault, not mine. And she came to work one day and she goes, you would not believe this, I've head hunted. I've got a job, I've got a promotion. I get more money, I'm leaving on Friday. And I was like, I did that. (all laugh) I loved her away. But up until that happened, I could not get past it. And it was all her problem, not mine. And I did not know then that it was, she was teaching me something about myself that I didn't like. I did not know about mirroring or anything like that behavior. I just thought, she's a nightmare and I want her out of my life. And when I started to like wish her well, she started to get like these really good things. And I was like, wow. And then she just went away. And I was like sometimes we resist so much. And really what we need to do is embrace it.