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30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lesson 2 of 53

Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"

 

30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lesson 2 of 53

Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"

 

Lesson Info

Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"

here we go with day to setting up shop and you guys, you've got your workbooks and actually everybody's gonna have this. You can go and download and roll download the workbook pages for today so you can follow along. We've got a ton of info in here, a ducks in a row checklist that you can go through as we work through. But we're gonna talk about everything it takes to set up shop. I'm not going to get into a ton of legal stuff with you guys. There was actually just an amazing creative live course that was done last week. That was Craig Heidemann Heideman, and you know it. So if you really want to get into all the legalities, go and watch that they actually set up a business live on air while during creativelive and so you can see how all that happens. I will touch on some of that because it is so important. Um, you know, one of the things that we'll talk about is going to be sales tax. And Kelly mentioned that when we were going through and talking about, you know what it is to be a pr...

o, and I worked with a photographer just a few weeks ago who has been in business calling himself a professional for three years. And we started talking about it, and he is not charging or paying sales tax. Three years of being illegal is what that means. You know, if you are taking $1 from somebody and what he said to me was, Well, I just do it for my cost. I'm not making any money. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you're going in the red. If you were taking $1 from another person for a service or a product, you need to be paying sales tax. There's just no way around it, so we'll get to that. But But get your ducks in a row, worksheet out as we go through this and you guys all have this there. We'll talk about getting your ducks in a row, and the very first thing is a business plan and it's always debatable. You know, do I really, really need to write a business plan? And you know, that kind of feels like a drag, but it really I mean, a business plan. All it is is just gonna set things in motion for you. It's just really toe. Think things through and to go through and think about your marketplace. Think about why you want to be in business. Go through and define a mission statement and, you know, just walk through the process of, really, would it. What does it mean to be a professional photographer? What does it mean to be in business and put that plan in place? And, you know, there's a saying that says, You know, if we if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. And I really believe that when it comes to our businesses putting that plan in place, having those systems and strategies that are repeatable and reliable are so important to making our business happen and you guys can go too far photo talk biz, download your free business plan workbook and do that. We're not gonna walk through the business plan together, but that is a great first step for you and designing your business. And so download that. Spend some time with that and really think through the process of that workbook. Here's a couple of resource is for you again. I'm not going to go through lots of legalities. But there's a ton of info here at this filings dot com. They've got all kinds of information for setting up your business business, the forms you need, what you need to apply for and how. And then, of course, s B a dot dot gov that is the small Business association and a ton of info on that Web website as well. So check out those resource is and then, you know, name your business. Anybody have trouble with that? I know, uh, Amelia saying yes, she's got trouble with that, you know, and there's it's debatable. Do we want to name our business our name? Do you want to give it a different name? And you know, there is no right or wrong naming it. Your name has certain benefits. You know, every person that you meet, you are marketing your business. My business is Laurie Nordstrom studio. And so if I'm Laurie North for meeting somebody, it's very easy to remember the name of my business. It's Lauren words from studio, and, you know, and that's great. However, the cons are, you know now, 15 years into the business, I have a second shooter and I have a videographer and, you know, people on staff. And it's It's Laurie North, some studio. And, you know, at this point, I kind of wish it was a different A. And so my second shooter actually shoots for a division of Lori Nordstrom studio. And so that's something you know as you move on. It's something to consider. Even if it's a business name, it doesn't mean that you can't have a division of your company that other other people are shooting for working for, so that no pros and cons there. The other con is if you ever get to the point. Selling photography businesses is a lot harder these days, and it used to be. But if you ever get to that point where you've built something that you want to sell, it's very hard to sell it if it's named your name. And so that's something to think about as well. And, you know, having a separate name, just one of one thing that I would recommend is not to go with something overly trendy or overly QC or overly hard to pronounce. I've seen it all, but I really think through your business name. And you know, there's a lot of times when there is maybe a word or a phrase that really is important to you, and it's special to you. And so it seems to make sense that that's what I should name my business name, because this is really important to me. But if you have to explain it every single time, you say it. But it's probably not a good idea, so make sure it's something that really makes sense for people. I've also seen people name their business the name of their street, and then three years later they move. And so you know, if you're thinking about it, you know geographically or you know the name of a street or a town, make sure that it's something that if you do decide to move even if you think you're planted there forever, you never know. So, you know, I think if you if you're move across town and you're different in a different part of town, is that name going to carry to another point of of location? And so I think some of those thanks to is you name your business, and then, after you've got your business name, you need to register it. And that is usually a simple is just going to your courthouse, registering your business name. You can usually do a search. Their of what other business aims air names similarly or the same. And you don't want to name anything the same. Of course, that there is a photography studio down the street that has a name that sounds like yours. You don't want that confusion. And I know that that happened to Megan. Someone named their business, Meghan Marie Photography. And in the same town, you know, and making was first, so wasn't within her fault. But, you know, thank that thanks to and going to register your business name Will will help you, Teoh, avoid that problem. So go and do that. And then you're gonna want to take that business name and make it your website. And again, a website is something that's so important to think through because you want it to be easy to understand. And when I would even recommend going and seeing if you can buy your business name domain before you finalize making the decision on your business name. Because if you can't have it, then you know you've got to come up with something with a hyphen or a daughter. You know, whatever. And it's it gets confusing for people. Make it very easy for them to find you. And so naming your your domain name your business same is something that's really important. I had a website built back in when it was like $10,000 to have a website built back in the day and, you know, and I didn't know any better. I named my my domain name Nordstrom photo dot com That made sense at the time. Now I really wish it was just Laurie North from studio dot com. But it's been that way for so long. I'm not gonna change it. So, you know, important to really think those things through and make sure that name is something that's going to stick something that's with you. And then that domain name is gonna match it. And then I would also encourage you to buy your personal name by lorry Nordstrom dot com, Whatever your name is and have that also linked to your website, that makes it a lot easier for people to find you, especially if you have a business name that's not your name. Then they If they're searching for you, they can. They can find you very easily. Malia, um, how important do you feel it is to have the dot com opposed to dot net? Or that's a great question. I do feel like dot com is important, especially if the dot com that you want to rename dot biz or or whatever else is a similar business. If it's not and it's if they go to that website and a you know the whatever dot com and they know right away, that's not you, because it's jewelry or boots or whatever. Um, not as important. But if they go and it's another photographer, that's gonna cause a lot of confusion. And so I would not recommend getting the dot biz or dot me or dot info. If the other one is confusing, okay, and then, please, please, please make your email at your domain name dot com. Did I spell that right? I did, you know, and I see this all the time and even from photographers, have been in business for five years or 10 years, and you know it's Laurie Nordstrom at yahoo dot com. That is not a professional email address, and it's very, very easy. If you've got your domain name, call somebody and just have him do it for you. If you don't know how to do it, it's not hard. But get that email professional and consistent with your business name and your website and then set up a blogged block is another thing for me, that is. And, um, you know, if you want to do a blawg site instead of a website, that's great. But one of the things with blog's and a lot of photographers get bogged down with is we'll talk a little bit more about this another day. But, um, you know, it's it's hard to keep it fresh. It's hard to make that time and put it in your schedule. And so the one thing from me that you'll hear and you'll hear this again is if you were going to do a blawg, make sure that you've got that set time weekly or biweekly or you know every other week, whatever it is, but just that it's consistent and you're staying fresh and we'll talk about different ideas for keeping it fresh other than just the last session that I did. And so we'll go through that. But a blogger is the next thing. It's a great thing to have if you're starting your business because it really helps people get to know you. You want your block to have a theme. And so it's not just, you know, I did, you know, here's the last session I did. These kids were so cute and it's the same every time. You know, talk about what's happening around you and in your life, and people really are buying you. They're not buying your pretty pictures or not. You know, we've got to brand us and who we are, and people do want to know those things. I hear people ask a lot of times, you know, Well, how separate should I keep my Facebook page for my business page? And you know, should I put myself out there when I have a business and my answer is yes, you'll hear different answers from different people, but I really to believe, especially in our type of industry that is so personal, and it's so relationship based. You know, people do want to know what's going on and who you are and what your personality is, and that's and that's great. And we do become friends with our clients. You know, I use Facebook a lot to just stock my clients. I'm they're finding out what's going on in their lives and making comments and making sure that I'm a part of things that are happening with them. I'm not marketing necessarily on Facebook, but it's a form of marketing by staying up with my clients and staying involved in their lives. And so a blawg should kind of do that same thing. Show off your personality and you know what people get to know you and kind of have a theme to go with it and then set up your social media profiles. And this is something also that's very important to stay consistent with your website name or just have it be your your personal name. This is another thing for me that in the beginning I did north from photo on Twitter because my website was north and photo. But I really wish I would have just said Lori Nordstrom. You know it's hard for people to find me at times. So think those things through. I think a lot of times with your social media profiles, having just your name is very valuable and then have your business identity underneath that. So you're still showing off your business identity, but it makes it easy for people to be able to find you. But get those set up right away, and you want to have those set up a squeak lius possible when you're starting your business so that you make sure that you get them. You know, first of all, you don't want have somebody else being, you know, having your name. Or, you know, as Mallia mentioned, maybe that the website she wanted was already taken. And so that probably means that Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and you know those things are taken as well. So they're all things to take into consideration. If I can't have that name, I want that dot com and I want I may not be able to have the soda social media profiles that I want, and so get those set up right away. Business licenses. This is a drag, right? A lot of these, you are going to find exactly what you're gonna want to get at this sp a dot gov licenses and permits. It's different for every state and country. I would imagine eso go and make sure that you're looking and finding out exactly what you need for yourself. Locally, there's zoning restrictions in different areas. There's, you know, all kinds of things to look at for business licenses and very easy to just find them there. You can also probably find them at your local courthouse, but a lot of times it's not as easy as it is for me. I My studio is on our little main street in our town on our downtown square in the courthouse is in the middle like you just go over there if I need something. But you know, if it's not that easy for you, just go online. There's what we can search everything these days. So you really find out how to get yourself self set up as a business and get those licenses in place. Make sure taking care of those. Most of those businesses license are free, so, you know, don't be afraid that you know you're gonna incur all these costs by getting set up legally. You just need thio Thio, get set up. Look at those zoning restrictions of stuff, especially if you're a home studio. I have actually seen photographers start their business and their husband built them a beautiful studio in their home only to find out months later that it's not legal for them to have a business in their home. And so make sure that that doesn't happen. A lot of places, but it can happen. So make sure that you're looking at those zoning restrictions in some areas. You do have to pay a fee for having a business out of your home, and that's okay. Just make sure you know what's going on and what you need to do, and then you're gonna build that into your pricing. You know, as you figure out how many sessions that you need to be doing and at what average and we'll go through that will make projections for that, and you're gonna build some of those things in if you've got those kind of expenses and then your e I N number is your employer identification number. That's the same as your federal tax, I D number and everybody. If you're in business, you need to have this. This is going to separate you your personal self from your business. And so, without any idea number, you're gonna be using your Social Security number on everything. And so that's the importance of having a federal tax I D number is so that you can separate that this news. You hire an employee, you're gonna have to have one anyway. You know, there's then there's other reasons toe have them. But the biggest thing toe have one when you're starting is to separate your personal identity from your business identity and hiring accountants. I feel like this is something that's really important. And, you know, in the beginning, we all think we'll just take care of the books ourselves. We'll make it happen if you got an account of background, Fine. But if you don't, if you're like me and think, I'll get it done and also decided this time to do it, and then I sit and stare at it. You know, just hiring accounting accounting can help you so much through the process of deciding how I need to be set up legally and getting sales tax and property tax and all those other things paid on time and keeping you in order. And you know what happens a lot of times where we started trickling, trickling along and money is kind of starting to come in and we think we're gonna keep track of it. And then, you know, a year later when we're busy is the time that we need to be getting all that paperwork done and it doesn't happen. And we get ourselves into big trouble. And I've seen photographers get into big, big trouble over not having taken care of their paperwork in the beginning. And so on account. It is one of those expenses that I don't feel like is, um, you know, it's just not something to scrimp on. Go and talk to an accountant, make sure you're getting set up legally, and you've got the paperwork ready to hand to them so they can get things done for you. Get your taxes paid on time and all that good stuff. So we're not getting into trouble there. Charge of pay sales tax. And I told you we talk about that, and I won't spend too much more time here. But this is so important, and it's very easy to register online. You can file and pay online as well, and so it makes it very easy for you. I actually in my calendar, I've got my my dates to pay sales hot tax every month. Just pop up in my calendar so that I know. Okay, today I got to get online and do this. But when you when you're keeping your books properly, then you can just go in and you just it's just typing in numbers. So you're just looking at your totals, typing things in, and it figures it all out for you. It's very easy, and then you can pay it right there online, so don't be afraid of this. This is also something that you can have your accountant do if you just. If that freaks you out, I know what freaks. A lot of people out, I actually don't personally do it. My office manager does it, but it's just it's easy, you know, just going in there and filling out those numbers. If you don't have somebody like that and you're like me and you just don't want to do it yourself or won't do it yourself. Your accountant can do it for you. We're a bookkeeper, and then you don't want to set up a business bank account. And this is another thing that I feel is really important to separate, personal from business. And so And it's an easy thing, of course, you know, you just go and set it up. These things take time, but you do it once and it's done. So take the time and make sure that you're going through those steps to get these these things taken care of insurance. We all love talking about insurance these days, right? But insurance is something that is very important for you to have a Zara's covering yourself or anything that can happen. There are several types of insurances that you'll want to look at. General liability and product liability. Professional liability, which it sounds like a lot, but it's really not, um, and then commercial property insurance. And then if you've got a home based business, you're gonna want to make sure that your business is covered in your home. It does not automatically cover it with your home coverage you're not gonna be covered for things that happened in your business. If someone were to get hurt in your home or, you know, even cracking a you know, I don't know what could happen. Something you framed something in a drops or, you know, gets on somebody's foot. I don't know, but all those things you know you need to be covered for and make sure that you're talking to your insurance agent, letting them know how you're running business where you're running business and get covered for those things. One of the things that we did a few years ago I'm doing lots of home installations, you know, going to our clients, homes and, you know, delivering these types of products where we're doing a whole grouping hanging on their wall in just a little bit of extra service off by offering them the installation as well. And that was something that I just called my insurance agent on and said, You know, hey, I'm gonna be going into clients home and pounding nails and walls and, you know, taking heavy frames. And, you know, is there something that I need to be extra covered on? And yes, there was, and it was just a $2 a month writer. So very easy. But just making the phone call so that I do know that I am protected and we'll talk a little bit more about that when we're talking about, you know, framing and installations and that kind of thing. But, uh, you know, just make sure you're telling your insurance agent how you're doing business and where you're doing business so that they know. And even I think it's important to let them know what age is you're going to be working with, You know, Is it always kids? Are you working with older people? Older couples is a huge, huge market these days. These people, they love photography. They grew up, you know, in the real world of film and not our crazy are crazy digital world. And so they value Portrait's and you know, it's it's a legacy that they can live, and so that's huge. But, you know, let Pete, but your insurance, they don't know. You know, I'm working with old older couples every day, and is there anything special I should be thinking about? And next on our list is education and we have creative lives, so you can just check that one off. But there are course, lots of different places that you can go for education, whether it's a convention workshop. Creativelive is awesome. Of course, books, magazines, you know, there's all kinds of things. There's a little list for you there in your workbook to kind of think through. And I do feel like educationists so important. And I think it was Molly who mentioned that, um, you know, education and maybe even somebody online who said, You know, just that apprenticeship and education is something that I really feel like we're missing out on these days because we can pick up a camera and say, I'm a pro, you know? And we're missing out on that apprenticeship period that, you know, back in the day we we went through. You know, I worked for another studio for a whole entire year for free. When I started just because I wanted to be in that space, I wanted to see the business run I wanted toe, you know, learn more about my camera and my equipment, and I didn't shoot that whole year. All I did was marketing I went and got displaced for them. I did sales. I did all the back of the house stuff, carting negatives, you know, all the stuff we used t do. But it was such a great education in my business by being in someone else's business for a year, and I think that is so valuable, and I do feel like we're really missing out on that. I think photographers are generally very ego, ego driven. We want that person saying, You know, I love what you did those those images air Amazing. You're so awesome, You know, when we're not willing to step into somebody else's business and actually learn because it's somebody else's name, you know, if you can get rid of that ego and actually go through that education period with another photographer, No, you will learn so much and gain so much. And there are some photographers who really are better suited working for someone else, and that's OK. You know, you don't have to feel like you've lost your whole identity if you're working under someone else, and I, my second shooter in my studio, is an amazing photographer. I tell her all the time She's better than me and, you know and I love having her there. But she's just not the type that wants to go and run her own business and and deal with all this stuff, you know, and that's OK. You know, if you're that person, then you know, take that time away. Or maybe you do want to have a business at some point, but take some time and go work for somebody or learns from somebody and that, you know, can just be a mentor. I think finding a mentor is something that's so, so valuable. Um, I still to this day pay for training. I pay to spend time with certain people that I want to spend time with. Some are inside of our industry somewhere outside of our industry. Summer business mentors that I have, and I always have somebody that you know. I'm either meeting with regularly or I can call if I need to set up an appointment to talk something through, and you know that is an investment that you won't regret. You know, find somebody and I just find somebody that you can you trust that something that's doing what you want to be doing a year from now five years from now and, you know, learn from them. They think that's so valuable. Your equipment is the next thing on the list. And of course, we all know that cameras number one, But we've got a whole list of equipment here, and I'm just gonna actually turn to this page in the workbook. Um, for this equipment checklist that you're gonna have here and I'm not gonna go through each thing, But you've got a whole list of here of different things to think through. And you may even think of something else that I didn't put on the list. So there's space for you to write that in as well. But you know, there's a lot that we need, and especially if you're going to do something other than chasing kids outside, which is what I did for the 1st 5 years of my business. After five years, I realized I wanted to have a studio and I did move to Iowa. So I kind of had to because I shoot inside part of the year from Texas. Amy can shoot outside all year long. Sometimes you don't want to cause it's dripping sweat, right? But I moved Iowan and had to set up a studio. And I do feel like these days that is something that can set your business apart right away. Because out of 100 photographers, 99 of them are shooting natural light outdoors or natural light newborns. And, you know, while that's great, you know, if you can if you can learn your studio lighting even if you're taking it to somebody's home, it is something that's going to give you a different look and set you apart, so and, well, we've got a a segment a day that we're gonna be talking through studio lighting and I do everything very, very simply so. My studio lighting set up is not gonna scare you. If you're excited about learning, studio lighting will go through all that. But think through your equipment and what all you need to do Geo really get going. We all need software, and I will put this out there that I would highly highly encourage you. If you're calling yourself a professional photographer, have professional tools available to, you know, Photoshopped elements you guys is not a professional software. Invest in photo shop. Invest in your tools as a professional, you know, whether you want to edit in light room or, you know, whatever editing software that your gonna use, you're gonna wanna have that get state getting stay current with photo shop. That's something that you know, we all we all think it's a drag that we have toe spend money every single month now on photo shop. Now it's a monthly fee. But it's one of those things that when you consider it an investment in your business and your priced appropriately, you're gonna cover those expenses with your pricing with your profit and it's all taking care of, it's all OK, so think about making those kind of investments in the different software tools that you need. And then we have marketing and, you know, when I want to go back, I'm not sure what. See, I may not have put this in there, but another thing was, software is to really think about a professional sales presentation software and, you know, think through how you're going to present your images to your clients because that's something you notice that when I was talking through a website and Blawg. I did not talk about a shopping cart, and that's because I'm an encourage you as we go through these 30 days to put a plan in place for meeting with their clients in person to show them their images. And I know at least half of you have gone from online sales to in person sales and have seen your average is double and triple and quadruple. And Carly, you guys mentioned Carly. I'm working with a girl locally, mentoring her through the 30 days, and you guys are gonna get to meet her tomorrow day 11. You'll get to meet her. She'll be here and then you'll get to see her studio makeover on Day 30. And so we're super excited about that and working along with her, Carly went through, and I'll let her share a little bit about this when she's here. But she went from being an all digital photographer $50.75 dollar sessions, sometimes 150 when she was feeling really brave and giving them all their files, all your digital files or yours, and this girl is busy. She's shooting to 20 sessions every weekend, and you know and dying, you know, And she's got a full time job during the week. And so she went through this, and as we talked through, when he started talking about, you know, offering products and resetting up her pricing and meeting with her clients in person to actually just show them products. And I told her, You know, I want you to just tell them I've got some new things that I'm offering. I'm super excited about it. There's no obligation you're still gonna get your digital files, you know, they're still gonna get what they asked and paid for. But let me just show you. And, you know, and I told her you be excited about it and just tell them they're one of the first to get to see some of these new things that you're offering. And, you know, show them in preview previews the software that I use for our sales presentations and then to build our wall groupings and the design that we're putting together for our clients And so, you know, do it walking through this and build it. And her very first sale was $700 sale. So she went from you know, in this client wasn't obligated to even purchase anything. She was getting all our digital files. But just by showing her in making those suggestions, she was able to take her $50 you know, making no money. We're not making any money there, you know, to a $7 sale. So I'm excited about that. And so invest in that professional sales presentation software and a way to get in front of your clients with their images. Marketing is next, and, you know, with our marketing expenses when you're starting, you can keep it pretty easy these days because we do have so many digital connections available to us, But you're probably gonna wanna have business cards, at least for another year till we're all bumping are what is that? One is called, Um, but, you know, until you know, everybody's doing that, which will come soon. Uh, you know, have your business cards available to you have some professional pieces that you can have out and at different businesses that you're going to be partnering with by the end of this 30 days, Um, you're gonna want to think through your packaging and we're gonna spend an entire day. Talking about packaging and making your presentation of the clients image is very beautiful and something that they're excited about getting and, you know, gift cards or something that I feel is so important in the beginning when your portfolio building or when you're getting started, you know, establish a session fee, but then be willing to give gift cards away through other businesses or even person to person, that you're giving to someone and saying, Hey, I'm happy to do a complimentary session for you, but you've got that session value out there, but you're doing something complimentary for them and not giving away product at the end. You know, just do the session and get in front of them. We'll talk through all of that. But gift cards is on my list of marketing expenses, because I think that's a great tool for you to have in the beginning and moving on. I still I'm a huge believer in and those free session cards and then, uh, stickers. I put stickers on everything I don't buy a lot of personally personalized things like bags and boxes and even postcard. Sometimes I'll buy a stack of cards and then just put labels on them. And that way I can, you know, brand them with our different product lines and really, you know, personalized packaging that way. So stickers another thing on my list and then forms. And today, with your free download of today and the download is going to be a couple of forms. It's our model release and notice a copyright. That's something that we have every single client sign before I work with them that is, getting the model release out of the way and then acknowledging the copyright of the images. And I do feel like that is so important, especially they did all you guys we have to educate our clients on. You know what copyright ISS and the model released noticed Copyright is a very simple form. You'll you'll see it it short and sweet. It's just a notice, a copyright that they initial. But I can actually verbally say to my client, you know, this is a notice, a copyright. This said that you understand that I retained the copyright of the images that will be taking today, and they're not to be reproduced in any way, and you know they can acknowledge it back to me with an initial, they can ask me questions if they have them. You know we're not leaving it out on the table. Were also not just putting on the website or just printing it on a card that we're sending to them and then complaining that they ripped us off, right? You know eso taking control of that. So that's one of the forms that you'll be getting. And then another form that you will be getting is a print released, and what the print release is is a release for the print of images that when you do sell your digital files, I'm going to encourage you as we talked, their pricing and some of the other areas that there comes a time when giving digital files away for free. It's perfectly appropriate when your client buys what you want them to buy, what you think is best for them to have in their home and as a memory, then sure give them what they want from those digital files, and it's OK, so we'll talk through some of that and how to make that happen. But with that, I want to make sure that my clients have a print release, and they understand that I am not releasing my copyrights. It is a print release for personal use only. And so, by having something that we give to them that we both signed, it's something that we Aiken verbally communicate with them again. You know, kind of how this all works so that it's not just Here's your files, do whatever you want and, you know we're not releasing copyright. So that's another form. Now that you'll get for free today, I am not huge on contracts. I'm not gonna tell you don't have contracts in your business because I think in some people's minds contracts, you know, really help the process along for me personally and again, there's no right or wrong here. I'm not telling you don't have contracts, but for me personally, even in my displays with my clients, you know, whatever it is, I want to build these personal relationships and a contract doesn't feel good to me. And so I don't have contracts. The only thing I have a contract for our my wedding clients, and it pretty much just says I'm gonna show up to shoot your wedding and you're gonna pay me and it says it nicely. But it's a very, very simple contract. And so got contracts are gonna be another thing that's discretion able for you guys. However far you think you need to take that and then, of course, order forms. And that is something that you know, even now in the digital world. When we're putting an invoice together on the computer, I still like to have an order form that I can write on when I'm working with a client because I really feel like it. It keeps that personal connection going, and they can see me riding down and taking notes so they understand that I'm I'm getting what they're saying to me and, you know, and we'll talk through that a little bit more. But an order form would be another thing on that forms list. There's a sales presentation software. I thought I missed it, but we talked about that preview is the sales presentations, doctor that I use and professional vendors so and I just want to encourage you guys to make sure that you are using professional vendors that you're working with people that put out a professional product. And you know that is really, really important these days that we have something that is a product that they can't just go and buy at Costco, Wal Mart. You know, we want to have something that's unique and special and different, And, you know, of course, now they can buy canvases anywhere and they can buy albums anywhere. You know, we're books, at least, but having those professional vendors that we can rely on is something that I feel is really important. I've got a list for you in your workbook of the different vendors that I personally use. And of course, there's lots out there. I think the most important thing with your vendors, it's kind of like your client relationships. You just you wanna have that a company that you connect with and, you know, great customer service is certainly a huge part of that, but you're probably going to know if it's a fit the first time you call, or the first time you try to do business, you're gonna know this. Maybe not for me. I'm gonna move on and you know, but find those connections. The people that I have listed here in your workbook are all people that I have really great relationships with. I know that if something happens to a piece of equipment, or if I order something wrong, you know, I can call and they're going to take care of me, and they will take care of you to customer service is something that's really, really important to me and then thinking about where you're going to be set up. Where are you setting up shop and setting up shop does not mean that you have to have a shop, a retail location, you know, setting up shop could be, ah, home studio. It could be all on location. Um, for your home studio. Some of the things that I feel I make it a better situation are toe have things separate. So you're not having your business in the middle of your house. And you know that your your kids feel like they have a home or your husband feels like he has a place to come in and sit down after work. You know, I'm so separated as much as possible. I know it's not always, you know, gonna happen as soon as you start. But make that your goal, that you've got a separate entrance, that you've got a separate bathroom for your clients. You know, whatever you can do, toe just separate. The space is gonna help you, Teoh. Keep that business professional in your home and then working on location. One of the things that I feel is really important for that is to have a checklist and make sure that you've got everything that you need when you're leaving, when you're heading out the door and I have some friends trying Heidi Eifert, who worked on location they actually have a studio now, But they worked on location for many, many years, and I've got a little video to show you of their, uh, little thing here. They built this little platform kind of showing you how this is the back of their car. Put the platform in when you open it up, they've got they're all there lighting equipment in their backgrounds stuff. This is those air samples that they have to show their clients packing up clamps fan even. You know, they had it all so organized and categorized so that each and every time it was consistent walking out the door, and I really feel like that. That is I mean, this is just such a great example of having those ducks in a row and being organized. If you don't have a studio location or even a home studio, you can still be very professional when you drive up and in the execution of everything that you're doing, you know, have a plan in place so that it's consistent every time. And that's really gonna help as you, you know, be a pro, become a probe. All right, so that was studio you all right, So these air those day to download that we talked about we've got the permission to print is that print release form. And then the model released a notice of copyright on our model release. We call it our client profile in the studio, and it's just it's got information, and it's got, you know, the name, the names of the kids, birthdates, contact information, all that good stuff. And then it's got a model release, and I actually say to the client when I give them this, I'm handing them the model release at the top part filled out for them when they come in. That's something that I learned to do just as a customer service thing. And I started doing it after I went to a spa and, you know, you get to the spot, it's like going to a doctor's office and you've got all these forms to fill out, and it's like, What a bummer. You know, I get here and I'm rece ready to relax, and I gotta fill out all this crap and I went to a spa and they handed me the clipboard as per usual. And they had everything filled out for me except for personal details. But they had all my contact information and everything was in there, and she handed to me and she said, Just check through that. We've got all the details correct and make any changes that you need to and sign at the bottom. It was so easy, and I was like, I am doing this from now on for my clients. I mean, why not take the time to do that? And, you know, not have to have them sitting and feeling all that. So we do have the first part filled out for them. We tell him, Look it over, Make sure it's correct. And then we let them know, you know, and this is a model release. I need you to sign it today before we photograph this. Just says that that, you know, you're okay with me taking your images today. And I actually say that because there's no reason that they wouldn't sign it. They're there to have their images taken. So this says that you're okay with me photographing you today. And if we use any of your images on our website on our blogged in any marketing will be sure to let you know, but this takes care of the paperwork. So I say it that same way every single time. And it does take care of the paperwork. I do. Let them know before I would ever use anything. Most of our clients want to be on our Facebook in our website, blawg. Whatever. But I do go through that with them. I tell him this takes care. The paper, right paperwork, and then at the bottom is a notice. The copyright and I let them know this is a notice, A copyright. This says that you understand the images that we take today or not to be reproduced in any way, and I do retain the copyright, and so we have them initial there, So all that's verbally communicated before we ever shoot. So you're gonna get those as your free downloads today. How and fantastic. That was a huge summary of getting started. My goodness, there is a lot to consider. There's a lot to consider. And that is why we're taking 30 days per year to go through this. Because I can't do it all at once, especially to do it right. Like you were saying about the person who has been doing business for years without actually being set up correctly. How many people do we know who shoot every once in a while on the side and don't actually pay their taxes problems? Don't I believe we know what? In any case, I just want to remind people that again, what you're saying is that four day to day two alone, we are giving you the sample, the chapters of what is in the full paid version of the workbook and so you can go to right now to the Web page for this course and download those. And that is just a sample of again what you can get for all 30 days. So thank you for making that available for everyone for free. And that also includes those releases that we just talked about. So we are going to take some questions. We have a few minutes to take questions, so want to start with our studio audience? If anybody has any questions about setting up shop Molly for the model release when you're photographing, you know the Smith family five times you know where you are. They having to do that every single time because it's a different ideo were just okay. Yeah, that's a good question. And I do have our clients fella tomato release for every single session that's gonna go into their workflow envelope, which I'll share with you guys. But that's gonna go in. I want to be able to pull that session and have that documentation, you know, no matter what, and so they don't I don't I'm not going through it each and every time, verbally, but they do understand when they come in, they're going to sit down and sign and fill that out and it's dated. So it's also dated according to the session. And so that makes a big difference to I currently use a contract. How do you handle retainer for session fee? Right now, mine is six months that they need to reschedule, and it's nonrefundable. But I'm also running into some of those issues, but I feel like if I don't have it in the contract or I don't collect prior, I don't have necessarily a commitment for my client to show up and loyal. Spend on that with Sarah Lake from online. Who says interesting that you don't use contracts. How do you have client acknowledge basic things such as their retainer being nonrefundable, charging a fee for re booking, etcetera. How do you handle that? Um, you know, and that's a really good question. And as we go through, I'm gonna I'm gonna go through our entire first phone call with you building a relationship with the client and how that works. The reason that I don't use contracts and the reason it works for me is because I am building this relationship. I am leading them through the process, and we're continuing the conversation throughout the entire process. I do take a retainer on the first phone call when they book their session. My next question is, How would you like to pay for that? So they're paying for it. Um, but the problem and the breakdown usually happens if you have people that aren't showing up. We've let the communication process down somewhere in between. So I need to be keeping up with my client in between. I need to be communicating with them. I need to be planning and designing their session with them, which will go through. But from the first phone call to the session time, I'm on the phone with my clients at least once, sometimes twice. I'm texting them back and forth. They're sending me images of their walls. They're big and they're close. They're becoming very invested in the process with me. And so I can't even remember the last time that I had a no show. It's It's literally been years. I really can't even remember one happening, but it's because of the process and, you know, and through everything that we go through and talking about processes and building this relationship ship and communicating with our clients and educating our clients. You know, all of that is to lead to the final sale. But it's also to take care of our clients and make sure that they have exactly what is best for them. You know, it's all for them. Yes, it's for the business. We want the business to be profitable. We wanted to run smoothly, want have those systems in place. But we really are by doing those things were taking care of our clients, you know? And if if somebody doesn't show up, you know, I literally would be What What just happened? Because they're, you know, something got led down along the way. And I believe that in the sales, or if I've got objections in the sales room, there's something that I didn't take care of before they got there. You know, if I have a client who goes to another photographer, I let the relationship down. Somehow. I gotta figure out what part of my process is broken, you know? So all those things because of that, that's why for me personally and I again, I'm not telling anybody, don't have contracts, but for me personally, the contract feels like a little, you know, almost breach of our relationship, and and it is just a personal thing. I love that. Got a quick question, a couple on Facebook on how to set yourself up there. Michelle Kenzi says she is suggesting we do put ourselves out there and share our lives on our business. Blogger Facebook, etcetera. I've been concerning combining my personal blawg, on which I discuss home schooling and parenting with my photography blawg, but some of advised not to do that. What do you think and then related? Lee TC Photo to 38. When you're connecting with their clients on Facebook, are you doing it as your studio page or your personal page? Um, I am doing it as my personal page. I actually have seriously considered over the just even the last few months getting rid of my studio page on Facebook, which I know is going to sound like blasphemy to a lot of you. But I don't get clients from Facebook. I don't want clients from Facebook. I want clients that come in with personal connections to other people that I photographed as a result of displays as a result of business partners that I'm working with, and we'll work through all those things. If somebody calls me just because I saw something on Facebook or messages me on Facebook, I have so much work to dio and educating them and getting them through the process. And so, um, I for me going personal is, I think, much more valuable. And for the person asking about the blogged, I do think that I think that your clients are interested in those things. And if she's, ah, home schooling mom and talking about family on her blogged, she's gonna attract those kinds of people. She's gonna attract the, You know, the homeschool moms of the people who are really invested in family and maybe stay at home. Moms and people invested in family will spend money on their family a lot of times, even when it's a stretch they'll save. And they really work to make sure that they can come to the professional photographer and have something beautiful in their home that their kids can see every day. And you know when when kids can look at this I mean that and they see the investment in their family, you know, They know they feel good. They feel loved and taking care of him. Mom and Dad loved me. Look, look at this. They love me, you know? And so those kinds of people were gonna be attracted to you and your product. And so I think it's I think it's great to combine.

Class Description

The strongest portrait photography businesses have one thing in common: a dedicated, strategic plan for artistic and financial success. Join creativeLIVE instructor Lori Nordstrom as she goes through 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business, an intensive course that will give you the step-by-step tools you need to survive and thrive as a portrait photographer.

Over 30 days, you will work with Lori to develop a plan of action for marketing, branding, and pricing that will keep your clients happy and your business growing. Lori will outline the lighting, posing, and shooting skills she uses to make sure clients come away from a session with photos they’ll love. During each daily segment, Lori will discuss the topics covered in her 72-page workbook (included with purchase).

By the end of this course, you’ll have the concrete skills you need to attract clients, build a successful, satisfying business, and deliver stunning results every time.

Lessons

  1. Day 1: So You Want to Be a Pro Photographer?
  2. Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"
  3. Day 2 Bonus: "Setting Up Shop"
  4. Day 3: Getting Organized for Success
  5. Day 3 Bonus: "Planning"
  6. Day 4: Studio Image
  7. Day 4 Bonus: "Studio Image"
  8. Day 5: Defining Your Niche
  9. Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"
  10. Day 6: Defining Your Target Client
  11. Day 6 Bonus: "Your Target Client"
  12. Day 7: Marketing Part 1
  13. Day 7 Bonus: "Marketing - Part 1"
  14. Day 8: Marketing Part 2 Ideas For implementation
  15. Day 8 Bonus: "Marketing Part 2"
  16. Day 9: Networking
  17. Day 9 Bonus: "Networking"
  18. Day 10: Pricing For Profit Part 1
  19. Day 10 Bonus: "Pricing Part 1"
  20. Day 11: Pricing For Profit Part 2
  21. Day 11 Bonus:"Pricing part 2"
  22. Day 12: Projections for 2014
  23. Day 12 Bonus: "Projections"
  24. Day 13: Scheduling and Planning
  25. Day 13 Bonus: "Scheduling & Planning"
  26. Day 14: The Inquiry: Handling Emails & the First Phone Call
  27. Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"
  28. Day 15: Client Education & Customer Service
  29. Day 16: Defining Your Product Line
  30. Day 16 Bonus: "Product Line"
  31. Day 17: Packaging Your Product
  32. Day 17 Bonus: "Packaging"
  33. Day 18: The Portrait Consultation: Designing & Planning Session
  34. Day 18 Bonus: "Consultation"
  35. Day 19: Photographing at the Client's Home: Shooting for the Wall
  36. Day 19 Bonus: "Wall Concept Shoot"
  37. Day 20: Shooting On Location: Client's Home with Older Kids
  38. Day 20 Bonus: "Mandi Shoot"
  39. Day 21: Shooting On Location: Client's Home
  40. Day 21 Bonus: "Dryden Shoot"
  41. Day 22: Adding Video to Your Portrait Sessions
  42. Day 22 Bonus: "Adding Video"
  43. Day 23: Shooting with Studio Light
  44. Day 23 Bonus: "Studio Lighting"
  45. Day 24: Portrait Workflow
  46. Day 25: Sales
  47. Day 26: Handling Objections: Finding Your "Yes" Answers
  48. Day 27: Special Events & Mini Sessions
  49. Day 28: Charitable Events: Give & Get Day
  50. Day 28 Bonus: "Charitable Marketing"
  51. 29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?
  52. Day 29 Bonus: Skype call with Lori & Carly
  53. Day 30: Goal Setting & Motivation

Reviews

fcaisp
 

This course is amazing! Lori covers so many essential things to have a successful photography business. She goes through everything in a very methodical way. I also appreciate ALL the free stuff she gave to help make my business successful. I also love how she shared how she gives back in her community and worldwide. Thanks Lori!

a Creativelive Student
 

I cannot say enough GREAT things about this course!!! I've been in business for over 10 years now, but still need to check in on the business side of things periodically. This class reminds us just how much fun marketing, sales, and planning can be. It has rejuvenated my passion for the BUSINESS side of this business. In fact, I'm so inspired by what Lori has to say, I think I will recommend this class to my COMPETITORS down the street. We will all be better for it and the industry will be better too! This is perfect for those just starting out AND seasoned pros :)

a Creativelive Student
 

I have loved so many creativeLIVE courses but I have to say this has been THE BEST for me. Lori thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I am feeling more confident and excited about moving forward and making my photography a real business finally. I have been crippled by insecurity and fear and with this course I feel like I have finally been given the ok and the KNOWLEDGE to do what I need to do. Thank you!