16 Core Business Concepts with Q&A
So how do you build a successful business? I hate to tell you guys that most businesses that failed, they don't fail for lack of talent photography studios that don't make it don't make it because their pictures are bad that's not why, and they don't make it because they aren't working. You can work yourself to death and fail as a business, and someone else can come in and pick up that business and work half a cz much and make it work. Why it's? Because they're working smart it's because they figured out the moves that they need to make to run the business. So when I got asking this creative life thing, I was like, I want to set up a list of all the successful things that my friends do and that we do and that my friends and I'm going to go through all of the photography cities that I know figure out what are the common things, and I was like, I'm going to like five things I wound up at sixteen s o these air sixteen things that every successful photography studio I know does or has had ...
to do to become successful, and the first first things pretty simple education in the industry, we're here, okay? We're learning no, I am implore you to stay up on your education. Like you need to learn and you need to learn a lot and you need to learn about the business of photography and you need to learn about lighting and you need to learn about posing. Posing is back like nobody's business like the people we went like off on this, like lifestyle photography and this photo journalistic tangent on weddings for a long time, these clients are now expecting great posey it's coming back and you need to learn how to post I'm going to go over how to pose and for a lot of people that I just started on this industry, it sounds like like this I'm not gonna teach you guys to do this. All right? I am going to teach you though simple tips and tricks that are going to make people look better in photos. That's what it's about is making people look good in their images and by knowing how to pose someone and understanding that it's different for a guy than it is for a girl and understanding how to do that quickly and efficiently. It's got it's just going to become part of what you do. You aren't even going to think about it because these rules are simple, and once you ingrain this into what you do in your workflow, your images are gonna become much better and it's not gonna take that much longer find a mentor I have like some of the most amazing mentors in the world I got, um I don't even know if I have timeto rattle off all the amazing people I've had that have mentored me throughout throughout my career, in photography, but fine one and it doesn't need to be some mega superstar photographer doesn't even some rocks are just find somebody that's in your market that's crushing it and approach them, and I think that a lot of people are eager to share go into it with an open heart don't go into it with a selfish one. You aren't there to exploit this relationship, but find someone that's willing to take you under and teach you because the second thing that everybody every studio's done is they learned how to walk before you run. Get a mentor and learn a lot, get real world experience, shoot a bunch of weddings before you take one on that's crazy if you're like, I'm going to go for diver, I'm going to shoot weddings. I've never done one before that's nuts, that's nuts shoot as many things as you can hang out with your buddies that air that are doing a lot of work and figure out what it is they're doing, and now maybe their work flows and perfect for you. But maybe you can find some elements that are and so focus on that obtain a ton of real word the there's a book that says you have to have ten thousand hours to master any craft and don't be naive that you're going to pick up a camera and start crushing it day one with an amazing business and ridiculous images is that is truly a unique situation they've embraced their new role is a professional photographer running the studio it's not about just taking it pretty pictures I mean you're the ceo of the ceo the cfo, the janitor you're the guy that's gonna order stuff you're the re toucher your everything and so it goes way beyond the people I know that run successful studios have understood that their job is not limited to taking amazing pictures their responsibilities go way beyond that and embraced that role and do it well they've nailed their digital presence everyone's heard like it's location, location, location it's not true anymore it's not we're in a digital era. I mean like having an amazing website in this industry is going to help your business way more than being on main street so you have to have a ridiculous website and and ridiculously awesome and we're gonna go over how to set up a good website in the next segment but it needs to be more than just a bunch of pictures it needs to be I've been does some website, some photographers, websites where I'll go on and it's like one picture and it's like seventeen pages of text like and and I love photography. If I can't sit through your website, your your clients aren't going to? Nope, and it needs to be an extension of your brand. It needs to give your clients the information they need to know to think about booking you and I need to give them relevant examples of your work. It shouldn't be examples of your work that are outdated bc show stuff that you're proud of show stuff that's what you do so don't think that you can set up a website in like three years later. It's cool it's not needs to be updated in search engine optimization is another thing you gotta you gotta learn that you gotta be aware of it. Number five act like a business this is like if you are trying to run a business, you need to you need to act like it it e understand how foolish that sounds, but it's true profits, not a dirty word, neither is no, no, I can't do that for free no, I can't shoot your session at seven o'clock on sunday, I'm hanging out with my wife, no! So don't be afraid to tell to say no when you're starting out because you don't want to get in a position as a business you need to determine what your hours are going to be you need to determine what you're willing to do for your clients as part of your included services head swamps not one for me you gotta pay for that so then the other thing about acting like a business is the speed and the conviction in which you answer a question affects its validity so the speed and the conviction in which you say your answer affects how seriously people are gonna take you so if you call me up you say hey matthew I really want to come on out and do a session on sunday and I see I don't know way really aren't open on sundays you have this thing I know I'm sorry I can't do it or you call me up and you say hey we'd like to have a we'd like to do a session on sunday my responses like I'm sorry I don't work sunday sunday so the one day a week I spent with my family so I'm unavailable to come onto your family session but I am available do you session six other days when when would you like to schedule so don't say no don't don't come back with no under the sunday session no no get explain to them why no, we maintain these hours because we are available for this give them options, but don't be afraid to say no. A lot of times people make their schedules work. Every business has workflow that flows if you show up at work and you're like, what should I be working out today? You are in trouble, you should know what you're working on a way before you show up. You've gotta have like, your job is your job and it's a great industry that we're in, but if you're too things, if you post on facebook at twelve o'clock midnight that you're working on images and you're really backed up, just so you know, I'm making fun of you when I read your post because I'm like a viewer that busy. Why are you on facebook? You got work to do to you should be that busy. My daily requirement exceeds most studios weekly quotas. We do more in a day than what most of doing in a week, and I'm home if I why aren't you is because you're you have a broken workflow, you have busted systems and you can you can work all you want, you can chase circles, trying to get your work done, or you can set it up right and not worry about it, all right, you have to have a sale system that sells I went to w p p and I got to see tomorrow lackey who here knows tamara she's been on here like what three trillion times she's my creative life so shout out tamara with the tamer lackey had a quote that I really it struck home with me I really enjoyed it she said that you have to develop a clear and repeatable sales process like you need to figure out what works for you when we talk about sales it's kind of a tricky road to go down because the fact that matters is there's a few ways you can do it and there's a few ways that it can work so I'd hate to tell you you can only sell this way you could only do this because it's not true there's probable ways to do anything over there's several profitable ways to do this so what you need to figure out is a simple sale system that works for you and once you figured once these businesses have figured out their sales systems they repeat him it's easy it's the same for every client it's an easy process and beyond that like make it a simple as possible to buy stuff from you don't make it hard complex sales systems crush your ability a cell next one this is this is one of the biggest ones desire you have the desire to make it work it's not gonna work if you don't care if your heart's not in it, if you weren't motivated to do this, you are not going to have a successful business period is not just gonna happen. And beyond that, like this desire needs to be across all the phases of your work. You need to desire to provide your clients with amazing images. You need to have that desire. You need to desire that you're giving your client's an amazing experience. You need to desire that your business is profitable and successful and busy. If you don't desire these things, they won't happen in every business. I know they wanted it, every good studio wanted it, but the thing about desire is that without action doesn't matter. You wanted all you want. You want that piece of pizza all you want, you get your but it's not coming to you, so you need to be willing to get up and act on your desires so without without this it's completely worthless, the desire and and I want you guys to really understand that when I want to tell you that actions needed, though I'm not saying just go out with the broads or just started swinging in and do your thing that's, not it we want to make calculated moves, but we got to make moves. And there's gonna be times in your business where you're going to have to make decisions, you're going to have to take action or you aren't growing embrace your strengths that your time and energy improving on your strengths, okay? By default, you are not going to be amazing at every genre of photography. You are not going to be amazing at everything and that's. Okay, so let's say, I'm really, really great at lighting. I can light like nobody's business, I can go into a studio and I can set up the most amazing lighting setup, but I'm a jerk toe work with I should probably look a commercial for tyre v I'd rather you shouldn't have to work with too many people. I'm not a nice guy. How do you have? Like I got a good smile. I'm all right, but it's not really. We're just pretending, but no like if you aren't if you aren't great with people gold commercial, two products, if you're great with kids, if you're great with kids, embrace that strength. Great studios have taken what they were good at and became great at it. They didn't take something that they were struggling with and become amazing, they took something that they were pretty good at, and they became the best, so think about that. Market research I love this quote so much marketing when we strip everything away is extremely simple figure out what you want to sell and then determine what it it uh who you want to sell to and then determine what it is that gets them to buy you got to figure out what it is you're selling okay? We're selling senior sessions that's what we're here to talk about right? This is a senior workshop well, you want to learn how to sell senior assessment we've identified what we want to sell now we're going to figure out how to sell it but you got to think that stuff through and figure out what's working for you what options you have and what things are really blowing up for you and maybe some of the stuff that I'm saying isn't perfect for you figure out what is working and exploited that's your market research is way easier than you guys probably thought it was gonna be home for market research every single business I know every successful studios failed you're not gonna bat a thousand you're going to mess up something's going to not work you're going to have an idea and it's it's not gonna be amazing and that socks but we already talked about that we're acting like a business we're doing our research we're learning howto walk so these mistakes these failures, our small failures there not enough to sink you but don't be afraid of that first time that something doesn't work in your business it doesn't mean that you're a failure it doesn't mean throw in the towel and retire it's not that at all every single successful business has failed it's something and it's how you recover from it and proceed that matters all right I'm a big hip hop music fan so for the next live we got holes quote up there all right once you've made your failures once you've made a mistake, you gotta learn from it like don't don't celebrate your failures don't fight to make them a success identify your failures, cut the loss and move on jay z but I will not lose for even in defeat there's a valuable lessons so it evens it up for me learn from your learn from your mistakes take it away move on fourteen get constructive criticism every successful business I know has gotten constructed prison has gotten better from constructive criticism okay, so when you talk about constructive criticism though, when I say this the photographers the most common thought is like I should take my photography to another photographer and have them give me constructive criticism that's what people assume I'm talking about when I did and I actually haven't done that in awhile I should probably do that you're just personal note I might pull some work and have you guys tell me what you think but, um, it goes beyond that it goes beyond your images I talked to a ton of my friends getting constructive criticism on this workshop. I get constructive criticism on all of my business moves, and I talked to people in my market about business moves that we're thinking about doing. I asked my peers for help a lot and I know and you have to go in there and be willing again, I want at all, like, spiritually weird, but you have to have an open heart, you have to not have a you can't be prideful about it when you go in and you ask, what do you think about this idea? Listen to what these people are telling you because they may have another perspective that's going to blow your mind, okay, so then we're talking about constructive criticism that way, right it's more than that it's way more than that, we could get it from our clients. Do you ask your clients when they pick up their stuff? Hey, dave, how did we do anything? We could've done better and I asked my clients all the time how was your experience? And again one client, some clients, crazy, some some people are flat out wrong and sometimes the things they want you to do, you can't do for a variety of reasons, but always ask and figure out what you're doing right because they're going to tell you the things that you did right now and tell you things that you can improve on and once you improve on those things, your business is really going to be running right focused creativity being creative just to be creative is fun it will not make you money. I saw this online marketing company and I love this graph because that's really explained a lot of stuff for this slide it really illustrates it well if you have something that is functional, okay, so it's going it's going to do something for you? You okay and it's beautiful but it doesn't work it's pointless if you have something that that's functional and it works but isn't beautiful it's ugly no one wants to look at that it's beautiful and it works but it doesn't do anything what's the point you have to find where these three things intersect that's where successes success isn't just being creative to be creative success is being creative to generate a new product to sell and last but certainly not least fearlessness james cameron has this quote I love this one there are many there are many talented people who haven't fulfilled their dreams because they overthought it where they were too cautious and unwilling to make the leap of faith and there are gonna be times that you have to make business decisions that are going to be scary and truth be told you're never going to be totally fearless but you are going to have to overcome that and make the decision I um turned down an account that my city has been doing for twenty four years this year new for twenty four years and it generates tens of thousands of dollars in gross revenue became a bad deal no longer something that we could do that we could put our heart into and that's a scary thing I have a deficiency and I know that we have to make up this income tens of thousands of bucks on me that's real money but I knew going into this that it was the right business decision so I had to overcome that fear of hanging on to that client and it actually turned out to be a businessman I stand behind it one hundred percent but it it it was a scary thing so make your moves figure out what you're gonna do you have the desire act on it overcome the fear and that's what you've done it there it is we ended early like two and a half days early good luck you go run of is this no absolutely not there's a way more than this way more than this um but these are the things that like I said these are what successful studios I know he's a sixteen things they all do and I'm telling you guys because I believe a rise on the tide the raising tide raises all ships we can all do better I want you all make money what you guys have a business the last forty years and so I'm here to help you do that all right cem cem start to the day we still have more going on in this segment but we do have time for a question or two if you don't absolutely great so a couple folks that were asking in the chairman and know that we're going to be talking about this later alex forty three rusal photography is it possible to start a senior photography business before you have a studio so possible to run just on location uh talked to people who don't have a giant shooting space so what slide was it who took good notes what was embrace your strengths number number ten number ten embrace your strengths so a lot of that stuff let's say you don't have a studio that could be something that you see is ah deficiency something that you can't do well at because I don't have a studio home again and sell senior sessions let's embrace the strength that we haven't doing that let's change around and make that weakness of strength so no we don't have a studio but we strive to find the perfect outdoor location for your senior pictures that's really gonna bring out your personality you go to a studio that's boring they have the same stuff for everyone don't say that about my studio but but wait no embrace that make that a strength yes, absolutely. You can do a photography you can do a photography business senior business without any studio? Yes, now I think that there is in my market a desire for people tohave like good studio portrait people still want that but just go ahead and in the way that you market and the way that you deliver presented as like that what we don't we don't have a studio but not because we're a new business not because we don't have the money for a studio yet not because we haven't found the perfectly we just we don't even want a studio that's junk you want to come out? We're going to everything on location is way, way cooler. All right, I have a question from wesa would like to know it says embracing the rules question I feel I don't look as professional when clients see I am doing everything so how to separate the rules a bit so you look like a legit business so I suppose if you're you know cleaning the counters and the windows and the on the harbour too, how do you how do you do that? I think that in a situation like that your clients like we're going to talk about this in depth it's actually one of my things where I talk about creating lifelong clients and I think that to create it's all about the relationship that you're going to have with your clients now I am facebook friends with a bunch of my clients I have some clients that are some clients that have become friends but in general I like my clients to be my clients and my friends to be my friends I don't like to blur those lines too too much and if you're having an issue with that, it might be because your clients have become too personal with you your business you do everything and if you're one person show yes it's a real business I'm a riel company with riel overhead with real bills with riel accounts that I need to make sure our profitable so yes, I'm one person show but yes, I do it all and I think that it shouldn't be a situation where hurts your credibility it would just reinforce that you are a business and so if people are giving you flak on that, I mean it might be one of those situations where they're too friendly your question I do have a question on I think I know what your answer is going to bomb and ask because I know that a lot of photographers out there that there in the same situation as I am, where I still have a day job, so I can't just go out right now and say, all right, we're going to be nine to five monday through saturday, and so and I mean, I've put in the hours I put in probably more hours in my photography business, and I put into my day job, my bosses want work, but weigh on, you know, unlike lorenzo, I'm not youngish, so but I'm putting in the work, and I know I've figured out what it is I'm great at, and I'm moving towards that, but, you know, how do you make that jump? How do you get the amount of work you need to make that jump toe leave that, you know? Yeah. Come on, get a safe environment. I get it a one hundred percent get it. And I think that there's a lot. That was like, the last thing we were just talking about is that fearlessness to make that u e o make that job. But if you are doing your own best, like let's and let's not even say that you have a business let's. Just say you have commitments, let's, just say your mom, sally, five kids. And you take care of your kids that's a that's a job you couldn't pay me enough to do that job I'm so grossly underqualified for that so but let's just say you've got a lot of stuff going on, you have other commitments, you got a job you got stuff to do, my message isn't that like I don't even think you need to work nine to five my message is just set aside what you're going to do with your business and fulfill that that time block with what you're going to do set aside ten hours a week, set aside twenty hours a week whatever you can and figure out where it's working now eventually your business should evolve where you have good systems, but you you need to add more time at which point that's when you have to do the math and carry the wine and figure out if you can afford teo do it but figure out how much you're going to how much you can give because the thing that I hate to see and I see it a lot is burnout and the way you'll get burned out is if like you go and you work your nine to five job and then you come home and it's like you're like I love photography, I do sessions for fun, I love it and it's great and then suddenly your hobby business is becoming like a real business, like you started get riel clients. You shouldn't do all this work, and then a person it's like, well, I used to like it because I was, like, shooting one or two sessions a week. But now I'm shooting like two or three every day after work, and then I hate my life because I guess, stay up late at night to edit all my stuff. And I'm I'm neglecting my family, and I'm not having any fun. I'm not doing anything, so you need to have going back to the question. You need to have that fearlessness. You need to figure out how much time you can give it, work the systems so that you're maximizing that time, and then do the math when you can make the jump.