Specialism with Guest Jeff Jochum
For a lot of people special ism is that topic I know that I've gotten a lot of feedback from the last couple weeks as I've announced, what were we talking about that is creates a lot of confusion and people are saying what is special what's the difference between specializing in special ism and in order to help me out with talking about this topic, I asked jeff yoakum, who is a trusted friend, a mentor and really the pioneer in this industry of specials and to come on and guest and guest present today fifty about special so without for their deal one welcome jeff on what about you guys? All right, well that was it, right? Ok it's going to get you know, I thought it was better that well, we'll work on it for next time well, thank you so much for having me that's this is really the only way I get in front of the cameras when somebody invites me and the people who were behind the camera don't know who I am and this is gonna be a lot of final I think I've got about six hundred slides to go...
through, so we're gonna do them very quickly no it's not going to be that that slow but I do want to try hopefully today what I really want to talk about is not just what special is um is but how it affects you, right? And the purpose for me of special ism is to be able to work happy. I mean, let's be honest, we're not, you know, we're not in a profession where we basically said, oh, well, I I went to school to become this, and now I have to do that. You guys are all here. This is a passion profession in a photography in general, whether you think it's, artistic or not, what all of the, you know, the politics aside, people I've never met anybody who became a photographer because they didn't make enough money is a brain surgeon, all right? This is something that you feel compelled to do, and ultimately, if you're in a profession where you feel compelled to do something, it would make sense that you're happy doing it. Yet what I've noticed and what actually drove me initially to focus on special ism is all of the people I know and have worked within the industry in a relatively high percentage of them basically said, god, I just just tired I just not having any fun anymore that seemed soak outrageously contrary to me, right? I mean, that was a person that caught my eye, and we might hear really about special ism is I thought of it more as a marketing strategy. That I did as a happily work happily strategy, right? And I think that when you were describing the differences there, that really helped me understand more about, oh, it's, not just about how you can attract clients it's about working happily doing what I want, right and in fact, one of the basic, you know, tenets of what I believe in, what I teach is you can't have happy clients if you're not happy, you know, and and sure we can, you know, we'll talk about camilion ing and we'll talk about being able to fake it and, you know, but the reality is that what you guys are doing is is not as photographers as artists it's not small, right? I mean, if you're really good at this, aren't you changing lives? Even if it's just a little and that's what motivates us that's the kind of stuff that makes us happy, so oh, you'll notice that my my website name is damn it, jeff. Um, yeah, you figure that one out, huh? As we go forward and by the way, just so you know, you guys, I think I gave you some heads up, we're going to be giving you homework at the end of this, and then tomorrow morning we're going to be kind of going over that um, yeah, my, my, my just and again, this is jared told me to mention this to you. My bite is worse than my bark, so we're we're quite good. I said that, right? Yes, totally. That so what I really want to talk about is the secrets of a happy business, you know? Now again, isn't that why you got into this? You want to be happy in your business? And what I use is the tenants in the loss of special ism to help us get there. And so one of the basic premises of that is success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you're doing, you we will be successful and we kind of think about that and we go duh, right? But what's interesting is that's been around since buddha said it and he's, a sixties rapper? I don't know that, but it's been around forever and it still seems like we know what it is, but we don't seem to be able to grasp it when I'm going to try and do. And what we're going to try and do through special is a mock up of what we're talking about today is figure out how you can use some of these laws to apply it so that you can actually pursue that rather than just go god, I know that's what it's supposed to be but I don't quite know how to get there um and this is the basic premise you have to be happy in your business and your business will not make you happy unless you design it that way. I love thinking of my business is a sociopath iq partner who doesn't care about me at all all it cares is that I'm making money and the more I'm keeping the happier my businesses and it doesn't matter if my business had its way when things were slow, my business would get say, well, you think you could sell a liver right? It doesn't care, I'm replaceable, the business is sociopathic and the only way that that will change for you is if you become the boss of your business. If you design your business to say business, you're not going to be happy and you're not going to be successful unless you do it my way and your way had better make you happy and we're going to talk about the difference between special isms specialist because there really is a huge huge difference between those two so what is special ism and why now? Is it a revolution or is an evolution it's both it's a revolution in your brain to be able to say, well, wait a minute I get to define what I do for a living I get to define who I work with I get to make sure that I draw people to me who were like me so that it helps me self actualize but it's also evolution because as in every profession and by the way, if you don't already know this photography is a profession, it is not just something you do because you have a camera at least not the professionals that do it it's an evolution because in every profession as time goes on and as it matures, it splits up, right? I mean, doctors. In fact, the one of the examples I used my book is that we used to call have barber surgeons back a couple of hundred years ago, barbara surgeons think about that for just a second. So what do you do for a living? Well, I'm a specialist. What do you do? I cut your hair, I pull your teeth and then I also bleed you if you're sick, awesome god, I got to believe you're going to be really good at all of those things, particularly the bleeding part and what it what is it that allow them t to do all those things? The communist was the chair right what this is why they did all of those because all three of those things required you to have a chair that you could lean them back in and over time the chair became the least important factor, right? I wouldn't go teo to be honest with you, I'm not sure that I I'm certainly sure I would not let the person who cuts my hair do a gall bladder surgery but I'm almost assure that I wouldn't let her fill a cavity right just because she's got a chair doesn't mean that she should be able to do that and it's the same thing with you guys if you think of your chair use the metaphor an analogy as a camera just because you got a camera doesn't mean you are talent your your capable of pulling teeth or of doing surgeries right? Ok let's move so it's the reason that I say evolution is because it's about population density as I mentioned the barber surgeon which, by the way, that barbara poll that you see that red white barbara pulls a little bit of trivia fun fact the barber pole you see red white red is for blood white is for barber yeah, of course the doctors didn't keep it because they didn't need the marketing the barbarous hung onto it no, we used to be part of doctors I'm cool I'm important up the food chain up the food chain that's right hung on to the brand uh but it's really about population density the reason that used have far resurgent to reason everybody you know the guy who cut your hair also give you a shave and also pulled your teeth it was because back in the day to think about the u s midwest back in the day there was only four hundred people within a forty mile radius and that's the that's the maximum marketing they could get to matter how loud they yell that no matter how much they did that was it so they'd better figure out how to get fifty of those people in a month to give them some money especially when everything was a quarter and we talked a lot already about how as photographers were generally not trying to book the whole world right we don't need to book everyone we just need to book a few client I mean a few being maybe ten, maybe twenty maybe thirty clients a year that are perfect for us. Yes. When my favorite objections when I hear somebody goes well you know there's going to be objections by the ways you specialized all of your general this friends are going to go well is there enough business out there? Well, how many clients you need right special ism is at the top of the pyramid top ten percent of the pyramid and he's like well what? What about that other those people that you know I'm booking now that I won't be booking in the future we'll again how many clients do you need? Do you need five hundred? You need a thousand and if you don't, if you need a dozen two dozen three dozen fifty a year if you doing seniors maybe one hundred there's plenty of people in your population area now because it's no longer about that small town two things have occurred the internet, which means that the world ultimately is now your small town and southwest airlines, which means that you can fly anywhere on a good day for seventy nine bucks a round trip um, checks in the mail said health west I give my home address all right? So I'm going to give you a few things what a few secrets that I've determined based on special ism about how to be happy in your business and by the way, when I say happy what I don't mean is, um stupid I don't mean uh it's it's, pollyannish I mean happy is something you're consciously doing and what you're doing in your business is actually giving you joy we're gonna talk about how to do that, but first rule is you can't be happy or you can't help others be happy if you're not happy yourself and in photography the easy way to kind of recognize that is and you guys may be able to reinforce this if the client loves him they love your photos because I know that there are some some of you if not all of you have taken photos where you're like oh my god, this this is the end of my career, right? She's going to hear she is going to go up and they're going to you know they're going to create a website saying don't buy from this person dot com and then you hand him that photo and they go, oh my god, that's the best thing I've ever seen, right it's not about the photo it's about how it makes them feel and what's in it now agreed if they see a photo that's blurry and has red eyes, it doesn't matter who's in it, right? We're not talking about incompetence being accepted. What we're really talking about here is understanding that what your job is to help them be happy so that they can truly appreciate what it is you're doing with your camera I'll never forget when way messed up at the stars one time a couple years ago and I was testing out to you in raw and j peg and so when we got back and I download the photos, my assistant sent out all the j picks them on monday it wasn't a wedding, it was a party, and I got an email from them saying, oh, my gosh, we love the photos the party looked, I didn't realize what was happening party were obsessed than thank you so much for the quick turnaround time, and I was what? And so I wouldn't look, and we sent them straight to camera, jay pegs, and they loved every one of them exactly, and then I got to be a hero and say, well, great that's just the preview, wait till you see what we do with, you know, and they're like, they're not they're like, oh, my god, you're going do more, but I was mortified, but I really realized that people were in love with who I was at the wedding at, in this case, the party, and they really love the phone. I mean, there are stories like that were, you know, that somebody sent unedited photos to somebody, and they were all green, and they ended up picking a green leather case for their album because they wanted to match the huge you it's so consciously placed into all of their images, right, selective coloring, we'll call it selective background, the other side, you know, number two, happy secret numbers happened, people specialize. And the reason I say happy people specializes because by specialising particularly if you follow the logic that it's about your uniqueness gives you a sense of well being gives you a sense of self satisfaction right and again when I said I want to reinforce this it's not about the images that again not incompetent images but it's not about the images let me ask a quick question if it's okay if we kind of go this direction if when you guys julie when you shoot a wedding are all of the images are there some great ones and some not so great ones that you deliver to the client so and you think there are great ones and not so great ones you think there's a difference in those those two? How much do you charge for the great ones? Not so great how and and then how is your client going to know that those air great photographs they don't care, they love you there all awesome and if they don't love you, you could be the greatest photographer in the world and they'd be mediocre right? But I love it when somebody goes no no no there's a difference between great photographs and not great photographs great how much you charge for the good ones because the only way a client knows to reward you and no staff value something is how pay you for it and if you don't if you charge the same amount for that mediocre photo in your mind as the wonderful one then what you're basically telling them either they're all mediocre or they're all awesome okay, so you have to specialize in my opinion to really reach that that self satisfaction because it's not just about picking initiates about actually infusing who you are into what it is you're doing through your performance not just through your photographs um and this is my basic the law of interactivity reality but this is also at the at the core of what I consider special ism the reason it's valuable is anybody can copy what you do now before I move on is there anybody here that disagrees with that mean that may be hard, but you know there's an old chinese proverb says, put your finger in water, pull it out and if it leaves a hole you are replaceable, right? And no matter how talented you think you are with for the camera, anybody can learn to do that or at least emulated right? So anybody can copy what you do but nobody can copy who you are. So the on ly riel value you have the only real way to be um to differentiate yourself in a way that can't be copied is to infuse the who of you into the message that you've got into what it is you stand for we'll talk about that so we know what the difference would be generalised in a specialist is ultimately a generalist is jack of all trades, right? Somebody who basically says half camera will shoot tell me what you want a special list in many cases is somebody have chosen in each and it used to be I'm a wedding photographer or on the boudoir photographer but it's actually grown beyond that now because there are so many people in each one of these niches, I think you also need to be able to say I'm specialized in something that's a really good example is mike larson, who on ly shoots vineyard and private estate weddings that's it our jason grub jason angina grub in denver on ly outdoor weddings with fit brides, right? You know what, it's a half a million dollars a year business in denver and think about it every in they're charging I think fourteen thousand a wedding at the top in are there enough it brides in denver there are yeah, and do they like being called fit rights? Heck, yes, right, yes there and that's what I was trying to say is it doesn't limit your market, it actually expands I make the joke that says you can really specialize to a point where might scare you says I'm only going to shoot multiracial weddings where it's, a white bride whose asian and she's four foot three and the groom is black and seven feet tall because what I'm really good at is contrast shots I shoot everything black and white it's awesome now that sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But here's, what I can tell you you get that out to the market, you're going to shoot every one of those weddings in the world. All right, everyone and that may be enough for you, but special ism is a carry over. It takes you one step further instead of specializing, which basically says, where is there a market that's unmet. And how can I meet that special ism comes from who you are and then you build a business around that message? Because as an example you could say, well, not there's nobody out there shooting same sex weddings right now I'm going to go do that. But if that's not part of who you are, I guarantee you somebody who comes to that in the in the near future where it's important to them your armory down in southern in the atlanta I think she shoots same sex weddings because that's part of what's in her family and I guarantee you that she is going toe own that space long for somebody who just happened to notice it and going after it because it's authentically who she is and now we're hitting a big word its authenticity right? You have to be authentic and genuine which means that you have to know who you are and most of us are raised not spending a lot of time figuring out who we are we spend a lot of time figuring out what we want other people to think we are so one of the processes that I used what I call it the team x system is it's a force that process the four d's the first is discover why you matter both here the market and to yourself what is it that separates you? What is it that makes you who you are in such a way that and again it's not trying to figure out how to tell everybody everything about you you just want to tell them everything you want them to remember I want to repeat that it's not important to tell your client prospects everything about you it's on ly important to tell them what you want them to remember. Okay? Because if you tell him everything about you their brains just aren't going to retain it. But if you tell them what you want them to remember you have to choose you have to decide what you want them to remember that's tough and that's where discovery comes in and then the second step is definition now that you know now you have to pick the right words the right way the right message that relays who you genuinely are and who you authentically are the third step of that is declaration sometimes that changes the words you use or sometimes that changes the message. A great good example is a gregory buyer line down in in nashville his definition word he's an indulgent guy in his basically three words or decadent sophisticated are sophisticated, cosmopolitan and decadent these he's pretty sophisticated definitely cosmopolitan is quite a foodie he is a food and wine I get a good food recognition from yeah yeah yeah, he recommends placed eat you definitely want to go there but what was interesting is his real personality and definition was indulgence he's a very indulgent guy but you know that didn't resonate when we went to declaration with his clients, his clients or high end nashville brides they don't want to be indulgent, their indulgent all the time they wanted to be decadent they didn't just want steak instead of hamburger they went admirable morel sauce and blue maytag blue cheese they want mohr than enough and so as soon as he attached the word decadent to himself not only did the quality of his bride go up, the quality of the people he was connecting with went up and of course so did his price and finally it's deliver and delivering is, how do you bring happiness to others while being happy with you? And what that means is focus, by the way special is, um, you know, specializing in special ism isn't about sacrifice it's about focus it's not about giving everything up it's about focusing on what you want to do and spending all of your time and energy doing more of that and delivery is making sure that your message, your website, your blawg, everything you say about you reinforce says who you are and what you're missing a zoo business owner. That was a toughest part for me of all because you do have this natural tendency that you feel like what you feel like, what you're leaving behind you and you feel like, oh my gosh, if I go out and declare this to the world, what about everything? I'm not going to get what about everyone who I was booking and I yeah, it wasn't the ultimate wedding. Yeah, it wasn't the ultimate bright, but they were great, there was still fun, it wasn't bad I still like, did I still pay the bills that takes spending and you worry about all the things we're leaving behind and I spent I know I spent a long time they think that the last the deliver stage was the hardest part really is because you're you're announcing to the world and you're so paranoid about what you're going to be behind as a coach entrepreneurs make the worst baseball players in the world because you swing it everything they rolled the ball over the plate you're going to golf it out to first base right it's like I don't want to miss a ball I got a hit a ball and the reality is that will absolutely destroy your ability to succeed what you have to be able to do is know what your pitch is you have to be able to understand what it is you want to hit what you specialize in and when you do that then your delivery gets so much easier right? And that takes us to kind of secret number three happened happy people know what makes them happy now I'm not going to do this but I want you to just imagine this for just a second how many people are online? Many people are watching us thousands thousands we don't have that exact number this know that talking thousands is good I just want to create some tension millions will go tonto so if I were to say to select one of you one of you and say please stand up until the millions of us when it is that makes you happy in just a few words your goods even you're not I'm not going to do it but right now, just thinking about it, your guts are kind of turning over a large thing, right? You say you're tightens up a little use little higher scene I saw I saw you guys scream. Oh, oh, hannah, I may ask, you know, and if it's not about what makes you feel good there's a huge difference between what makes you happy and what makes you feel good. What makes you feel good is something that we were talking about it in the green room of one of my my coat, my coat. So I smacked my microphone there, my co author me riko, who was also a creative live instructor. Um, we're talking about this earlier and what makes us happy? There are things that we do, not only for ourselves, but for others and for the compassion, right photography is is an industry and a concept that is rooted in this what makes us feel good, his ice cream and doing stuff for ourselves. The big difference between those two is the stuff that makes me feel good when I remember it later, it doesn't give me any joy. I remember eating that ice cream sundae relieve leaves me kind of but what I do want it makes me happy is when I remember it later, it gives me happiness all right, when I've done something for someone else when I when you've done when you've shot an incredible event or you've worked with some people where you were even a little life changing remembering that actually releases dopamine into your system and makes you feel happy again happy is something you can recall feeling good is something you can't recall so if you want the definition, the way to know that's how it is and happy people know what makes them happy and we do more of that this the number four is happy people fly not just avoid falling I've gotta be honest, my first slide I was like, oh, we're going tony robbins on this rally for the second line is like, oh ok, now I get it and that's that is so true of not avoiding falling versus flying it's a big difference stoked and in fact it's even harder because as an entrepreneur beginning you learn not to fall right anybody who starts when they start out their business tells you, oh yeah, I'm all about you know, success big fat liar pants are on fire, right? Because when you wake up every morning when you start your business, you're kind of like please god, don't let me do something so stupid today that it takes away everything I worked up to this point right that's not falling but then there comes a time where you say, well, and now I want to succeed, not just survive, and when that happens, you actually have to flip one hundred eighty degrees, you have to basically become risk, you have to own the risk rather than the risk averse, you have to kind of say, what altitude can I get? Not how do I keep from hitting the ground? And that means that you start setting a new path for your business and for yourself, instead of saying I'll shoot everything that I can to put money in my pocket, that by the way, you should still pay rent what you're going through this process, you have to start thinking about how, like, how can I gain altitude? How can I go to work? I want to go, and he goes back to that first thing I said, teaching your business to take you where you want to go, not where it wants to go. All right? So let's go through a couple of laws, one is the law of uniqueness, one of a kind is better than is one of a kind of better than different. Often we don't separate those things we think different creates one of a kind, but uniqueness isn't about being different uniqueness is about being one of a kind. And if I worked, you know what we were talking over and I were talking earlier, and he said, I, you know, I am different in these ways and and most of the time photographers identify their skills as a way to separate them, god forbid you should price that's we know that's a fail, but even your skills I'm a better photographer than jared is easy, you know, may I may think that's an easy target, right? But the real kicker is what happens if you think about this you're sitting at a table with three people who to other people you respect, you respect their skills? And now the client says, I'm going to pick one of you. Why should I pick you? You don't get to go well because they're incompetent because they're not they're competent. That is one of those things you should be always be able to answer if I'm sitting in a table with two other competent, skilled professionals that I respect, why should the client pick me? And if you don't have an answer for that, you better or you're in the wrong place because I guarantee if they're going to be successful, they do, but what isn't going to work is you being able to say you're better than them because quality doesn't work for us anymore? Quality is not something in minds of consumers that weaken separate because we don't understand it let's be honest photography is were you selling a sophisticated product to a fairly unsophisticated customer and if you think you're going to be able to train them to know the difference between good and grading your photographs good luck let me know how that works out for you because I haven't seen anybody be able to do that yet you can even go to w p p I and be judged by five professionals and one of them will go this is the best photograph remember seeing the other one says yeah that's the bottom of the barrel how is that possible? How is it possible that professionals can have such differing viewpoints on your quality of your goods that's because we don't know what quality that exists in more every wine is the management of some wine that's a great one I mean shoot every time you're selling a sophisticated product to my unsophisticated I think really it's not like they're uneducated or there it's not sophisticated whether or not professionals not in that space right whenever you're selling a sophisticated product unsophisticated unknowledgeable on under syrian client and it's totally you know it's impossible have differences in the nuances I have a problem with wine because I like wine and I look at the wine ratings and one guy gave it sixty eight one guy gave it ninety two well I have no idea who to believe and even if you have a ninety two it might I mean you think it's a ninety to correct now if they add to it well, this one was fruity and this one was bold you know what I like fruity in boulder I don't like football and that takes us to the unique characteristics and that takes us the way for you to describe yourself as well. Now we talked about earlier what if I don't? What if I narrow myself to a point where I don't have enough customers? Tolstoy basically said there are a cz many hearts as there are loves loves is there our hearts? There are as many customers as you need there to be in whatever niche and whatever focal point you go after because I remember the world is your is now your market and the broader it is and the more clear it is actually the more you'll travel the more people will bring you in to see it happy secret number five happy people are controversial remember the only bad ideas the one everybody likes there's been a statement a long time ago and george bernard shaw basically said all innovation comes from the unreasonable mind reasonable men choose reasonable solutions innovation comes from unreasonable lines you want to be different you want to make a difference in both your market in your world be unreasonable and that's. Why? You don't have to worry about being unhappy and being controversial.