Don't Become a Small Business Casualty
Today, we're gonna be talking about what to avoid, what what is the thing to avoid? More than anything, one of most small businesses do when they open their businesses, they end up failing with wedding photographers and of failing within three years. So we want to talk about how not to do that, who wants to fail in their business? I don't see any hands going up, but before we get into that there's six key steps that we're going to talk about today, and if you miss any one of them, the chances of your business failing go up tremendously. But before we get into that, we want to talk about something way more important, which is my wife's adorable little face way realize that not every one of you may be familiar with who we are, so we always like to start out with a little recap of who we are, where we come from. And yes, this is me in the fourth grade and my love of photography, my journey started at a really young age with my mom, and she worked in a film developing lab, and she was alwa...
ys taking photos of me and my sisters growing up, and I love that she was able to capture these moments and memories of who we were, and that is ultimately a why island. Photography I love being able to do that for other people and so I've just really carried that love with me throughout the years I got a degree the speech communication degree at college and then I started working in nashville at a question record label down there but never did I think that it actually become a full time professional photographer I've always just loved taking photos kind of when I met this man that it all changed and for those of you that are wondering tuning and maybe have never heard of us before yes my wife is seven and a half months pregnant she doesn't have a little beer get got going anything like that uh maybe it's crazy that we fly all the way to seattle be been here for six days while we're this far pregnant but our dr shirts everything was fine she's in great health and he's feeling wonderful so don't worry at home going to labor yes so this is me I'm not even sure hold I was here maybe five years old and my wife always makes the joke that my mom had a chip in the bull because there's always this little chip in the front of my hair there but it's I promise you it's just a colic it's not a not a chip in the bull so I grew up in a tiny town in northern minnesota my parents split up when I was three years old so we were super poor didn't have a lot of opportunity believing at the town I grew up in up in northern minnesota was eleven hundred people so as you can imagine, it wasn't a lot of people aspiring to do great things where I came from we're very poor when I was a kid so poor we remember he's so blue our shoes back together with shoe glue until we could afford to buy irony payless shoes and my mom worked like mad multiple jobs all the time they tried to take care of us so fast forward I'm twenty one years old I get my g e d actually stopped going to school in the third grade believing around three to third graders last time I went to school and there was always this mountain in front of me going what am I going to do with my life? I don't feel like I could do anything I'm don't aspire to do anything I'm afraid to step out of anything that I don't know because I'm from this small town and I don't have a great education what am I going to dio and one day I'm twenty one years old and the youth pastor for my church takes me out to lunch and he goes zach I believe that you could do something more and up until that point I had never had an older guy in my life going I believe in you I believe that you could do something greater than what you're doing now and because I have that all of a sudden I believed it so I and left northern minnesota I joined an internship in the process of doing that for two years I met my amazing wife jody we started long distance dating, we got engaged, we were getting close to be married and I had left that internship I was playing music in this internship and when I had left uh the artist that I was playing music for it signed a record deal roof to national said, hey, do you want to come play professional music? And I was like, yes, this is my dream come true I'm getting paying now to do something that I love to do and who can go about improvised that like yes like I want to get paid to do something that I love and it actually ties a lot into what we're going to talk about today so my wife and I were about to get married and I realize that now I'm you know, when I was working back at home I was making about seven and a half dollars now we're now let's make maybe four dollars an hour but working four times as much was making about a thousand bucks a month touring professionally two hundred sixty days on the road every year and I was frustrated because I was doing something that I loved, but I realized it was something that was missing with that, and I didn't understand the business of music, so I got frustrated, I quit jody and I got married two weeks later and she's four point oh, college grads she gets, you know, a job working for a record label she's my sugar mama for a few months in our marriage because I have no job have no money, and I come home one day and I get this job on careerbuilder dot com shooting school yearbook pictures, and I hated it, but I was like, and the photographer is kind of cool it's scientific, which I love, but it's also artistic, which I love same reason that I love music and I read this book and if anybody's taken notes and you're in that position right now, you're going where and why I want to do something amazing with my life, but I don't know what to do. You read this book by this guy named dan miller called forty eight days to the work you love, and dan miller said this you could have a creative tendency for me it was music, but you can scratch that itch many different ways photography and I went, jody, what do you think about becoming photographers? And she is the other in person in my life that is this inspiring person that when she says that she believes I can do something I believe that I can do in the first words out of her mouth were I think that you we could do that. I think I love photography myself let's give this a shot, so we kind of don't write in we shot a few free weddings, and then he shot our first five hundred dollars wedding of gina two thousand seven when we thought we're rich and we booked eighteen more weddings that years, our first year, we shot nineteen weddings from june to december, and we eventually had are one size fits all package where you got everything and that we could possibly think to throw in there for fifteen hundred dollars, plus our firstborn child whenever that came along. And so we were just going really fast and people are booking us because the quality of our work was really good, but we realize that there was something missing. I started kind of crunching some numbers, and I was thinking to myself, at this rate, if we want to make an average income, we need to be shooting fifty to sixty weddings a year, and we're like that's not possible that's ridiculous or we'd be ableto or we'd be driving ourselves insane and the frustrating thing about that at that point was it was turning back into what music was for me. I'm doing something that I love getting work, we're getting paid well, we're not really making a really living doing this. This isn't a real serious job, so we're listening. Tio, this financial advisor is really smart with businesses won't need dave ramsey and the radio, and he would say, where you're going to be in five years is dependent on two things. The books you read and the people you meet, we're like, what really books have we read? Like zach was reading a ton of like technical books and like, who do we know that's reading? Who do we know that, like, really successful at photography? And so what we started doing instead of sitting photographers down and saying, what do you wear the wedding's? How do you shoot this? What lens do you have? We started asking them, how do you run a profitable business? And then we started diving into business. It looks so judy and I launched into two thousand eight with a brand new business plan. Um a lot of things that we wanted to do within the next five years, including having clients that were working for us instead of us working for them, we want to be making a six figure income, which was a massive stretch for me, and they were making more than about fourteen thousand bucks a year my entire life, and we had all these ghouls and all these things we wanted you and completely change your marketing, branding a lot of the things that we're going to cover today in this talk, and we launched in two thousand eight, within two months, we had our five year goals, financial goals, so we were making a six figure income that year projected within two months of restarting our business, we realize something that point one that we were excited that we were able to do it if we were able to do it, we felt like anybody was able to do it, and and the other thing was that we wanted to share that information with as many people as possible. So today, what we're going to talk about over the last seven years of running our business, we figure there is sick, major, major important keys that if we weren't doing any one of those things, the chances of our business succeeding went down tremendously and who wants their businesses succeed in a high level all of the other on the internet are hopefully raising your hands sitting there, maybe you're sitting in your underwear watching alien life. We got all three windows open. I don't know what you're doing right now. You're editing some photos, you wondering where all your time is going is you're trying to get this information and you're trying to work and you're trying to build a business. Maybe you're tryingto take care of your kids and you got a kid crying in the other room? I don't know what's going on a rest assured that you can streamline your business, you could do something amazing with it, so it becomes an amazing blessing to your life instead of a curse. So those six things we realize we're so critical. Michael gerber, in his book the email, says that ninety six percent of all small businesses fail within ten years, eighty percent the first five years we've seen research that shows that for the wedding photographers and portrait photographer, seventy six percent fail in the first three years who wants their business to fail within the next couple of years? I don't I wanted to keep winning and keep succeeding, so we're going to cover those things before we get into those we're going to go into something really amazing. That we've put together for everybody out there in the creative, live audience and everybody here and in the in studio audience as well. We're really excited about who here likes freebies, bista way have put together for everyone online and for you guys, we have an mp three called three steps to bigger sales, and we are going to touch on sales a bit today, but this is a talk with about our long of how we do our after wedding sales and are after wedding's ills. Havel allowed us toe increase our income greatly by giving our clients and opportunity to buy so this mp three you can buy it on her storefront, or if you go to this link photo week, got zack and jodi dot com and enter in your email, not only will you get this download, but you'll also get subscribe to our newsletter that we sent out on a biweekly basis with tons of free photo tips and tricks, and you will also get these exciting promo codes from our amazing companies that we so the first one is excellent managing xo image ng we absolutely love them, they have exploded, which is one of the tools that we use for our gear so you will get twenty percent off on expo disc the next one is kiss this's, the album company means we can build proof and sell wedding albums in about an hour and a half, sixty to eighty pages and size. That may sound insane, but that's because they built an incredible system. So check them out you can I get one hundred dollars off the purchase of two hundred fifty dollars or more? So that's a really awesome discount from kiss? Yep, and then the music bed as well. You'll be able to get ten percent off of any songs downloaded from them and purchased len's reynolds. You can get five percent off any order you make me always say rent before you buying before we know we had corey on here earlier talking about a massive amount of gear and you're like, oh, that sounds really cool. Make sure it's exactly the right fit for you before you spend fifteen hundred bucks on, you know, on expensive ones. Yeah, the nexus smugmug and this will give you thirty percent off of your subscription to smugmug, and we use smugmug for our online gallery for people to come and order prince and what not and it's a really great interface that we love to use and last is this last but not least, last minute leases bay photo and you're going to get twenty percent off and a canvas or gather wrapped you see if you hanging up here we sell these to almost ninety five percent of our clients always bought end up buying canvas galley rap saying other walls and they are also we'll talk a little bit about them or at the very end of her presentation is also we want to remind you one more time there six major keys that were going to cover that if you miss any one of these we feel like the chance of your business succeeding are going to go down tremendously so number one purpose purpose is super very I mean these are all really important but it's so important to know where you're going if you just start wandering you will never attain the goal that you want there needs to be a driving purpose behind your business and why it exists unfortunately a lot of photographers and a lot of small businesses owned owners in general I'll start their business you know somebody gets you're taking pictures and somebody tells you really good at taking pictures they say you should get paid to take pictures you go that's a great idea I should make money to do this that's even met him and just taking pictures but then unfortunately when we sit down and start thinking about a business model we start setting goals and we go it be great if I could make x it could be it be great if I could shoot these kind of photos or you fill in the blank and a lot of those are really the backwards way of running our business because what happens is we set a goal of saying making what we did let's let's try to make one hundred thousand dollars in a year so that's a five year plan, but if we are willing to do anything it takes to achieve that goal, we can completely dismantle our personal lives in the process trying to achieve it. So we want to back up and give you guys a process that we've gone through many times in the past and have really crystallized in the last couple of years, especially in this last year in this new phase of our business we have a you know, baby boy is coming november first and this is something really critical critical to think about when you're running a family running a business, having friends you know, remember you want to see your friends again, you know, the ones that you used to have before he started business. So we're going to talk about how to reverse that process and start with the most important thing which is a vision for your business so the vision of your business this is your why and we encourage all of you to take some time and really go through this and this may take a few hours this may take a day this may take weeks, your vision is your why why does my business exist? What is the purpose of my business? And once you realize why your business exists in the first place you start to build a business that's about the life that you've decided that you want to live not about financial goal that's that's a goal but about who that I know I want to be and who I want to impact and what I want this business to really represent some of the division for our business is this it's improved the quality of people's lives and make our business about something bigger than ourselves who wants their business to be about something bigger than you or your life and jim every single hand including, you know, text in the studio we see hands going up that sounds awesome, doesn't it? I'd love to have a business that impacted people in some kind of positive way beyond me just taking pretty pictures one that really that's our overarching kind of the umbrella theme of everything that we do and that's really what a vision a why statement should be about something large, something really large we're going to start narrowing it down and eventually get to those schools so the next thing is the mission your mission is how it's the how how are you going to accomplish the vision that you have for your business? For us it was we want to enhance people's lives so we decided we want to become wedding photographer, so in that business we don't enhance people's lives. The mission is now how are we going to do that? So for us, it's this we want to enhance the marriages of our couples through wedding photography that is listening this relation aly based building strong relationships of the focus on marriage so that's now we're starting to define it a little bit more that's our how so when we're out running our business, our number one party is not to take a pretty picture it's not to be the best time. Of course, we want to be great photographers, but the purpose of the business is to enhance people's lives through wedding photography that is relational focusing on marriage. We both came from parents that didn't make it right. My parents split up on all three jodi when she was in a a freshman in college, we realize that's a negative impact on the family and the family is so critical half the couples coming through our studio door statistically, we're going to get divorced if there was anything that we learned anything, that we knew any resource we could give them that has helped us in any way we wanted that to become a part of our business so that we can enhance their lives in some way and how many of, you know, like at the end of the day, after you get all your facebook legs and your instagram likes now that stuff like an awards and accolades, you still feel this kind of andy inside and that's why we wanted our business to be about something bigger than ourselves because that's what's lasting so we have the mission, which is the how? And then it leads us to my favorite part, which is the values now the values are the filter, whatever you have for making decisions. So for example, here are some of our values and we've got a lot of them, so peace we want a great quality of life, we don't want to be stressed out all the time, which of course there are moments way want to be a just authentic excellence is a value of ours faith, generosity, unity with each other, that's a really big value. You want to make sure that we're being united and the things that we do so here's, the powerful thing about filters and even some big billion dollar businesses, which we'll talk about in a minute, leave out the filter part of it and the value part of it when you know what your values are, what am I willing to do and what am I willing not to do to make this business win? And that helps gauge where you're going to go with the business. This is going to keep your life the life that you want to really live while having a business that fits into your life instead of you trying to fit into the life of your business. So when we have something like, um, peace as an example, we want to have peace and unity with each other. Back in two thousand eight, we were formulating these systems in these process, we had a mission statement, but it didn't have this define as much it is as it is now, so we're in two thousand eight ramping up our marketing and branding are strategy, and we're one hundred percent had deep into our business, and we say the reason our business was winning so well because we were working harder than everybody else and we were jodi was still working a day job. I was full time in two thousand eight, so she was split between working for the business, which is a full time forty to fifty are weak job plus her day job, which is a forty to fifty hours a week job. She was working between eighty and one hundred hours a week, so we're going and we're shooting thirty three weddings that year in thirty three engagement sessions and thirty three meeting in thirty three million other process that were going on and all of a sudden we woke up one day and jodi is likely to go for a walk I'm like ok, let's go for what we're walking down the street buyer little apartment at the time where we live that she goes, I feel like our marriage is our business and I barely even know you right now and I'm just like a dagger to the heart I'm like, what are we doing? This business is always something become more important than the thing that's gonna last beyond anything which is this and what are we going to teach our children of our business is about the business, not about damage us, so we sat down on the curb. I remember this so vivid that we sat on the curb when we said something's got to go and who has been in that position where you're stressed business, maybe start toe work, you're getting action it's getting busy the management is hard, you're working this day job and you're like caught in the tanning kids family and we said, you know what we have got to do what we know is right for us not what's right for business or marketing or strategy within thirty days jodi it quit her day job, this secured a job with the dental insurance and she worked for sony, so we had everything set the secure salary and we took a risk and work went went full time with ourselves, and it was an amazing blessing. We never looked back. We easily replaced her salary, which wasn't working fifty hours a week in another job because she could devote our attention and we had more time together. We had more piece together, and we let our values dictate what we were going to do with our business and it's all about restructuring that, you know, maybe your values is to spend time with your family on the weekends, so maybe shooting weddings isn't for you because you need to start with your values and then create your goals after that. Absolutely the last one, his goals and goals are your what? What are those things I'm gonna do day in and day out? One of those things I'm going to do to achieve the vision mission and the values of my business so it's taking our mission and then now creating practical steps to achieve of the missions. So remember, our mission was to enhance the marriages of couples through wedding photography that is relation aly based so that's our mission. So what are the actual things that we can do to go ahead and create those steps and the really great thing about this? We'll share a few of our what's, but the great thing about setting goals this way they just sort of naturally come out of your business you go one of the things that have helped my marriage or one of the things that have helped my fill in the blank how can I incorporate that into my business is just a natural progression into goals because they come out of the vision and mission, right? So for us, a couple of those things were simple like this when we first were engaged about to be married we read this book called the most important year uh and it's by susan degrees and bobby local buff very tough name actually from nashville where we see different couples wrote two different couples run together, but when we read this book we read a ton of marriage books when we you know, everybody is excited about reading everything like when you have a kid or reading all the kid books right now, but we read this book and it really made a serious impact on the first year of our marriage and that's what it's about we realized this really helped us. We're going to make sure whether a couple books this or not when they walk in our studio into our apartment or into starbucks where we do our meetings they're getting this book with a hand written note going hey, whether you book us or not, this book really helped us and we hope it helps you read it, go through it together and follow the steps that are outlined in that's going to help you. And that was big. That was big for us to be able to offer something that was enhancing people's lives. Another thing that we do for our business and I'm in the state of tennessee. If you get any sort of premarital counseling before your wedding, you actually get a discount on your marriage license that you pick up. So something that we did is we it's so important in a marriage thing in any marriage, I have some third party mentors, counselors, anything to speak into your marriage, and we have a great couple that we have seen for years and we absolutely love. And we got some recommendations from them that we could send our bride and groom's, too, for premarital counseling. So we sent a link to a bride and groom thing. Hey, did you know that can get a discount off your marriage license? And if you go, then we will give you a credit to your online gallery for the rest of the cost that it caustic it your marriage license. So things like that that are just fun and personal and encourage a strong marriage between our grooms and brides is something that our business is about that we loved. To do so let's look at another company that you may have heard of that uses a lot of these principles and it's done a pretty successful job without anybody ever heard of these guys apple very one of most profit companies in the world so let's really quickly break down three out of these four that steve jobs used to build apple into what it became right so first they have there why he called it the why the how and what and if you go on ted talks there's a great ted talk by a guy named science simon cynic and he really breaks this down in detail about how apple has done this we're going to do it very briefly here so he steve jobs said that's why I want to change the world that sounds like a pretty good goal right? Anybody think that apple may have changed the world may be the way we communicate with the world right? Definitely his how was through technology really simple they're not, uh computer company they're not a phone company there are computer company that changes the world through technology and there what was just simply through products so they're going to deliver products that help people's lives become better simplicity, lifestyle that's what they're about what a powerful way to break down the business they didn't start like a lot of big companies do hey we want to create cool products and then they get pigeonholed they can't grow like apple did because they're not about something like this they don't have a a y or some of them have the house notice others one missing here, which is the filter right that's unfortunate because some people get so dedicated to the business that it becomes overwhelming for them and we don't want that to happen to us that's the only thing we can learn from the way that apple built there's okay it's number two the next key we want to talk about is brand having a strong and cohesive brand for your business and you have this purpose now you need to represent yourself and your brand does that and there's so many different aspects to your brand from how people interact with you on the phone but what we want to focus on a little bit more on this part is more of your visual brand and it's so important to find out what are your different shooters, what makes you unique and what makes you different and what makes you stand out and capitalize on that it's really hard to stand out on our imagery all the time because the average client can't tell the difference between good imagery and awesome imagery, so if we focus all of our attention on making that are differentiator, it can be hard but what we have done and what has worked well, for numerous other photographers is yes, you have great imagery. You have your cell, you put that on your website, but then find the things that are unique to you and amplify that absolutely so it's really critical that if everybody's occupying one space and there's a great book, you taken notes is a great book by a guy named jack trout called the twenty to the immutable laws of marketing. Jack trout talked about this principle about building a brand, and he says if everybody's trying to occupy one hill and my hill, he means I want to be the best photographer. Well, everybody's trying to get to the top of that hill so it's hard to get up there and get noticed, right? He says, go occupy another hill and be about something else. You're still going to be a great photographer, but you're gonna be known for something else, and a great example of that is a good friend of ours named mike larson. Anybody ever heard of mike larson he's from san luis obispo it's an amazing photographer out there and his brand is mike larson, a state in vineyard wedding photographer what do you think he does he's, a state of in your wedding photographer so when you go to win a state and vineyard and mike has spent all this time interacting with building his brand around those people and when they hear about if I'm a bride of having my wedding at a state fair vineyard I want the best who am I going to think of mike? So he is of course a great photographer but he's focused on a state in vineyard very powerful differentiated bridge business so we need to figure out who is our client and once you figure out who you want to cater to, then you can figure out what are things that matter to them and what could be my differentiator to get me on to my own hill so that I could become known for something that no one else is known for and for us ours is a little bit unique we haven't, you know, pigeonholed ourselves like tattoo bride or weddings on the beach you know, photographers are thing is for people who value photography, value photography and value relationships so ours is a little bit unique. So, you know, when we came to putting our brand together when we switch from great photography to zach and jodi great or zack and jodi photography, which is way more personal, you know, we started looking at things, okay, who is that client? How can we communicate that? So we went through a rebrand process with a designer based out of the u k called melissa love and it was so hard because they were like, we don't know a brand that reflects who we are, and so she had us do this project of going through magazines and pulling out pages of funds and colors and things that just kind of stuck out to us, and then from that and she knew who we were and what we're about, she was able to put this brand together that reflected us and who we were, and you were really begin to coffee and that's the thing we do their couples, we invite them over and make some coffee with his fancy espresso machine and it's, just a part of the experience that we offer, and through this process with her, we now have a piece that represents ourselves, and one of the key things that we have is one of the first images that you see on our website is not of a bride and groom it's of us, and we don't love posing with their cameras all the time, but the reason you have cameras there says we're communicating that we are the photographers and, you know, we're smiling zach's a little bit cool, but we're smiling, we're showing a personality and who we asked people can relate with that when we really focus on the relation side of it who we are as a couple that's sort of our niche zack and julie the couple you don't have to be married to be a successful wedding attire obviously or shoot with your spouse or something like that or your significant other but for us that's our niche is that zack and jodi experience us together working with us and the relationship side that we bring to the table so a lot of the stuff that we have built into our website is actually not about just our work it's a lot about us and who we are and the things that we're into a spending time hanging out with our clients being goofy in building that relationship there's an amazing market or out there's names tim sanders he wrote a book called love is the killer out and I talk a lot about book because books are one of the key things that dave ramsey says will make you into a winner so I read a ton of business books and I'm constantly trying to learn new things about marketing and branding and all those things tim sanders says this we now live in what he calls an experience based economy people want to pay more money for an amazing experience that's why brands like apple and starbucks are so huge because they're not just about the product that they offer but they're about the way that they make you feel so this is about the way that we make our clients feel showing images like this and that's critical for us to start communicating from the very get go just on the website how we make our clients feel when they interact with us because that builds value and the more value bill the more people are willing to spend which is great for the business so of course you do have to show your images on your website and the thing that we it's so important to focus on is focused on the emotion for every one cool shot that you have that reflects your awesome like dramatic work that you love to do make sure that you have an emotional shock because remember weddings portrait photography is emotional and if we can connect with our potential clients emotionally than that connection is so much stronger that we have with them and will be more inclined to book you on this rings true for wedding portrait um baby qatar was any dog photographers and no there's like always some out there somewhere going yes I'm a dog photographer but those are all emotional powerful moments in someone's life their babies born their daughter gets married their dogs stuck his tongue out you know, whatever those things maybe and we want to make sure that we're showcasing those powerful emotional image not the ones that have the best cropping the best lighting the best flare necessarily because member the average client doesn't necessarily see that unless you shoot for photographers when they see it and then you have to be then it's really difficult but showcasing those powerful emotions of a daughter hugging her father at the end of their father daughter dance and when a bribe sees that she goes, I want to feel that way on my wedding day or a mom sees her senior daughter was that look on her face she knows that's her daughter she wants that for her daughter when you she gets her senior photos taken and then of course, you want to show, you know, the capabilities of the weddings that you're shooting, and so you know, just a photo here is an example and then another thing that is really great big passion is axes to do dramatic off camera lighting remember, we set up our business to do the things that we love and that we enjoy in part of what we love is the school dramatic lighting and so that's something of course that we want featured on our website? Absolutely. So we want to showcase a few other photographers that we love, how they put together these beautiful, cohesive brands that communicate right from the get go who they are remember this the average web site in america gets forty two seconds of air time from a new viewer, so if somebody's arbitrarily referred to comes to web site if you don't get their attention that quick what have you done? Remember, your website is a tease to get them to come and get more. You don't want to show everything you want to show just enough to get them looking at you looking at your photos, clicking contact and contacting you for mohr so here's a couple other photographers that jodi will what kind of photography? Anything, and neither does hear any. Yes, many asses problem is a great example of how the brand reflects what kind of photography she doesn't. It speaks directly to her client, the moms who are looking to get their kids photographed. I love it on the flip side, here's christine, nearly she's, based out of franklin, tennessee, and she's, this writer who loves incorporate stories into the photo sessions that she does for her clients, and she just has this really serene, smooth, soft like story writing appeal to what she doesn't love the look that she incorporates into her sights so all websites don't have to be the same. The biggest thing we would stresses hire professional unless you're a professional designer, which most photographers aren't. We think we are, but we're not hire a professional if you're going to spend money and one area of your business in the beginning, once you have the equipment that you know you need what you want what you need you gotta hire somebody to represent that brand in a really really powerful way and this is exactly this is why right here this was our first zach and jodi designed by zach and jody it's pretty awesome not very awesome does this does this really represent who we were this is what our site was kind of looking like our blawg this is what our card looked like and it's like hey people are like who are you and they don't even know what this is about it this says nothing whatsoever about us and so we luckily had a friend who was a diner designer that was like let me throw some locals to go before you were like sure and then we saw what she did and you're like, oh my gosh needed like burn everything that was the last thing is complete consistency across all mediums forms any place someone confined you online you've got to be represented in the exact same way so people know who you are a lot of people who we are when they see our twitter or our facebook or instagram because it all becomes very cohesive so it's important as you're looking and notice we're looking at instagram our blawg facebook part of our website all of it looks like zack and jodi brandon even iran personal page on facebook still has that same consistent rain and I know it's easy to throw up a photo and have your avatar photo be of like your kids or something else but remember anywhere that you are in line represents who you are and represents your business and make sure that has consistency from all different plans. It may not seem critical but there's a guy named jay levinson again who wrote a book called guerrilla marketing and he says the average person needs to see you marketed to them seven to eleven times before they start to trust your marketing so even if that's facebook twitter they see you know they go to an event place where they're booking their event makes you a card from you all the sun and starts to go wait a minute I've seen these guys and these the trust starts to get buildup just by repetition so that's really important to see that brand over and over all right? So we're gonna move into step number three, which is systems this is one of the most important areas of your business when it gets to this specific stage so we talked about having a purpose we're having a direction where we're going we had now have a great brand so now before we get a million clients and feel overwhelmed and want to quit it's important to have systems in play unfortunately what happens to a lot of businesses this is remember we talked about seventy six percent of the photographer's businesses and a failing in the first three years the reason is right here they start their business they're really excited they're going to get it they're getting clients or referring to their friends or putting a little brand again that they're starting to build a portfolio all of a sudden things get busy and anybody here that's been shooting for three four five years knows this to be sure you get busy all of a sudden it just happens like you just something happens in your business starts working and then you get a pile of work in front of you and it's mismanaged and clients aren't getting what they need and people are getting responded to and all of a sudden people start complaining or people get upset and your business gets into this really difficult right you get frustrated and your clients get frustrated and you start realizing this isn't what I thought it was gonna be I thought this was gonna be about me taking pictures and having fun and it's about all this other stuff that I'm having to d'oh systems is the solution to that problem if you have an incredible system for every part of the management that's the key the management of your business you can have your business flow really well and not feel like a slave to running the behind the scenes of the business and actually get back to doing what you love just taking pictures and enjoying yourself and here's a great quote. It says systems will make your business run effectively inefficiently and that's what we want, all of our businesses. Do you remember when you know one of our values is peace and that being stressed and by having things in a system to help us not get overwhelmed? We'll increase the productivity of our business is a guy named john jansen. He's got a book called duct tape. More duct tape marketing. I love the name of that book. And he says this at its core. A fully functioning businesses, basically a set of systems and processes. Anything that has has a repetitive process. If you taking notes, this is one of write down. Anything that has a repetitive process with more than one step means a written system literally step by step. If I walked in and what's your name winter was it holy cow? I butchered the living daylights out of you know, I think I've got it. So all that to say, if I walked into your business, you should be able to show me a system for something that is something that you do every day over and over, that requires more than one step, and I should be able to do that process. There's certain things in your business that only you khun dio, but there's many things that should be able to be that simple, that I could walk in having no knowledge of your business and be able to do so. I'll read this next quote and then share practical example of how we can create a system out of things that aren't in a systematic process. So this quote says ninety four percent of all failure is a result of the system, not people. If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing so far. An example, every client that we book gets a gift for clients and, um, okay, so I'll finish this man we could take question gets a client gift, and so it involves a box involves writing a note for them involves putting the gift in and getting the get and addressing and all this other stuff, right? And every time we booked a client, it was kind of getting a pain as we're running to the storm, buying the box and running to bed, bath and beyond. Our battle body orcs bath and body works to get a little gift for her and they were having to go to the party store to get our tissue paper. And so instead of going crazy every time in book a client we developed a system so we stopped our office with a stack of boxes we stocked her office with all the ribbons we needed we stocked her office with all the gifts we collect we'd buy them at the end of the year so we just had him and then I even wrote down like our temp what note that we would give to our client because I would spend so much time thinking about the things that I want to write. So now all we have to do is we wrote it down it's a system her office manager just takes all this stuff puts it together. I look at my notes for the template note that I wrote customize a little bit put in the box woman done which is super efficient then during the booking season if you're booking three, four, five gigs you know, a week one time at the end of the week we can go through package of all the stuff and send it one time over the post office and mail everything out and it saved us hours and hours and hours of our time that's just one small example of a lot of systems that we have no business client management step number one. So there are so many steps as soon as we book a client of all the things that we have to do from sending them notes. I mean, the list is endless, especially the way that we have approach our clients and there's a lot of touch points and connection points that we do. So we wrote out a system, but one of the things, the easiest way to spot an area that needs a system is an area that you're having the most problems with their that's taking up the most time. And one great example. And we talked about this before is the wedding timeline. I would spend hours on the phone with a client literally like an hour, one an hour or two trying to figure out all the details of her wedding timeline so we could put it together and send it to them. And even then I would find that I'd be missing questions. So I was like, this is not efficient. What can I do to make this process speed up? So we ended up doing is we created a fifty to question client questionnaire that we would send them a few months out to their wedding. It was literally like a survey monkey survey. You know where you can send this to him and they can check boxes and right in all of the pertinent information that we needed and then they would send it back and then I'd go ahead and create the timeline and it saved us hours so we're going to share just like four of those questions that really helped the timeline yeah, and we literally broke it down to figure out exactly how much time we saved and the average climbers saving five to six hours of work. So imagine if you're spending forty hour for us wedding photographer spent a lot of time on one client from every email every call every single interaction, the shoot, the downloading, the editing all the photos some of us are spending sixty, seventy, eighty hours on one client we'll break that down an hourly wage starts getting frightening, right? So even need to up our price or we need to lower how much time we're putting into that wedding to make it back, you know, worth it so we can either do more she so saving five to six hours just on this questionnaire by not going to all these places and just sending a question of getting it back building the timeline that's the new process so here's the first one so the first question you would ask about their preparation locations we would say where you getting ready where the groomsmen getting ready where's the ceremony where's the reception, please give us the address and also the travel times in between the two and that saved me time going on map quest and trying to figure out how much time we needed to a lot in the timeline for travel in between all those different locations that was a huge timesaver right there. The next one was family photos you show up at a wedding it's the day before and the bride to the list of foreign forty nine hundred family photo she wants taken all of a sudden and you go if I take all these photos, I'm not going to have any time to shoot the brian because they don't want to see each other before the wedding, and now the sun is setting and my whole day is ruined. So what we would do is we send the survey out and it would say here's, our suggested five groupings of family photos that most of our clients get and they rarely get anymore. Which ones? You check? Which ones you want us to take? Add any extras, family shots that you want and allow three minutes per photo? So then we would say, make sure you tell us the first names of the people in the shot because europe, they're going on uncle uh, who's where's the uncle and said, you go, bill, when you say bill like bill turns around, he walks up to speeds up the timing and then she would go well, if I had thirty photos it's going to take ninety minutes and I don't have ninety minutes so we would end up shooting five to seven photos of the family for every single wedding, which is all you really need to shoot. And of course, there's always those brides, you know who want like the big family photo that's going to take twenty minutes to set up, and we're there to serve our clients that's, that's what they want, we do it, but it really helps getting rid of the unnecessary family photos that they're never going to use to be in with. The next one is the first dance song this is critical because we want to know what the first dance song wass so that when they come back for their previous session, we can play that first dance song while they're looking at their digital album over the first time because it's an emotional connection back to that product or service so that's something we're using for a marketing purpose. And then we also love this one tio also for marketing is we collect all the bridal party names oftentimes we forget to grab one of the programs that have the names and it's. So we're getting this information before hands of the whole wedding party after we shoot the wedding either that night or the neck stay either myself, our office assistant will go on our facebook account and we'll be friends, the whole wedding party and then we're taking just a few photos from the wedding day were uploading them to facebook and then guess what we're doing after we've sent all these friend request everyone, we're tagging them in the image, and you would be surprised that we probably wouldn't be surprised at how fast everyone's facebook profile images start turning to your images we've have clients that we've shot four years ago, and their profile image is still the wedding day image that we shot of them and it's great for marketing. So no question, quick question, microphone microphone do do you water mark those photos or do you just get him out? And I kind of hope that they'll talk about you? Great question there's two ways to do that you can share there's a thing we used to share call past from show it fast. Now that's an amazing thing to share any photos you want that always link back to your web sites a really powerful tool if you want to make sure you get that marketing back to but on top of that we never wanted mark any photos we don't do it anymore because if a client falls in love with you, you make an incredible experience we want them to talk about us and I'm not trying to get somebody to tow fall in love with me because they saw my name on the corner of a photo that's not the best way to market the best way to market is to make my client into a billboard to make them go oh here's a photo and you better go check out zach and jodi because they rocked my world like that's the focus that we want another way to think about it too is the more that other people see your logo and your brand it creates and build a trust with it. So I don't think it's the end of the world if you don't put it your water mark on it and if you put it on their great I just wouldn't make a big deal out of it your client cuts the watermark off because then that affects how they feel about you in their experience and you don't want that feeling to go down so either way so next up, another very important area that we want to have an incredible system is in the shooting process when we realized that one of the key ways to speed a post production which is one of the biggest bottle next for all photographers is how much time they spend in post the average wedding photographer in america since twenty two hours just editing their pictures twenty two hours think about how much you're getting paid for that editing and you realize that's way too much time to spend with shooting process. When jodi and I are going out to shoot, we're thinking about all the keys to making this an image that doesn't need to be edited later we want a polish images later we don't want to edit them, we don't want a photoshopped them, I would like to say putting your images and photo shop when you're a wedding portrait or baby photographer not necessarily commercial photographer is like dropping an atom bomb on an ant hill. It does all this stuff and you don't need it to do all that stuff light room is designed to do that in a very efficient way, so with all that being said when we're on location we're going what is the lighting how's it affecting my client? Can I nail my color exposure and composition in the camera? All that can be done? It seems like how could I do all that at a wedding but that's how we shoot at weddings we never adjust our color never adjust our exposure very rarely adjust exposure if we happen to miss it a little bit and composition I rarely crop a photo all those things speed up post processing and we should everything about ninety nine percent on manual because that allows us to adjust one photo if it needs it imposed and then applied all speeds up the process so we have that processes were going out and she we know this step by step what we're going to start with setting our camera and making the adjustments as we need to for the color and for exposure right there instead of guessing so here is one of the biggest bottlenecks the editing workflow and this is an area that judy and I've spent a lot of time and energy building an incredible system around so believe it or not this is how long it takes us to download call at it pick all the images for clients pick all the album shots retouch every single photon uploaded online that's how much time I spent in for my computer three to four thousand images at a wedding two and a half hours and a lot of people here that they're like that is nuts one I don't believe you or it's crazy or can't be done or you're some kind of freak in nature you have this really fast computer that does it all automatically it's all done manually it's all done by me I look at every single image believe it or not and I do it in two and a half hours. There are five major keys that allow us to have this work blow and we want to share three of those five with you today in the short amount of time that we have a number one key and we realized this was a fault of mine early on and this is the fault of a lot of us in our community because we lack focus if we can focus, you'd be surprised what you can do there's a guy named tim fares who wrote a book called the four hour workweek and in that book he talks about if you're working on a project on your computer and your email dings when you get the same thing that you get when you take cocaine that same north and shoots out of your brain because you get really excited and so you then you move over to your email and you work on that email and then when you move back to the project you're working on the time in between that you had to stop focus, refocus, then stop focus and refocus back in your project is been scientifically proven to be about forty five seconds of delay in the mind so between those two year losing ninety seconds of productivity, so if I can tune out everything else except for my job at hand and focus, I can speed up my proposed processing tremendously. Sometimes you khun double the speed of it just by focusing the next one is order what I do and in what order is absolutely critical and a lot of us photographers do this. You start the down loan, the images haven't even rendered yet. We're really excited about the shoot we go through, we start picking a few favorites, then you get to that one shot you knew about set up where you think it was amazing and sure enough, it was amazing, and then you start editing justice, so cherie had some contrast on it all of a sudden, you know, it's, the end of the night after the shoot, you look down, they've been they're sitting there for our and you go, oh, man, I got to get to bed because like my kids get up at seven and you're like what happened? And this is because you don't have a specific order. I do this than I do this than I do this and when I'm all done. I can play around if I want to I got time I can play with my favorite photo or put it in photo shop and squeeze a ways for whatever it is you like, but if you do things in a specific order, it speeds up your workflow so much faster the last one is this and when there's there's more to this but we don't have time to go through everything selective retouching if you're shooting one photo for an album cover, that photo needs to be retouched when you're shooting nine hundred finals for a wedding client and if you touch every single photo when the bride's head is this small and a framed this big it's completely pointless, right? So what? Jodi and I do have one rule and if you're taking notes, write this down if the bride's face as an example that's what I'm usually focused on the bride say someone's look phenomenal right for face is smaller than a third of the entire frame I don't retouch unless it has a major blemish that no she's gonna want retouched because when they look at him online they're looking at, you know, three by four size seventy two to dp I very small if she orders that we specifically talk about this process, you can order that I'm going to go in and prep it for print that's what we say meaning I'm gonna re touch it, right? But unless it's going to get a print, and how much of your work it's printed from wedding two percent, three percent don't retouch all that stuff, so that speeds up the process really well, too, and so those beautiful lighting beautiful, you know, figuring out what angles to shoot your client in the first place allows you to not have to retouch as much as, well, you want to learn more about a workflow, make sure that you sign up. Photo week. Zack and jodi dot com to our newsletter, and we're sending out a lot more information about that way, our passion about this area, so we're helping solve this problem for a lot of create your life, get out way helping one thousand photographers and our personal workshops overcome this problem right here, and double the speed of their work flow in some cases, triple and quadruple the speed of their work. All right, so number four, the next step orton key is sales. It is so important to have a bit of sales know how for your business, and we love this quote from dave ramsey. Sales is not a dirty word, and oftentimes we cringe at the thought of selling when I think of selling, I think of forcing something on people that they don't want, and that is not what sales is. The reality is the sales is this sales is simply a beautiful relationship between a buyer and seller, right when you were offering a product or service is and somebody is coming too, because they're in need, right when you buy something from apple. Do you feel like they shoved it down your throat when you got your new phone? No, you're in line like you're getting something that you really wanted don't think any different about your clients don't assume that they don't want to buy anything or that this is somehow a bad thing. They're coming to you going if you create value and I feel that there's value here, I want to spend my money here because it's enhancing my life people will pay a lot of money to enhance their life. That's why the entertainment industry is the number one grossing industry in the world because people want to feel good, you can make them feel good. You can simply have that beautiful relation is just a great exchange I love dave ramsey also says this when a client pays you for your product or service, he sees that as this their applause for doing a good job you did such a great job, I want to pay you. And we do the same thing when you have great service you want a tip more when somebody does a great thing somewhere else you want to give them extra your clients will do the same for you, so don't be afraid of the sales process so have a specific sales process for when we get people on the phone or when we meet with them in person, their perspective client and then we also have a sales process for a sales meeting which are after wedding sales meeting where they buy additional products on the backend and that's more covered in our mp three. But we want to focus on how we've been able to book for the last two years most of our clients on the phone by going through this sales process. So even when somebody's contacting on the web all these steps are critical and believe it or not this is not just sales for clients this's sales which I don't like to look at sales is really sales sales is simply just building a relationship someone so sales is everything that you do so step number one with any any person that you want to interact with in your business or even in life this is great, the first step is you gotta qualify them, you've got to find out are they qualified for your product or service? So do they have enough money to pay for your service if they don't they're not qualified right? Do they have a need for your product or service? Do they like the way that you deliver your product or service? If they do, you have to figure out that information on the front and we even do that on our contact form on our website then they become a qualified buyer right back in the old days when guys were you know, like dave ramsey type guys are selling real estate, he would look at their shoes and if an expensive shoes you assume they could afford expensive home, right? So he was trying to qualify just through the way that they looked to go to rodeo drive and you try to go in armani and you don't like look nights there's a like a locked door between them and the top floor if you've never been there because I went there once when I was playing music and look like a bum and they looked out the window, we rang the bell, they looked out the window and then and then they just went back like this and then open the door because they knew I wasn't qualified there's no way I was gonna spend ten grand an armani suit when I walked up there, they won't even let me before our website is their first line of defense for qualifying people, we put our personalities on there, and if they don't like who we are, they go somewhere else if they do like who we are than they stay there. So that's one line of qualifying them and just making sure they're good fit for who we are. And then the next line of defense that we have is our contact form on our website. If you go to zach and jodi dot com, you can see it there and there's a lot of different qualifiers on there from what's, their photography price point range, how excited they are about us and a few other factors. So once they're qualified now, we need to build a report them and this comes when they submit that contact form. Everyone gets an email back, but the people who are qualified get a phone call from us. So when we get on the phone call, our number one job is to build report, and by that we mean, we want to get in sync with them and build trust through making them feel important, and this is how we do it. Dale carnegie says this in his book how to win friends and influence people. You can make more friends of two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people, then you can, in two years trying to get other people interested in you so if I get on the phone with a potential bride, she seems like she can afford us and I go hey, this is ac and judy, let me tell you about how awesome we are she's like, why wouldn't you tell me how awesome they are like who cares? But instead if I'm like, oh my gosh, kelly, thank you so much for calling tell me about what you're most excited about with your wedding and I'm like, oh my gosh, that sounds so incredible and we're talking about her because what? You know, everybody, the most important thing they want to talk about is what themselves all right, so we focus on them and being coming genuinely engaged with the process of life that they're going through that's the best way to build report the client so step number three we want to educate them so now that we've qualified them, they definitely can afford us and they looked like the rights of a client we built a relationship with them this can happen in ten minutes in a phone caller in twenty minutes and in person meeting whatever you choose to do, we like to do it on the phone now we want to educate them on what we offer and the way that we do that is not by talking about all the technical stuff and all the, um you know the fact that we know the rule of thirds and we know how to short light people are you know all those coming back up here and she was cannon right all the something not dot com you know tell us the right to ask you which really has nothing to do with delivering a great experience we instead talk about the benefits of our products and there's two keys when we're sharing about ourselves they finally care enough to listen one needs to be brief or they're going to lose interest into instead of talking about the features like we said we want to highlight the benefits how can what we do make their life better? We're not just going to take pictures we're going to capture the memories that you can have for years to come and I think one of the best ways to do that is whatever where you showcase your images whether it's a picture on strain whether it's a print if your wedding photography thing one of the best ways is with an album because they tell stories and that's what you are you're storyteller and if you open up an album and you go hey check out this and I will pretend this is a tiny album check out my element lays flat and it's got kodak endure of pages they last a long time cool it's got leather and that's why it cost two thousand bucks and they're like it's got leather like it lays flat it's got good pages of course like you're going to sell me a piece of junk people of course want something great when instead if we tell a story you know there's a bride of ours that her father was not going to be able to make it to the wedding and they thought he may not be able to come and then the day before the wedding they turned out because he was very ill turn out he was going to make it to the wedding and walking down the aisle way walked in they had this beautiful moment together where they met each other he stood up very difficult from the stand up got out of his chair they embrace and remember the father just tears streaming down his cheek immers were snapping these photos and this is what their wedding was about dad made it to the wedding and the bride's dream was coming true with him being there when you open up that you should tell the story open up your albumin showed that and go this is this is what zack and jodi is about we capture history for you this is once in a lifetime the value of that is tremendous versus the value of your kodak endure a pages last but not least close and I know as photographers at lisa's me I'm not excited to be in the sales business but I am excited to be in the relationship business that sounds fun, but we have to have some sales skills, right? And the clothes is something that a lot of a shy away from you get to the end of the meeting and you go so, you know, let me give me a call later on, you know, and it's difficult, you know, to go, do you want to buy it? You know, you can you give me a check? You know, that's a really difficult position of being so there's a lot of ways to close the deal, one of them it is very simple. It's called the assumption close, you've gone through qualifying for poor education, you get to the clothes, it is the end of the meeting, you know, when that time is because you start sweating a little bit, you know, you're like your heart starts racing and the best. One of the easiest ways to close a deal is you pulled out your packages, you've explained what you often you go. So which one would you like a beer, see, or silver, gold or platinum? Whatever you call your packages, and if at that moment you've now just club, you've offered an opportunity to close the deal very simple, which one would you prefer? And if they go well I'm not sure if I can afford it well we didn't qualify them correctly we go back to the first three steps right or if they go yeah, I think I might want to meet some other people report we didn't build a good enough relationship with them or if they go well I'm not really sure what do I get we didn't educate properly we just go back to those steps and sometimes we can solve the problem right there if they hesitate we can say what's your hesitation well I'm not sure if I can afford it well what about if I do six payments problem solved then they pick the package he close the deal that's a great way to close deals so you can do the ascent of clothes or you can also say does this sound like what you're looking for? And I think that's the most easiest way to ask them hey, do you want to book me? And then again if they have this hesitation or they seem unsure just ask them what their hesitation ist so you can go ahead and address that need right there and it may be very simple with all that being said this we want to sell in this specific way to everybody in the industry that we're working in and for us it's weddings we'll talk about that I think about the vendors in your industry we want to sell that way to our clients to build a great relationship given the product and services that they want with other vendors we want to go on and go how can I qualify? You make sure you're somebody that I need to get referrals from and something that I can give referrals back to how can I build a relationship with you and how could I get to the top of your list? I'm not interested in being anybody's list I'm only interested in begin at the top of people's list and only need two or three vendors and every category from wedding planners to cake people toe um you know, venues that we built this same system of relationship close those deals and we walk out with them going zach and junior going to enhance our business they're going to make our business better through that system same thing with photographers we want to build a relationship with photographers and one, two or maybe at the most three photographers that exclusively refer us on lee and we exclusively refer them and that can build us a business literally overnight once we have that and remember our mission is to enhance people's lives and so maybe for photographers or vendors were not really looking to enhance their marriages, though that can definitely be a byproduct, but we're looking to enhance their lives in any way that we can typically through their business yes, so two steps left we're getting there any one of these two and you will fail? No, I'm kidding. But you could you could fail number five is the elusive mo mentum so we're going to show you guys a quick video about momentum and then we're going to talk about it. So here we go videos coming up team you see that? Wait oh, my goodness. Now that is mo mentum these two little guys they start at the top you think they're about to die when they fly out that clip that's why? I love that video and they turn around and they've literally created an avalanche behind them and that's what you can do with momentum I love this girl from dave ramsey. He says once you have momentum, people start to believe your brand is better than other brands because your everywhere now momentum isn't something that's intangible and that just happens. It's, like these guys you know is they started asking is something that started slowly and kept building up and building up and before you knew that they had an avalanche and it's the same thing whenever building snow men we both grew up in the north and we both grew up with a lot of snow and so you start us no manned by a little snowball it's something that you take put together form and the new role and if you're rolling on a hill you'll know that before you before you know it it's going down the hill and it's this big giant ball like you see in the cartoons right that's what momentum is it something that you can create eight really is tangible it's not, you know, eleven dave ramsey's book he talks about this and he says, you know, a lot of people think that especially those wedding photographer you look out and see these people on creative live there's fifty photographers here and those fifty three photographer somehow got the lightning strike on him somehow they got luckier, something happened to them or they got chosen by some unseen force and their businesses working while everybody else is not working as well. The reality is, is that all of these photographers got here on purpose they did something on purpose is not about coming to creative live don't get me wrong but it's about making your business into what our vision, mission values and goals senate should be right and that is done intentionally. So how do we do that? How do we create momentum in our business? Because we know when we started our business I remember going to a meeting with a vendor we were sitting down with him at a coffee shop at starbucks and franklin of cool springs and they said, I don't know how I haven't heard about you guys, you guys are everywhere. I went to this thing and I heard about you into this thing and I saw you and now I'm here meeting with you and we have been in business like for seven months at that point, and it was because we were building mo mentum intentionally, so we're going to show you guys exactly want pull back the curtain here and show you exactly how we did that. Dave ramsey breaks down momentum this way and if you're looking for a great leadership business book entree leadership by dave ramsey is a fantastic read and that's where this comes from. So how do we create momentum? So the very first thing that's needed for momentum is focus. Now this applies to everything we talked a bit about focus earlier for editing like you can build momentum into your editing process, you can build momentum into the perception of your business. You can build momentum and all these different ways by one simply being focused. I love this quote from davey says this our culture has become afflicted with a d d so much so that anyone or any business that can maintain its focus has an almost unfair advantage in the marketplace for us. When we were starting our business, we knew who we were we knew where we wanted to be and what we wanted to do, and we were very, very, very focused, something that we did when we were first starting off is I started googling all nashville, then use planners, florists, cake artists, and what I did is for the venues and for the planners. I created this massive excel sheet with the website with a contact person's name with the address, and we sent out hand written letters to every single one introducing ourselves. So I'm saying, hey, we'd love to take you out for coffee. I had a five dollars starbucks gift card in their hear more about your business and what you do, how we can add value. You went through the sales process, the force of sales process, how can we add value to your business? And we research all networking meetings and we were on their block commenting, interacting with them on twitter, and then we would come to the networking meetings, and before it, people knew it. Zack and jodie were everywhere, and they were like, we weren't just focused, we were hyper focused on a one thing it's really difficult to be the baby wedding porch, it and senior photographer and focus like that in six different markets, we were focused in one area. Weddings specific type spits specific type of client and jodi writes I think it was twenty seven or thirty or thirty five something like that of these hand written notes mail them out to the clients with these hand written cards in the starbucks gift cards out of those thirty people I think it was nine, seven or nine contact us said they wanted me out of those seven or nine three, four five of a somewhere in that range said I want to refer you starting now you guys are incredible nobody's ever market to me in this way. So all of a sudden we had five planners out of nowhere within a couple of days of work that started referring us weddings and if you have three or four planners referring you four, five weddings a year that's a beginning of a serious business and then we went to the next one venues. Then we went the next one photographer's we started doing this kind of intense focus we have got to get momentum going in our business. You got to get this baby movement so step number two intensity right it's not just enough to be focused, you have to be intensely focused, you have to shut out the world and go I'm going to make this business work as long as it goes in line with my values right don't turn off the relationship with your spouse or your kids for the sake of your business, but in the beginning of your business before it gets moving it has to have a serious intensity. A great example of this is if anyone knows my husband as soon as he gets really excited are passionate about something he goes after like one hundred fifty percent and this happened in one example when it came to learning lighting for a business zack when he first you know, starting to dabble in the lighting he was at every library checking out books was before I was like, savvy with the internet things before creative live in these computer still two thousand this's before creative life existed and he it was learning lighting and I kid you not like he would practice on me, and one night I fell asleep on the couch and I woke up to like bright lights flashing and he had set up the lighting here around me and was practicing shooting at me and I'm like sleeping with like, drool hanging out of my mouth and I'm like, oh my god, you're kidding me but he was out there and he was intense and focused about it and so we would walk out into the park and this is some of my first photo shoots of all time using way my flash on my camera pointing it right in her face with no diffusion of any kind, the worst angle ever and I'm trying to learn how to be a photographer. This is the beginning. Remember there was a guy in my church who played piano. He was having his recital for college or something, and I was like, I can do the shoot nude. I can do the cover of the shoot so we went out. I had a deer light to spot deer with with a piece of diffusion over the front, shooting it on the side of his face. So it's an orange light mixed with the shadows of the blue looks terrifying, right? How did you really close? Otherwise you couldn't see it wasn't bright enough and I'm using like a twenty four millimeter lenses, hands like gigantic in front of the frame. Well, I got a lot of thirds. At least I got that. This was like the on ly shop, though this is the best of the entire c I kid. You know, this is the best photo and that's how I began. But then I went, man, I was so intensely focused that eventually I was able to shoot stuff like this. Now these are the kind of images that I could walk out at any time and create a photo of this kind of lightning and this is very complicated I've got to stop underexposed background I'm using an indie filter amusing to kick a lights and two main lights but I can walk out and confidently shoot these kind of images anytime of the day now it's very intensely boveri photograph weddings it's not hard for me to create these kind of images because of that intense focus so the last one this time you've got to get a time you can focus for a little bit and hard for a little bit but you need that third factor which is time absolutely dave ramsey says if you can focus have intense focus for one year you can do great things and that's his formula focus intensity plus time equals momenta minutes actually very true if you were dedicated to one area to focusing on that one area and two to go and hard after for one year of time you can do something great with your business you can start to get it moving especially say it's stuck right now your business is stuck and I got to get this thing moving you got to do this one area focus intensity over time and that thing will start moving we had our first wedding in june two thousand seven for five hundred dollars and then a year later because we're so focused were so intense we were now charging four thousand dollars and we had thirty three weddings booked on the calendar for that year and it was because our starting price point was four thousand dollars and it is because we were super focus and intense for a long period of time just to get that momentum building and once that started building were ableto have this freedom in our business to change things in tweet things and that has allowed us to have a business that serves us so the last thing in our clan step number six and this one is key belief so it almost sounds like we're gonna talk about believing in yourself and overcoming your mind yes that is actually exactly we're going to talk about and the reason for that is this napoleon hill says are on ly limitations of those we set up in our own lines when I grew up in that town of northern minnesota gluing why she's back together when I was a kid no education have my g e d I was making seventy five dollars an hour selling ties when I was twenty one and thought this is it I was the assistant manager of an entire store making seven dollars, seven, fifty an hour and I literally could not think any bigger than that I didn't believe that I could do anything bigger than that and now that my mindset has changed so much through experiences through hard work, through education, to reading books through meeting incredible people, my mindset has changed so dramatically that now I feel like it's more what can't I do instead of what can I do and the things we've been able to do in our business? I still sometimes we wake up, you know, I can't we were doing this, we get paid to take pictures. This is incredible! What an incredible business that we we get to take memories for people and hang them on their walls. This is unbelievable, and so much of that came into our beliefs, mindset, and often the biggest barrier that we, that hendrick hindrance hinders us that hinders us foreign business growing as ourselves, and I encourage all of you to read the book that that quote was from napoleon hill and has called on think and grow rich, and it really addresses I haven't even finished the book, but it made such an impact on me from what I've read so far, even just how much we can limit ourselves just by what we think. So how do we overcome how we overcome that believe in what's, the biggest barrier and it's here? Absolutely, dave ramsey says fear will cause you to lose focus every time because you're looking at all the potential for failure instead of concentrating on success, every great business mind in the world thinks just like this guy and they go, I've got to focus on how I know I can win. And if I focus on winning my chances of winning go up tremendously. I say this all time that I believe that fifty percent of building a successful business is right here. Fifty percent is what you do. Fifty percent is believing that you can actually accomplish it, and the more we get up and even in polling, hill says, when you get up, you go to these exercises, write down what you want, these beliefs that you wanna have. I want to succeed in this way and you read it in the morning and you read it evening pretty soon in the more you tell it to yourself, the more you start to believe it and the more the world around you start to believe it when it comes out of your mouth and someone joan and I were at our first client meeting when we had raised our prices significant, we have dropped out all of our packages. We started going on the card and we raised our prices, basically doubled them three thousand dollars. Which didn't include a package in our packages were not forty, five hundred to a week before the same package was twenty seven hundred dollars, you know, with a client, he sat down with them and the projection coming out of us was fear and we didn't believe in ourselves, and I wasn't sure and we tried to not let them to see that you're going in were like behind our awesome like like we were inside very badly afraid going, we're going to slide the pricing across and they're going to go you guys are ridiculous see later we thought they were going to do that, and then the craziest thing happened. They booked our top package for sixty five hundred dollars, and all of a sudden I went, I got to start believing in myself because they believed in what we could do more than I believe in what we could do and that changed everything for us when that happened and the same thing happened when I quit my day job. If we let all of those fears of now going to just working for ourselves, if we let that restrain us and not having those health benefits, that would have held us back. And so I mean, it's so easy to worry and be stressed out and let those fears hinder us was not worth it. I love this quote from corrie ten moon was a holocaust survivor, she says worried is not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength and how many of us wake up, especially our businesses in that stuck place. We're not sure if we're going to get enough gives we're not sure we're not sure we made the right decision to go full time. We're not sure how we're gonna pay our health insurance. We're going to share how we're gonna pay our house payment, and we're worried we're rated worried, worried this is a woman who is in the holocaust who went toe one of the camps and she says, I'm not gonna worry. She believed that when she was there, I'm not gonna worry because it's going to steal all of my strength, I need to focus on winning. I need to focus on what I'm going to do to survive this right now, and I just love that mentality. I love that kind of heart and I love this quote by west brown and it says I can't go back with groups are says too many of us are not living in our dreams. Is because we're living in our fears and I don't want our lives to be like that that were never able to achieve the things that we want, tio, because we're so stuck and our fears and we want to end with this quote here before success comes in any man's life, he is sure to be met with much temporary defeat and perhaps some failure when defeat overtakes a man. The easiest and most logical thing to do is quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known said their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. That's such a powerful statement going man, I just need to push a little bit harder I need to focus a little bit more. I need to surround myself with people that believe in me. Jeannie mai on my old youth pastors always say, show me your friends and I'll show you your future, right? Get around people that believe I think that you can win, I know that you can win, and I know I've gotten around other people, and they've felt like they could do. Just because of my going, you can do this. I believe in you. I have so much like intense energy about making your business succeed, and all of a sudden we start creating business groups of guys. And I have this now where we sit around once a week and we talk about how each other can win. And we all start winning at a higher level, because we all believe in each other. So you've got to start doing that. You've got to start believing in yourself and don't let fear overtake you and your business.