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Create Client Experiences

Lesson 24 from: Find Your Niche and Build Your Family Photography Business

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

24. Create Client Experiences

Lesson Info

Create Client Experiences

The key is to always, no matter what marketing effort you're doing, target your ideal client. Always keep her in the forefront of your mind. Write her story down. What are her pain points? What are the things that she's struggling with? What are the things that your product, your art, can produce an outcome for her that she wants? Okay? She is your business soulmate. Do you see a common thread here? Of all these things I've been telling you this last segment, what is the common thread? What weaves through all of this? Relationships and nurturing them. Marketing is simply networking. Making friendships. Building trust. Okay? And to do that, you need to have a sense of confidence, self-awareness, the ability to work despite George. He'll always be there. He's not going anywhere. Just know that sometimes it's easier when you know he's not going away. He'll just be like, oh, screw you (mumbling) today. I don't wanna listen. Okay? Sometimes you're gonna listen. I do. Almost every week I lis...

ten to him, and I shouldn't. But we all do no matter what, no matter where we are in our careers. Can you work in spite of him? Are you determined? The people who make it in business are determined, they're self-aware, they're perseverant they won't take no for an answer, and they look at the big picture constantly. They do the work. Businesses fail because people get lazy, and they don't do the work. So let's break that down into tasks. What work do you need to do? You need to find your ideal client, you need to focus on her location and where she is and how that integrates to how she buys. You need to refine and solidify your brand, build the systems in your studio, find places to display. Think about creating a mommy event. What does that look like? Develop those key vendor partnerships. Sometimes it takes a while. It took me three years to get my hospital. Three years of building my relationships, networking, just eating away at that process. So don't let a little time scare you, okay? Create a content marketing plan if you wanna go that direction and build a resource site. One of my students has been killing it this year. She's been an amazing photographer. So talented. And she's been working out of her home for years, and she finally said to me, she goes, "Julia, I need to switch to in-person sales, "and I wanna get out of my house this year." She was doing $350 a sale, digital only, in the beginning of the year. Great photographer. I freaking kicked her in the butt. Don't do that! Raise your prices! Not only did she raise her prices and go into IPS, she is now averaging $1,000 a client, and she is just about to rent studio space in the best part of her town. It can be done. Okay? It can be done if you focus on the big picture. This next year I've told her, 'cause in her town, one of the other photographers has, like, all the hospitals. Like, all of them. She's a newborn photographer. I told her, "Well, you need to get to "the client before she does." She's getting it to them at birth, you're gonna get 'em before. Build that resource site. You know? Develop your content marketing plan. Assess your competition. Where are they? What are they doing and how can you be different? How can you swoop in and get what they don't have? How can you capitalize on their mistakes? Do you know how many times I have called photographers and they don't freaking answer their phone? (frustrated grunting) They don't even have a number on their website! You have to email! Palm to forehead. Sometimes I don't even know their town. Like, seriously, one of my students in (mumbling) Facebook page, you know, when they were having some... Occasionally when I see someone really struggling and they just don't know what to do, I will literally go on their website, pick up the phone, call them and give them a pep talk. And go, "You need a little talk. "You need someone to inspire you, "and you get you motivated and make you feel better." So I listen, but so many times I go to do that and I can't even find their phone number on their site. It's just heartbreaking to me, so fix those things. Be accessible to your people. Make those systems come in place, and then ask yourself after the fact, once you start to get this stuff on a roll, zoom out 40,000 feet. I hope that that mantra is in your head for the rest of your life after this class. Zoom out 40,000 feet, Jen. Zoom out 40,000 feet, Amy. Zoom out 40,000, Lulu. What do you see? Are the pieces working? Does it need tweaking? Or are you dropping the ball? And be willing to accept where you're dropping the ball that you need to fix it, okay? Super, super important to do. So for those of you who are interested in learning more from me, we have our free education site, I've been taking a break since my mother's death, but we are getting back on track with that. We do weekly live broadcasts on just some kind of business topic. It's about 20 minutes, Tuesday mornings at 9:00 AM. And if you opt in. Content marketing. If you opt in, you get free access to all the episodes that we have on there, as well as the freebies that come with them. So I want you to do your homework. Hone in and refine your style and identity as an artist. Decide on your product line, make your business system solid inside, Price yourself appropriately for the quality of work that you do. Be profitable. Know your numbers. There's plenty of resources to find that and build that network of relationships to help you grow. That's truly what is going to help you succeed. So if you wanna find me, here's where to do it. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are my main channels, and with that, if we have time, Drew, can I take some questions if there are some? You can take a question, yeah. (mumbling) I can take a question? Do we have any questions? I know you're probably all on information overload at the moment. You're like, ah, explode. Yes? If we have a vision in mind for a brand but we don't have the resources, like, we know where we wanna get to but we're off from that just because we really can't get there yet, how would you advise transitioning into that? Because you need to, like, be making money before you get there? And so I was just wondering, you know. It's a really good question, and a lot of issues that people have, Amy. What I always council people on is, especially when you're starting a business is, you probably have a current job. Do you have a current job that's not in photography or a way of making money at this point? I am actually just transitioning. I'm not doing the other job. I was doing freelance graphic design, so I could go back to it; I don't want to. Yeah, I know. I hear you. I hear you. You know, and sometimes we have to do things we don't wanna do, but what I tell people is, if you're in your current job and you're trying to become a full-time photographer, that money is gold that you're making right now. Beth, as a matter of fact, Beth is my studio assistant, and she works for me part-time, and she has a tech job that she does from home, and she makes a lot of money and she hates it. And she wants to be a full-time photographer. And so specializing in pets, she's an incredible pet photographer. I mean, this girl is talented pet photographer. And I said to her, I go, "Beth," and to other students, I go, "Save as if you don't have a job." You're making, you know, $30, $40, $200,000 a year; I don't care how much it is. But save that money as if you're homeless. Literally. I mean, don't buy anything, don't do anything. Cut your costs down to nothing. Live like you got fired. Okay? Live like you got fired. Imagine if you get fired how much you'd cut your costs. And save that money, and when you have six months of expenses built up, then you start investing money into building the business. And nobody wants to hear this, Amy. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But you have to have money to start a business. Something, it's gonna cost money to build a business. It really is, and granted, you saw that I kinda started, but I sunk $15 grand into a remodel. I'd had the money. I didn't spend it that wisely. But I had it, and I put it into the business, and from there it was a matter of building it up. You have to have something to put in. So if that's where you're at, then you need to build the nest egg to do it. So how are you gonna do that? That may mean putting your photography business on hold for six months while you bank. It may mean just keeping it a hobby for a while until you bank. Okay? But that doesn't mean you can't plan while you're banking. It doesn't mean you can't do things, like design a brochure and a website, and all this stuff in the background that doesn't really take a lot of money, it just takes a lot of time. That's probably one of the most valuable things you can do. And then, once you have the nest egg built up, then you can start going towards that product line and getting the samples in your studio and the gear you need, and maybe thinking about renting space, et cetera, et cetera. That's what my friend did in this other town. She said, "I'm not making any money. "Clearly I need to raise my prices. I need to do IPS." She was doing it out of her home successfully, making $1,000 a session, putting that money away like a little church mouse storing nuts, and now she has the ability to pay $13,000-15, a month in overhead and rent for a studio. So it's something that has to be built up, but it must be strategically planned, and clearly you need an income source to do that. What does that mean? That may mean taking a part time job that you don't really wanna take right now. But there are sacrifices to be made. And unfortunately, if we wanna do what we love, you have to be willing to do what it takes to get there. It's not gonna be magical. I wish it were. And I wish we could all say that, "Oh, just start doing it. It'll happen." No, it's not like that. It's a lot of work. More work than you probably even realize. I look back and I can't even count the hundreds of thousands of dollars I have put into myself, my business, my equipment, my clients, to be able to make my salary every year. My revenue, as a business, is way higher than I actually take home. But that all gets reinvested back into the company, okay, to grow and build this. I just keep taking my measly same old salary. It's enough for me. I don't need anymore. So it all gets reinvested, and that's what great entrepreneurs do. They save, sock away, reinvest, reinvest, reinvest, and then eventually you'll get to the point where you can actually make a living off what you're doing, but it takes a while to get there.

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Ratings and Reviews

Courtney Ranck-Copher

I own I think all of Julia's classes. This is probably my favorite. I will say that it's because its exactly the type of photography I have been wanting to focus on. So the information was extremely valuable to me. But I do love all of Julia's classes and you can learn so much from her as a mentor regardless of the type of portraits you shoot. Thanks Julia for a wonderful class I have watched it multiple times!


As always, Julia never disappoints! It has been so awesome to watch her work with such incredible intention, from concept to session to sales. Her energy and strategy are so motivational and very, very creative! This class rocks from start to finish, and is a perfect addition to my Creative Live business arsenal! Five stars all the way!!!!!

Amy Vaughn

My favorite part was seeing how Julia's business evolved over time and transformed into what it is today. Good tips for finding inspiration to develop a niche and practical marketing advice. I'm glad I took this alongside Tamara's business class - the two photographers had very different approaches to their business and shooting family photography in many ways, but it really illustrators how there's no one way to do everything. I learned so much from both of them.

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