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Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years

Lesson 33 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years

Lesson 33 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

33. Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years

Next Lesson: The Journey Of You


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Agenda


Why You Will Fail


The Changing World We Live In


Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Day 2


Defining, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Clients


Day 3


Legal Issues


Day 4


Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Day 5


Pricing Your Work Part 1


Day 6


Pricing Your Work Part 2


Day 7


The New World of SEO


Day 8


Social Media - Facebook


Day 9


Social Media - Instagram & Pinterest


Day 10


Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Day 11


Proactively Developing Vendor Relationships


Day 12


Get More Publicity


Day 13


Booking More Portrait Sessions


Day 14


Booking More Weddings


Day 15


Understanding the Initial Sales Consultation (In-person vs Skype)


Day 16


The Engagement Shoot - Shoot To Make Money.


Day 17


Engagement Pricing and Sales


Day 18


Destination Shoots


Day 19


Working With & Training Second Shooters


Day 20


Growing An Alternate Brand


Day 21


The Wedding Day Timeline


Day 22


Managing The Wedding Day


Day 23


Post Wedding Sales and Pricing


Day 24


Post Production - A Real World Workflow


Day 25


Wedding Albums - Their Importance, New trends & Selling Them


Day 26


Ways Not To Suck At Customer Service


Day 27


Video - The Future of Story Telling for the Photographer


Day 28


Packaging & Final Delivery To Your Clients


Day 29


Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years


Day 30


The Journey Of You


The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 60 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan


Student Examples


Interview with Warren McCormack


Interview with Lenny and Melissa Volturo


General Q&A


Lesson Info

Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years

We're gonna drive into lessons learned we're going to talk about my mistakes kind of lessons from the field, if you will, on dh, you know, do whatever you want with this information. Ultimately, again, I've said it over and over again. The only way I know how to teach is through my personal experience, a za professional and share that with you, I'm usually very open, very transparent about the mistakes that we've made and the missteps we've made and how they've impacted our business. But I really do believe in my heart that we are where we are today because of those mistakes and because of those lessons learned, but I definitely wish at some point my career somebody had just warned me the things that were lying ahead, you know, just that kind of danger sign look out now, I will be the first to admit I'm pretty stubborn, I don't know that I would have listened if someone had told me you're going to make this mistake, I would have probably said, like many of you, what does he know? Ana? ...

I would just gone and done it anyway, but it sure would be nice in reflection to think it would've worked out a little differently, and so what I want to talk about is just about failing understanding, failing how we can learn from failing and understand that failing is ok, we all fail, we're going to fail every day running into a new wall mistakes I've made the things I wish I knew when I had started and so let's just dive right into it lets talk about just failing in general first I want to be the first to tell you maybe families okay it's okay to fail, we'll fail every single day and if the more you fail, I think the more experience you gained from those failures it's when you're failing and you're not learning, then I got to start worrying about your mental state, right? Maybe you're just the candid you're dumb and you're never going to figure it out but ultimately it is the only way you can grow if every time you get out there and every everything you do is you hit a home run how are you learning? How are you growing, it's through those failures that we that we all learn everyone out there we all have something just think about it for a second what is something that you really in the bottom of your heart you fail that it still haunts me to this day you gotta let go without let it go because it's gonna get in the way it's going to paralyze you as you try and move forward as a business owner we all have something that eats away does something that were paranoid about a mistake we're we're that we're just petrified of making let it go okay, we've got to keep growing we can't beat ourselves up about it and ultimately it's really about for me realizing that I failed more than I've ever succeeded I fail all the time I try things I experiment I don't know I just got a healthy outlook about it I think it doesn't really bother me to fail maybe that sounds the wrong way I'm never happy about family, right? We understand what I'm saying, but I also don't don't let it paralyze myself myself I'm still wounded picked myself back up, get back on the horse try again and that's the mentality I want you to have maybe that's because right all through college all through high school I was an athlete, I played sports, you make a mistake, you pick yourself up, you go out and try again, you lose the big game, coach pulls you decide yells at you for a little while, you pick yourself back up, you go practice, you get back into the game, we all have something that we have screwed up, but we can't let that thing sit in the back of our heads it'll stop us from growing it will stunt our growth because it'll become this haunting thing in the back of our heads do you guys have that thing? Does anybody have that thing that's haunting them? I'm not going to put you on the spot here it's not open we're not going to talk about it. Um talk about our feelings how we feel hug cry a little that's not me right? I want to help you guys overcome this. Um but here's the thing artist in general are not very competitive but they're just not right just want everyone just wants to love each other get along right no I want to beat you into the ground I want to pummel you right I'm super super competitive I can sit here, have a cup of coffee with you, right? Hug it out shake hands laugh with you when we step on the field and it's game day you better watch out elbows or flying I want to take you down I'm gonna compete any way I can possibly compete against you and your business I am very, very competitive and I make no apologies for it nor should you as an artist okay, if you're that introverted personality you've got to find somewhere deep inside that you truly want to be successful I don't know what that motivating thing for you is for all of us it's different all this one success for different reasons some of us want success for financial reasons some of us want success for personal reasons right to prove that we can do something maybe there's someone in our lives who doubted us and we want to prove them wrong I don't care what your motivating force is but make sure you have a motivating force what is your motivating force why do you want success what is the fire in you people look at me all the time and they're like what motivates you winning winning motivates me I want to win I want to be the best at what I do every damn day okay and I'm gonna fail I'm gonna get up on that damn field I'm gonna fail I'm gonna lose I'm gonna lose to someone else I'm gonna lose a big account I'm gonna lose that wedding I'm gonna get pissed off and then we get back to basics I'm not going to trash talk my competitors that's not what that's not gonna help me win business don't you see a lot of that in our industry right there? Well date that's cause they do group on that's because they shooting burn no that's because you don't know how to compete I know how to compete you've gotta learn how to compete if I'm losing jobs because somebody's doing group on weddings for ninety nine dollars is that really my fault or their fault I think it's my fault I think I go okay I just got beat by somebody who's offering a ninety nine dollars group on wedding or for ninety nine dollars four hundred ninety nine dollars group on wedding or whatever the hell they're doing that's I lost because I failed to show why I'm better you with me so when that customer sat down on game day and had to make that decision they could not I could not sell them on why it was worth I was worth more money that's the competition what's your motivating force michael anthony all of you I'm gonna ask this question what's your motivating force you know they're just like you I want to be successful the way I grew up I was kind of on my own as uh a lot of figuring things out on myself on my on myself I felt at this one's I don't like to lose much like you I want to win I want to be in my market I want people to come to me it's not even about the money it's about me winning good so I'm like literally right there with you wendy what's your motivating force I want to prove to myself that I could do it prove to yourself I love it rob what's your motivating force a cz you know I worked for the new york city department of education for awhile and just recently lost my job so this is about financial freedom having time to spend with my family and you know, having the ability to actually make money not being constricted too no restricted to you got that baby yeah, everything you're doing is about supporting that baby right supporting your family that's a good motivating force three of you three different motivating factors all of them are right for you none of your motivating factors are necessarily the same ones motivating me what's motivating factor I want to be the best at it so when I started this that was my goal so it's a personal thing now you want to prove to yourself you're competing with yourself gabe what's motivating factor minds mostly financial freedom so I get to do like what I want what you want when you want exactly there's no better feeling in the world then want you know what's funny is I was just having this conversation the other day I was having this conversation I said I said, you know what there's all sorts of there's all different levels of rich in the world there really is right there's those people who just have a few money right they can do, they've got private jets, they got cars and all I don't want that that's not actually what I want that's not what motivates me it's a stupid things in life and I said you know what really is cool for me that I love is knowing that I can go in any restaurant anywhere in the world and have whatever I want to eat I can I can pay whatever I want for a meal all right three star michelin restaurants I go to mcdonald's if I want right that's a little treat but I can go wherever I want I can travel wherever I want if I want to go next week if I have time I want to jump on a plane to paris I can go to paris equus aunts come home that's all that's what motivates me? I love knowing I could do that so little things that motivate each of us differently jonathan what's your motivating force what's your fire it's changed, uh, motivating force wass worked with clients and having them thrilled with who they are. Okay, I have been driven. I've I've let go of my father's just recently and I want to outdo him. He was on top that motivating force because in your market your dad was the big dog. Yeah, he was a big dog yeah, so you want to show him what's up, I love it right it's a good motivating force what's your motivating force um, to part when I started doing this again, my husband told me that he didn't think it would last, that I would get bored because I get bored of things and I move on to the next, and I keep going because I don't want to give up, I'm not gonna let him win and, uh and also just to give our family those extra things, I love it, I love it. I love that it's emotional for you. A lot of you, I'm watching get choked up is we're talking about what is motivating this and you're starting to make me get choked up watching you get choked up, so knock it off. Um, so what's your motivating force for me, it's it's, almost like a sport. I mean, it's you know, it's, the only thing to me is more motivating than seeing the growth of a business is thinking what could be done to make it even better and moving forward with that. I mean, I just really like the almost that you're always trying to catch up with yourself or surpassed yourself love the tinkering of it all, seeing planting that seed, watching it grow what's your motivating force for me too it's to prove to myself extra things for my family and when I started this I said you know nothing was coming from my husband's salary from my business it was front all round up and I love it that's that's a sense of pride I hope everyone at home is not is not zoning out on this messaging here because I guarantee your message is resonating with everybody there and I'm hoping at home you're going through this very same exercise what is the fire in your belly what's the fire in your belly what's motivating you I never want to work for someone else again ever and I went through to find family that I made the right decision I did this instead of what they were pushing me to I love it I mean I'm gonna give all of you a hog when this is all over actually stop crying you are killing me right now I'm gonna sit here in ball as a grown man on air with you what's my motivating factor we all have different motivating factors I lost my dad and dad died when my dad was on his deathbed uh he said to me he said do you love me? I said yes I love him and he said I want youto I want you to promise me something I said I will he said I want you to do well I got to remember is a teenager I was ah, a little bit of a rebellion rebellious type as you can imagine, I was kicked out of three high schools in ah in about a year and a half two year window if there was trouble I was usually in the center of it right? I ii the same personality I just didn't understand at seventeen eighteen, nineteen years old what this energy meant and it's kind of interesting you guys have been around me and we were making fun of you yes, you you guys would call me the energizer bunny and it just keep going going but that's me all the time and I had this energy is a nineteen year old and man I was just getting in trouble non stop there was a fistfight in the corner I was in the middle of that fist fight somebody looked at me the wrong way I was going after them, right? I just I always had something to prove to someone and it wasn't until that moment I can still remember that moment I'm forty four years old my dad passed away twenty something years ago I can still remember that moment where he said to me, I want you to promise me something do well and it's just oh my god, I'm like dad, I'm going to do well he said it again do well and he went he passed out because he was on his deathbed and he died that was it two hours later my dad passed away those were his last words to me and ever since that moment in time everything I do everything I want every time I wake up that's my motivating factor that's what gets me going that's what I'm trying to prove that I'm going to do it if you say I can't do it I'm gonna prove you can do I'm gonna prove to you I'm gonna do it ten times over that's what it's all about that's the part we gotta realize all of us have different fires in our belly no fire in your belly is right or wrong the fire that's in your belly ok is the one that gets you to get up off your ass and do something and every day it's a different fire every day something else is motivating me in a different way I'm exhausted we've been doing this eight ten hours a day I am freaking exhausted I want to be in my bed sleep pull the covers over my head and check my frickin email it's making me crazy right now I don't have an auto out of office response all right and so that's what I want to be doing but I know I've got a responsibility and that responsibility is to me that responsibility to my family and those are the things that have to be motivating me all right, guys with me. All right, come on, stop crying, all right? I do not offer emotional courses so it's not it's not really good they're gonna have to edit that whole sequence out your room my reputation it's going to be really bad passing out tissues in the audience it's good times all right, but I love all of you, man. You know that and so my part of why teaches that very reason I want every single one of you tow have an opportunity to achieve your goals to get to where you want to be and if it's just not one piece of information that I give you to get there that's all the better that's why I'm doing what I do so I hope all of you get to chase whatever that fire is out there what's your fire what's motivating you to go do these things that's the part I'm hoping you do so ultimately we have to want success that's what that fire's for what the wall were all running into were all running into that same damn wall old habits die hard we get too comfortable doing what we're doing we run into that wall we run into that wall again and it's the definition of insanity you keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result if it's not working do something different it's okay, let it go it's that fear of the unknown that paralyzes all of us right we go well, if I do it this way at least know this is what's gonna happen and you stick with it you keep doing it over and over again instead I'm suggesting you get away from that and try something new even if you don't know what it is go through door number three because at least we can rule door number three out if it doesn't work great I'm gonna go through door number two if that doesn't work I'm gonna try another door and eventually you're gonna find your door I promise you you will and that's if it's one thing I think I'm really good at it it's that I refused to do the same thing over and over again. If it's not working, you will find that if you work side by side with me if I try something and it doesn't work and I logically look at it right? Because something's will fail eighty twenty rule that doesn't mean the whole we throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak ok as it turned, my mom used to say you can't throw the baby out with the bath water and so that means if you try something and it doesn't work, figure out why it didn't work okay? Why didn't work well didn't work because blueberries right? Whatever the case is great let's adjust that part of it try again let's adjust that part of it try again and then if it still doesn't work you abandon it you try a new strategy notice the advice I'm giving you is very generic I'm not gonna talk about anyone thing it could be your pricing it could be your sales meetings maybe are meeting with people they're not booking okay? It can be all these things all tied up in the one but the formula here is the same run into a new wall we've got to do something different and like I said, most of that fear comes from that unknown the unknown scares the crap out of all of us it absolutely does scares me I just don't let it paralyze me that's the difference do not become paralyzed by your fear we're all afraid of different things it's part of the fire I think the thing that when we're talking about what's that fire that's motivating you were all running away from something or we're not I'm running away from failure I don't want to fail I refuse to fail I don't want to go back to corporate america and never wanna go back and never want to depend on anybody I want to be able to go do what I want when I want to I'm running away from something that's my fear that's my motivating fire we're all afraid of something um maybe you're working that full time job a tte home you want to be a full time photographer but you're working a full time job you're afraid of the unknown I'll tell you what nothing will get you uh learning howto run your business correctly then being the breadwinner of your family right again it's a story I've told over and over again almost bankrupted my entire family I quit my job at microsoft was making a very nice six figure income quit my job at microsoft I said I'm gonna you know this is my passion this is what I want to do leap of faith right about a year into it six months a year into it I depleted all our assets we have nothing and I had to get it together man and not taught me really quick how to start running my business to make money how to start running my business for profit first running my business to worry about what other people think to worry about what my clients think to worry about what other photographers think had to do what was going to make the phone ring had to do what was going to put money in my pocket and help keep a roof over my head those become really strong motivating factors here's the thing I want you teo to keep in mind the on ly constant in this world is changed that is the one thing you can count on guys you've been with me for the week now as well as we go through this yeah, some of the content we're talking about is the same but a lot of it has changed I'm doing a lot of things differently today than it was a year and a half ago okay you come see me a year from now I'm gonna be doing a lot of things different in a year from now foundational e nothing will change it shouldn't the foundation is the foundation but we've got to start dealing with that change that's coming right we talked about who that klein is we talked about little sophia alright she's two or three years old now and she's uh she knows how to use her iphone at three years old she knows how to unlock the iphone she knew how to do it at two years old and she knows she's watching her life on that iphone client is gonna want something completely different from us when she becomes a senior and you might be thinking yourself ah that's so far away it's really not her being a senior in high school right is about thirteen years away I still hope to be in business in thirteen years and so what am I going to do for that particular client? I have to embrace change that becomes the constant in this equation change and so what are my mistakes again on ly way? I know how to teach my mistakes first one I've made through my career so I'm going over the last eight years these are the mistakes I've made in growing my business and I'm hoping some of you can actually relate to the things I'm talking about here trust man the italian part of me uh is very, very loyal we're very trustworthy once we let you in I should say that all right, well keep you at bay but once we let you in will give you the shirt off our backs we're very, very loyal I'm very, very much family I run my my employees like family I try and take care of them like family on that's that is burned that has been very problematic I shared with you the situation where that husband and wife team splintered off and went tried to start their own business after I welcome them into my family after I paid them very good money after I built a brand around them for them they screwed me. They left me hanging was a big mistake I made prior to that I had brought someone else in and I trusted her I brought her in is a second shooter and I trained her in a train during a trainer for a year and when she was finally ready to start booking weddings on her own she bailed on she went and she started her own business right trust loyalty it burns us sometimes now do I start does that stop me from trusting people anymore? Of course not I gotta continue trusting people because it's not a fun place to live where you just don't trust anyone I gotta pick and choose who you're letting into into your world on then be okay keep your guard up let them prove themselves to you but this is something that is as burn me and I refused to let it burn me again and so now you know, maybe I am a little bitter from that but I keep people at bay I have to because I always feel like somebody wants something from me I can never really trust anybody at face value and I hate being that way but I've been burned so many times uh letting go this has been on this has been so interesting I don't know how many of you out there are like me maybe we're all the same as artist control freaks I'm absolutely a control freak and so early on in my career two thousand seven two thousand eight refused to look over a county like we can do it we could do all the bookkeeping we got it's not it's not rocket science was a business school graduate I can do it right that's what I thought and maybe I can technically do it but I wasn't doing it it wasn't getting done and so we went three years without paying taxes two thousand seven eight and nine I ended up owing the irs almost sixty thousand dollars almost killed us sixty grand imagine having to cut them a check for not only back taxes penalties because I wouldn't let go right now knock on wood men we don't mess with it I've learned my lesson very expensive lesson at that, but I wish early on somebody had had just said to me, this is something that is going to trip you up let it go just let it go because as your business is growing, you want to focus on growing your business you don't want to focus on bookkeeping, and the minute I fell behind on bookkeeping, I was never able to recover. We fell three years behind and then all of a sudden we had we had to get this money to the irs video editing this was a nightmare for us this is something I've talked about in the past were like, hey video great let's do it and we go out there with jump both feet in we're like we're going to do video we started doing video, we went from turning weddings around photography wise two weeks it was taking us a year and a half to get clients their video a year and a half almost destroyed the reputation of my business. You want to talk about having to put out fires we were having to put out fires? What do you tell a client a year and a half? What do you tell them? How do you have any logical answer for them? Uh it'll be next week. No, we couldn't even come up with realistic deadlines for them that we were going to be able to get them their video. And so this caused finding we're refunding people money we were giving people free prince we were doing everything we could to keep them happy. But man, I want to say those those ten or fifteen weddings that came through that had video we screwed the pooch on customer service and there's no there's, no recovery he's their clients that will never refers. They'll never do business with us again, right? This was a huge miss on our part. We completely underestimated how much time it would take toe work, full video production. Not only did we underestimate how much it would take to do video production, we underestimated the resource is we would need to be able to do this successfully and correctly. I'll never make that mistake again. This one this is this ah ha moment if you will is some is a moment I just had about three months ago we own salvador's and kind of a tarty shutter magazine shutter network. Uh, signature collection albums evolve that it's uh, virtuoso. Okay, every single one of those companies has gone through growing pains from the minute they started and we sat down as a team, we said, what is the problem here? Why are we why are we struggling with growth in every single one of these these companies and believe it or not, it's, because we were planning to fail first, planning for success think about what I'm saying to you. We start our companies photography studio's doesn't matter what your business is, by the way, doesn't have to be photography doesn't have to be services to a photographer. How many of you are really planning for success if you're shooting ten weddings today? I'm just making numbers up. How many of you are planning for forty weddings next year? Probably none of you you're not planning for success. You're actually planning for mediocre growth. At best you're planning for failure may be you'll have eleven weddings next year, maybe that's what's in your mind you if I could just get the same amount next year, I'll be happy, but if you're sitting here and you're watching this course, if you're sitting here with me in this course, the whole conversation we're having is not about growing your business by ten percent it's not about growing your business by twenty percent it's about growing your business by one hundred percent? Is it not that kind of conversation we're having? Do you understand if you grow your business next year by one hundred percent you might call me and thank me, but you might call me and send me ah letter bomb at the same time, right? Because if your business girls by one hundred percent and you're doing things the same way you're doing today next year you run the risk of actually going out of business for all the wrong reasons because you're not ready for the growth that's what we found out it took me a long time to figure this out so now everything we do every new business we launch we're trying to grow it or put a plan together that plans for success business is not complicated we tend to make it complicated if you plan for success, success will happen if you plan for failure or mediocre mediocre results, you're going tohave mediocre results, you're going to fail and that's the one thing I've learned it took me a long time to learn this and I hope this is resonating with you we are now planning everything we do we're saying, you know what? We're damn good at what we do and now from now on when we put a new business out we come up with a new idea and a new concept we're not gonna plan for ten people being in it we're going to plan for a thousand people in it I'd rather have a plan infrastructure in place that planes for a thousand people and be at eight hundred and be a five hundred then playing for something that's gonna have ten people in it and the next thing you know we wake up in the morning and we've got a thousand people knocking on our door for our product or service and we're not ready for that growth that's ignorant at this point the business plan that you're putting together you have to put together and plan for success don't plan for failure plan for success there is no plan b planning ah another mistake over leveraging all of you his business owners are either struggling with this right now or you will struggle with it money capital cashflow it's the lifeblood of our business as we've grown our business I have literally taken almost every dime I have and dumped it right back into the business minus living expenses I gotta pay from a house I gotta pay for my cars I gotta pay for certain things in my life right now I have no savings my savings is going right back into the business perfect example shutter magazine shutter magazine born two years ago, ninety thousand photographers part of shutter magazine we're going to print everybody thinks I'm out of my mind why are you taking a magazine that's digital and bringing it into the print world that's dying while you're doing it because I believe in it I believe I'm going to put out a magazine that's better than any other magazine out their quality of paper I wanted to be an art piece I want you to have shutter magazine in your hands put that in your hands and go this is like no other magazine on the market if I can do that should've magazine's gonna be successful but I'm betting the farm on it I'm putting a lot of money into that because I believe in it I'm planning for success that's what I'm telling you to do plan for success with your logo with your website right get ready for what's about to happen in twenty fifteen what I wish I knew where to start when I started out michael when you and I were talking about this I think it was that lunch the other day where do I start? I want to be a photographer where the hell do I start? When I started out no one would share business the most fun part for me and being here and being a speaker is knowing that I piss a lot of people off I actually love it. I love that I piss people off because everybody gets so worked up about my messaging, right? Because I tend to call a spade a spade. You may not like what I have to say. You may not even like meat, okay, but it's very difficult to argue with the points I'm making because they're all practical. They're not overly emotional. I'm having practical business conversation with you if I don't think you're doing something right, I'm gonna tell you, you're not all right. Everybody needs someone like that in their life to just call a spade a spade that's ultimately what I'm looking to do. And so I wish I had someone like me back in two thousand seven, two thousand eight helping the mold me shape me, telling me where to go because you could make the argument all you want, go figure it out on your own, but sure, I can do that. I obviously did there's a lot of stuff you're figuring out on your own, but sure been nice to not trip every time somebody just one time. Catch me, right? Just that little piece of advice. If I save you ten minutes, right or an hour of a mistake, I've helped you a lot. That's what I wish happened when I was starting out. I wish I had a place to go where I could have gotten all that information. And now today, it's awesome, right? You've got things like creative live ah, that are pushing out education. You've got speakers who were now excuse me more than willing to share the business side. Ah, photography rewind like, five, six, seven, ten years ago. A man, everybody, I'll tell you everything you do about lighting. When it came to the business of photography no one wanted to share that information was taboo. We're not gonna talk about it now. Everybody's willing to talk about it? I wish I knew how hard it was gonna be to develop business relationships. I thought it was gonna be much easier. I was coming out of corporate right was coming from microsoft. And so when I can't came from microsoft, it was much easier for me to develop business relationships, right? I go meet with the company, but I came from microsoft. Want to talk to you about your platform, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It was easy. But man, once I once I went out on my own, and I was trying to develop relationships with vendors and catering halls on flores and all the stuff I was getting door after door slammed in my face and I didn't understand why I didn't know what I was supposed to say I don't know how to overcome those objections that's something that took me years to just find tune and learn how to overcome those situations and so that's something else I wish I'd known early on because I would have atleast been mentally prepared for the journey that was ahead of us a lot of you out there probably feel defeated when that door gets shut in your face you feel defeated but what if I told you nine out of ten doors are going to get slammed in your face you're not gonna like it but least you know it's about to happen it's a difference in mindset I wish I knew how hard it was gonna be to develop professional relationships in corporate america you're friends with your peers you go around the water cooler you make fun of your boss right? You have those dilbert conversations right? Just that's the way it is you connect with people are any of you having trouble connecting with your peers and your local market? I am I can honestly say there's maybe to one or two photographers in my local market that I have a fairly consistent conversation with how's it going what's up let's grab drinks let's grab coffee, you're me for tigers there out in the st louis market I have little or no relationship with the majority of them. We know who each others are. We might wave to each other. You know, in a casual sense, I have a relationship with him. Not like I did when I was in corporate. It makes being a photographer feel very lonely sometimes, right? There's nobody. We can just bounce things off, right? We all want event with its venting about clients are venting about a situation or venting about a church, right? We all want to do that. But who are we doing? You too? It would be nice to have those piers of those connections. That's part of why I love teaching as well. Part of why I love teaching it cause I have so many relationships with so many of you all over the world. We get to talk to you guys on facebook. I'm very involved in things that's cool for me. I love doing that. I feel like my family's all over the world, right? So I don't worry about it. My local peers in st louis and I encourage you to think like that now, right? Just go to an event you know, like, uh and connect with people all over the world with harvey, it doesn't have to be just in your local market right rob I was just up in new york we went we got together you were there lenny was there ah a couple other people we went we grab dinner we grab drinks real casual was good to see everybody catch up I love doing that when I'm in another city I love connecting with people and just just hanging out just chilling makes me feel part of a bigger bigger community wish I understood how much lack of training and support they were gonna be and I hope it home you're not just looking at this is like sounds like just doing this you know bedtime diary kind of brain dump here the reason I'm sharing this with you is because I want you to be writing down what it is right now that you feel if you look back and reflect you wish you knew what would help you because you might find that if you write some of this stuff down what you wish you had known when you first started out it might actually start directing where you need to be and where you need to set your growth plan moving forward because it does for me and I use this stuff for kind of personal growth the sacrifices I wish I knew what sacrifices that we're going to have to make of time time is non existent the idea of me just going on vacation and unplugging for three days that's like a dream that's a fantasy? I don't know that that will ever happen uh anytime in the next five to ten years so mentally, when we talk about the sacrifices again, I'm forty four years old about four years ago, maybe about three years ago, I made a promise to myself, I said, I'm goingto kill myself for the next five years, I challenge all of you to think about making this kind of commitment to yourselves, to your businesses for the next five years. I'm going to commit everything every hour, every waking moment to building the most powerful brand that I can that is my commitment for the next five years. I've got a year and a half to two years left where I'm willing to just sacrifice everything my time mostly to be able to build this brand, then I'll be able to step away, slow down, take a deep breath think about it, what are you willing to sacrifice to be successful? It's got to be everything you've got to be you've gotta want success more than you want everything and anything else, if the minute it gets painful you pull your hand away from that fire, you're going to be like ninety nine point nine percent of the other photographers that are out there, well that's too hot that's too much work, I don't want to do that right you've gotta push through that pain you've got to be willing to sacrifice everything and I promise you success will be yours and I wish I knew when I started this eight years ago how rewarding it would all be the reward for me is getting those emails from you those messages from you letting me know that you sold your biggest package letting me know that you quit your job and now you're a full time for talk for that is the reward for me I wish I knew when I started this journey how rewarding all of this would be how many friends I would make around the world how many people that I would impact how many lives I would change by doing what we do that's the part I wish I'd known when I started this out so long ago so that's that segment guys I hope this is resonated with you I hope you have given you at least something to think about on where you move forward understanding what that fire is what's going to motivate you when you close your laptop at home or shut off your computer or walk out of this studio what is it that's going to keep you moving and keep you motivated every day when it gets hard when it gets painful what are you going to do when you want to quit you cannot quit you gotta look to that fire to keep you going

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Master the Business of Photography - Workbook
Master the Business of Photography Slides
5 Tips to Finding and Booking Your Client

Ratings and Reviews

Brandon D

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.


Amazing course. Sal is such a great photography educator. Terrific course. I'm not usually big on watching business courses, but this course as taught by Sal was terrific. Down to earth, entertaining, packed with real life experiences do's, don'ts and lessons learned. This courses business A to Z and Sal is very entertaining to watch/listen to. Thanks CreativeLive for getting Sal.

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I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!

Student Work