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The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan

Lesson 35 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan

Lesson 35 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

35. The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


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

The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan

First thirty days, get your pen and paper out of your home because you need to start writing this stuff down. What do you need to attack in the first thirty days? Lots of words on the screen. This is my opinion. You don't necessarily have to follow it this way. These are just things that I think are manageable because you can't do everything in thirty days, right? If we agree that you've got this giant master to do list together, maybe you haven't put your master to do list together that's going to make this part all the more difficult. Once you have your master to do list together, you have to take a look at it and go, what do I need to tackle? Thirty, sixty, ninety that's? What I find most people getting tripped up there's so much to do, they feel like they can't do anything, and I promise you, it's, just one bite at a time. You absolutely can do it. And the reason I like operating in thirty, sixty, ninety, there are things that are that are vision, right? Let's say, you're working a...

full time job. You're not quitting your job in ninety days, maybe are. But the average person is not that's. Something you have to plan for. You have to have enough money and savings. You have to have enough money to support your family, to support your bill. So maybe that's a one year vision, maybe that's the one year plan and that's. Okay, but for the most part things have to happen in that ninety day window. Ninety days is three months it's not a long time, but yet it is a long time. I don't want to start planning something a year from now. Have you ever in your life plan for something that's a year away? It's a long time. Not many of us can say at least I can't that I went and I said, ok, a year from now I'm going to do this, and then by the time that year comes, I still want to do this right. Things change, our tastes change, trans change, lots of things change. And so as a rule that's not the way I like to run my business as a rule, I like to operate ninety days out, so most of the things we do typically are ninety days out any further in the back of my mind, I always say, subject to change that's the way you need to operate with your list here's what I want to be in a year any year I want to be here subject to change don't lock yourself into something so far into the future it just won't work right because if you lock yourself into something for a year a year from now businesswise anyway there's usually five steps that have to happen before then right if you say I'm gonna open up a new studio oh our location you don't just say okay honey I'm heading out I'll be back in two hours I'm getting studio will be act right you not running to the grocery store if you want to get a studio a brick and mortar space to a year from now ok well you have to start your marketing plan you have to buy equipment you have to have sales material in your sales room right can't just open up a space with four walls and be successful there's a lot of steps in between again keep that in the back your mind so let's let's look at this. I know we're all photographers but we have to start thinking like project managers and here here's what I mean by that ifyou're again back to my corporate world if your project manager you understand that there's tasks that are dependent tasks meaning you know if I want o if I want to buy samples I need to have let's say I want to do a model shoot on the great wall of china that was something I wanted to I just did that well, great if I want to do a model shoot on the great wall of china, I have to have tickets to get to china I have to have money to buy the tickets to get to china after have a model in china, I have to have a dress, I can't just I'm in china let's shoot you understand where I'm going with this? So we have to start thinking like project managers, what are the dependent tasks and what are the lead times? This is where we make the mistake. What the lead times on those tasks perfect case in point it's january it's bridal show season everybody knows we own an album company called signature collection albums were getting phone calls on december fifteenth hey, can I order an album today for a bridal show on january second? No, no, you can't where's your brain, you can't do that, it doesn't work that way. These air handmade albums the lead time is four to six weeks, so you've got to start thinking like a project manager okay, I got that bridal show coming up in january or february I know I want this that's a four to six week lead time I don't have pictures so I know I need to have a photo shoot before then well, that has to happen to you see where I'm going with all this this is where I see all of you getting tripped up is not understanding the connectedness of all the tasks and lead time so we've got to start thinking like project managers what are the immediate task? What are their dependencies if if this then that we have to understand all those dependencies how they're related here the task I want you to consider first in your first thirty days what do you girls you just opened up a new studio right new facility and we're gonna talk about that later we finally did it. You convince your husband teo to get your space anybody who's been following the thirty days knows what it is what that challenge was we change your husband into getting it peer pressure works but what your financial goals for the year have you figured that out already? Mostly. Okay, mostly that means no and you're embarrassing me on camera. So, uh so your goals all of you out there what are your financial goals for twenty fifteen? I don't care what they are, but what are they? I know what mine are I'ma share those I want to do hunt a minimum of one hundred portrait sessions I'll show you what michael's or I'm gonna show you how we do something like this so but my goals for twenty, fifteen hundred plus portrait sessions ok forty weddings our studio averages thirty five to fifty weddings a year I want to forty weddings it is so important that that goal is written down and understood not I just want to do weddings not I just want to do high school seniors I want to do forty weddings at what price point everybody has to be writing this down if you're following along because we've got a look at this number if we don't know this number right now in this thirty day window how are you setting marching orders for the year marching orders are dependent on the goal because if I only want to five weddings this year by the way nothing wrong with that however many weddings you want to do that that's totally up to you it's your business but if you want to five weddings well you know what you can't do get a new studio you know what you can't do you can't buy a new ten thousand dollar camera that you won't because the money's not there they're dependent on one another so the goals are the first thing we need to start writing down what do you want your goals to be for the next year it's january twenty fifteen now is the time to start figuring this out and again, if you I just want to show everybody's following along, what I'm trying to help you do right now is is break into manageable chunks all the things we've been doing for the last thirty days. Okay, so you understand on that big giant master to do list how I think you should be breaking this up all your logo and branding initiatives thirty days by, they may know why we should be doing that in the next thirty days, and they won't take you guys anybody want to guess? All right, I know why the reason we need to do this in the next thirty days is because well, we're gonna put a website out, we're going to create marketing material. We're going, we're going to start meeting with vendors, all the things we talked about it in the thirty day course, so you're gonna go hand out business card you're gonna drive people to your website, but it's not your logo it's, not your brandy. Well, then you're making a huge, huge mistake. This has to be done now invest the money, get your logo redone invest the money get your website redone if you can't have a professional website put together by a developer that's totally fine look, two companies like photo biz right, get a template side squarespace get a template side it's ok, but get away from that mom and pop look that you have today because you don't want to go meet with vendors and go hi my name is sal and I'm a mom and pop photographer I'm going to make you look bad in front your bride's because I might not even show up for your wedding we can't have that feel when I go to your web site that is your first impact with with your client's whether it's brides whether it's seniors, families, babies it doesn't matter that's their first impact with you this has to be attacked in the first thirty days with your logo and branding initiatives right thats right there front and center don't put it off who's your target client do you remember in the thirty day course the very first segment we spend all this time talking about who your target klein is? Well, that has to happen right now in the first thirty days refined that maybe you think you know who it is and that's fine look at it again. Make sure that that's who it is because if you know who your client is in the first thirty days that's going to impact everything we do for the next sixteen, ninety and one year you can't say it's a twenty five year old bride who has dual income right and they're paying for their own wedding okay, so a husband wife team or they're engaged if that's your client, then all your market he has to be geared towards them not the mother of the bride it's a big difference there's definitely a market where the mother of the bride is paying for the wedding, right? The family of the bride is paying for the wedding, but that's not my client, my clients, that twenty something year old bride, who's working a corporate job and focused on her career. And so I need to understand that now, because what colors I pick, how I market where I market or all impacted by that we have to identify marketing outlets and deadlines, marketing outlets being bridal shows that's a marketing outlet if you're going after weddings, if you're going after families and you want to trade shows right that's kind of ah known business model, where you could go to like a the home expo and set up a booth at the home expo and be giving out flyers for family portrait things like that that's a completely different timeline and schedule in deadline if you know you're doing bridal shows and you need sample albums or sample prints what's your lead time, we need to know where those shows are for me right now I know exactly what shows were doing in twenty fifteen do you if you don't know what shows you're doing in twenty fifteen uh you're going to miss so shows more than likely or you're gonna be scrambling, what about seniors? If you're going after seniors, you need to be shooting your ambassadors within the next thirty days. That has to happen now because what you don't want to have happen or the kids get out of school and you still haven't done it if you're waiting till april to start thinking about seniors get ready to have a bad year. If you want to shoot fifty, sixty seniors this year, you have to start thinking about it now that has to be part of a thirty day window, maybe you have to get maybe you don't have any seniors it's your first year going after seniors at school now you got to get some models in some senior models, some senior ambassadors, and you gotta start photographing them now in january february. I know this because that's what we do, I don't wait till april may toe photograph seniors, my ambassadors, I'm doing it in january february, even when it's cold out in st louis, we've got a way we got to get legal eun incorporate are gonna be so proprietor, we talked about this, you're gonna be a sole proprietor, somebody trips over your bag, get ready to lose everything so get legal now don't put it off don't go I don't really have money for that right now you know what? You don't have money for you enough money to get sued and it only takes once somebody trips over your bag in a wedding you knock something over the wedding even by accident I shared with everybody the story where almost knocked down the three or five thousand dollars take of my bride running backwards to take pictures and I almost not the whole table over I'm pretty sure that would have ended with me being sued okay, so you've got it. You've got to protect yourself now is the time you're pricing and packaging holy god most of the questions that came online we're all around pricing and so that's fine because I know that's the one place we all struggle with what are you waiting for? If you're pricing is not in line by january thirty first you're going to struggle the rest of the year the rest of the year it has to be done by january thirty first and so I'm gonna break here everybody out there to start putting your questions in because I'm gonna break right after this side so just keep it up I'm sure the questions they're going to come if you're pricing and packaging is not done again by january thirty first get ready to struggle all year get ready to come and come into these groups and go it's not working I don't know why people aren't buying pictures people aren't this people aren't that I'm making no money I have no profit margin right now is the time to get rid of flush out all the kinks the next thirty days we have to do it we had a whole segment on pricing you've got to focus on that segment and put it into practice watching five times because that's the place most retired for struggle with his pricing we've got to rebuild our portfolio now I'm gonna tell you a story and I'm gonna have a chat with him we're going to a video chat skype call with lenny vault and so I spoke about him over the thirty days lenny is ah is ah wedding photographer based in miami and he went off and did some of this stuff he went up to new york he wanted to rebuild his portfolio. Okay, he went up to new york in the last thirty days and shot first portfolio you want to have something big, you want to have something epic? So I went up to new york city brooklyn bridge manhattan bridge doing all sorts of stuff in this portfolio so that when he went to that bridal show in january he was wowing brides who are looking at that going I've never seen anything like that now is the time to get this stuff scheduled if you haven't already done it, you should have been doing it over the last thirty but at a minimum now if you're serious this has got to be scheduled by the end of january. What samples do you need? What do you need for your studio if you're if you're serious about doing in person sales, which was a big part of the course again doesn't matter if we're talking wedding seniors, families, babies if you're serious about doing in person sales, you have to show samples if you're not showing samples, you're not going to sell shit it's that simple people will not buy what they can't see. Think about yourselves as consumers will you buy what you can't see? Would you walk into a store and they would say we got this amazing a thing for you this widget here two thousand dollars by promising when you get it you're gonna love it it's gonna be beautiful it's shiny it's yeah it's gonna be rounded it's going to be really cool thousand dollars no one's gonna buy it you've got have samples in your studio to show it's one on one it sails one o one the product sells and if you're that person out there who's going you don't understand south no one's gonna buy it no, you don't understand you don't understand sales people buy things that's what we do with money, we have money to buy things that's why it exists. If not, we would still be trading bread for cows. I don't know, but that's not how it works. So you have to have that thing that somebody wants to buy and it's that simple. So make sure when you're building samples, you don't go out by the same thing. Every other photographer has e a ten by ten black album for the love of god everybody's got a ten by ten black album? Do something different, right? Make yourself stand out from the crowd that's what you have to do and then finally, in the next thirty days, all social media secure even if you don't think you want to do it. Instagram, facebook, pinterest your domain name all of its security. Just go get it. Even if you don't use facebook, I can't tell you how many photographers I hear from her like no, I refuse to use facebook. Okay, good, you whatever. Just go buy your name, please. Facebook dot com slash whatever your name is for your business just in case one day you come to the reality that we have to be involved in social media. Go secure that at a minimum, even if you don't have time to post anything, don't activate it, keep the page private, but make sure you have it secured so that you can get this stuff going that's the next thirty days wei got shit to do way got questions common south if you guys have questions in here, let us know, but we have a lot of questions coming in about what you're talking about and just in general, but we'll try to start off with some of these shorter term goals since next we're about sixty and that's, right? Ok, so, um, to get legal, we're talking about getting legal in the next thirty days on, and we have votes on this, by the way, what are some websites or resource is that would best assist in making sure everything is covered? Yeah, that's actually really good question here's what I don't want you to do legalzoom don't go out there and do legal zoom and here's why right? I'm not a legal zoom is the site where you can buy like pre formatted contracts and and incorporate really easily here's why you don't want to do it, and I say this with the utmost sincerity, you know I'm not getting kickback from an attorney for giving you this advice any attorney who knows what they're doing will poke holes in those legalzoom style contracts, wedding incorporated contracts and the reason you're incorporating let's be clear so that they can't pierce the corporate veil and what that is in english is if you trip over somebody's somebody trips over your bag and hurts himself, they're going to sue your company let's, use me as an example for me back home I own a building, right? We only the studio that salvador cincotti photography is home. We own that building that is owned by a company called do well properties that is incorporated let's say someone trips on my steps walking into the studio do I want them to be first of all, I would never want that happening, right? I would shovel I put salt down all those good things let's just say it happens, right shit happens people get hurt, people sue each other. I don't want to lose my business and everything I've worked for over the last ten years, so if they try to sue salvator cincotti photography, they will not be successful. They can on lee soon do well properties, and the only thing do well properties owns is the building. So at most my exposure is the equity that's in the building you understand they can't pierce and common to salvador cicada, they can't pierce salvador cicada and sue me personally you understand so in your world you want to make sure there's somebody trips over a bag or gets hurt or you have him standing on a wall or in a park and a dog bites him you want to make sure that they can't sue you and go after your home you want to make sure they can't sue you personally for future earnings that's what you have to understand if they sue you they can get your future earnings for the next ten, fifteen, twenty years nobody wants that on so you want to make sure that this document is this iron clad as possible and attorney will cost you anywhere from seven hundred to one thousand dollars to do it and do it right in your in your state well worth the investment toe have peace of mind my opinion great and just a follow up legal question from cho bell is can and llc or an escort really protect me since I'm the one and only owner cfo ceo or do I do I need business liability insurance so those are two different questions in my opinion. So yes to answer the question and llc these air good questions by the way an llc or escort can absolutely protect you in this scenario I'm giving you that can't pierce that corporate veil but there's also some other things and your attorney will explain this to you so for example I can't be an escort and maybe this is more information anybody want to know? I don't know I can't be an s corp, for example, and then run my entire business on my personal credit card, it's called I think it's called convolution of fun something like that ok, there's a legal term for it because what what I'm saying? What the attorney would argue is that wow, he's really operating as a sole proprietor because he's running his entire business on his personal credit card, look he's getting groceries and he's buying lighting equipment, he's running his business on his personal credit card, therefore, he is a sole proprietor, so you have to understand all that your attorney would explain it, but it s corporate llc would absolutely protect you in that case. Now to the second part of that question, should you have business liability insurance? Yes, one million to three million dollar policy at a minimum is what you should have that should roughly cost you. As for tarver's, right, we're not like walking on the tops of buildings in open air spaces or photographers for crying out loud that insurance should cost you anywhere from two hundred fifty toe like four hundred dollars a year people has has insurance professional photographer of america that you could buy you could get it through your whoever's got your homeowner's insurance you could get a business plan that covers your business we have a million three million dollar policy that covers us just just in case something happens to the business and they try and sue the business that million three million would would cover it really, really good questions actually talk about the first thirty days all right? Great we're talking about social media and making out a plan for thirty days and pose a vita says when you address social media marking marketing are all necessary and all at once can you prioritize based on your market and add is you develop business longer terms they want to get to that ninety days like start with facebook ad instagram yeah, how do you decide which to do so? Can you do so? And how did you definitely can and I will tell you how I would attack this so first I would go out and get all my properties but usually getting the property right the domain name or or just the space is not the challenge it's getting content up there for most of us that's where we struggle s o I would first start with facebook right? That seems to be where everybody is that's where the marketing is that's where the growth is and this will change actually you'll see shifts into instagram instagram is is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there right now and coming in close and I'll talk about this just maybe later, not today but in a future segment orjust on behind the shutter dot com tumbler so tumbler is making a massive, massive growth spurt right now on dso we've got it, we've got to keep looking at this and in a year it'll be something else, but we've got to be plugged into it, so to answer your question, I would start with facebook and quickly start looking at instagram those are the two places I would attack first, and then I'd start looking for tools like hoot sweet by the way where you can publish once and push out to twitter fate you can't push out instagram, which can push out to twitter, facebook on a bunch of other social media platforms might even have the ability for tumbler and not one hundred percent sure but that's where I would start first and then ninety days one twenty and go from there that's great that's doable yeah, totally do it yeah, it is doable that's the key, right? You got that giant list and you're like panicking right now how do I do it all? Yeah, okay, how about one more before we go on to sixty days? Okay, I'm still starting and learning with photography, marketing and pushing from war work worries me since I am still really knew what do you suggest continue learning or continue working get paid while learning yeah you're probably asking the wrong guy so let me you know I feel like I'm in a meeting right now my name is sal and I have no work life balance whatsoever so here's the thing it is a catch twenty two for all of us that's retired furs as artist ninety nine point nine percent of us are sole proprietors it's just us running the business and we do everything right where the accountant's where the you know we source goods we buy new equipment way have to shop for the house we've got to do our personal things we edit pictures, we buy albums, we meet with clients, we sell the clients and then by the way, somewhere in all that we have to be photographers and actually take pictures. All I can tell you is that as I've grown, I've had to wear many, many hats and along that path money is king you've got to chase the dollars because the dollars or what's going to keep the lights on that's what's gonna help you buy new equipment there what's gonna help you pay for marketing and so learning is always important I love learning I'm constantly learning I'm reading, reading books, reading magazines, looking for that nugget of information that I confined I might be editing and then I've got creative life playing in the background like many of you at home right now probably you know, war at work so the reality is chase the dollars that's going to help you grow your business but here's the thing that comes after that right because your question is really how we do it all as a one man or one woman show you've got to start surrounding yourself with the support network that was the biggest challenge as I grew and I apologize for those of you who know this story I'll just tell it to you really quick this business of mine started about eight years ago it started in my basement okay just me quit my job at corporate america started just me and then within about three or four months I was completely overwhelmed backlog I wasn't delivering images to my clients I couldn't take client meetings I made my wife taylor quit her job like you're coming on she was not a photographer she hadn't wanted nothing to do with retired he didn't love it she was a business school graduate marketing degree she's like this is not what I want to do with my life like you're quitting your job so now me and her started this and then that grew and then I had to add more staff so I added people like elissa people like warren uh and now my team today right, salvador. Sin kata. Photography eyes now, really what we call sin, kata and company, and so there's about six companies that sit underneath there. We have staff of thirty. By this time next year, we will have staff of almost sixty, and so what? We have an entrepreneur, it heart, so I can't give you work life balance advice. That will never happen. But I can't give you advice on how to grow a business that I can tell you. Good batter and different, and today chase the dollars, and then support yourself with people who can help you continue to grow.

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!

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