Business Discussion with Students
I sat down and I wanted to finish the morning session with some power marketing, because this is where I have a really strong strength, which is kind of weird because as you know I gave you my marketing plan the first time. But I wanna open this up a little bit more specifically to actually go to. So my marketing ideas came from desparation. Okay, so I built my studio in New Zealand, in the garage. I had all of these staff. We suddenly were just rocking it big time, and we got through all of those shoots. And three months later there was nothing, right? So all of a sudden I had to market my business, and I had no concept of how to do that. I had no concept of how to market myself. I also had zero confidence. So remember when I did my business segment in the first Creative Live, and I turned around and I looked at my studio. I turned around and looked at my studio picture on the wall and I started to howl. And I still haven't been able to watch that 'cause I just, ahhh. But the truth is...
, is I felt the fear that I remembered feeling about putting myself out there. I was more, back then, focused on being a good enough photographer than I was being a good service provider. So I just kinda had the perception wrong. It's just a perception, you know. There's no are you good enough? There's only are you good enough at providing a service of what you do? So I realized that I just needed to shift that, and once I shifted that of course it worked. But then there's the basics; get up every day and market your business, and what are you gonna do to market it? And so I wrote the marketing plan and I showed you my marketing plan. The idea with my marketing plan was first of all, this is Sue Starlet business. First of all, you simplify it. So what I've gotta do first is break it down. What are the avenues of marketing around me? You know, what do I identify as being all little avenues that I could market my business? Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, charity functions, expos, gift with purchase, online gift vouchers. I've always put this up, this is in any talk that I do. This has been the marketing plan that I've had with me for nine-and-a-half years now. When I wrote this nine-and-a-half years ago multi-media product and YouTube were the last on the list and now they're the first. So isn't that ironic that nine years ago I didn't have a Facebook account and I didn't see and YouTube was only just being born in about 2004, 2005. YouTube wasn't even on there, YouTube has been added. Multimedia product was coming from the simple question, can I buy that on CD? Can I buy that on CD? So the multimedia aspect of that marketing plan was simply based on a CD-driven price list, or a CD-driven product. So all of a sudden I had this marketing plan that worked well for me for all women because there seems to be a community of women within every single one of those little networks. So what I thought I'd do is just ask you all of a question along here, on where it is that I can help power market to you, and I'm gonna try and throw out, just off the top of my head, this is like 100 posing, this is like 100 marketing tips. But I haven't got 100, okay. I've probably more like got 20 but I'll do the best I can. So what I do, remember what I always say. Put your panoramic lens on, I'm gonna go as fast as I can. So, I'm gonna start with you Steven, because I'm gonna whip my way to Sarah. And in fact, no, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start with Sarah because I have a question to ask Sarah. Sarah as you know has been a makeup artist assistant all week with Samona; beautiful hair and makeup. I've shot three of your girls that you did a full hair and makeup of and they're absolutely beautiful. You are married to Tobin and you and Tobin have been here doing workshops. You're big Creative Livers, and somebody just told me before you walked in that the basis of your business now is glamour, hair and makeup and glamour?
100% and you have been doing that since came and Tobin spent the week with me
at my first. And you are now earning an income from just glamour?
And both of you are a husband-wife team. You're not working full-time jobs?
You are full-time now in your own business?
And what, where are you based?
Yeah, tell everyone where you're based. I think everybody who recognizes you will know that you're in Vancouver but for the people that don't know you, you're in Vancouver?
Yep, Vancouver, B.C. We're pretty much downtown Vancouver, so we're right in the core of all of it.
Okay, and how's your income?
Amazing... Like, unbelievably so. We're averaging $1,500 a sale.
Good average, okay. $1,500 is a really great average because the country average is $900? So you're almost double. $1,500 is a really great average. It's also a really interesting price point, because it's a safe average for a new startup business. Which means that over the next year what you're gonna do is you're going to start unfolding the challenge of offering more for the value for the money that you're getting. Because I'm going to say that you're earning $1, right now because you feel comfortable with that, and you're going to feel comfortable with earning more as that goes on.
Okay, so in terms of shooting, you're 100%, you've got a $1,500 average. What do you think you're pulling monthly into your studio at the ... If you feel comfortable answering that. You don't have to answer that.
Oh, I'm an open book. I'm a total open book. Well, it's hard to say what it's gonna be. Last month, 'cause we did a big kinda Facebook blog splash. We just, we needed to get people in the door to start talking about us and we needed to practice. Like, it's all so new to us still. We did 22 sessions of friends to practice; to get my makeup skills up, to get Tobin's angles up. It's the first time he was shooting in natural light and we had a little space that was our office downstairs. Like, we rent an apartment above, we rent to the bachelor below. And that space had our office in it, all of Tobin's editing equipment and everything there. All of that moved up into our bedroom, so we all of a sudden had space. So I went and brushed up on my makeup skills and brushed up on my makeup skills, and he focused on his photography. So, we did that... we did the big give away to get people in, to get people talking. So we did 22 sessions in that giveaway, and so that doubled our number. So with the average of about 1,500, the 22 sessions went over more than a month, but we made about $20,000 in about eight weeks.
That's good, wow. (audience clapping)
Yeah, considering before that our photography sales average was $ and we were maybe doing two shoots a month.
So you've almost tripled that.
Oh, more than, it's phenomenal. It's amazing.
Okay, so if I could say to you what is the one place, you know at the end of my last Creative Live I said rate your business.
Like, what's your weakness?
Our weakness right now is still a little bit of confidence. Like,
Okay. this, this coming from me
Confidence in in shooting or selling, marketing?
Confidence in shooting. We love, our experience, I mean, I was a service provider for 10 years; I did aesthetics so that's my comfort.
Yep. That was awesome, people loved their experience and they're ranting about it.
Don't tell me what you're good at, tell me what you suck at.
I, we suck at, yeah marketing at this point basically.
The word of mouth is getting there, but the more self-generated marketing--
Okay, so when you suck at marketing and you have this idea that it's a confidence thing, really remember you go from ego to enthusiasm. So you don't have to be confident to sell what you do. You just have to be enthusiastic about it. And you guys are enthusiastic. So what I think you need to is start bouncing of each other. The best thing about couple is that you are a good sounding board for each other, and you can push each other forward really really well. Also, you can sell Tobin, he can sell you. So you are promoting him, he promotes you, and you're not promoting yourself. You know, the cool thing is, oh, my wife is this incredible hair and makeup artist, and you're like, my husband's a photographer, and we do it together and that is something. Also, remember in term of marketing and connection, you're a husband and wife team. That's one of the most powerful groups that you can have because if you market yourself as Sarah and Tobin and you answer the phone, and Sarah answers the phone or Tobin answers the phone that's like I'm getting the husband or the wife. So you have a trust straightaway with your clients that most people don't have. You know, it's not Sue Bryce Photography and Katie's answering the phone and you want Sue Bryce. People have this idea that they're going straight to the top. So when you're a husband and wife team you already have that together. So your marketing plan really needs to, you just need to sit down, write out a marketing plan like this, but put each one of those on a single bit of paper and then do a group, target group, with those 22 friends. So those 22 people, use them again. Sit down with them and say, I want you to help us network our business and I want you to help us even feedback to network our business. These are the, all the options we have where we could be marketing ourselves and what we do. How do you think we can expand on every one of them? And write down one of those on every bit of paper, take the fear out of marketing. There is no fear in putting yourself out there. I don't have to be afraid to say I love being a glamour photographer. I used to be afraid that people would say you're not very good, but now I don't really care about that. If people say I'm not very good then I'm just not for them, that's fine. I'm more excited about the fact that my experience is so amazing. Also, promote the value of what you're selling, and promote the experience of what you're selling above anything else, and then all you're doing talking about how much fun you have and then you're not talking, you know, putting anymore confidence out there. You also have this idea, I think, when you're fledgling, that you're work's not good enough to market or you hold back 'cause you think it's just not quite good enough, it's not quite good enough. Don't let you're idea of how good your work is sell it. Let the clients who are happy market your business. So the ones that do love their images, let them sell you, and use those images because you can see the connection in the end. All right, Gabe. You guys are startup, you're young, you've got a great business. Clearly you've got a good connection to video. So straightaway because your submission video was outstanding, so that's gonna be a strong, powerful tool for you. Secondly, you're both quite quirky and hipster in that way that you have that husband-wife thing, and you just sort of bounce off each other really really well in your marketing. And I love Two Birds, I love the idea of the way your brand is set up. And what I really loved about your video was the way you see it. We saw you on Creative Live and we just went for it. You know, you just, you came across to me a go-getters. So that was something instant about your brand. And you may be a little bit too young to start seeing a consistent complaint in your business, but if there's one area that you think you fall down or a couple of areas you fall down what are they?
Like, both of answering or just him right now.
Any of us, 'cause I'm--
I feel like we've got, like we took your, take 10 women, 10 influential women and target them and see how they can help us, and that has been very powerful for us. I feel like we've fallen, well maybe not even fallen short, or just aren't quite there yet with knowing how now that we've got those women in mind and we've, we've even got what we wanna do for them, but what do we ask of them? Like, what do we get them knowing beforehand to do for us?
Well, let me tell you a little bit about that because we've chosen 10 women that have, they're either connected in a network or they have a business that can continue to serve us. And so we're in the middle of that. We haven't completed it yet just because there's not any time.
So here's your options here. When you look at this board, I look at that and I look straightaway. I'd do anything with a gift with purchase, anything with a private event, anything with a gift bag, a champagne party, or anything with a dit da dit da da going through, anything with a business network. Okay, so straightaway I can hit out those points. You do not create or ask anything from them. You create a tight circle with them. So you say, I bounce my clients out to you, if they've got a database or if they've got a business, and you do the same for them. Let's create a business network where we do your photography for free, and you bounce me out to your network. So it's a give-and-take. You're not asking for anything. You've created a relationship. It's easier for you to give them portraits or business photography than it is to say, can we ask you for something? You're not asking for anything. It's a scratch my back, I scratch yours kinda world. The best connection I ever had in my business was Angela Dollie, sorry Angela, Angela Beer from Hello Dolly. I love this woman, she's a marketing guru. When I met her, straightaway it was like, What can I do for you? What can I do for you? Not, you know, what can you give me? It was like, what can I do for you? And that was my pitch, that was her pitch to me, what can I do for you? And I was like, what do you mean what can you do for me? And I was like, well what can I do for you? And she said, well I'm starting this amazing business. I need brochure images, bla bla bla. And I was like, well I have this amazing business. And she's like, well we both have lots of female clients. And then we just like (imitating talking) and it just worked because she is incredible. And it wasn't out of what can you give me. So you're not going to pitch anything to them. You're just gonna create a network with them. You invite them around for a champagne evening in your studio; cheese and crackers, lunch, business meeting, breakfast pow-wow, whatever you want to call it. Target group just sittin' there and say, we're launching this, this is our brand, we're working really hard towards this, you've got an amazing network, and we're happy to feed you if you can give us a way to the people in your network.
Well and that's right now we have a girl that, like she's doing, like, the jewelry parties, and so when we met each other it was totally that kind of thing. Like, how can we help each other? And both of us are on both sides going, how can we help each other? And neither of us really knowing how we can help each other.
That's specific to that one. I mean we can check off about three, or four, maybe five of these things that we've done with a flower shop, for example, with different companies. So I think we're just right in the middle of developing those.
Yes, okay so what you have to do now is, your network is your net worth, Tim Ferriss, right? So you have to keep that network alive. You are not to lose touch with these people. Whether you send them gifts, give them phone calls, keep them on a mailing list, but somehow you have to give them something. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Okay, you give them vouchers for shoots; personal shoots, work shoots, whatever it takes to keep this network alive in your business. Because you need ongoing business from them. The second you use somebody and not contact them, it's a one night stand, okay? And once that goes down, you know, you get a dirty name. And we all know what that name is, all right? So the idea is that that network can already be supported if it's a friendship. We don't ever take from our friends and then not contact them. Keep them alive. So find a way to create that network with them and just keep bouncing it through. And keep this in mind; how can I help you, not how can you help me, or what can I get from you, but how can I help you? How can I help you? How can I help you with your business? Because if you say that to somebody else's business, what would you say if somebody said that, how can I help you? You'd go, wicked, you wanna help me? And yeah, and then it's reciprocal.
Any other questions that you wanna ask?
No, I think we're on the right path.
I think you are too, really impressed. And what I wanna see, what I wanna see is build a stronger mentoring program with me, because this is not just a workshop, right? We've been saying it all week; this is not just a workshop where you go, oh this is just Sue Bryce does and you can take a few tips away. This is a business model and it worked for me, it's working for Sarah, working for Sarah and Tobin. It's gonna work for you guys, okay? And it's a strong portrait business model and it really really works. And you can tailor it to yourself and keep it all. It's all your individual self, but it's a business model, you know, and it's a strong-base business model. So I would like to create a more mentoring, ongoing mentoring where I can actually work with people, because I want to see your studio in a year. And I wanna see your studio in a year, and I want to see you hit the business numbers from all of the challenges I sent you in the first workshop. Go back to the business section, make sure you rate your business, see how you've grown in the last few months; say look we gave yourself a three on you know, selling, now we're up to an eight. I want you to lift your averages constantly by offering more value, and I want you to constantly think how you can look panoramically at that marketing, and go right, how do I keep this going? Rachel.
Do you want my weakness? What do you want first?
Give me your weakness.
Well, I feel like my dad always gives me a hard time. I can never a question with like, a quick answer. So I don't know how to give it to you quickly. (Sue laughing) But, my business right now.
I think you just did that there.
Yeah. So my business is, I shoot everything and I'm so overwhelmed because I'm a mom. So my full-time job is being a mom and trying a build a business with two little kids at home has been so trying. So my challenge had been how do I provide customer service when I'm at home at my kids, and I don't want them to see me on the computer. And talking on the phone with two kids screaming in the background is a nightmare. So, I lucked out. My path crossed with an amazing wedding photographer. And I love doing weddings, and I ended up joining her team as an associate photographer shooting weddings for her. So my income really came from her. And my business kinda got shut to the side 'cause I was so busy doing that. So my struggle right now is time. And where I see I wanna go is developing my business and my brand. And I've been shooting boudoir and loving it but I don't advertise it. So I've seen that I'm getting all this work from not advertising. It's all word-of-mouth, I don't show any of it online.
I haven't made the switch yet. I haven't, I haven't given myself permission to say I don't want to, I'm not happy doing all this other stuff, this is what makes me happy. And I also, I love doing boudoir but I don't wanna call myself a boudoir photographer. So that was a year ago in May. And then I watched, in May, your workshop, this year in May. I had weddings in March so I purchased the course, and I just didn't have time to do it. So,
You're a late bloomer.
I'm a late bloomer, so in May I was like what's all this hype with Sue Bryce, what? So I watched in May and I thought, this, this is it. I'm not boudoir, this is what I wanna do. And maybe a marriage between the two. So this summer I took my website down and I've really been focused this summer on; A, how am I gonna make the time to be a strong business woman, sell myself, and really look at who am I marketing to, who am I gonna market to? And so I've had three months and I have a list of things to do.
And I don't know where to start. It's scattered all around like
All right. that puzzle I showed you of that.
So let's break it down quickly for you.
At the end of the day one thing that stands out to me is there's no point shooting everything and
No. not being specific in your genre. However, you've found your genre. I wanna say one thing about boudoir photography. It is a specific genre, okay? Mine is a specific genre.
Absolutely. But my specific genre is wider than the boudoir genre. So the boudoir genre is a beautiful genre but it's smaller than my genre. Mine has a higher ability, I believe, overall to be a higher money selling you know, marketing demographic. It also hits a wider demographic from portrait couture to the families, to the three generations, to the older woman, to the seniors. So mine kind of is more beauty specific as opposed to lingerie specific, right?
Which is were I found--
Yes. in you that I want to go.
That's what my--
'Cause a lot of people were really attracted to boudoir when it came back because glamour was such a filthy word and nobody was shooting glamour publicly and saying I'm a glamour photographer. So the idea of course, was that glamour didn't really exist again, it died. So boudoir came back as a great movement and it's a beautiful genre, a beautiful you know, it is a beautiful genre, but this is a bigger genre.
Yeah, I think, so you know, and all the boudoir photographers are like (laughing). I think it's beautiful, it's just not what I wanna shoot. I think at the end of the day you now have the opportunity, because when you've got children and then you're bouncing for the part-time job, and you're doing weddings, I think you have the opportunity to really build a folio of your dreams. Okay, very few people get that luxury. But if you can sustain an income while you build, while you build a folio then at the end of the day you end up with a folio. I didn't start my business until I had a kick-ass folio. So a lot of people are like, you're lucky 'cause you're a good photographer. And I'm like, no I was a good photographer that could not make money. Because no matter how good you are, unless you're out there marketing it nobody's gonna come to you or offering a service for that matter.
Right. But the truth is, is that until your folio is at a level where you feel that it's ready to go. Also, I think you can quite happily split beauty and boudoir. And I think you can bounce off the two as two specific genres. I think could even do beauty, boudoir, and couture. Or beauty, boudoir, fashion. Beauty, boudoir, portrait fashion. So, creating a PDF and a behind-the-scenes of every one of the genres is your first stop. And in order to do that you would need a really good small folio that's really strong in each one of those genres and then a really beautiful behind-the-scenes story in each one of those genres. That would take you nothing but time and experience. So if you can, you know, be a mum and maintain that, that is your first port of call. The second one, after you'd create those PDFs and make it very genre-specific, because then you can split up your website, is to create a website that is your business name and your brand and show those little stories as your strong brand. So you can be beauty, boudoir, and portrait fashion, or whatever that is. So, you know, there's a million ways to say that, but you can't just be a mish-mash of girls. You have to make it very specific on your brand
Right. that this is what you do. And if you go, there's a boudoir window there, and then you do a beauty window, there's a very significant difference between the way those two genres are shot. And then you do a fashion window, or a portrait-fashion, or an everyday girl fashion, or whatever you tie in your highest value is. You know, mine is I invite you to a session with me. We'll change the way you see yourself. So I kinda lead into the fact that you're gonna have an experience that will change you as a woman. But that's me. You might be something more like, transform yourself to a super model. I mean, whatever your thing is
Right. find your thing. So first you're gonna build those PDFs which is a great little folly of marketing. Then you're gonna create a basic website based on that. Then you're going to keep contact with your current network that have been bouncing through with referrals, 'cause if you're getting referrals it tells me three things: One, is you're taking good photographs. Two, is you're making good connection because, three, women are sending you their friends. And women don't do that unless they like you. So that tells me you've already got that wrapped up.
But I don't want you to lose the network you've already started to create 'cause these women,
Yeah. are the ones that so, Aa you're building that folio, offer them more shoots.
So take the boudoir clients you've already photographed and offer them shoots. But remember the rule we said yesterday. If you're gonna offer a free-shoot voucher, you don't offer a free-shoot or a folio-shoot. You offer a $500 voucher so that they know that it has a value on it and they tell their friends, I got a $500 voucher to do this shoot. Then they're saying they paid for the shoot, while you folio-build that, yeah. And we never shout out that we're free photographers, because all the other photographers in the market who are established will hate on you. Because there's no such thing as a free lunch. And you don't give it away.
The idea is that you can build your brand and your business because there's enough for everybody. So just make sure that you do that.
And I'm past that, I'm done doing free. I mean, I think I've been at that level for a while. So, I feel like I'm starting all over, which is exciting,
but then it's frustrating.
It's not, it's not frustrating.
Well, I'm getting beyond that. So luckily I'm here and this has helped me so much so.
Because the problem is, is you feel like you started to build a boudoir brand and now you're going back to restart building a beauty brand.
But the truth is this is more in alignment with where you're going anyway, so you're about to open a bigger door.
And you've already had practice at the first stages with your other startups so just go for that.
Hi. So like Rachel I have a family business, and also shoot boudoir, which is the boudoir business, and I have two separate websites for those things. And I started out three years ago with the family business and it, it's gone well. I have a lot of word-of-mouth marketing. It's gone well in that I'm making a profit from it. I wouldn't say that it's extremely extremely profitable. But then I started doing boudoir about a year ago and that has seriously evolved. The style that I've been doing has seriously evolved since watching your workshop from when I started last year. So I feel really comfortable with that but I really love glamour and I love boudoir, and I feel that I might be moving away from doing the family stuff. My challenges are that I don't have a studio. All of the boudoir stuff that I do is in a hotel, so the overhead starts to get a bit high. And the argument I keep getting from people is like, well, if you're doing so many shoots at the hotel a month then you you surely could trade that out for a studio. The rent that you're paying at the hotel you'd pay at a studio but it's not consistent enough. I don't feel that it's consistent enough. I have good months and bad months. So I'm scared to start a studio, I'm scared I'll go under. The other thing is I have, I'm good at the networking portion. I have a spa, a salon, a dermatologist, a clothing boutique, and a gym that all wanna work with me. And they're all good friends and they have very successful businesses. I'm not, I watched the first workshop and I came out like, okay, I'm gonna network with all of these people and I did that, but I never, I really haven't executed it the way that I thought that it was gonna kinda fall into place. And I got stuck there, and then maybe I got a little I dunno, trigger shy or something, I dunno. So that's kinda where I'm at. I feel like I'm the verge, I'm on the verge of really hitting something here.
And people like what I do, but I haven't been able to make it profitable enough.
Okay, so you did exactly the same thing. You asked people for something, but you didn't create an ongoing network of how that was gonna help and keep working for you. Right?
You can't just go to a whole lot of businesses and say can you give me away to your clients and not create something that stays within that business. You know, you want brand loyalty from your clients and from the marketing people that you're with. And the idea of course, is that create that brand loyalty by keeping that network really powerful. And you need to actually create more of a network. The fear of owning a studio so that you go under is so interesting 'cause nothing quite drives the need to market yourself like having a rent to pay every week.
You know, we all know that is absolutely true. But I'd have to be 100% sure that you have the time and the energy and the focus to actually do it. Like I know that a lot of girls when they have families are doing part-time, they're working part-time. And I know how much time I put into opening my studio. And if you can give that mid-day if you're children are at school or however all they have, you can give that time to your business two or three days a week, you can create a successful little business. You've got a couple of ideas there in terms of how you can get round this. A friend of mine rents a studio with four other photographers and they have alternating two days a week. They answer, you know. So they get two days and one gets shunted out, and then they just flip it over and flip it over. And they all pay for this really good studio space. They all critique each others' images before they go on the wall so that the, the images in the studio are all of a high level but not necessarily done by, you know, they're all done by different photographers. They get two days a week. When you're client rings you when you're marketing is done and you're connections are done. And your client rings you and says when can I be photographed? You can say, I'm available next Thursday or next Saturday. And if you're client says are you available any other days? You can say, no I'm fully booked.
And they've set up the studio with the four of them rotating and it's working really really well. Also, another really successful photographer I know did the same thing. She rented a studio with three people all up, including her and her husband, and they got so big in their business, they took over the lease from the other two and kicked them out. So it was a way to get a really gorgeous natural light studio. And you can do a newborn photographer, a kids photographer, a family photographer, and a glamour photographer, and ultimately you could work together. What you don't want is a business partner 'cause you don't need one.
So I'm not sort of advocating that you go out and all work as a business team, but you can bounce off each other in a professional way, because you are all a photographic genre. I know wedding photographers that share studios as wedding photographers and they share the same studio and their different businesses. And you know, each other's images are on the wall and it really works for them. There is natural light studios. I hire a studio in Sydney. It's a beautiful studio, it comes at a higher price than if I was renting a studio during the week. But I only rent it when I use it, this one studio. I show my clients photographs of these studios and they pay for it.
So what I do is, you could go an bank five locations, and photograph them really beautifully and then create a location PDF that you send out to your clients and say where would you like to be photographed and how? And these locations all come at a price, but you can offer them with the shoot so that your client can pay for them.
Because paying for a hotel seems just unreasonable in terms of the fact that you could be paying for a really great studio space. Is there any way you can create a studio space around your home?
I live in about 900 square feet with my--
Yeah, I don't think so.
Yeah, you don't wanna, and also you don't really want to bring people into your home.
You know, I don't wanna go and do business with somebody when their children and parents are there.
Yeah, it's just, I don't know why. It's just one of those things. You know, you can feel at home in somebody's home but you want to get the whole at home experience.
Well, I am doing it full-time and the space that you saw, the video that I did, is my office that a friend loans me essentially.
So... So yeah, okay.
Yeah, basically create a really neat network also around what you're doing. But maybe why don't you put a little bit more of a spin on it. Why don't you create, again you'd have to, it has to be specific to your values and who you are. When I said to Rachel, whatever her spin is in terms of how she's going to flip the three genres or you know, whatever she starts doing, how she keeps the boudoir. This afternoon we're gonna do a Sue-styled boudoir shoot. Now, I'm not a boudoir photographer. I only have two eye-lines; looking down the body and looking at the camera. I don't shoot body parts so, and I'm not a boudoir photographer. But I shoot a lot of woman with hardly any clothes on in their underwear so technically you know, I cross a genre without calling myself boudoir. I've actually joined my beauty and boudoir brand together and call it glamour, and I'm sort of trying to reinvent that contemporary glamour idea that you can be all of the above. So, I mean, you could just be that, or you can break it down, that's fine. If you have that real specific boudoir look about you, you can break that down in your marketing. So, you could flip it out to being more mobile. So let's say you've created a brand that is mobile glamour, or I don't mean it like that. My, okay, this is how I spun mine when I first started my business. My brand, my studio was in my garage, so I called it garage glamour. 'Cause I just kind of, I thought let's take the bit that's the most obvious things about you; you don't have a studio; and make it the most obvious. I come to your home, I create locations for you, I create scenes for you, I create places for you to go. Why don't you have a bank of those and just pre-educate on where you can go? Why do you need a studio? And then you can go to their homes to sell if you want to. But try and create a thing around it.
Try and create something that makes you mobile. I always thought wouldn't it be great instead of spending the money on a studio to rent a bus, or hire a bus, or buy a bus and renovate one, and have a glamour bus that you could shoot in? Wouldn't that just be incredible?
You could drive around, you could go to different towns, you could drive through states, you could tour, you could take the whole family with you. But you could actually have a mobile, makeup, glamour bus goin' on. You could paint it hot pink. You know, you could have the time of your life. And just think about, but there's always a cool way to flip it out. So what happens is when we sit down, we sit down and we go these are my weaknesses: I don't have a studio, I don't have this, I don't have time. And all I hear is you have one day a week, you could have a bus, you could be a mobile studio, you could do this, you could do that. Oh, let's keep going. You know like, I could think of another few things we could do here. You know, and the idea is that there is always a 1,000 ways to do it. You just need to sit down and have fun with all the options. And then sit down and don't sit down and say what you don't have. And sit down and say what you could have. And when you go, how could I buy a bus? My parents bought a bus. They, you know, renovated a big bus. It has a bathroom, toilet, shower, Lazy Boy couches, and a fire, like a potbelly fire. And they've been driving around the country for seven years. And a bus like that could be $60,000, $80,000. But can you imagine, can you image creating a mobile studio like that? But you don't sit there and go, I can't buy a bus because I don't have $80,000. Full-stop, moving right along. Okay, I didn't ask you to sit down and think about what you don't have and can't have now. I want you to sit down and think about the options, because your goal is not to open your mind, is not shut your mind down but to open your mind up to, I don't know how I will get that bus, but if I wanted a bus bad enough one would land on my doorstep. Because that's how it happens. It just lands there. Keira's clapping (laughing). Keira wants a bus.
I want the bus. Bring the bus.
Yeah, but I want you to think about that, okay, mobile. So what I do is like this. I kind of sit with a group of people and I'm like, we've got a few minutes before we go to break so let's bounce it out. I want more ideas 'cause for the viewers out there, I want them to see more ideas, if they identify with your part of the story about more ideas that they could do. Okay, she's mobile so what does that mean? You can create glamour parties. You can create luxury shoots. You can create destination shoots. You could create girls going away weekends in a beautiful manner and hire it out for the whole weekend and get groups of girlfriends then. You could create a studio at a hair salon. You could create a studio, I went to a hair salon once and I was in there and the guy says are you a photographer, and he's like, would you do a hair shot for me. And I was like, sure. I said, would you come to my studio? And he goes, no we've got a room upstairs. I go up there, it's white brick like this with massive windows. I looked around at this and I was like, what is this? And he goes, our lunchroom. And I was like, it's just gorgeous. And I was like, I could shoot in here twice a week. And he goes, you're most welcome. You know, there are people all around you with studio space, with light space, with brick walls, with places you could hire. There is, you know, there's a way to make it work. So start going, okay, now I'm mobile. Now I'm thinking more outside the square. How can I make that work? Bonnie?
We are, like, no shortage of ideas too. We have a huge ward of just a billion ideas. I think where I got stuck is, then how do we advertise those ideas? Like, besides just Facebook or besides just telling people that, you know, already like us to tell people. Are there good ways to massly get it out?
Yeah, there is. Because I always say like this. There's two pictures... I've gotta get this right. A pitch, you know, there's two pitches, okay? It goes like this. If I'm telling you about my new business game and I'm like, so I've been watching this photographer from Australia called Sue Bryce, and she like, built a business in her garage and she's now like, branching into all this money and she does this genre and rah rah rah. And you're telling people, I call it pie-in-the-sky. So I wanna stop my job and like do this business, or whatever you wanna do, you know. I wanna earn a million dollars a year doing portrait with a, like a makeup room and everything like this. The first thing people do, What's the first thing people do? Is tell you what you can't do, okay? Particularly people who know you well. Really, oh my God, there's so many photographers in this town. Oh really, you're not even a photographer. Or, you never follow through. Or, you haven't got enough money for that. Or, how much would that cost to set up a studio like that? Or, she probably had heeps of money. You know, if one tells you what you can't do, right? That's because you're talking about your pie-in-the-sky dream. Like, I think it would be really great to stop working and then just fly around the country and blog about food. And everyone's like, yeah who's gonna pay you to do that? There's people who actually do that and they get paid to do and their like, chefs and writers and you're not. You know, you always pitch your pie-in-the-sky dream and then everyone goes bang bang, shoots it down. And inevitably all I hear from people is, I've never been supported by my husband, I've never been supported by my wife, or my wife supports me but my parents think I should be a doctor, I've never been supported by these people, I've never been supported by these people. I'm kind of like, you went about that the wrong way. You don't go pie-in-the-sky, you know, we've got all these ideas and now we're asking people and talking about it, and everyone's gonna tell you what's not gonna work and what is gonna work. You go like this. Oh, my business is going so well right now and I'm loving every minute of it. These are the beautiful photographs I've been taking. It's just absolutely rocking. I've been studying this photographer called Sue Bryce and my glamour portraits are just going to the new level. So I am launching it back to the city, and I'm having so much fun. And I'm looking for a new studio space. What's the difference between both of those pitches? The difference is one person is wanting it, and one person is doing it. And nobody ever looks at somebody who's actually doing it and goes, oh but how's that gonna work? 'Cause that's not the answer to the question I just asked. The question I just asked is now I'm looking for a new studio space. The answer to that is, oh my God, I was just talking to this guy called Mikey today and he said he's got this loft, and it's only like 150 bucks and that is the answer to it. It's magical and the difference is, one of you are hoping to get something, and the other one's doing it. And so I will never let anybody take my pitch away from me anymore. I don't ever say I have this idea to launch glamour to the world, to relaunch glamour as a global sort of, I wanna bring glamour back. 'Cause when I said that in Australia three years ago, I was like, I'm a glamour photographer. Everyone was like, mm-mmm. You're not allowed to call it that. And I sat there and I did my rolled shoulder thing. And oh okay, even though I've got a business that just turned over 880,000 that year, somebody just told me I couldn't be a glamour photographer. And I want, ah, okay, yeah, okay, that's right. Even though I was doing it. Then I realized I'd got that my pitch wrong. I come back and I go, I'm a glamour photographer. I've been a glamour photographer for 23 years. Even when it died I kept it alive. When everybody hated on it, I built a beautiful business out of it. And now I've decided to relaunch it to the world and start a global glamour revolution. I'm enjoying that so much. I'm currently traveling all around the world and teaching photographers and shooting women all around the world, which is something I've done my whole life. And I absolutely love it. And so I'm about to come to the U.K., so if you know anybody over there that would like to do some shoots with me then give me a shout out. Is that pie-in-the-sky or is that she's doing it right now? And it is my version of my truth. So all you have to do is tell people not what you want, but what you're doing and what you're looking for, and it will just come to you in that way. Did that make sense or did it sound like a big waffle?
Well said. Okay, so we pitch from a I am doing it. And it's not a bull-sugar I am doing it, okay. There's a bull-sugar I am doing it where they're, I am doing this and I'm making money. No, no, no, no, no, no, I didn't say to talk it up. I told you just to be enthusiastic. And so what's up with you Rachel? Oh, I'm actually just changing my business, which is really cool 'cause I started to build my boudoir brand, and now I've opened it to a glamour and beauty genre and kind of a fashion style genre. And it's getting so exciting I'm actually rebranding myself right now as we speak. And I'm just going for it. I've got so much work I don't know how to balance kids and work. That's the hardest thing I've gotta do right now. I should photograph you because you are absolutely gorgeous and I have got this amazing voucher, so let me give it to you. Look it, there is nothing pie-in-the-sky about that.
I just bottled that up. I'm taking that home.
Yeah. You can re-listen to that and practice that as your elevated pitch.
I'm going to.
Yeah, so you've got beautiful work Keira. And you're hitting the mark with the connection with the women. So just decide what it is that you wanna do with your business plan and then execute that, and execute it as an exciting plan on how you're gonna go about doing this. And allow yourself the time to do it, because when you have small children you have the option of time, and you also have the option of spending time with your children. I worked 20 hours a day, I didn't have children. I also didn't date for a year, my first year of business, because I didn't have time. The only people I saw were clients and staff. You know, okay.
Well, you pretty much answered most of my questions
by answering theirs but my biggest problem is, marketing and keeping the network alive like you said. 'Cause I notice when my sales start to drop, because usually it's always usually very high towards the 'ember months,
and the beginning of the year. And then in the middle it just goes down like that.
So I notice this 'cause I don't do any marketing. I just feel they should know me.
Yeah like, that's what it is and I go somewhere and people are like, oh ya Izzie Ganda. Oh that's nice, it's so nice to meet you. But then I don't get any calls from them because I'm not putting my work
Yes. in their faces. So that's probably my own problem.
Okay, so you're gonna create the PDFs you were writing yesterday. So you're gonna create more genre-specific PDFs about coming to do it.
I've done that already. You're gonna create some vouchers to do some folio builds if you want to, or just gift vouchers maybe incentives to come and, come and do a shoot with me. You have something really different that you can trade on. Everyone here has something they can trade on Izzie, and you have two things that really stand out. You're unique in the sense that you have what I deem as a star profile. So you're somebody who attracts people because of your star profile. And it's a different profile than other people. So it's like you said, people should know me and you want, And you said the other day I wanna be the go-to photographer in Nigeria. So, you are that person who comes across as I want you to know me. So I want you to create so there's something in your genre and your advertising that is about your style profile 'cause it's quite unique, and you can trade on it. I will give you an example of one of the most outstanding style profiles in our industry right now, and that would be Jasmine Star. Jasmine Star has a star profile, okay? She has something about her that is so beautiful, and connecting, and her personal self is so radiant in that way that she can trade through her brand through herself. Not a lot of people can get away with that. It's a very unique quality. It just means that there's something unique and different about you that stands out from something... And it's not to say that all of us don't have it. But we don't, we have something different you know. We have, the connection with me is not a star profile. The connection with me is that sharing girl. Everybody has that value. So what I always say is look outside of yourself to yourself and say who am I, who am I and what have I got that is different and unique and how can I trade on that? So I can't trade on Sue Bryce the way Jasmine does 'cause I don't have that profile. But I look at that, her profile, and I see that profile in you, yeah. It's just a uniqueness and it's something that you can trade on.
Yeah. Also, again start creating, if you want to be the go-to photographer in Nigeria, you have to become the go-to experience. So I want you to work out how you can show off that it is the place to go. So the easiest way to do that would be to take a girl, whatever your genre wants to be with her; if it's more fashion specific or whatever it is; take her, transform her, video it as soon as you can in the most amazing way, splash it on YouTube in a way that I can take you to that level, and you will be the go-to experience and you are the go-to girl. So your profile needs to be more out there in the public eye. And then your experience needs to be followed right up behind so people not only are attracted to your star-profile, they're then attracted to what you offer.
Yeah, thank you.
Well, I'm sort of different from most of the panel here because I particularly shoot weddings. And my weakness has been connecting with the correct, or the proper bride. People come to my site, they love my images, send them the price list, what have you. Some stay, most don't, I don't hear from them again. As I said earlier--
One second, people live my images but they don't stay.
Okay, how do you know they love them then?
Well, maybe they're just blowing smoke up my hm-hmm. (Sue laughing)
Okay stop. There's only three reasons we don't buy, okay? Three reasons we don't buy: there is a disconnect with the price and the brand, there is a disconnect with you and the client, or there is a disconnect between what they are after and the price that you are charging. And so somewhere there's a disconnect in that area right there, and you need to find out what it is immediately. So is your brand accurately showing what you do? Is your brand accurately priced for what you offer? So are you offering the right amount of value and service for the money you are charging? And before you say I think so, these are questions I want you to stand back and look back and re-ask. Okay, so don't just go, yeah I think I've ticked all those boxes. I want you to ask other people, is there a disconnect between who I am as a person and how I'm connecting my brand? Because you did something really unique in your video. When I watched your video I liked you immediately. So I watched your video and I was like, oh I like this guy, I'm gonna, I put him on my short list, you know? And so somehow you need to be communicating who you are. So I went recently to this website. This photographer said I'm getting, I'm having a bit of a problem getting to the second date. I call it the second date. And I was like, well then you're doin' something wrong on the first date. So you're either scaring them off, you're not being yourself, you're not connecting to them, or you're not showing them who you really are, and so you're not, you know, letting them come back for more. And so where is that disconnect? And tell me where it is and focus more on not they love my images, but I'm telling them what they're gonna get from me. Because if I go to your website and say, love your images but I'm not booking you, then you hear, oh they love my work. My work's good enough but they're not booking me. They didn't like something so maybe it's something as simple as you heard that they liked your images but what I wanted to hear as a client was how you're gonna make me feel special, 'cause I just made you feel special by telling you your photos are good. But I'm the one paying so I'm not going to pay you to make you feel good. I want you to make me feel good. So somewhere in your communication there's just a little bit of a misfiring synopsis. Okay, and it'll be something really small. And it's just going to tweak out. And all you need to do is find that connection. Now the six people, five people, that you've spent the week with sitting right here, could tell you what that connection is because: A, they've spent time with you, B, they've seen your work, and now you should critique each others' brands, communication, and websites, and you should do it very honestly, okay? As a group of people that have been together for a week, why don't you bounce off each other. But you also need to do it from friends, a few clients, and just work out where your strength is. So Keira's weakness was in being mobile, but she can turn that into a strength. Rachel's is defining her brand. You know, Izzie's is her star profile. Find out what yours is. Yours is keeping your network alive. Yours is confidence and just enthusiasm in building and blocks on money 'cause there's a money block there. And you know, you just wanna find out what it is, okay? And as soon as you nail that, you've got a good speaking voice, you're nice to meet, you're well spoken. There's no reason nobody should like you. People will buy from you if they like you. So there's just something, okay. Where else do you think you fall down?
That was probably, probably the main thing. Also beforehand I was putting up the wrong images. I thought I wasn't really showing what I wanted to shoot. And so I've taken some of those off and put up images that I want to shoot, taking a chance difference, different from other--
You're taking a chance on a market that you are creating for yourself. So I don't understand why people don't show what they want to really show, because they think the market belongs somewhere else. Why would you do that? When I created my business and my website I put glamour images on my website. No kids, no weddings, no babies. Everyone said you can't do that. Nobody's gonna come to you as a glamour photographer. I was like dude, I'm at rock-bottom. If I only get glamour clients I'll be happy with that. If I only got one glamour client a month I would happier doing what I love doing than doing what I don't like doing and saying I thought I had to do it. Nobody will ever dictate to me what my brand it. Every now and then I post images on Facebook and I have a lot of followers on Facebook now, and I can get 200 likes, whatever. Every now and then someone gets on and hates an image. They're like, I hate this image. And I think to myself, at first it's like a knife in the throat and then you kind of think well if you didn't like it you don't have to like it. My client loved it, right? So that's fine, you know, feel free to express yourself on Facebook. But the truth is, at the end of the day, you know, you must put up what you love shooting so that you're really excited about it. And you must look at it for what it is as being a service provider. So as a wedding photographer as a service provider, something that you should really consider is that you need to make sure you're putting images up that sell to wedding clients. Now, I had an amazing conversation with a wedding photographer in L.A., Justine Angara. And she grew up, her mum was a really amazing wedding photographer and she grew up in the wedding industry, and now she's a wedding photographer. And she said... Justine lost her dada this year, and she said it's changed the way she shoots weddings. Because she said I used to look at those big epic shots, you know those big epic shots where the bride's throwing, and the effort you go to to create those big epic shots. And when she looks at her wedding photographs it's when her dad is looking into her eyes, and holding her hands, and connecting with her, and that is more priceless than any money anybody could ever give. Those are the images that sell. This is what she told me, I'm not a winning photographer. When she told me that, I, ahh. She told me that I realized something. You can create images that look epic, and you can create images that are amazing, but until you're creating images that have beautiful human connection and real service in them, you don't sell them. Because that's what people wanna buy. They wanna buy that connection that you have to your family on your wedding day, your spouse, how beautiful you feel as a woman. Get to the emotion of what a wedding day is. And the emotion of a wedding day is the family that surrounds you, the partner you're about to spend the rest of your life with, how beautiful you feel on the day you've dreamed about your whole life. Those are the images that sell to people. Those are the important ones, and if you can convey that then you're communicating again through your images, and then you're communicating to a whole lot of people out there that look at your work and go wow. And you're not competing on that, I'm trying to look like I'm one of the best-winning photographers in the city by being epic. You're just being really good at service and capture. Okay? So.
So, Sue. (Sue laughing) What would you like to do next?
Can we talk to anybody on the Internet, and that has identified with any of that? Or has that helped anybody on the Internet out there by talking to these guys?
Absolutely, people are definitely identifying with so many of your different challenges and commenting on some of their own. Indie John says a big challenge is learning how to self-edit your work. And I don't mean Photoshop, but that
going down of what to put out there to the world.
You know what? Self-editing really comes down to what I love, what I love as a photographer. Now there's a distinct difference between what I love and what my client loves, but I've definitely bridged that gap between what I deem is something that I really love, an image I think more not that I love it, but my client will love it. So I kind of look at it like, I love this image. And then I'm like, I know my client is going to love it. That's where I kind of feel that as long as I love it and know that they're gonna love it, but then I know it's going to sell. Are there any more questions on there?
Yes, Melissa Dawn Photo is wondering about rebranding. And when you take that step to rebrand, do you take down all your old images, including the ones off Facebook and kinda just start fresh?
No, you just evolve. Rebranding's an interesting term. You know, if you bring a new genre into your business you should launch it. And if you bring a new name into your business you should launch it. But don't lose who you already have, 'cause that network is very powerful. The network that you already have with people that you've taken beautiful photographs of is very very powerful. And you want to keep that going. So instead of changing anything, just introduce it as being something new, but keeping the old is enough for people to stay connected to you. Also, keeping a little bit of the old is enough for people to still trust you, that you're not just, you know, gonna flip it all out and change everything overnight, like I just woke up in the morning and hated everything.
So people online are spewing out the comments when you asked if this was helpful saying absolutely, you never disappoint, you have made me think about my strengths and weaknesses in a different way.
That was Kathleen five. And Sally asks, can you ask her about introverted photographers that need help marketing but feel intimidated?
Yes, okay, very very interesting introvert and extrovert. We were having this conversation this morning would you believe? It's not so much about being extroverted, I don't think. Even introverts are enthusiastic. My big brother is a real introvert, and he's one of those quiet guys that barely speaks in public. But at home he is typically loud, laughing, funny. And you know, I get to see that side of my brother where a lot of people don't get to see that side of him at all. I still think that there's a way that you can communicate with your brand without shouting out loud. So last time in my last First Creative Live I talked about pamper marketing, where you go to places and you pay for the service, and you tell people what you do. If you're getting one-on-one time with a service provider and you tell them what you do, you're gonna sell what you do without, you know, I don't walk into a place and go, Whoa I'm Sue Bryce and I've arrived and da da da da da, look at me, look at me. Okay, I do that a little bit, but I used to be too terrified to do that. So I was worse than an introvert. I was a terrified extrovert and that is, you know what that is? That is a big ball of insecurity. Because at least an introvert is just quiet. An extrovert who's too scared to say anything is pathetic. And it think that, you know, just work with people, work with your businesses that are quiet as well. Introverts attract introverts. So, you know, extroverts
So true, so true.
are attracted, yeah, I'm always attracted, Like when I met Angela from Hello Dolly. We both had something that each other was attracted to in the sense that my business was in it's third year and exploding and she was in her first three months. So she was seeing the success of my brand and the femininity of my brand as being the most exciting thing about me. Do you know what I saw in her? I saw an extrovert that knew about marketing, that could just hit any advertising and marketing point because she had so much sass and so much confidence. And I just looked at her and saw that. And what we admired in each other was our own strengths, and our own strengths and weaknesses. Because I saw hers as being a strength that I didn't have. She saw mine as being a strength that she didn't yet have. And then the two of us both went boom, and got what we wanted from each other as a business partnership. So you will always attract the like, so I wouldn't be too worried about being introverted. Just be genuine, and introverts are always genuine.
Another quote from online I just love is NeoBikini. Last night I totally got choked up on the way home thinking, this is it.
This is it.
Can I, can I enter the Twitter contest because I'm a terrified extrovert. That has never rang more clearly with me
in my life.
Are students allowed to enter the Twitter contest?
I'm just teasing.
You could enter, it doesn't mean you're gonna win. (moderators laughing)
Well somebody else enter that one.
Ya, so what is a terrified extrovert, okay? That is somebody who's too scared to put themselves out there in case they get shot down. Okay, rejection, rejection, whatever you wanna call it, blah blah blah. The idea is there is no rejection. Like I said, if you own a retail store how many women come in during the day, walk through, try something on, leave it on the counter, and don't buy it? Okay, do they cry about it every time somebody puts it down and walks out? Who has, by guilt out there, I love this, I go to a store and I try something on and if the, if the sales assistants are pushy I feel like I have to buy something, like just something small even if I don't like the outfit I kind of feel like I feel compelled to just maybe pick something, because I feel guilty that I've gone in there and not bought something. Who has at, I'm such a weirdo.
Your dinner the other night. You just wanted guacamole and you paid for a whole dinner. (Sue laughing) 'cause you felt guilty.
Oh that's embarrassing.
Okay, I'm sorry, I have done that too, so don't you worry.
I went out to dinner here in Seattle, a lunch on my own, and they serve, I wanted guacamole and it's like four dollars or something, and then they serve you corn chips for free and everything. And so I was working on my I-pad and eating guacamole and I was like oh that's so good. And you know, it's only a small guacamole. It's like four dollar side-dish and I chip away at it. And them I'm enjoying it doing my emails and then the guy comes up and goes, would you like to order lunch and I was like, I've, and I was like no 'cause I've eaten guacamole and now I'm full. And I was like, um, and I was like just say, well actually I've just eaten the guacamole, but instead I went, oh well I kinda feel quite full, so maybe I'll take some lunch to go 'cause I felt so bad that I had a four dollar lunch.
Welcome to America. (Sue laughing)
And then you never ate it.
Welcome to America, we do that.
So I ordered, I ordered tacos to go and of course six hours later the tacos do not taste good. I pulled them out and I was like, ew and I threw it away. I threw away like a $17 lunch, because I felt guilty that I didn't buy something. Ah, just--
The only difference is that Americans will eat it. (Sue and audience laughing) I do, proudly.
But I felt, I kind of felt guilty that it was my retail guilt coming through. But the idea really is why do we put this personal emotion into what we sell. Okay, and this is how you get out of it. It's not, it's your ego just trying to compare and compete, that's all. So when people reject you or say no, you compare and compete. All you're trying to do is come back to being a service provider. So when somebody rejects you or rejects your brand, don't go and cry about it and eat a pound cake, Gabe.
He needs to.
Okay (laughing) you go and eat a pound cake. Don't cry about it, just go back to being a service provider and go back and say is there something I could've done in my service? Is there something I could have done in my service that could've been better?
I think what you're advertising is not being loud. You don't have to do things loud as far as the introvert and extrovert. You just have to be calculated, in other words genuine like you were saying--
Well be loud. Be loud if you wanna be loud.
I mean for an introvert.
Introverts are not loud.
And you don't have to be. And that's not what you're saying that they need to be.
Ya, they just need to be, like you said, genuine.
Ya, just genuine with what they offer
and just good service providers.