Skip to main content

Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 1

Lesson 1 from: Studio Systems: A Photography Business Bootcamp

Julia Kelleher

Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 1

Lesson 1 from: Studio Systems: A Photography Business Bootcamp

Julia Kelleher

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

1. Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 1


Class Trailer

Free Bootcamp Introduction


Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 1


Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 2


Photography Studio Customer Service


Customer Service Part 1


Customer Service Part 2


Customer Service Best Practices: On–Location


The Customer Experience: Client P.O.V. Studio Walk-Through & Session: On–Location


Photo Session Systems & Image Workflow Systems


Photography Session Systems


The Studio as a System to Success: On–Location


Image Workflow—From Camera to Client


Post-Processing Systems


Back-Up Systems


Sales & Ordering Workflow Systems


Overview of Successful Selling: The 6 Ps of Selling Part 1


The 6 Ps of Selling Part 2


The 6 Ps of Selling Part 3


Real Life Sales Consult: On–Location


Tracking and Packing an Order: On–Location


Dealing With Client Objections & Problem Personalities, with Consistency


Pricing & Financial Systems


Financial Tracking—The Power of Knowing Your Numbers


The Science of Pricing-—A System for Your Products


Building Packages That Work


Your First Outsource: Accounting: On–Location


Marketing, Branding & Promotional Systems


The Importance of a Solid Brand System


Living Your Brand: Inside the Studio: On–Location


Researching Your Market


Marketing Systems


Understanding Buying "triggers" and Using them in Your System of Promotion


What We've Covered: Getting Systems Right


Why Systems Are Important - and How They Help


What's Your Plan - Let's Talk 5 Years Ahead


What's Important - Let's Prioritize


Where do you start? - Dealing with the Demon Inside


Looking In the Mirror: Finding Success


The Power of Never Giving Up


Getting Back to Your Purpose - Why Do You Do What You Do?


Introducing the BIG WINNER!


Lesson Info

Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 1

Julia is a portrait photographer based out of bend, oregon, who started their six years ago with really nothing, and in six years she has built a six figure business, has two full time employees. Now she educates people all over the world, and we're really lucky to have her back here on the creative live stage. Would you help me? Welcome to the creative life stage. Julia kelleher, take it away. Good morning. Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm so excited. You guys all are here. I know many of you have come from far away. So it's actually very humbling in an honor that you're here. So so thank you. We have a huge five weeks out of us huge. This course is ten months in the making and ten years in the development. Uh, you're basically going to get ten years of my experience and mistakes and failures and successes and joys and sorrows and ups and downs life with the thing we called photography is a roller coaster, and I'm sure you all know that all too well. If you're just starting...

out in the industry, you have this dream in your heart that is fueling something beautiful, and that dream is what is inspiring you right now when you're first starting out, how many of you are just first starting out? Give me a kind of ah, yeah, ok, and how many of you have been in business for maybe less than two years? Okay? And over two years over here, so we have a mix awesome, those of you have been in it for two years or so probably still feel that fuel, but you're starting to realize how my gosh, this is a lot more work than I thought those of you who have been in it over three years are going this is a lot of work, it's not working, and I need to fix it, right? I've been in every single one of your shoes and I totally understand where you're where you're at and I am here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel for those of you who are struggling right now, and we all know how wonderful this business is. It's it's to be able to make a living with our passion is just incredible, right? I mean, it's got to be the most liberating thing to be able to make income off your art, but it is challenging, so the first question I'm going to ask you today is are you really serious about your business? Okay, ask yourself that question because this course if you stick with it, that means you are you're very serious about it it will be a roller coaster there will be ups there will be down I'm going to a late you and I'm going to depress the heck out of you. Okay? We're going to do everything this course but I hope by the end of it you're going to feel really inspired and have an actionable plan to start repair or fix things. How many hours a week do you work right now? Okay, rhetorical questions. How many clients do you have? Not enough too many. How much money do you make? How many sessions a week? How many employees is the competition killing you right now? Do you constantly look at them in fear like who's doing what I see little smirks and smiles it makes me go. You were thinking that I don't know how about marketing? Are you doing well in that department? What about what's really important? Do you spend time with your family? Do you even take a day off? Some people don't know she's laughing. No, I don't take a day off what time you go to bed at night? What time you shut off the computer and actually gotta better their smile back there, huh? Yeah, like two in the morning four oh my gosh oh my gosh we got we're gonna fix that we're gonna fix what's your stress level what worries you like really really worries you about the future are you even like saving for retirement at all right now are even pulling a salary from your business do you wish there were forty hours in a day let alone a week yeah, I know been there done that got that t shirt right? I wasn't photo week last week so it was basically a week turn around so I gave a class at photo week last week it was really fun and I came home and this is what happened my husband lost his job. I came home from photo week. The truck wasn't in the driveway. My husband's work truck honey where's the truck um yeah, they took it. We're gonna have to figure something out. What? Yeah, I don't work for my company anymore. Okay, this would have been nice to know yesterday. Couldn't we have planned for this? Couldn't you give us a little notice? Couldn't. You know, guys, I am one hundred percent financially responsible for my family right now. My business which was covering my cellar which was covering forty percent of our household expenses no mortgage kid tuition all that stuff I am now taking on the other more than half of that I'm kind of freaked out you're like I'm like trying to put the wall up and go it's going okay, but deep inside I'm having a minor heart attack I basically have to double my income in sixty days so in a weird way I'm kind of in this boot camp with you at a strategic point in my business where I have to step up to the plate and make it work um I scared yeah I'm like even just talking about it makes me like shake because we live in a decent house with a two thousand dollar a month mortgage and I have to now pay that along with my son's tuition all the groceries for the household that mean everything our insurance we have to figure out health insurance now so if it's scary and really what it comes down to it the big picture what we do in life we just we want to be artists right that's why we started this to begin with but starting a business is really hard and running a business is even harder and life likes to throw you these curve balls and go funny molly's sent me a beautiful quote there the day that she had it on her facebook page she goes when you what is it when you think that life you're happy life says oh yeah, wait a minute just a second not so fast it was so apra proto my situation and I know to a lot of you who have family struggles or trying to deal with health issues or kids who are going crazy I know that feeling very much so and it starts to wear on you in your head right? You start to doubt and the dream eventually kind of just starts to fade let me introduce george for those of you who don't know george uh those were taken a class before me no this is my evil this is evil god who sits on my shoulder and tells me I suck pretty much every day he does I mean even people who appear successful who are successful we're doing it right we still have george going you suck what do you think you're worth? Why are you doing this? You're an idiot how do you think you're ever and george's big right now with me having to cover now my entire family expenses he's really putting in the doubt and what happens is is you kind of wind spiraling into this hole of not having enough time not having enough money frustration huge and george gets you on all of a sudden your insecurities you start winding down this huge hole that's hard to get out of it it's really hard to get out of when you're in business and struggling and not doing things efficiently the reality is you love to shoot right but you realize that it's so much more than that once you start this business that it's really just twenty percent art right? And it doesn't matter what kind of photography you d'oh commercial architectural portrait's head shots, babies family's weddings it really does not matter we all struggle with the same issue, right? We're all in this boat, so this course is going to help you get out of that hole and it's going to create a systematic approach to your business so you just have to maintain the systems the system's run the business does that make sense? Employees? People you come and go, but the systems will always be there to run things and as long as you run the systems, you'll be able to spiral yourself out of the hole so if you don't do this, the whole sky get bigger, so really what it comes down to is kind of how do you hang on to the business in life that you love or how do you even begin to create one and a lot of people who are starting out say to me, oh, I'll get it later I'll do it later if you do this now, you were going to be head and shoulders above everyone else in your business in your industry because they won't know what to do and you'll be efficient and with efficiency comes the ability to see the big picture and plan for growth if you're so in the trenches that you can't see what's going on, you're going to get swallowed and I imagine a lot of your feeling that right now those of you who has been in business for a while, right, you kind of feel like it so much if the system's run the business, then you as the entrepreneur can step back and really handle the growth of the company rather than the day today, so by the end of this course, you will have it down. There are five weeks and ten years in this course it is so packed and I don't think I have ever put in so much effort into a class. I was telling arlene the directive education here that that this morning I have my heart and soul into this thing and there are so many systems to cover this is just a small sampling of what we're going to be doing over the next five weeks. I used to love this quote, what would you attempt if you knew you could not fail by robert schuller won't attempt just kind of think in your head anything you guys, anybody want to take a crack at it with a microphone really quick? No ok renee brown changed my mind on this quote I now don't like it, I really don't what would you attempt if you knew you could not fail here's her version what's worth doing even if you do fail it's the journey right we love this we're here because we're passionate about art passion about photography we love why we do what we do right we're going to talk a lot about purpose in this in this next five weeks okay, but it's the journey so together we will streamline your business so you'll spend more time shooting and making more money while doing it that's the goal systems think about all the things you do in your business it's a lot right when you're first starting out you just kind of swim in the mess you know you don't really know the systems yet you're still learning photo shop let alone howto let alone how to create a step by step approach to your image is right I mean systems can be overwhelming in your business, right? I mean when you look at this list it's kind of freaky deaky isn't like whoa that's a lot to like handel and what's important to note is there are subsystems within systems I know you like whoa okay, but as for todd you guys have an advantage okay your photographers photography is an art that is very even sided on the brain hemisphere scale we're both left brain right brain has people like accused you of being really equal like you balance both sides, some are more write, but I'm more right. Brain left brain. I'm definitely more creative than I am business, but I've pretty much balance, okay, that's the beautiful thing we have to be. Because if you look at the camera and its technology and thinking about the exposure triangle on all these things, it's very technical it's, very left brain logical, but the creative part, lighting, color design, all those kinds of things are very right, brain. So photography in itself, as an art is very balanced when it comes to using with a left and right brain hemispheres. Ok, which is good, because, there's, let me tell you, there's a lot of artists out there who will never, ever be good business people because they're so far right brain, they just can't even grasp it, and there are people who hire left brain folks to help them run their businesses, and if you are an extremely right brain person, you may want to consider that in the future, like, really assessing yourself and going, I am not the best of business. My left brain doesn't really work. Maybe I should help outsource this, and we'll talk a lot about outsourcing when we get into that section of the course, but you as you grow in business you start to assess what? Um I better served by outsourcing something and we'll discuss when and why you should say that to yourself and when you should say yes but each system usually has several subsystems okay for example booking to book a client there is a system for how you enter them into your file management system so like I use studio cloud you want to do name, address phone number contact from that's just a basic system of where you put somebody into your database right but there's also the system in which you have a conversation with them and get them to book I'm very strategic like script in my head of how I get somebody to book on the phone okay so that's a booking system within the booking system's call it a conversation system whatever you want data input system subsystem so there's lots of sub systems within the major systems do you see what this course is going to take five weeks right if packed full of sub systems within the major areas okay oh my gosh this is overwhelming right? Some people go oh oh oh yeah that's why we're taking it in small chunks day today okay? We're not going to do this all at once but we have to be careful that we don't let george eat us alive okay? We have to be careful that we don't let the low self worth part of us go I can't do this and give up if there's anything any message that I want you to get in these next five weeks it's persistence is everything persistence is everything I tell you ninety percent of the reason I'm successful in my business is because I just can't take no for an answer simple as that if I run into a problem there's always a circumvent there's always a way around it there's door closes there's a window open I know it and I will find it try to think about adopting that attitude in your business the temptation sometimes just go absolutely in bed all morning and not worry about this is huge and it takes a lot of self discipline to be an entrepreneur okay all right personal story I've been in business since two thousand six I was in portland initially my husband proposed and he was relocated to bend, oregon six years ago. And so when I opened and bend I am the type of person who stands on the cliff and goes, oh pretty all jump and make a plane on the way down that's my m o some people need to build the plane on the cliff to make sure they're gonna land safely I just jumped and know I'm going to build a plane on the way down and that's kind of my I'm a risk taker calculated I make sure I have the materials with me when I jump off the cliff but you know I do build the plane on the way down so I leased the current studio space that I'm in it was way too big for me at the time it was way too expensive for me at the time I can't afford it okay? We completely got it the thing you're going to see tons of images we have sections of this course we're we're entirely in my studio on location so you're going to see it all and I'm going to show you pictures of what it looked like before we tackled it, okay, but we spent you know I spent all my savings basically about ten thousand dollars I put into the remodel of this place my husband and I did it for two months straight so when I opened right before christmas dumb move I had two hundred dollars by making out okay my grand opening chamber of commerce ribbon cutting was in february february fourth and in the beginning february I had two hundred fifty dollars maybe I had a thousand dollars a month rent I had no clients and I could not pay my rent in february the one hope and prayer I had was that I had a display to put up I had joined my chamber of commerce and I met a woman named linda cheetah at the party and she was the market director for the mean society. And I had visited the humane society over christmas and the walls were empty. So I asked her to put up a display, and I'll tell you the whole marketing story. We get to the marketing at the time. But she agreed. So we did a huge event where we photographed all the major donors to the humane society and their pets. Okay. And so this was some of the images. These are my these are my two doggies. This is winston he's, my fur baby. He passed away about two years ago, but here's, my little for baby. So we did a bunch of images of all the dogs and their owners, and the display was put up at the humane society. Okay, so we just fill the walls with pet portrait's. This was six years ago. Okay? I photographed in january. I had to be an imaging to speak. Okay, I went to imaging, and the rest of january, we photographed thirty six dogs, six cats, two lizards, a guinea pig. That it was okay. I produced this display in less than a week. Okay, you can see where all my money went, why only had two, fifteen hundred dollars in my bank account, and we my chamber of commerce ribbon cutting that evening we brought down we invited all the donors all their friends I had two hundred fifty people in my little fifteen hundred square foot bottom floor ok and we brought each portrait down with a sheet over the top of it we told the story of the donor what they'd done for the main society and then we yank the sheet off and or they got to yank the sheet off and see their portrait tears everywhere mama but I mean it was wonderful but remember I had two hundred fifty dollars in my bank account when I'm throwing this huge party and putting up this display that hope and a prayer was answered by the way don't do this this really bad idea I got lucky but we had in all those animals that was twenty four sessions I believe the next three weeks I had the ordering appointments for that and I was smart enough to know I need to do I p s or in person sales we made forty thousand dollars off twenty two twenty two sessions maybe twenty or remember and it basically launched my business huge risk don't don't do this this's like scary monsters scary but I became the pet specialist invent all of a sudden I was launched into and I got all the referrals from maine society I mean that was it it literally launched my business then three years later I decided that it was all about babies. Okay, so I've really only been knee sht in newborns for about three years if that may be a little bit longer three and a half or so I decided to completely wipe everything off my website except for anyone's because I love newborn so much I was having a baby on my own etcetera, etcetera things change in your lifestyle changes et cetera my business literally when I need doubled almost overnight and I can talk about why it did that and what the niche did for that and what the marketing efforts were that contributed to that but literally the business doubled so this is my life right now or at the time I had clients I was marketing I had displays to take care of sessions to do editing, ordering events to put on workshops to dio travel to conventions and events networking promo speaking I wass in st stupid crazy stupid crazy like what do you thinking? Well cares this is who cares? My boy and my husband really I thought I was going to make it I had to figure out a way to stop the insanity what's the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result who said that quote I forget anyway but it's a great quote, huh? Is that right? Yeah he's absolutely right so systems it had to run on its own. Okay, I had to be able to walk away from and go by business. Have fun running without me. Ok? A tall order, especially in an industry where were the artist? The clients want me. They want me to shoot the picture. How do I let go of a business when I'm the one who is the business? These air questions that are not easy to answer. What? We're going to do it over the next five weeks. Okay, so I want to brag a little bit about my studio. Manager melinda. She has spent the last four weeks making a one hundred and seven page document for you. When you buy, the class is absolutely free. It is twenty six cheat sheet checklists and assignments that will get you through this course. But that will help you make a plan that's actionable and written down so you can see a vision where visual people s photographers. So we need that. Okay, so basically, what had to happen is I had to grow a giant pumpkin. We're all like what is she talking about? Did you know that there is a cult of people I call? I call it a cult for lack of a better word who are obsessed with growing huge prize winning pumpkins. This is like a whole world you know I thought the cloth diapering world when I had a baby was like it the pumpkin world is huge there is an art to growing a prizewinning joy enormous pumpkin I'm sure you've seen pictures of them were like world record holders have these huge pumpkin's that are like lopsided cause they're so big michael mohawk allies has a wonderful book and I'm goingto use his analogy here so if you want to read this I highly suggest it he's really funny right or too which makes it a good read it's called the pumpkin plan a simple strategy to grow a remarkable business in any field and boy is he helping me so this is what pumpkin growers d'oh okay so bear with me hold on for a second there with me first of all they plant a prizewinning seed okay uh then they water it duh okay then they slash the diseased goard's okay they we'd like crazy right way we they identify the prize pumpkin and remove the others even if they're healthy they nurture that big one like it's their baby okay and then they watch it grow by the minute I'm sure you're all asking me right now like julia how on earth is this even relevant okay said bear with me first of all plant the prize winning seed identify your greatest strength do you guys know what a lie is? An area of innovation in business there are only three quality price convenience no business can be all three no business can be to you have to pick one are you going to innovate on your business based on high quality price or convenience speed are you going to be cheap, high quality or fast it's pretty much what that comes down to let's look at a couple businesses mcdonald's what is it cheap high quality or or fast you think it might be too right sheep and fast no ho ho it's fast only eight bucks for a meal when I could go feed my family for that by buying groceries at the grocery store I mean really if you think about it based on their costs the markup on mcdonald's is ridiculous macdonald has not cheap they're fast I'd go through a drive thru in under two minutes get a meal and be on my way not that I'm not a mcdonald's person I'm just using it as an example um I want to die I lost fourteen pounds I don't eat at mcdonald's so what I'm saying is that you have to be just one there are company wal mart is cheap right? Wal mart compete on price the low price leader right as photographers those of you who were worried about your competition in the shooting burger down the street you're worrying about someone who has a completely different area of innovation than you consumers do not purchase they purchase based on partly area of innovation okay, so let's say for example, I shop at safeway my neighborhood safe way is that the cheapest in town? No food for lesson grocery outlet is way cheaper down the street but you know what? I can find everything I need it's stocked all the time the aisles are nice and wide so like two to three carts can get by and I'm not like running into people and the checkout lines are pleasant and the people are nice and it's clean. I want a clean grocery store called me weird I don't know but that's why I shop at safeway I shop it's safe way for quality, not for convenience or price the same thing would go true for like a high end whole foods or something like that you don't go to whole foods because it's chip right? You go there because they have high quality ingredients that you need and there are consumers out there who shop at whole foods everyday. So do you see what I'm saying? Areas of innovation you have to identify your strength where you're going to innovate and that thing you love to do photography right that's our strength and what are we good at? Photography? Each one of you has a skill babies is that outdoor isn't natural eyes the studio like what is it that you are passionate about that makes your heart sing to the lord above okay when you find that here's what happens you water it sell, sell, sell, sell, sell you will do anything and everything here the client great give me money anywhere you just hustle but when you're starting out you'll take anything right had shot sure in a problem come on in quick and easy two hundred bucks right you will take anything sal sal sell, sell sell but as you grow you start to go not sure if I want that headshot anymore it's kind of waste my time when I could be doing a thousand dollars session on such and such I should leave that open for somebody who's really good pay right so as you grow you need to fire your small time rotten clients the disease goard's okay the ones who called but we just want to go for one hundred dollars ah get you out of my garden ok they are infectious they will ruin your big pumpkin get them out of here okay well then there's the weeds right distractions I'm specializing newborns all but seniors are so fun wait okay we all do it you're laughing because you do it like I did yesterday but those distractions right always keep your mind on the big pumpkin the one that's going to build your business strong if that happens to be seniors awesome that's great, but then if you doing seniors, you don't wantto let other distractions get you off kilter or a new business opportunity like your this is classic like you're you're doing family portrait you join your chamber of commerce and the chamber of commerce starts asking if you'll do head shots for all the chamber members and all this kind of an extra side project right there's a point in your business when you need to say no because what does that do? It steals time, energy and efficiency away from the big pumpkin because if you take that time for the big pumpkin, you're going to be marketing you're going to be improving systems, you're going to be doing things for your business that over the long haul are going to be much better for it then taking that chamber of commerce project that makes sense it's hard to dio especially when you're first starting out because boy, that extra thousand bucks sounds really nice right now dunnit yeah, but if you plan and you have systems for everything, you won't necessarily worry about it so much because you won't I need the cash that day, okay, so when you identify that large pumpkin the one that's going to be your grand prize winner you need to identify the area that you want to go into with passion, okay there's a lot of photographers out there who shoot everything and there is a time to nish and a time not too okay, so some photographers are really, really teen cbc towns can't necessarily nation newborns there's not a market for it. Okay, so keep that in mind. I do say this with someone of the caveat but what I'm really trying to do is get you to focus on the grand prize, the business you dream of the one that's been in your heart since the beginning don't let distractions or diseased towards take hold you have to nurture it like a baby. It is your baby, you have to parent it, you have to nurture it and you have to raise it and you have to protect it like it's your child so focus all your attention on your top top clients the dream client you have in your head and I know that's hard trust me, there are many clients I want a fire too and I do, but I have a select group of top clients who are my ideal client and we're going to talk I think it's a week five where we talked all about finding that ideal client and discussing who that person is and getting into their lives and knowing who they are so you can target them, okay ultimately you want a business that you're you serve and systemized to your top clients whose those clients the ones making the money when you leave all the others behind you watch your business grow by the minute and it starts to balloon because all of a sudden you're bringing in already qualified people from those other really great clients we're gonna talk about the marketing cycle on the booking cycle and how I can feed itself once you start getting a good stream of clients in then you can let it feed itself toe on lee bring in those top prequalified client if this is systemized eventually he's gonna have to watch it do its thing which is really cool like once it starts rolling on its own in the phone starts ringing like without you having to do a lot of work this's hurley nice huh you want to put create okay I mean it's almost like the dream scenario right do you have to pay attention to your competition of course you do do you have to stay competitive in your market of course you do but you will get to the point if you system eyes where things will kind of just operate on its own and you just kind of have to go okay not o okay so how do you systemized all this right now I'm a yard like this is overwhelming I can't see it your faces you're like oh, trust me we're going to do this step by step I'm not gonna leave you hanging that's not gonna happen. Okay, I know it seems very overwhelming right now, but it won't be as we get through it if we take it in chunks you're going to see that it actually pretty easy it's not that hard let's look at the big picture okay in business have you have you ever read the read the great book if you can michael garber grab it. I'll show you the cover here in the end I do credit all this to him there are three major roles in business the entrepreneur, the manager in the taskmaster okay, the um the entrepreneur is the overseer cases the person at the helm this is the person who has the five year picture of the business in his mind or her mind. They are very cognizant of the overall future plan of the business and they have a plan and a concept on how to get there. Right? Ok. The, um taskmaster this is the to do person. Okay, this is the one who remains who maintains the day to day operations. They oversee the day to day workings of the business. Okay, this is the organizer's and the system's flow person so we're going to be doing we're gonna be in this mode a lot during this course we're gonna bounce around them all but this is the area where we create oversee systems to manage things on a day to day basis right all the taskmaster this is the detail dude okay this is the one who actually gets all the system's done on the phone booking the client this is the person who's in the trenches okay day today today there in the trenches doing it all you all are taskmasters you all are managers and you all are entrepreneurs right but which one are you really like which one does your voice call to that you want to do every day do you like being in the trenches day today doing everything do you like making sure everything's operating you kind of see it from afar or do you like being the visionary the entrepreneur the one who sees it five years down the road and has a plan to go there you guys kind of stay in your mind you're you're kind of going in your mind going I think I'm a task I'm not sure each one is vital to success but especially the entrepreneur okay the entrepreneur is key why is that any ideas talk to me guys yeah let's get a microphone down here so we can have a little bit of discussion well it's ah it's kind of like you can't row a boat without a coxon someone has toe have a plan for the race and metaphorically I was toxin called your aunt but yeah you gotta have somebody tio have a plan for everybody else to follow into putting emotion yeah now you great if you could survive without it but it would be really hard you just kind of get yourself in a ruffle your panties in a ruffle kind of thing and you'd be all over the place but she'd probably get there right how many of you feel like that right now like your business is just kind of swimming like dog paddling not true on full style street's going somewhere yeah if that means that you're in task manager and detail mode okay you are not seeing the big picture and creating a plan for growth does that make sense this course is asking you to fly up forty thousand feet above your business and look at it and organize it and go where can I take this so that it works how can it work on its own without me needing to be in there killing myself okay if you can't lead you cannot succeed it's really a simple is that what I mean by leading is just even if I mean guys I've only had employees for three years okay I have been doing this ten I did it by myself for a long time all on my own so you it's not about leading people per se it's about leading the systems the energy to do the overall planets like guiding it in a direction and making it go where you wanted to go right that's leading it means leading people to but most of you how many of you actually have employees right now? Okay, so you have a couple with a few employees most you're on your own right? A tough road but you need to be a visionary to look at your business from forty thousand feet up and go okay, where is this going? Where can I take it? How am I gonna get there? The easiest, fastest way instead of being this tio you're so lost in the trenches that you can't see the birds for the bushes that with the prizes you can't see the forest for the trees yeah it's exactly what happens so what prevents you from leading what? What would prevent you from leaving any ideas? Yeah don, you get so caught up in going toe work in your business that you don't take time to work on your business actually, exactly what about the other thing the elephant in the room you self doubt you yeah, you are in your way get out of your way really okay, being a business owner means stepping back, going in, stepping back, going in constantly and we get so in it that we forget to step out of it, but if you can't think forward you're going to be screwed from the beginning how many of you have in your head of five year picture of your business raise your hand huh high like a really solid I plan to be doing this I want to do this and this is how I'm going to get there yes it's it's necessary and that's what we're going to be doing is part of what the work she threw all about is you're going to be doing that throughout this course is creating that five year big picture plan with riel actionable attainable goals okay with a plan for doing them with systems when you create step by step systems in your business you have time energy perspective and a plan for your own growth do you see why being the entrepreneur is so important why don't we go into business for ourselves why don you have a microphone why did you go into business yourself instead of working for the corporate corporate world I don't know we're going on a lot of tio freedoms to give myself the freedom to control my time and my schedule and be able to I work when I wanted to work and do you time off when I wanted teo do you to some degree to some yeah to some degree ah lot of you went into business for that same reason right control your destiny right are you controlling your destiny or is your business controlling it your business is controlling it isn't it I mean my god what did I d'oh okay but there is a way out systems keep your sanity you maximize your time you become very consistent you are reliable they want to sap me your clients are happy and they refer you you crawl big old pumpkin big old prizewinning glorious orange wrinkly awesome pumpkin okay why not taste very good it'll be big and pretty right so what is the system? A system is a procedure process method or course of action designed to achieve a specific result its component parts and inter related steps work together for the good of the whole creating effective business systems is the on ly way to attain results that are consistent, measurable and ultimately benefit customers systems and processes are the essential building blocks of your company whether you realize it or not every single successful business in the world has systems why don't you okay they take waste and efficiency inefficiency away they are the solution to weak sales low profit margins, customer dissatisfaction, poor performance, inadequate cashflow, employee turnover and basically daily frustration they really are they eliminate generalize solutions a different solution for the same problem every time you guys have that we've got a problem in your business say for example oh name a problem on the spot I talk about this but ah problem in your business who's having a problem in their business right now I know I'm putting you on the spot here okay uh say for example your camera stops working right? Okay you're a little shoot camera stops working what do you do the first time you feel like taking a card out change the batteries turning it off and on trying to get it to work taking the lens off and putting it back on to see what works right if you have a good system you go in the back room grab your backup that's already prepared and keep shooting time and efficiency bam okay, you have a solution to a problem before it happens. Seat of the pants operation ah customers unhappy. What do you do? Do you have a system for dealing with that or you're hoping praying never happens. Yeah, yeah, I just hope and pray it never happened. Okay, taking liberties with decisions for example if you do have employees do you have a set method the way your brand font style kern ing everything are supposed to be displayed on all your graphic design materials do you have a book for that so that employees can look at it and go okay, I'm supposed to do this font at this typeface available but I mean you know they can read a manual on go oh that's how it's supposed to look you better have that that's your brand that's your baby you don't want employees or that matter for yourself taking liberty with any important decisions in your business right there has to be a system for that really good systems eliminate anything left to chance they can be step by step I promise you and it seems like overwhelming right now but the major systems in your studio are these and in the next segment we're gonna go over each one of these and what it means to create a good system out of it that's a lot who cares you can detach from your business you're reliable to your customers your stress lowers consistency breeds confidence you know you're going to get the same result every time and that makes george go jump off a cliff with no airplane your income becomes predictable and ultimately your business grows and you have more time because the system as michael garber said runs the business he said organized business organize around business functions not people build systems with each business function let's systems run the business and people run the systems people come and go but the systems remain the same good advice right so I'm going to teach you how to make the systems so that the systems can run your business and you just run the system instead of you running your business you can work on it instead of in it okay your first homework assignment are you ready and we'll take some questions after that I want you to analyze your studio systems. Okay. So all these areas customer service marketing, finance sessions, editing, ordering, sales, booking, branding, workflow, organization pricing, policy products. I think I'm looking there twice. I do look bad system bad. Um, I just wanted to make it look all pretty and symmetrical. That's something. Anyway, what systems are weak in your business and you might be going. Oh, okay. Not all of them are horrible. Okay, so be good to yourself. Try to tell george to take ike. Where do you drop the ball? Where do mistakes happen in your business? For me? It used to be in ordering. I used to, like, forget the one measly five by seven that they wanted. And I'd have to pay twelve bucks at the at the lab to order that one single. Five seven. Um, I mean, it's only twelve bucks. But to me at the time, it was huge, like that's that's. Twelve bucks. That's. Just totally aiding my cost of goods. Okay, where do you drop the ball on things? Are your clients truly happy with you? Is your customer service really top notch? What's? Your biggest challenge in your business right now? And this is all on the homework a sheet so if you are sleepy to the course you can download the first week of assignments and all of this stuff is on there and it's really pretty belinda made it absolutely credible to get its work sheets so you can actually write on the document which is awesome hopefully what I'm hoping is that will become your bible for creating systems in your in your class and of course you guys are all going to get it assess how a good system may help you fix your problems in your business what are the biggest problems that photographers have right now talk to me what's your biggest problem marketing staying organized finance workflow biggest problems not enough clients sales not enough money procession right none of space organization is huge procrastination oh yeah it's a big one balancing life family and work trust me the systems are going to take care of that the systems will take care of that now here's the problem for those of you who are feeling like oh my god I have so much to dio you are absolutely right you have a lot to dio I hate to be blunt but ugo and oh it's gonna be overwhelming at first but once you do the work it's easy the work in the beginning is exhausting trust me these systems I'm teaching you in five weeks have taken me probably six to seven years to master and it's been slow because some things don't go right gotta fix it, change the system you know constantly kind of baby sitting and tweaking things okay? And I learned it by trial and error basically over seven years so doing this in five weeks I'm going to give you a plan for it but it's going to take you probably a good six months if you're dedicated, devoted and discipline to actually getting it all in place. Okay let's, take some time and you need to be a little for giving of yourself don't like I mean the temptation to do that and destroy your hands in the air and walk away it's gonna be huge but remember persistence don't take no for an answer do not let your brain get the better of you that's gonna be your biggest challenge of the next five weeks what I've done is compartmentalized all of this into sections you know how when you how many of you have run a marathon? Okay it's like hell you cry cry girl yes, I haven't either makes you feel better, but runners tell me the first like ten miles are cake you're trained, you're good no, they're not its the last eight or nine miles that our killer but you have to section it off mile by mile like you can't look at it as twenty six miles you have to look at it in chunks otherwise you will literally go insane you will literally go insane so that's why this course is a five week course because there's so much content number one but number two we I trust me the outline alone for this course took us almost a month to complete because we needed to section each thing off so it was not an overwhelming chunk to two so each section is going to build upon build upon a build up behind a build upon build so every day that you're in here you're going to keep creating this hierarchy of pumpkin nous okay really worth I always come up with some random weird word and a creative live course it's like awesome sauce remember awesome sauce I don't think it was mine but anyway um so you want it you've got to be here and consistent and do it every day because that's what will ultimately create the big picture questions, comments, concerns issues that you're just like the one thing I really know that I need you really get me if you're an intern you're entrepreneur by heart how'd you really get into being the manager and I think that's my problem yes you're scattered you feel like the the big picture but you know all of those systems and processes have to get put into place for the five year to year five year ten year pictures to come to fruition counter version you're always just my help yeah can't hire people to do it right now you know no one neither could I know I would never expect you to recruit family members there you go they don't blame anxiously way I want e and I remember when we talked about the left brain right brain earlier just about an hour ago you were kind of going yeah right brain right here you more of a right brain person? I'm a little bit both I have another job that I do some scientific consulting and I love being creative so I like to do both but uh it's hard to manage oh, it is it is really hard to manage and by the way we're gonna discuss fully taking the leap to full time photographer and I think week for we're going to be discussing when is the time to leave your job? You're paying gum and when is the time to get a retail space a studio like actually make that leap to those kinds of things so that is coming a ce faras your first question which is I have the big picture in my head I just don't have to get there that's where I'm really hoping to help you because when I break down everything that you do in a studio oh yeah I do that you're gonna be able to compartmentalize all the tasks within the system and you're obviously you're not going exactly like me know but everybody has their own system and that's the whole point is I want you to tweak it for your own needs, but once you have like pages in a binder that's a okay editing here's wants us to do marketing here's my promotions for the air here is my plan here's my step of action here's what I'm gonna ply the buying triggers to them here's a different collateral I need to make, etcetera, etcetera and then it's literally about making it to do list and I mean, you should see my tio it's a little bit of a nightmare I'm I'm I'm creative, I could be messy, right? No one ever said that systems couldn't be messy right now I'm kidding, but anyway, I'm totally one of those people who's cluttered, so I've liked outpost it's everywhere you know like to do today this this this and this and I crossed off my list there's some huge satisfaction people take my number two pencil and cross it off that's what you're gonna do, you're going to create processes and steps for each area of your business and then you're going toe you could even go so far as make a calendar and go okay especially for big picture things like I need to accomplish this marketing strategy by the end of october I need thio put up a display and so and so by the beginning of january you can set deadlines for yourself and then make the to do task and set aside certain days of the week for big picture projects versus day to day operations. Okay, so one of my things that come in the morning I'm sure many of you do this I come in and sit down on my desk and the first thing I do is make it to do list of everything that needs to get accomplish that day whether it's client work education and photographers or big picture planning okay and you know, two big picture plans always get taking care of all the time. No, of course not. Because I've got too much too many clients in the pipeline at this time I still have time to do them all at that point in your business you start to go I'm gonna make more money if I give this to somebody on them a wage versus me doing it then you that's when another system starts to take hold and you go okay, I need to hire somebody a twelve bucks an hour to do this when I could be doing marketing which is going to make the studio two thousand dollars a day set follow so there will be a time in your business when you go I am really wasting a lot of money doing this task when I can pay somebody minimum wage to do it like packaging orders I should not be packaging orders. Do I still? Yeah, because sometimes it's nice just to do a tedious task and not really think, but for the most part, I should be letting my people packaged orders because it's a simple task I'm the one who's in charge of marketing strategic planning special projects, you know, because I'm the I t person in the studio, that kind of stuff where I would pay a lot of money for those services, I do that myself because that's, where I'm gonna be making the studio money and planning for its growth does that make sense? So you'll get to that point? So yes, you have a big picture dream in mind I want to be doing this and I want to be my own retail space and it's going to look like this and we all have that dream, right? We all do trust me and I had it. I still have it to this day. Like how let's redecorating, you know, I mean, we all have that dream, but when you have the different areas of business that you can identify and kneel down and then create systems for those and such subsystems within that and you know those systems and you have set plans for them I want on employees a new employees to be able to walk into your business and go oh yeah okay here's a manual on how to make orders cool let's do this vamp down you don't have straight that's ideal it's kind of really ideal obviously have to train people little bit but you get my drift right that's what I want you to be in yes it's a lot of work but once it's done once the system's air set then it's just a matter of tweaking and baby sitting and adjusting and improving along the way okay so assess how ah good system can fix the issues in your business you don't know a lot about systems right now so I don't expect you to solve the problem in your homework I just want you to think about it okay go back to your dream my dream back in two thousand six I was very I spent eleven years in television news I was a morning anchor a meteorologist for many years a whole other life okay I was up at four three three three thirty in the morning to be at work by four to be on the air by five okay hi something perky happy drink my coffee good morning portland and five in the morning okay? It was exhausting and dealing with rapes, murders and child abductions all day long and amber alerts really got old so when I was demoted for ratings and moved to the iron man shift on weekends which was basically get up at three am be on the air by seven go off at nine be back at work in three pm go on the air at five and six and eleven go home at midnight come back at three a m and the cycle started over I got like two hours of sleep on sunday night they call it the iron man shift for that reason and um I just said enough is enough and I was still working at that in that industry full time and I started my photography business when I was still working out of my home you're going to see my home studio going to show you that ok, I started my girl hush it was just like all of you okay, I there were pictures of other people's kids on my walls I mean that's how I treated my business and you'll see it all and um two years later my contract was mutually agreed to not be renewed milords I got fired and that's when I said ok jump and I took what I could and materials and built a plane on the way down I had a mortgage it was two thousand eight the market crashed okay, thank god I sold my house and broke even and didn't lose anything. It was just a stroke of pure divinity. That that did not happen. My boyfriend's time was now my husband bless his heart. Took me in rome when gases like four bucks a gallon, I could not pay the gas to go see him. I could not fill my tank because it was money. I was so broke and att the time I was sharing commercial space with I had moved, I decided to make the leap and move into a commercial space and share it with photographer and slowly grew. Okay. With the help of my now husband, he loaned me some money and I paid him back after about six months. It was only like four or five thousand dollars, but it floated me through what I needed to actually launch and become a full time photographer. And if it weren't for him, I would not be here today. And a year later, two thousand eight nine nine we moved meant okay. And I started all over again. Crazy. I know, but I've started twice, once in a huge market and once in a small town. So I'm hoping that you guys will benefit from that from that knowledge a little bit here, and there are obviously every business is different, but I'm going to share with you as much as I can. That department own your dream. You all have this dream in the beginning, and it fueled you and so did I. And then scary things come along to make you doubt that dream. The dream is what fuels through the doubt that persistence and the belief that you can do it good entrepreneurs believe they have a product that is in demand, whether they do or not. But if you don't believe it, if you inject that doubt into your business, you'll never ever succeed. So you have to believe you all know what that feeling is like I want to do this for a living it's so awesome I'm making families happy and you know what I mean, trust me, I've been there done that got that t shirt multiple times over, go back to that dream, write it down, own it because it's what's gonna fuel you for the next five weeks.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Studio Systems Resource Guide
Interview: Social Media Guru Sarah Daily
Studio Systems Workbook and Homework Guide
Jewel Images: Sample Client Survey

Ratings and Reviews


I look at this course as a library of amazing and valuable content. Everything that any photographer ever needs to run their business and make it successful and profitable can find all in one place, this course. I always felt inspired by Julia's amazing business skills, she is one of the best in this industry. I have taken all of her previous classes before and never felt disappointed. Instead, I would feel more confident, educated, empowered and inspired. Every segment is packed with so much information and it feels overwhelming at first, but the workbook that this course comes with, gives you sanity and helps you to work through it. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone. You should decide if you want to spend 10 years to get all this knowledge that this course already has, or just spend $199 to get it all at once and not waste anymore time experimenting!? Your choice.

a Creativelive Student

We're only 1wk into this 5wk bootcamp and I have already gained so much valuable information {already worth every cent}. Julia shares so much about how to run a business, and do it in a way that's successful, profitable and enjoyable. Have already started working on a few new systems to help run my business better, and my customer service has already improved. Now to just spruce up my home studio to make it more visually appealing and comfortable for my clients :) Thank you so much Julia!


I am so incredibly happy to have taken the plunge this evening, as I bought this course! Today watching the course a lightbulb went off and I knew I had to have it! This is worth every cent, and I am so very excited to watch the rest and implement these teachings into my business. Its time to take charge and take my business back! I am so amazed after standing back and looking at my business from a distance, of how much i have been giving away. Not only of not only my pricing but myself. I have compromised for clients that aren't right for me. This is giving me the confidence and knowledge to say no, in a nice way, and to focus on the business I really WANT! Thank you Julia, you are an inspiration! An amazing women with impeccable business sense!

Student Work