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

Lesson 29 from: Studio Systems: A Photography Business Bootcamp

Julia Kelleher

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

Lesson 29 from: Studio Systems: A Photography Business Bootcamp

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

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


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

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

We'd like crazy never ever let distractions take hold once you've found your product and your unique voice and that thing you do photography whether it be wedding commercial portrait babies, families, kids I don't care whenever you find that thing that you d'oh don't let other things distract you ow I do babies seniors would be fun you should try seniors it's that time of year fifteen years I should just go ahead, try to get some big specs extra money no, no, I'm struggling with this right now with many sessions, as you all know, my husband lost his job about a month ago by the way, I'm really excited to say that he just won his first public project I'm extremely proud of him the day after he got his contractor's license in his insurance and bonding, he went and bid on a public project and bend and caught it so I'm extremely proud of him he's launching his own business and it's growing the pumpkin is growing and it's such a beautiful thing to see but I'm struggling with this with many ...

sessions right now I really wanted to holiday many sessions as a marketing tool not as sweet as a money making tool has a marking towards something different and so my big thing is is this a distraction from higher paying clients? I got analyst I have quite answered it yet I don't think it is, and I really want to do it for my own creative and artistic voice, but this is something I have to balance. Okay? Is it gonna ruin my brand? Raped my brand to do many sessions that are cheaper? Not necessarily. If I do, it really seemed as a holiday thing once a year and no time outs then I should be fine, but I have to be very careful about how I do it. It has to look different than my regular brand. It cannot be the same because you cannot get the same thing at a cheaper price. No way. Okay, so these distractions love to just rain down on you. These little ideas come in elizabeth guild won't talk about ideas and creation in the next segment, but elizabeth gilbert, who is one of my favorite writers, amara fact, I quote her up the wazoo in the next segment. She believes that ideas are like little floating things that visit one person to the next and it's such an amazing analogy, but it's also hard because ideas are distractions and you have to weed out those ideas and ask yourself which one benefits by business the most there will ultimately be that prize pumpkin that you need to identify as the one that's going to grow okay, so remove the anybody's identify your niche and remove everything else I've had so many people ask me in the facebook group can I do to knishes? Yeah, if you're careful separate them that's a lot of work, my recommendation is to always start with one get really good at that one and then branch out and open up to another one if you try to do both at once that shark may swallow you up. Okay, now if you're in a small, teeny tiny market with five hundred people, chances are you're gonna have to be gentle it's because there's not enough market chair to support in each so no teaching is something that is very market and photographer and personality dependent there's not a go to answer for everybody once you have that big pumpkin, of course, nurture it like a baby. Focus all your attention on that one on your top clients and serve and systemized your process is to give them the best cough possible customer experience you can give them and the best product okay? And then of course, when that happens and you focus your energy on that, your pumpkin will start to become prize winning and you will see it grow and with proper systems you can step back and go wow, you're pretty you're beautiful little business of mine and I love tto be step back and go I can do this this now where am I going to take it? Remember that forty thousand foot view that's where you get to so night now after twenty six segments of this course you are in the trenches you are in that black hole going oh my god am I ever going to get out of this? Yes you will follow the workbook go step by step and it will slowly take you out of that well and once you get to the end of that work book the well will shriek like that it will be gone and all of a sudden you'll be left with this huge prizewinning pumpkin at the end that's gonna grow that crazy so what we're going to do here is we're gonna make a plan okay? I want you to look ahead five years all right? So do you all have a piece of paper you do will have paper from me? I love that. Okay, okay. What do you say five years from now let's talk about your business. Anyone wanna volunteer? What do you see five years from now about your business give it to me dreams hopes aspirations I'll tell you all smiling cause it's all in that brain of yours I know you see it molly I'm gonna put you on the spot that's a tough one it's a lot I know it is for you I definitely want to be able to support my family and give my husband a break and five years is plenty of time to do that you could describe it how would you do that what does it look like from the outside happy clients that refer yeah all of their family and friends minimal marketing not putting as much effort into giving most people in the door how do you feel about it how do you feel about your business five years from now really good peaceful very peaceful that occurred more time with my family getting the bed at a decent time not emailing clients at nine pm because I want them to come through the door just to have business yeah anyone else want to share what they see five years from now we get specific on me I want to hear it I see something bigger than just my photography I want to build a business that houses some of the best photographers that I become friends with so people can walk in the door in no matter what their needs they get someone who only does that and that way I can go home at the end of the night to hopefully more kids by then and spend time with him and go to bed before four a m because won't be barking anymore I've been running a business it is okay to bartend what you're building your business it's totally okay. Awesome, actually anyone else want to share where they see things five years from now how many clients do you have what your prices yeah please teo I want to hear that s o s oh jean marie says I see myself having a flourishing business with the most amazing studio systems I've mastered thanks to julia and ninety seven seas herself teaching on creative live in five years I had that dream too actually and it was just about five years ago that I had that dream because I well know I'm passionate teacher educator half my business this client work and half of my businesses education I basically have two businesses that run under one umbrella and five years ago I voiced when belinda for start working fbi voiced her something I'm gonna teach on creative five someday I'm going to do that and it was a little pipe dream of the time and it took two years to three almost three years to implement but it finally happened and I just just a podunk nobody I'm just whatever I knew howto public speak and that was about it okay but it's funny how fate gives you what's in your heart the universe is conspiring to give you with your dreams the universe is conspiring to help you achieve that but it can't do it without you if you alienate the universe it will give up and move on to somebody else so you have to partner with fate and go okay, we're gonna do this. We're gonna make it happen and that speaks true to any art. You create a business, you run a goal you have, I have bigger dreams now god knows if they'll happen I'm afraid to sam I should damn because that will make him like hit reality but I'm not quite ready yet, okay? We all have big, beautiful dreams and they just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger that's the beauty of living a human life we as human beings are blessed and cursed by the fact that we are conscientious that we are human, that we have the ability to succeed and do something and accomplished things. That concept that we have a conscious awareness is also a curse, because it means we know we're going to die that our time here on earth is finite. So it's such a blessing and a curse, because when we know that death is coming, we say to ourselves, oh my god, we have to do something with our lives. If we didn't know death was coming, would we try to accomplish anything? Probably not we would survive, we would eat, drink and mate to procreate much what the living animal world does and the plant world, etcetera they are not conscientious of the fact that they will die does that make sense? We know it we know it's coming and it is the gift that the universe bestowed on us it allows us to be creative an innovative and thoughtful and dream and accomplished but it also makes that's crazy because we know we have to do it before the finite end right which makes us go and then fear starts to set in right? We'll talk about your next time I don't get to announce let's go back to regular scheduled programming here from and I want a little rabbit trail I want you to think five years out how much do you cost our uni sht where's your location what's your brand look like what hours do you keep to work weekends? What kind of products do you carry, what they look like? How unique are they? How are you growing? What's your revenue like I want you to write this stuff down speak it out a few of you were brave enough to actually speak it I wasn't I have dreams but I'm not brave enough yet but here's the clincher george greg reid said a dream written down with a date becomes a goal right ah goal written down with steps becomes a plan and a plan backed by action makes your dreams come true how powerful is that? I never find that again rewind a dream written down with a date becomes a goal a goal written down with steps becomes a plan and a plan backed by action makes your dream come true it is a self fulfilling cycle and it is your job to make sure that you write it down that you do step by step that you set a date and that what you write down is set forth into the universe with action and that's where most people bomb it they don't take action why why don't they take action is it fear distraction time management all of the above let's look at your life not just your business okay where do you see this? Where do you see these factors five years out when it comes to your life your income how you're spending your time how much debt do you have where's your career going how's your creativity doing five years from now where is your family at how much bigger or your kid's health are you taking care of yourself spirituality and most importantly self worth are you going to feel the same way about yourself now are you going to tell you the same way about yourself five years from now that you do now better good job a man I want to hear that because you're gonna work on it yeah the only way to fix it is to work on it let's talk about income how much you earning your income growing are you scaling your business appropriately so let it grows what do you spending me? Nice people. How much money do you really need? It is money that important when it comes down to it it's not important at all but really it's just enough to pay the bills right? But your bills you determine you get to determine how big your mortgage is. You get to determine how much money a month you spend on groceries clearly there's a baseline but you get my point right? How much money is enough? And are you motivated by money or you motivated by time? Are you motivated by art and creativity and expression? What about debt? I know a lot of you have debt. I did for a long time to it took me probably twenty years ago. I started to eighteen when the college people on the quad sold me a credit card. These critical twenty three percent interest problem scaled up to twenty nine because I was late in my bills. Yeah, lesson learned when you're twenty one years old and then it takes twenty years to pay the debt off. Okay, credit cards are evil. What are your goals? Do you want to be out of debt in five years? How are you gonna make that happen? And what's healthy versus unhealthy dead? Having a mortgage isn't the end of the world because your house is going to appreciate having a car payment kind of socks because the car depreciates okay, do you have a plan of attack? What are your expectations? You think your dad is just gonna disappear one day because oh, you had that big client they paid you ten of money just pay off all your debt that's we're all hoping for is it? Someday your business will make it and you'll get a bunch of czech change chunk of money in the bank and you'll be like well, for now just paid off once. So what? You're hoping for a pipe dream? It doesn't happen that way debt gets paid off slowly and agonisingly painfully and it takes discipline to do it and the amount of interest the chair paying overtime is crippling if you add it all up I had twenty thousand dollars in credit card debt I think I paid almost one hundred thousand for it okay, imagine where that money could've gone into my business you must gain control over your money or the lack of control well forever control you. My nose is not an easy topic to talk about trust me, I know sucks but if dave ramsey is so right you must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you set a budget, put some towards debt and cut your spending time how do you see time? Five years from now what do your work hours what do your family ours. What? You yourself hours? Are you self carrying? Are you caring for yourself? How are you balancing time? Do you value your time? Because if you don't value it, your customers won't either. And trust me your family values your time way more than you do and the price your family pays for you not valuing your time will cost you more than anything else in your life get rid of those crappy, messed up clients who suck you dry and don't pay you for your time because trust me, when god comes knocking on your door and the pearly gates of heaven open your family will have paid millions to get that time back for you they would have paging million's to be able to spend that extra weekend with you that you were doing some crap client that didn't make you any money one day time is a finite resource. You all of us are given the exact same amount in a day nobody can earn more of it. Nobody gets robbed less of it. We all have twenty four hours in a day and once you spend it you never, ever, ever get it back. You cannot big time time is your most precious precious resource, so use it and spend it wisely the way that will invest in your future invest in yourself worth investing in your family. Invest in your passions that grow us an authentic person. Okay, what about your career? Are you self employed? Are you still working in the bar? Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes putting the pressure to make your creativity pay you is way more damaging than it's worth. Sometimes keeping the steady paycheck in the bar and allowing your creativity to grow and become that thing that fuels you and fills you two put no pressure on that to pay you is sometimes the best medicine, but you still need to value your time. That makes sense. Just because it becomes a hobby instead of a career doesn't mean that when you do charge for it, you don't charge appropriately for your time. Okay? Are you in a corporate cage? The golden cage. I used to call it a photographer. I was, uh for those of you, those of you know, I was a journalist for many years and there was a videographer photographer named john in my first market at w wn y in watertown, new york, cbs affiliate channel seven there and he was an amazing videographer guy could've won awards up down sideways, okay? And I asked him I said, john, why don't you get out of here? You know, why don't you move on bigger, better things? He's, like I've been here thirty years, I'm in a golden cage and I went, what? Because I get paid way too much here, I'll never get paid this anywhere else. I've been here so long that I was no way I could move and do something else and make the same amount of money, and my family and I are trapped. He hated watertown didn't want me there. I'm like, how sad is that? That he's ruled by money, that his creative spirit is being crushed because that he was forced to do that? Okay, so if you're in a corporate cage, get out while you can if you hate it, if you love it, of course day. But if you hate your corporate cage than figure out an exit strategy, I always tell people, when you have a job that pays you, pretend you don't have a job and eat, drink and spend like you don't have a job and bank the money coming in so you have six months padding so that when you do leave your job, you're giving yourself six month severance, okay, so if you want to get an I v takes discipline, doesn't it, it takes courage and discipline to do that. But that's a lot smarter way of doing that just go screw it I'm gonna take the venture just jump off the cliff and build a play on the way down you know, trust me I did that I recommend the plane has to fly but then we're close to the water okay, so just be careful make that strategic plan for exit what about your creativity? Creativity is the sole trying to say and express itself to the world it's the innermost part of you wanting to voice itself every single person in the world is creative it's what it means to be human it's just the soul wanting to express itself creativity can be problem solving it can be art that could be innovation anything that you want to make it could be a photograph it could be scrapbooking it could be an idea it could be engineers are creative massively creative people they're making things in their head writing a story. Anything it is that we as human beings make is creative way have been creating I mean there is art out there that's forty thousand years old cave man drawing things like that civilized agriculture is only ten thousand years old human beings wanted to create long before they worried about eating granted they need to survive but you get my point mass production in agriculture was a long distant thought before creating so what inspires you five years from now how do you visualize that voice inside you speaking out what does it look like what's that journey what's that process I don't care about the result so much of what I do creatively is crap it's sucks it'll never see the light of day there's stuff on my hard drive them all what was I thinking it will never see the light of day no in fact most of it's been deleted okay it's not the end result that's important what's your process what images since we're photographers what images in your head are dying to be created you may have a hard time figuring out how you're going to do it but the idea inspiration has struck right something in your life something happened the ideas floating around that elizabeth gilbert talks about one has hit you on the head and god let's play you're saying you're going home no okay figure it out get curious start learning okay if you ignore that idea it's gonna go to someone else I'll tell you a story about was with gilbert an excitement about ideas but it's pretty incredible between her and patrick you guys know who and patch it is wonderful author they both her and I'm a reader is you guys can tell um and and eliza but they're actually very good friends now and I'll tell you the story a little bit but it's about ideas switching people creativity is a wild mind and disciplined I dorothy parker said that I love this because it's so true creativity is your mind going all these ideas were and then it's a discipline of going okay what do I put into my creation? Okay and that's where you and your soul starts to speak you're inspired by the idea but then you your soul your heart works together with inspiration to create something and it's that disciplined I and channelling things through your voice that makes it uniquely you right black people can have the same idea but it comes out of every different person differently. What about your family? Where will you be five years from now? How old will your kids be? My child would be nine years old. Fourth grade, fifth grade graduating high school it's a big moment for you. Amanda, what will your relationship looks like? You've got five years. What are you gonna make happen in five years? You've got five years to send them out in the world and make sure they know and remember everything that you taught them. Not a lot of time if you look back I'm sorry to make you cry, sweetie, um if you look back five years from now, where were you got it goes by fast, doesn't it? We always think we have so much time and amanda sit here going I only have five years five years to get them where they need to be and they are so much more important than your business so much more important what about your health? Are you making time for it? Are you doing everything that you could d'oh to maintain your health I don't have enough time I'm too busy say it I'm guilty just as much as you guys are trust me but it's for your well being and you only got one body to time and health care probably your biggest assets if your health gone you can kiss everything else goodbye right you must have your health guys it's all about making priorities what do you gonna prioritize in your life? What about your spirituality this I mean it doesn't matter if you have a religion or not as the point the point is do you connect to connect with the world around you and whatever you believe is the highest form do you have faith and purpose in your life and what you're doing? Are you dedicated to it? Are you giving back and is your belief structure going to adjust in the next five years? Do you want to go somewhere that it hasn't gone before make a plan for that self worth so many of you have bleep e self worth just censored myself but it's the word I wanted to use because it really is the poops for lack of a better word it s so many of you just have self worth its in the tank we all have moments of george, but those of you who have those of you who have healthy self worth I know how to compartmentalize george, you know he's an integral part of your creative process without george, there really can be no creativity, right? Because creativity is unknown and george really is just fear but that's part of what makes a creative life so beautiful is that it's fearful and when you have the courage to attack that fear and be creative, that is an enchanted life, right? If creativity wasn't scary, it would be boring if running a business wasn't scary, it would be boring, right? It's about being able to car part mental eyes that fear into george and keep him from affecting everything you d'oh balance it's about being self aware and knowing when that fear is taking hold. That's some of the hardest part if you could recognize you could deal with that, right, at least you recognized that, you know, it's there, you're not letting it completely overwhelm you, right? So I always ask people when they're really feeling down on themselves, if I was going through this situation, the situation you're going through, what would you tell me you would be comforting you would give empathy because all too often when when guilt and there's a huge difference in guilt and shame but when jorge's beating you down and telling you suck and that you're not worth it and why are you doing this and you're crazy and you're stupid and all the above what are you doing? You're shaming yourself guilty if I did something wrong shame is I am wrong and the bigger you know burn a brown says the biggest anecdote for shame is empathy so afraid you go to a friend and tell them how crummy you feel and they'll be like oh I've been there I know what that's like that's just sucks it so you're going to be okay let me talk you through this and that right there is the anecdote for shame but if you keep letting shame get at you then it's your problem you cannot rely on external empathy to get you through that time you have to have empathy for yourself, okay? Because then you'll just live if you just if you rely on friends and family etcetera for this validation then your whole life is going to be living up to the expectations of others, right? I know this is like deep heavy stuff overwhelmed you mean the shark is coming at you with teeth and it will eat you alive I get it done it done it during it and I think the biggest take away what I wanted to do is faras actionable steps here is right the stuff down when it comes to your business when it comes to your life these big huge categories that we talked about time, money, family, spirituality, self worth all these things put it on paper and say this is where I want to be five years from now and these air this steps I'm going to do to get there and this is the date I'm going to do it on because once you spit it out on paper then all of a sudden it's just a matter of taking action and let me tell you finish most people never finish so if you do you are way ahead of the game god forbid your lazy perfectionist okay, elizabeth gilbert calls it the song of the disciplined half half the disciplined half ass excuse my french there is I have a great example of this. I did an image called shepherd of her heart. You guys have seen it in this class actually it's a a woman and she's bare chested with a just a skirt on it she's holding her child and the child is holding a sheep staff like a sheep and there's a couple of sheep in the backgrounds very purple has a lot of magenta tones and it's very warm that image went to district competition and scored in eighty one eighty two and there was a huge fight. Five judges sitting there and they just rattled off about the errors in the image. And I seriously like, was sitting there going oh, my god, there's a point in competition where eighty is just not good enough. Eighty is like the threshold point where you get a merit. That's like when you first start out that's like the first goal. But then when you start to really get into competition, is there anyone looking good then it's like you want in the nineties? Every time once you hit the nineties, you're like I want to be the nineties. So here I am, sitting at, like, eighty to its first start off eighty four and it's being judged down for its errors. Little things, little paint, stroke, brush. That was often they were like, arguing over minor, minor stuff. Okay, judges love to do this and it's. They should. I wanted them to do that. Okay, when you go to district competition, you have your images, judge. And one of the reasons you do that is because you can redo them and move on to I p c international. So it's a testing ground basically you can kind of test to see how your images are gonna go and then decide if you want to change it replace it do what you want for I p c okay so simmons got like an eighty one or a two I don't really remember the exact score and time went on like should I change it? Should I not uh done is better than good I didn't have time I don't want to put forth the effort it was too much it was the song of the disciplined half ass I did not I chose not to fix it and I sent it on and it loaned and it's now up for one of most prestigious awards in the country. I can't say anything more than that because it's all top secret but I was blown away when they called me and told me I'm like it was so flawed they told me it was flied sometimes done is better than good I just got it done okay and the same thing goes with this course you have one hundred seven page workbook to fill out just get it done it doesn't have to be good because done propels you forward to the next lesson the next learning the next process and that's growth makes sense so really what it comes down to guys is just setting priorities what's important to you

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