High Profits & Balanced Lifestyle
Breaking the five k barriers so you know again we showed the different levels right if it's under a thousand it's usually going to be taken by the part timer if you go move into the twenty five to thirty five then you have the part timers and the full timers and that's why it's so hard to compete in that level but then sometimes we get stuck at this level okay and that's the hard part and so now we need to transition if we stay in this level we're not going to survive we understand that that is the no man's land area so either going to get out of business because you know that you're just simply not making enough money or you're gonna have to move up and so that's what joe did he just kind of he's funny he just probably started at this level right here so and but you definitely gotta move up into that area here and so let's consider two scenarios photographer one and it says now you want to move up and you've got to get to the five thousand and photographer one says I raised my prices ...
and I received more business I've heard of that before and then there's another photographer says I raised my prices and I went out of business so what do you do? What what's what's what happened what what did photographer one what's he got going the photographer too didn't you because you can get on the forearms and they say, oh, well, you're just too cheap you just need to raise your rates and get more ago I did like and I'm not getting any business now what's happening there and suggestions on what's going on? Yeah, that's it you can't raise prices without demand, and so this is the number one rule don't raise your rates without demand if you don't have the demand, don't do it. In fact, if you don't have the demand lower you, your price is you got to still stay in business because you've got to keep seeing people and as you keep seeing people and getting better than your name is going out there, but you can't generate any business if you're not meeting any people and you're not servicing any clients, so experience and just the fact of serving clients and a lot of them is very important to get the momentum going. So the question is, you know, you gotta ask yourself is are you booking twenty four weddings a year? If you not, you need to get to this point because that's going to give you the volume of people that you need to move forward if you on ly seeing three or four clients a year, you're brand is not expanding out enough reach to to get a kind of minimum quantity of quantity of people that are seeing you, right. So if you get to twenty four weddings at least how many bridesmaids are you encountering? How many grooms mens are you counting? How many people in of their friends are you? Because, that's what? Your market is it's really? Right there? I know you know, joe's does our marketing here and there, but, uh, and and other things. And I think you might have to do that in the beginning. I find that a lot of online marketing and things like that that really is affected if if you're at a lower price but as you as you raise your rates, it becomes mohr. Word of mouth. Okay? And so this is let me pose this question to you. Would you find a baby sitter out of the yellow pages? No. So something that is valuable say, if you're going to spend ten thousand twenty thousand dollars on the wedding it's less likely to be found just randomly on the internet, but mohr through a referral, the higher the price is and I find that true. So, like craigslist and all that kind of stuff and that's great for lower and stuff, but when it gets higher and higher, it has to be by referral, so you have to see people, yes when you're creating your businesses starting out your starting by charging a lower rate and perhaps even giving things away for free a lot of those referrals are going to come through people who expect you to be that low rate wedding photographer right? It seems like it would be very difficult than you're you're locking yourself into that that model as a low rate wedding photographer right? I run into that a lot right and like they're expecting that price but at the same time I feel that your quality is getting a lot better too and so at the time that you did that wedding now you're twice as good so you're it's a different product now a lot of times when you're getting back to it so you can justify that price and so I don't worry about us like well, you know what? I was just starting my business at that point and I really needed to gain a lot more expensive experience but now I'm doing this for a living and I have to be a little bit of more serious about you know, my pricing and so forth and so therefore I wouldn't feel uncomfortable it's throwing that price out there and whenever you I'll just let you go and it's happened to me a lot whenever and you move to the next bracket or that social income bracket you're going to leave some people behind and that's okay because you're trying to reach a broad amount of people that fit this new arena because when you go to a wedding, right, there's not one class of people there all the time, there's different types of class is a lot of times, and so maybe at that wedding there's just like one couple or whatever that can fit into your category, but they're going to notice you on dh, then you can gain access that so you do have to take the risk of that, but then you have to get started somehow, right? How you're going to get started, there's no other choice, so you will lose some, but then you're going to gain some, but just the mere fact that you're gonna get out there and see a lot of people, okay, does that help you? Okay, um, okay, so if less than twenty four demand rave needs to be increased, if more than twenty four, weddings a year, especially before mid year price increase is a must. So as you're developing and this, you're getting better and better, and you booked your twenty four weddings and all of a sudden you're getting to the point where shoot I've booked up, I'm already got like twenty four weddings and it's february, right then, for sure you need to raise your rates and so what happens is though let's see if we get to this next light ah put a person that books all their dates too soon they will experience this opportunity loss are you familiar with that concept I'll bring it into play I see this all the time people develop their business ok and they're getting a solid number of twenty four weddings at thirty five hundred dollars they're paying their bills they're doing okay they get and so what they do is they want to make sure that every year they get that nut in and so they book everything and so by let's say june they have already booked for the entire year and they can't book anymore but they feel secure they feel like I got my year paid for all start booking the next year or so far but what happens is they just lost money if you book everybody too soon and the way it works is this let's say your booking the month of june and these are the four weeks that are available and you're freaking on fire and ban you got him all booked up okay wow you're feeling good I booked all the weak itude it's great okay and you booked it early right and so all of a sudden people are enquiring hey you got weak one available no I'm busy at that time right and all you get all these people demand inquiry at all these different um spots after you booked it. Okay, if you get a lot of and demand inquiry on those weak on those weeks that I already booked you most likely lost money because some one of these people here would have paid you more but you already booked it. Oh, man, you're already booked suit. I've been looking at their blawg for three years I've been following you it's my dream toe have you at my wedding and your books? I would've paid you a thousand dollars more you just lost money so when you get to this point where you're getting this demand in we feel secure that we got a year filled up but we are losing money because we don't have the opportunity to gain more money so that's why you never should be at booking one hundred of the clients that you see because you're wanting the very best client not the clients that can afford you you want the one that has a fanatic about you because that's the one that's going to pay you the most okay, so the lost opportunity to make mohr everybody understand this costume? Did anybody have any questions on this? Yes yeah, but how? How we deal with that like your book people are demanding you so than what you know you're going to lose that money so you lost it there but you need to raise your rates okay, so that's a point you think this is the point with demand this is the point to raise your rates okay, I got but you only do it at this point if you don't do it at this point you're not gonna get any business because you're overvaluing yourself when you're getting demand like this that means that you're giving great value right? You're you're you're so what I say is again I'll repeat it you know, when I was a twenty, five hundred dollars photographer my goal was to actually produce quality of a five thousand dollar photography for because the market because there's so much competition right now the client is hiring that person first that is an extreme value they say their two thousand but really they're work looks like four or five thousand works and they get book first. Okay yes questions quick question from elena sisk online so can you tell us again how far advance in advance then should we be booking with yeah, I couldn't will in general this is what I feel andi I don't know if it's changing a little bit now but I felt like whatever you end up at the end of the year for bookings for next year so let's say it's getting to the end now it's december so let's say by the end of december or january first I have ten weddings, okay I just double that and then probably go okay I've got twenty weddings for next year and so I always kind of go on that kind of theory so you can kind of use that as kind of an a gay and a gauge so if you book up all away at in march or like, you know, early april then that's too soon you need to stretch it out some more and I definitely what how I do it is I don't operate at a years time I operated on like maybe in three months time so I see what my trend is for three months so fine book and three months one month so this is was my particular rule was if I book three weddings every single month for three weeks in a row I raised my rates immediately because the rave is starting to build because that brave will happen exponentially this is what's gonna happen you're going to work and work and you're not going to get anything it's like farming I don't never farm but for but you know, so you're like watering or whatever you do fertilizing or I don't know what you do with your fiery right and then oh sudden explosive the crops there and then you've got it you know, cut it down whatever that's what rave is about you keep feeding it nurturing and and then all of a sudden bam it starts toe all explode on you and so uh and because why? Because the referrals this person tells that person in this cell tilson that tells another person and then bam you're starting to get a lot of rave at this point and it's gonna happen really fast so that's why I would monitor it like that and once I went for those three months and the relic it's time to raise my rates because I needed to contain it down I only wanted twenty four weddings this is important and I learned this from my other job when I did high volume work I didn't want to to promise something that I couldn't deliver I didn't want a promise when I didn't want to book forty weddings and then on lee and then they have to wait a year for whatever because I was I take too much time, right? And I couldn't do enough turn around, so I knew that I can on lee do about twenty four weddings a year or else I'm going to go crazy because I've got a family too and so I kept it at that rate and I just made sure that I got more no more than twenty for maybe if I was super super hot that year I just happened to book thirty and I and I like can't turn town turn it's hard to turn down money right and if you're available so you just do it it's like it's very hard to turn down five thousand dollars is somebody's offering you that right that's what wedding photography gets sometimes like I ain't turning that down that's great but I knew in general for longevity and first peace of mind and a buildable ah model that I could sustain that twenty four is a good number to be at so I don't know if that helps okay thank you okay, now you can officially give yourself a spanking if you're doing this ok shame on you because you're losing money and the reason why you're losing money it's because you don't have enough confidence in your product that's that's it the market has confidence but you're not letting them show that and you're actually getting paid less who likes to goto work and they want to give you twenty five dollars an hour say no no no no I only deserve nineteen that's what you're doing here that is exactly what you're doing here okay when demand is high raise rates on ly to accept bill's clients who are fanatics about you that's what you want so there is a client quality difference between the person who books at three thousand dollars a wedding versus the person that books at a five thousand dollar wedding three thousand dollars is average that's what most people pay when they're paying you five thousand that means they're liking you and your brand. They're paying a lot more than average three thousand I felt when I was in that three thousand category I was getting clients that were fit their budget and someone else was booked and I got it okay? When I got the five thousand dollar client, I notice a completely different ballgame. When I was booking five thousand dollar weddings, it seemed like every client they came in knew everything about me. They had been reading my blog's they've been seen my style, they were went through every single wedding I did that year it was completely different ball game. Now they were not hiring me just for price. They were hiring me because they bought into me huge difference. When a person is a fanatic, they're going to pay a lot more for you. They had you have to, um, look for just the fanatics, and so when you filter the price, you just want all your twenty four slots filled in with the fanatic. So that's, why you raise your rates because it's the fanatics who are going to pay the high price. And so if you keep your rates lower, you're not going to get the fanatic every single time, and so the quality of client that really loves you is going to be kind of hit and miss all you want is the a list client write down what your best client is what it would look like what they wear, what kind of jobs they have what that whole thing that's who you are marketing too but you have to have a picture in your mind of who that's going to be okay the three client of k client books because the price fits the budget the five k client books because they want you and that's the one that's the whole reason why to raise those rates is because you're not letting anybody who's so so about you book you fact people with a sense of style want the best photographers this is reality people who'd pay a lot for wedding photography quite frankly they're just vain they know they're good looking and they want it to be shown right and it was really they have a sense of style about them and I remember booking these like right away I made the switch I could I distinctly remember I was like a thirty five hundred and then all of a sudden on my unlike my website I said I'm starting at five thousand dollars every single client that came in after that I go bad these are good looking people and I just felt like man, all my clients are great they have a sense of style to them because that's who that attracts that five k they're really looking for some nice style and turned they are stylish themselves so you book on who you are right and it matches so that they're very stylish and high end in luxury brand and have a louis vuitton I distinctly remembers like at the end there when I was doing a lot of wedding photographer you his book it's like man every bride that I've saw has a very expensive luxury brand purse and they all drive a luxury car every single one of them did and so that want that reflected they want somebody like them and so the clients that book you for who you are they appreciate your talents more and then they're working on your terms too and so when I was booking I couldn't believe it when I start raising my rates then all of a sudden they're booking me and then they're asking about scott how much time do you need what everything was about me and what I needed to do to help them with their work and tables were turned and I'm like wow this is completely different here I like this I love this and uh and and that's the difference when you get to that point okay uh and that's what it is the wedding planner clients versus my own client that found me like I did in the beginning book a lot of clients through wedding planners and that's definitely a method to use but I really appreciated my own client they found me because they bought into me versus just a referral through somebody, I you should just hire this person and personally, like, hi, I didn't really like working for people that were extremely rich, like because in a certain aspect, ten thousand dollars was ness ing to them, and at that point, I'm just hired help, right? You just, you know, whereas the person who bust their budget just tow, have you and they know and you know, that that's the most expensive thing that they've purchased was you. I like that because you're gonna get treated differently and you're going to be able to do your work and do that wedding in the way you want, teo and you have more control, you're just being more appreciated and it's, just a better situation. So that's what I always liked. Okay, so some clients have been following for you for years, and when it's their turn to get married, they already know they want to hire you. Okay, make sure you are available for your biggest fans. You have to be available for your biggest fans. So that's why you can't when you're starting to get demand, you can't book everybody, you have to have slots open. For people because you want your biggest fans, okay, how to raise rates without shooting yourself in the foot that's a good one now you want to raise rates and you're kind of afraid, I know I should raise my rights, but am I going to just put my business under well, there's a few things that you conduce you, uh, to make sure that you're going to get your bills paid right, keeping rates, raise raising rates to slow down bookings and do not book more than twenty for we know that, okay, be aggressive, this is what I did was be aggressive and give a discount to the client who is first to book that month, this insurers income every month, okay, so what I did was this I was extremely aggressive and motivated to make a sale on my first wedding for that month because I got us, like, at least so a client came in, okay? And then, you know, I'm I'm working with them, and then I try to close the deal and then they don't they say they've got to think about it. I'm like, ok, what do you what what's your dream list or whatever? And I would just basically just give anything to them because I needed to pay my bills that month, so I need something because you can always lower your price but you can't raise your rates so the reason why people are afraid to raise their rates a lot of times is maybe right maybe that they're they're lacking in the negotiating skills and another thing is that you can always create a some sort of sale of some sort of promotion you might be even brutally honest and say hey r in the month of june next year whatever I've I've I've got it open there I'm willing to give a discount for the purse first person who books that month of june thirty percent off or whatever don't be afraid don't be afraid that that one discount is going to ruin your brand how many times do you see stores give sales? Are they afraid that their brand is is being ruined? They need sales to stay alive there comes a point where you have to stay alive and you need to do anything to get that booking in so you can always be creative toe lower your price but you can't be creative to rate it's harder to keep a higher price so that's one way did it my first wedding of that month than its book and then another wedding comes and that you can feel a little bit confidence you can not you know you don't have to feel like you have to lower your price every single time and if it's a third wedding in that month no, and, you know that's what the prices it's right there, and then all of a sudden, as you start doing that, you start gaining confidence in that price and that's sometimes all you need in order for you to stay at that price. So one rule was, and I think bambi told me this a long time ago when I took her workshop way, way, way long time ago, she said, when I booked my highest package twice, I raised it hey, yeah, that's a good concept of doing that, and so once you feel like you've booked your highest packaged and you've done it, then you feel confident hiring at that price. And so now alex situation comes where everybody's booking the highest package, then you've got to make new packages because they want to actually pay more. I remember what taught me a great lesson was very well, I might have been two years into my career, and I got this call from somebody just this home, man, I'm getting married, but I'm getting and married in like, three months. Can I meet with you and I go oh, wow, this is a rush they haven't planned this wedding it's like, okay, I'll meet with them, I got that date open she came with her and she came with her parents and they went through the packages and she said oh wow this looks great good are you available on this date whatever yeah I saw it okay good as basically I wantto get great I want to book even into say then she was looking at my price list and what I had on there so I gave her the price list it ends up she ordered every single thing on my price list and so for just starting after two years it was like a seven thousand dollar wedding hit that point I realized there wasn't enough stuff on their priceless like made ten thousand dollars and that is the kind of theory that you have tohave is that they can't don't let yourself minimize what people want to pay you know they tell it out to be a very wealthy family they had a lot of money so seven thousand dollars wasn't anything to them but thinking me coming from a person who leave me ten thousand dollars a year I'm like uh okay right I I felt uncomfortable but keep that up make sure there's room in there to grow with your pricing use the es are closing technique so it right and then allows you to book at lower prices if you know how to close the deal then um you can make sure that you're going to get that dollar amount that you want anybody have any questions about that about, you know, raising your rates without shooting yourself in the foot because we get there that's a big issue, a feel the fear of raising rates and that's why we don't do it, but then that's the reason why a lot of times we're losing money and we're losing opportunity too way definitely have him out here. Sky and there's a there's a couple questions about the discounting for the early booking rebecca hutton says, how do you judge the line from giving the discounts occasionally and negotiating your price? Teo, stand up for your prices. Yes, that's. The thing is like in the beginning I was I was so easy, man, I was a lay down. You could have been anytime, anywhere. I was just going to give a tv because I needed to pay my bills. Okay, you're going to have me, you have me that's? Why stores through these clearance prices? Because they need to do their books or whatever they need to pay their employees and that's where I was on my very first one. And so it went according to that, and it also went according to a reading of my client, and this is actually another skill that is has nothing to do with photography is reading a person and I think I had a very good skill at learning how to read a person, whether or not they were buying into me or not buying into me and so it's a lot like fishing it. I love fishing it's that learn it's like how you position it to that fish. Some people are some fish are stupid, and they're just gonna bite it like that, and you take him all day long. But there's, other fish that needs finessing you've got it, let that ler go down a little bit deeper. You gotta pull it in a little bit slower, all that kind of stuff. Same thing with your client, man. Closing a deal is a freaking art form and that's why I loved it, so use your creativity. Also, in the way you close a deal, bring your artistic style, threw out your entire business, and it is just not in your art but it's in your business, too.