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Isn't it amazing how fast the end of year goes? We didn't have a lot of trick or treaters this year, but with 18 inches of snow, I guess that might have kept some of them away. Our daughter was on fall break, so we all stayed snuggly warm at home for two days, with no thoughts of going anywhere but outside to play - one of the benefits of working at home. The only good thing about snow in Denver is its almost all disappeared a week later, and we're back to the 70's again for the weekend.
I've been doing a lot of research online lately, and in the process found a great site I'd like to recommend. It's called Light Stalking, and it's filled with tutorials, case studies and articles on how to become better as a photographer. Check out Rob's site, and make sure you sign up for his newsletter - it's a great way to learn the secrets of taking better photographs.
Refine What You Say You Do
I've attended networking functions for years. There are all different types, and they can allow you to connect with many different types of people.
- The Chatting Hour - these functions have no real structure - just a venue that allows you to walk around and meet dozens of business owners.
- The Education Hour - these functions primarily are put together for you to learn. They have anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes of training, with open networking before and after.
- The Monthly Meeting - these functions meet every month on a regular basis, and have a core group of people that never changes. There are usually a few new faces every month, and you can quickly find people simply by asking a regular.
- The Referral Group - these are great groups for building relationships. I've belonged to a BNI group for years. We have a great core group that interacts every week, and a few new guests to connect with at each meeting.
If you don't attend any of these groups on a regular basis, you may be a little stuck on what to do when you visit one. How do you meet the right people? Is there any way to get business from these groups your first time out?
Before you attend, put together what is commonly referred to as your 30 second elevator speech. As a photographer, it's important to tell people exactly what you do and who you are looking for:
I'm a family portrait photographer. I take exclusive on location portraits of families in some of the best areas in town. I'm looking for families that are tired of the discount portrait studios, and are looking for a portrait that is unique to the family, and is an expression of what they enjoy doing together.
See how that sounds better than "I'm a family portrait photographer"? It's more descriptive, and it really makes the person you're talking with think about a good referral for you.
Once you have a great 30 second speech ready to go, it's also important that you listen just as much to others instead of trying to sell your own business. Can you help anyone else you meet? Would they be good power partners for you?
The reason you network is to build relationships, not gain immediate business. The immediate business is nice, but it's the relationship that will help you build your business over time.
Try out different groups. Be specific with your 30 second speech. And look for quality people you can build relationships with. With all of this in place, your business will take off in 2010!
3 Deadly Creatures That May Have Surfaced In Your Photography Business
Have you ever started out the week with a fresh outlook on your photography business:
- You have a goal list you're excited about.
- You have several clients and prospects you are meeting with.
- You are ready to finish several things in production.
Then Friday comes along. As you look back at your goals and to-do list, you're suddenly disappointed. The list is still half filled with things you never got to. And you now have things with higher priority, which means some of the things you were excited about just a week before now may never be completed.
Chances are you've had a deadly creature enter your business.
1. The Beacon
2. The Sucker
3. The Whiner
The Beacon starts out as a friend. Someone sends you an email, you read a book, or you visit a website that speaks directly to you. It's filled with great information, and you can see yourself following in the footsteps of what the author is talking about. You jump in with both feet, ready to follow.
The problem with the Beacon is it may seem like a guiding light, but the guiding light transforms and changes places all the time. It may show you one direction today, and a completely new direction tomorrow. It can be a significant time waster if you don't learn how to stop looking for the next beacon, and use one thoroughly to find your way to success first.
The Missing Ingredient To Your Photography Dreams
Last night we had dinner with some very dear friends. We met them over 15 years ago at a bridal expo, and have been friends ever since.
They've been in the photography industry for over 30 years now, and I have to say they are in love with it as much now as they were when we met them. They've changed direction along the way, and are doing things completely different even from a few short years ago. But sitting with them is a motivating experience. They love what they do.
They never run out of ideas. And they always reach their goals because of their passion.
So last night I started thinking about what separates photographers like them from other photographers. And I came up with five characteristics - or ingredients you have to have to find success in this business.
1. Dreams. The first ingredient is where everyone starts. It starts with your dream of doing something different and meaningful in your life. You can't accept what you already have. You have to dream of where you want to be. The more vivid your dreams, the easier you'll be able to make them a reality.
Will 2010 Be The Year You Make A Change?
"Never having to worry about losing your job."
"Never having to worry about your job when the kids get sick."
"Never spending a day doing something you hate."
Those are just a few of the comments I hear when I talk to photographers, and discover why they love being a full time photographer.
I became a photographer for all those reasons, and a whole lot more. I love being able to work when and where I choose. I love bringing in clients, and delighting them with my work. I love being in control over my own destiny.
If you are new to photography, or have been a part time photographer for years, isn't it time to make a change, and make 2010 your best year yet?
I'm so excited about my Photography For Success program - it really is the best tool available to help you build up your own business. Taken straight from our own business plans, and ready to help you build yours - get started today.
About Andrew and Lori
Andrew and Lori Osterberg are co-founders of VirtualPhotographyStudio.com
, a site dedicated to providing tips, resouces and advice for using your camera to build a successful photography business.
Through their coaching, workshops, training and products, Andrew and Lori show you how to break through the desire of wanting photography to be more than a hobby, and provide you with the how-to to actually accomplish it.
To begin experiencing Andrew and Lori's coaching, consider their highly successful Photography For Success, Freedom and 1ncome
If you liked today's issue, you'll love following Andrew and Lori through all of their high-content training products
, newsletter, and online posts. Their goal is to provide you with all you need to help you live the life others only dream of.