3 Things You Can Learn From 300 Year Old Men

Fourth of July. Here in America, it’s a time of reflecting back to what life was like when America was first “discovered”, how an entire new world was put together, and how those concepts still apply today to not just use here, but to people all over the world as well.3 Things You Can Learn From 300 Year Old Men

I love reading pretty much any genre I can get my hands on. At any given time I’ll have a half dozen books or so started and in some location in my home. And occasionally I’ll pick up a biography – I love learning from people that have failed miserably and achieved high levels of success because of it. Who better to learn from?

Today I thought I’d reflect back on a few things our founding fathers did, and how their concepts still ring true today. You can definitely learn a lot just be “seeing” how they handled their own situations at very different times.

George Washington

George Washington owned one of the largest plantations in the nation. He produced wheat, rye and barley. While he was doing very well with his commodities business, being a good business owner, he was always on the lookout for other opportunities. He decided to capitalize on his resources by furthering his potential with his grain stock. He tasked his slaves to build him a stone mill to produce flour to sell throughout Europe and the West Indies. With that task in process, he began to worry that his slaves were too lazy – a common worry back then. So he soon tasked his slave managers to build a distillery right next to the mill – a perfect way to keep an eye on the mill next door. This distillery opened as the largest in the US, and produced more than 1,000 gallons of whiskey.

Take Away For Photogs:

George Washington was always looking for opportunity. When something worked well within his “empire”, he looked for ways to capitalize on it. As photographers, we need to do the same thing. Instead of looking at all the potential you have, focus in on one thing. Then do it well – better than anyone else. Find a way to capitalize on it as much as you can. Once that is running efficiently, determine what you can start or create to take your business to a whole new level. A wedding photographer may be making six figure a year, and be very efficient in their business model. Then they decide to start a wedding album app business to display albums on tablets – an idea they can sell to wedding photographers all over the world.

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin was a spirited man, always finding a friend that would believe in his idea. At the age of 21, he had an idea to build a newspaper. So he purchased on in Philadelphia and hired apprentices to begin printing a variety of articles and funny stories about the community. He also turned towards the local businesses, and began offering a variety of things for them as well, including brochures for their own marketing purposes, and classified ads and advertisements within his newspaper. He became very wealthy and retired at age 42, all because he worked together with everyone in his community.

Take Away For Photogs:

Small business works the same way today. Go it alone and it will be a hard, long road. Work with those around you and you’ll quickly shine in your community. One of the greatest things today is your community can be anywhere in the world, thanks to the Internet. You can join forums, social sites and portals, becoming an expert on whatever subject you choose. You can work with businesses in your local community and put on local events for your friends and neighbors. The sky is the limit – if you aren’t reaching out to other business owners and developing events together, you’re missing out on one of the biggest marketing “secrets” ever.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was like many of the founding fathers, and owned a successful plantation. In order to make it more profitable, he started a nailery, which broke down pieces of iron and turned them into small nails. Nails were hard to come by in those days, so his little packets of nails were very popular. Because he saw opportunity, he invested in a nail making machine, which helped him increase his volume. He operated it until his death.

Take Away For Photogs:

Within your business, there are things that will rise to the top and become more popular. Look for these things; then look for ways to increase the efficiency. Can you hire others to take on part of the responsibility? Can you find ways to bring it to a new market?

7 Secret Marketing Strategies Top Photographers Use … And You Already Know How To Use Them

Many small business owners have trouble with marketing. They think its difficult, an acquired skill that takes years to learn.

In reality, marketing is something you have to work at for the life of your business. Yet it isn’t difficult to learn or do. You just have to realize it is a part of your business and you have to do it. Many of the things that will help you be most successful you already know. See how many things you are already doing.

1. Understand, know and love what you are selling.

Sounds easy enough; yet in reality many people create packages they aren’t really sure about. If you don’t have faith in what you are selling and know it inside and out, you’ll never be able to sell it to a prospect. And they really want to buy!

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. And you don’t have to create complex messages. In fact, the simpler the better. If you aren’t sure if your packages are simple enough, explain them to a family member or friend that doesn’t spend a lot of time in your business. Can you explain it in a few sentences and have them get it? If not, go back to the drawing board and rewrite your content. You should be able to quickly describe what you do, what you have to offer, and have them wanting more information.

2. Have your information in a variety of ways.

If you’ve ever told someone what you do, what is the next question they usually ask for if they are interested? They ask for more information. People are skeptical by nature. They don’t hear a few sentences and immediately buy, especially if it’s a larger ticket item. In order to appease their instincts and help them determine if they can indeed trust you, they ask for more information to prove in their minds that you are legitimate. While you don’t have to have volumes of content, you do have to have your content in a variety of ways. Your website is the easiest, especially if its in blog format, because you can add a ton of content to it any time you choose. You can also have postcards, brochures, videos, and a variety of social profiles. Make sure they all say the same things and frame your business in the same way. They should be able to move from one place to another, improving your image in their minds. [Read more…]

How To Market Like A BIG Photo Studio, Even When You’re Not

What if you could advertise in big magazines, like Elle? Or have your photography be sold out of big box chains like Sam’s Club? And what if you were the only one in your area that would benefit from this form of marketing. Would you be interested?

Click Connection Corporation is a new concept making its way into the U.S. after succeeding to the tune of millions throughout the U.K.

click connection

And the idea is simple. Join and become a member of one of two Click Connection formats:
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7 New Years Resolutions You Should Make and Keep as a Photographer

So do you have your New Year’s resolutions list handy? Are you sticking to them – or have you broken them already?

For me 2010 is going to be all about focus. So as a way of passing my “focus” intentions along to you, here is a list of 7 New Years resolutions you should make a photographer – and keep the whole year through.

1. Become the best photographer possible.
How does your photography stand out from the competition? When people look at it, do they say “WOW”? If not, get practicing. Attend a class. Give yourself assignments. Find websites from 10 photographers online whose photography you admire. Use them as inspiration, and head out for practice sessions to see if you can shoot similarly. (Notice I’m not saying copy – use it as inspiration to develop your own style.)

New Years Resolutions for Photographers

2. Become better at technology.
Like it or not, technology is here to stay. And technology is going to be a strong part of what separates professionals from amateurs. Anyone can pick up a point-and-shoot and take a fairly decent image. That’s why so many photographers are struggling; if a client can’t see the difference between your work and theirs, why should they pay a high price? But if you use technology to make your photographs go from okay to WOW, they’re going to know you are a professional. And be willing to pay for it too. If you need to brush up your skills on Photoshop, I highly recommend Lynda.
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One Great Idea – Meet Brian Kliewer

If you follow me on Twitter, chances are you saw this come through as a re-tweet a couple of days ago. I was so impressed with this idea, I decided to include it in my One Great Idea area to share it with everyone, whether you are on Twitter or not.

To read the whole story, you can start here by reading Clint Watson’s blog.

Let me just sum it up for you, and then give you my take.

Brian Kliewer is not a photographer. But he used a great idea that could easily be implemented by any photographer in business today.

He’s a fine art painter. He has a small website where his clients can go and view his work, and purchase his paintings. He started this campaign with a small email list of 84 people.

Nothing big. Nothing fancy.

Yet he followed in the footsteps of a mentor, and came up with a great idea called “100 paintings in 100 days for $100 each”.

brian kliewer

Brian didn’t start out with the paintings in hand. He created the idea, then spent every day painting, photographing it, putting it up online, and hopefully selling it.

How well did he do?

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The Pendulum Swing Of Photography

Think of how a pendulum works. It slowly swings back and forth. From one side to the next. It never stops, just swings from one point to the next, and always returns.

Business works in much the same manner. At some point you’ll have the best of times, with money flowing freely. And at some point you’ll have the worst of times, with financial crisis looming in the horizon. pendulum

Now let’s talk photography. At some point the photography industry is at the top of the heap, allowing photographers to charge whatever they want, making huge sums of money. And at some point photographers flood the marketplace, only being able to barely hang on.

I’ve seen them both. We were at the top of the heap during the 90’s, easily bringing in 5 figures per wedding client. It came easily. Friends referred friends, and every wedding we could make what some photographers are currently making in one year.

So will the pendulum ever swing back to the good times? You bet. And the clear winners will be:

1. The photographer who takes photography seriously, and becomes the best photographer she can.

2. The photographer that concerns herself with the business as well as the photography. If you can survive hard times, the good times will be easy.

3. The photographer that dotes on customer service. No matter what the economy, she gives her clients 110%.

4. The photographer that continues to mentor under the best in the business. If you’re not busy, take the time to study and become better.

5. The photographer that creates a marketing plan and sticks with it. The company that keeps marketing through thick and thin truly understands the power of marketing.

6. The photographer that comes up with something new – a new twist – and finds the clients willing to buy it.

7. The photographer that isn’t out for the quick buck, and caves into “what everyone else is doing”. The biggest statement I hear from photographers on why they charge one low fee and hand over the digital files – “everyone else is doing it”. That’s not how to get to the top. The way to the top is to give what no one else is giving.

8. The photographer that stays active in the community.

I know there are a ton more ideas – what are some of yours?

image source dougieladd