What Will Be Your Biggest Regret?

When people look back over their lives, no one will ever tell you they regret trying something new. Even if it doesn’t work out quite the way they anticipated, they still learned and grew from the experience.

Yet the number one thing everyone regrets are the things they didn’t do.

“I remember a time I had this experience in front of me and I chose not to move forward. That’s my biggest regret.”

Starting a business is difficult at best. In fact it can be so difficult and overwhelming it’s easy to shut down and decide not to move forward with your plans.

Yet what do you have to lose?What Will Be Your Biggest Regret

Take this opportunity to …

Take your first step. Nothing feels better than doing something concrete that moves you one step closer to your goal.

Move out of your comfort zone. People hold back because they like familiarity instead of something new. In small business, every day presents something new. Get used to feeling uncomfortable … and learn from it so you can take your next big step.

Educate yourself. The only way to keep moving forward in big ways is to learn all the time. Mistakes help you grow. New ideas help you move forward.

Never forget yourself. Your happiness is key to all others around you. You can easily control the mood of those around you – build on your own happiness and watch all others follow suit.

Practice. The great thing about photography is there is always room for improvement. Just because you know how to use a camera, doesn’t mean you understand a new lens. Once you have a concept down, there are always other things to learn. Choose new concepts all the time and perfect them in your mind before you move on to the next idea.

Eliminate the negative. Years ago I learned a secret … eliminate the negativity in your life and you’ll automatically be happier. Talk with a person that leaves the news on all day long. Now talk with a person that doesn’t own a television. Big difference. By making simple changes – eliminating negative news sources in your life – you’ll automatically see a difference in your outlook.

Let go of what doesn’t work to make room for what does. With only 24 hours in a day, you’ll have to leave something behind in order to have the time to put a new photography business into your life. What doesn’t work any more? What could you happily eliminate and never miss it again?

It’s the only way to move forward. And think of it this way.

20 years from now, will that be your biggest regret? What can you do to change that today?

Are You Going to Ruin 2013 Too?

As I spoke with one of my coaching clients, I flat out asked her something that very few people would ever do.

“Are you going to ruin 2013 too?”

2012 had been a difficult year for this client. She charted the last five years of her business. Up, up, up, down, WAAYYYY down. In fact she was so far down, she wondered what 2013 would bring.

“Should I quit and get a job?”

“Is there even a hope for photographers anymore?”

In short, she was having a pity party.

Are You Going to Ruin 2013 TooSo we started talking about the obstacles in her way. I grabbed a pen and paper and asked her to tell me about all the marketing methods she tried in 2012. What specials did you run? Where did you advertise? How many connections did you make with your previous customer base?

And she sat there with very little to say. “Ummmm…”

And pretty soon you could hear her crashing into her “a-ha” moment. She saw the light and began to see where she went wrong.

Five years ago things were doing well. She was making a lot and enjoying her business and her life. She marketed her business in a variety of ways.

Three years ago, things were still doing well. She went on a few vacations and stopped a couple of her marketing methods. She closed down one of her “specials” because she was out of the country. Things began to fall.

Two years ago, she dropped a few more marketing methods and specials.

Then with her lack of funds, she dropped out of a few more last year. Life happens. Things change. And she didn’t change with it. She let life happen to her.

Now everything was crashing in around her. The past three months have been “sweat time” – maybe you’ve experienced it too – the feeling of sweating it out hoping a large enough order comes in by the end of the month in order for you to pay your bills.

“Stop.”

I stopped her in her tracks and started turning her focus to 2013 and all of its potential.

“When was the last time you spoke to your best clients?”

“Back in October, I found out one of my best clients was pregnant again and her baby was due the first of the year. But I heard this from a friend of a friend. I’ve done her first two kids, so I was hoping she’d call me for this one too.”

And there was her first problem.

Instead of calling and touching base with this client – a great client from the past – she put the potential on the client.

She put her sales strategy on a busy mother-to-be of three!

“Nope, not going to work,” I said. “You’re not going to ruin her 2013. Instead, you’re going to connect with her today and make sure she hasn’t missed the greatest opportunity of her life. She has newborn portraits of her first and second child, imagine how she will feel the rest of her life if she misses out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience with baby number three.”

And we created a plan. A phone call. A card. A visit. A gift. We brainstormed all kinds of ways she could connect on a personal level with this very important client.

And once we got the ball rolling, the ideas started flying.

We quickly had a plan for all of her other clients she’d “lost” in the previous year.

We created several new promotions to take place in the first half of 2013.

We jumpstarted her 2013 marketing plan so much, she spent the next 24 hours busy at it, connecting in ways she hadn’t done in months.

And it worked.

In less than a week, she had great ideas and a new zest for her business.

What about you?

Are you going to ruin your 2013?

Or are you going to do something about it.

Choice is yours. You can do it. But it’s all up to you.

——

Have questions of your own? Ready for one-to-one advice that can put you back on track for 2013? You may be ready for my personal coaching sessions. With one-to-one coaching, its all about you. You decide where you need help. Together we put you back on track to improve your chances of success in 2013 … and beyond.

Creating a 12 Month Marketing Calendar

This post is Day 13 of 30 Ways In 30 Days To Redesign Your Life With Photography. This series seeks to provide you with practical steps to get you from wherever you are today, to exactly where you want to be – this year! If your goal has always been to take your photography to a whole new level, hang on and start enjoying a new lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

In Day 12 of this series, we talked about finding different types of promotions to use during the year to promote your photography.  Special promotions allow you to find new clientele in a out of the ordinary way. But special promotions are designed to be above and beyond your normal marketing. They are designed to work in conjunction with your normal marketing routine.

On Wikipedia, one of the definitions for marketing is:

the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising

I like that definition because it stresses two things.

1. The word action. Marketing isn’t about creating a few marketing materials and expecting clients to flow through your door. It’s about taking action. As long as you are in business, it takes work – action – to continually bring in new prospects, and convert them to paying customers.

2. It separates out the concepts of market research and advertising. In order to market your products and services, you have to know who your market is. It’s not “every female between the ages of 18 and 80”. The more you define it, the better you will be at marketing. And only when you know whom your market is can you reach out with various types of advertising – free or fee based – and reach them effectively.

Once you have these two pieces down, then its time to create a plan.

Start With A Plan

Think of your marketing plan as your guide to success. It’s what will guide you along month after month, dictating what should be done, and more importantly, what shouldn’t.

With a plan in place, you’ll have the foundation laid down for what you want to accomplish. You’ll quickly know if something fits into your plan and what doesn’t.

You already have a budget in place from Day 9. So you know how much funding you have to work with each month.

You already have your special events lined up from Day 12. How can you accomplish tasks every month that fit within your budget, and help you accomplish your special event goals?

And now you need to know how to market your business overall day after day, month after month, to bring in a steady flow of customers that meet your basic requirements. These aren’t the people that will find you through your special events. These are the people that love what you do, and hire you based on your standard packages and offerings.

Continuity

The key to any good marketing plan is continuity. Just because you are tired or bored with something doesn’t mean your clients and prospects are. They may just be recognizing you, just have you on their radar, and if you pull your marketing, you’ll disappear forever.

If you are just starting out in a photography business, choose a few forms of marketing, then dedicate the time to stick with it.

Grow on Facebook

  • Post twice per day
  • Add two friends per day
  • Build one connection to my page per day

Grow with a Blog

  • Blog once per day
  • Comment on one other blog per day
  • Grow with a Networking Group

Join BNI

  • Attend every weekly meeting
  • Join a committee
  • Do one 1 to 1 every week

That’s your base plan. Take your calendar, and add these tasks to your work schedule.

Then add in your special events that you planned from Day 12. If you have three events, circle the three dates in red on your calendar. Then work backwards with tasks to complete before the big day. Add dates for meetings, planning sessions, design days for brochures or other marketing materials, and days for shopping for props or other necessities.

And there you have it – a complete 12 month marketing plan, ready to put to work to help you grow your business.

What’s Possible?

Marketing tools and advertising methods can take on any shape or form. I have a list here on this site – 25 Ways To Get Clients – to provide you with some out of the box ideas. Or read through the hundreds of posts I have on this site, and you’ll undoubtedly pick up many more ideas. Or head to Google and do a quick search. You’ll quickly receive hundreds of different methods to advertise your business.

Don’t be overwhelmed by ideas. You don’t have to try everything you read about. Instead, choose your favorite strategies, strategies that you can do over and over again, can easily afford, and can dedicate to your monthly marketing plan.

It isn’t what you choose; it’s how you put it into action. Even a bad plan acted upon day in and day out can achieve great results because it has follow through.

While I’ve listed out a few methods here, its important that you select ideas you can personally commit to and are willing to do every day, week and month from here on out. Don’t be sidetracked by the “latest and greatest” idea. Stick with your personal choices, and make them work for you.

Rinse and Repeat

At the end of the year, sit down with your calendar and decide what worked and what didn’t.

If a special event didn’t work, change it out and try something else. It may not be the event itself – maybe it’s the way you promoted it. Take what you learned from the year, and build a new plan around it.

Never stop your daily marketing methods cold. Instead, phase in an additional task, and fade out an old one.