If you are operating a photography business, you are in competition with thousands of other photographers all vying for your prospects attention.
When it comes to photographing, many have a natural eye for creating amazing art.
But when it comes to running a business, most of them don’t have a clue as to what they are doing. The same problems come up again and again, keeping them away from doing the one thing they want most of all – finding success.
So how about you? Do you commit one of these deadly sins with your own business?
Have you ever said something like:
“I don’t have the time for this.”
“Will this work immediately?”
“This sounds like a lot of work.”
You know what is a lot of work? Getting up every morning for work, spending time getting ready, a long commute it to the office, working your 8 hour day, plus breaks, plus overtime, a long commute home, then settling in for the night. Easily 10+ hours every single day – gone with nothing to show for it but a paycheck. And if pink slips come around next month, you can only keep your fingers crossed you won’t make the list.
By contrast, operating your own business is a lot of fun. You make your own hours, you create your own schedule, you do your own thing. You are in control.
Will there still be work? Yes. But the type of work will be much more satisfying.
Every photographer in the world has been frustrated at the beginning of their journey. You have all of this energy, all of this passion, just bursting and ready to come out. You want so much for things to happen. So you wait. And wait.
It takes time to build an audience. They don’t come overnight. You must build slowly. One turns into two. Two turns into three. And so on.
Yet if you build today for where you want to be five years from now, you’ll see the picture clearly. You may struggle today, but that allows you to see things a bit more clearly and try something new. Don’t think of it as “why can’t it start today”? Instead, think of it as “this will help me for tomorrow”.
Your clients have one thought – themselves.
They don’t care how much time it took to put your portfolio together, or how you’ve priced your packages. They don’t care about your profits, or how long you struggled to build your business.
Businesses that fail quickly put the focus on the wrong thing – themselves. They try for the quick bucks, and try to gain as much profit from each client, no matter what the cost.
Businesses that succeed realize their clients are the only things that matter, and work to satisfy them no matter what. They set everything up – customer service, products, services, marketing – to give a client exactly what they want and keep them happy throughout the process.
The problem with cookie cutter templates is they begin to look all the same. Sure, they may be successful for the company selling the cookie cutters, but do little for you as a company.
The reason I bring that up is any time you have a huge niche like photography, businesses start up to offer services at a reduced cost, yet with user friendly and easy to implement technology. Want a website? Sign up, grab a template, plugin your images and a little content, and you’ll have a great site to attract new customers.
The problem with the “cookie cutter” concept is they all start to look alike. Your client sees one site and loves the images. Then they visit your competitor and see virtually the same material – only the images change ever so slightly. Then the visit another. And another. Soon they are so confused they hire one because they simply don’t know what else to do.
Yet if you find a unique message, a unique way of showcasing what you do, and get your message across in a way that says “wow”, people will have a reason to come to you and refer you again and again.
That’s okay. That’s a great place to start. Study under them. Follow what they do. Attend their classes. Network with them. Learn all you can from them.
Then head in your own direction. Find your own inspiration from what they do and turn it into your own identity. Look closely at who is following you and how you can inspire them even more.
Some things will naturally attract an audience. Some things won’t. If you consistently try to sell things your way, you’ll lose. But if you infuse your personality into everything you do, and find people that match up with your thought process, you’ll develop a consistency that people love – and people follow.
Again, the key is its never about you. You may have a brand new concept for photography, but it no one gets it, you’ll never sell it. Its better to take your ideas and mesh them into things people want and will pay for.
7. Boorish Behavior
Have you ever sat through a sales presentation where you knew within the first couple of minutes you would never buy from this person, yet they wouldn’t stop talking? Everything was about “them” – they have the best product/service, they are the best salesperson, they know what’s right for everyone around them. And so on.
They never notice your uncomfortable movements or your wish to escape as soon as possible. Yep, the world revolves around them.
Don’t do it.
They say you have two ears and one mouth for a reason – use them appropriately. If you aren’t asking twice as many questions as you are providing statements, and sitting back and letting your client do the talking, you are missing out on a great way to build rapport with your clients.