Zoë Morley is a very talented photographer who uses her creativity for worthy causes. I wanted to get her on the show to talk about the challenges that she’s faced in fundraising her charity projects and how she overcame them.
This topic has been on my mind recently, especially with the bushfires in Australia; a community has come together and brought their skill sets to help people who are less fortunate than them and if you’re just seeing the finished product on social media, the process can seem easy. But so much hard work goes into these projects and I think it’s important to look behind the curtain to see exactly what it takes to run a successful campaign.
Zoë is a Sydney-based photographer who has been shooting weddings for seven years. She made her break in a pretty funny way. She worked as a flight attendant but had a background in photography and so to shortcut all of the grunt work of being a second shooter, etc. before she could start booking weddings on her own, Zoë put on a big fake wedding with her cousin (who’s a model), got a wedding dress from Grace Loves Lace, invited all of her friends and used the photos for her portfolio, which helped her book her first year of weddings. The really funny part is, she’d never even been to a wedding before (just like me…).
Zoë used the portfolio to get 20 bookings in her first year but it wasn’t through social media – she used Google AdWords. Not many photographers know how to use this, so understanding power of Google Ads can be a gamechanger. This is something I teach my workshop students – everyone else will be competing on Instagram but if you know how to use AdWords, you can fill up your year pretty easily.
Zoë also focuses way more on running her business than racking up Instagram likes. She’s more interested in caring for her clients, packaging, getting her name out there and optimising referrals, keywords and online bookings from Google.
Zoë was born in South Africa and always wanted to give back to that community. When she was 19, she spent three months volunteering at an orphanage called Nonjabolu that cares for the children who have been abandoned because of HIV/AIDs. She had her first film camera with her and took photos of the kids; when she got back home, she raised support to put on an exhibition to raise funds for the orphanage. She managed to get a big review on the front page of the Arts section of the Sydney Morning Herald which boosted awareness and she ended up raising $20K for the orphanage.
Ten years later, she thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool to revisit that project’? She wanted to photograph the kids who were now teens and young adults and see how their lives had progressed.
Zoë ran a Kickstarter campaign and only expected to cover flights and accommodation but ended up raising $11K, which paid for travel and putting on the exhibition. But there were so many unforeseeable challenges in actually getting back out to South Africa and finding these kids, all of which she goes into on the podcast. She’s really open and honest in our conversation and she talks about how she suffers from anxiety and self-doubt. It didn’t matter how many people were telling her that her work was great, she still lacked confidence and doubted the quality of the images that she took.
Even though her photos were accepted in the Head On Photo Festival – a life dream of hers – as you’ll hear on the podcast, the pressure that she put on herself took a big toll on her mental health. She lost half a year’s worth of income, as she didn’t shoot weddings and outsource her editing and got so stressed that it affected both her mental and her physical wellbeing.
South African-born Australian businesswoman Gail Kelly opened the show and although Zoë had expected a maximum of 100 guests, on the night over 200 people showed up. Everyone was really supportive, she sold lots of books and prints and ended up raising $32K.
This money was used to change people’s lives. She split the money between the orphanage Rehoboth, an AIDS hospice and a crèche, all of which are in desperate need of funding.
Even though the night was a big success, Zoë found it hard to acknowledge this and still doubted her work. It shows that creatives are often self-critical and can we can be our own worst enmeies.
I asked Zoë what she would do differently and she had three pieces of advice for anyone planning to run a fundraiser:
I was really honoured that Zoë shared her story with me and gave us all an insight into the hard work that goes into a project like this. You can check out the photos at Nonjabolu and follow her on Instagram.
And I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has left reviews on this podcast – it’s so amazing to read your feedback and hear what you’re getting value from these episodes. Please be sure to tag me at JaiLong.co if you share the podcast on Insta and I can join in the conversation.
One more thing – my Posing & Lighting course is out now and it’s the biggest project I’ve ever worked on! I’m so excited to share it with you guys and I can’t wait to hear your feedback.
Cheers guys, see you next episode 🙂
I’ve got live workshops coming up in New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and Sydney – there are still tickets left and I’d love to meet you in person and help take your business to the next level.
This episode is brought to you by the guys over at PepperStorm, an awesome copywriting team who I have used across all my businesses for years. If you need some killer copywriting, get in touch and use the code: MAKEYOURBREAK to get $100USD off when you buy one of their packages.
I’m going to continue the second part of this two-parter by talking about why it’s important to write your own story. I’ve already told you about my childhood story and now I’m going to tell you about my business story and how I’m still learning from everything I’ve been through to write my own story every day.
It’s easy to see people who have success and assume that they’ve had it come easy. It’s also easy to create excuses for ourselves and assume that someone is succeeding because they have money, or an education, or don’t have kids… But comparing yourself to others is toxic because you simply don’t know what they’ve been through. Instead, use this good energy to focus on building your own business.
Last time I told you about how my cafe business had failed and I was totally out of cash. I didn’t want my failed business to not become part of my identity. At the time we were going through a minerals boom in Australia, so I jumped on an opportunity and moved up to the mines in Queensland.
It felt like a prison and my bedroom was like a jail cell. The gym had barbed wire around it and the weights were old and rusty. I spent 12 months there working as an electrician before moving to the mines near Perth, which was the most challenging job I’ve ever had. I was attacked physically and mentally. I met someone who had no good in their heart. There was even a murder.
My workmates spent all afternoon in the pub and I didn’t really want to spend my time drinking. I thought that as I’m in such a beautiful part of the country, I wanted to learn photography.
I jumped on eBay and bought a Canon 5D with a fish-eye lens. My flatmate also bought a camera and we’d drive down to the ocean and take photos of the sunset and beautiful landscape.
I put together a blog called Free The Bird and posted my images on there and wrote a few captions about what I liked about the photos. The blog was perfect because I also want to practice writing and being able to tell a story. Just those few captions on each photo were game-changing. Through the blog and Instagram, I could share my art with people who knew me.
I came back home and it was like returning from prison. I had to reintegrate myself into society. I got myself a normal job as an electrician, worked up the ladder and was given my own job site. The only catch was that Leelou and I had to move to Melbourne but this opportunity was worth it. I could be my only boss, run a team and have my own life at the same time. I really felt like I’d made it and was proud of the work that I was doing. But I knew it wasn’t going to last forever, so I needed to take advantage of the situation to build for my future
I needed to learn about money and understand why do some people struggle others have so much. I contacted a financial planner and studied the mindset of wealthy people. I grew up around people with a scarcity mindset and now I was surrounded by people with an abundance mindset. This was another life lesson to add to confidence is key – there is abundance.
I wanted to put what I’d learned into practice, so I took my $100K savings to the bank who then loaned me a million dollars. Just stop for a second and think of how weird it was for someone with my upbringing looking at their bank account and seeing a million bucks. I used the money to buy two houses in Melbourne and I still have them today.
Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t want to swap my time for money. I’m always looking for ways to build wealth without having to spend a lot of time doing it. So now I had some houses, I figured I didn’t need my job and decided to become a full-time photographer. I liked taking pictures of people and I wanted creative control, so I reckoned wedding photography was right for me. The weirdest and funniest thing about this is that up until that point I’d never even been to a wedding, other than my parents’ which was held in the front room of my house.
I set myself goals for the next year:
This was ambitious even for me, so I hustled as I’ve never hustled before. I knew I had to go to the US as wedding season was over in Australia, so I put the word out on blogs and social media that I would shoot for free in return for a couch to sleep on and within a month I booked 8 weddings. Now I just needed to get myself there, so I sold my car to pay for me and Leeloou to head to America.
The weddings were fantastic but I knew I needed more content for my site, so in between weddings we would raid thrift stores for wedding dresses and I’d do a photoshoot with Leelou in awesome locations like Joshua Tree.
We had a lot of adventures and we were so low on money but I saw it as an investment in our future. Another life lesson that I learned was that you don’t get opportunities like this by playing it safe.
When I got back I was published in Junebug Weddings and Hello May magazine, so I was now an international wedding photographer and published photographer. Oh yeah, and I can now shoot in manual mode all day long…
Just 18 months after I started my business, I launched my first workshop. I taught the business and my friend Ryan Muirhead flew over to teach photography. It took a huge amount and of time and energy and in the end, I think I was about $5K out of pocket. Some people might see this as a failure but I saw it as an investment, as the ticket for my education. And it worked.
It skyrocketed my career. I was asked to talk at the biggest conferences, be a guest speaker at other workshops and it really put my business on the map.
In two years I had shot 60 weddings in 4 different countries, held a workshop, was named one of the 30 rising stars of wedding photography by New York Magazine Rangefinder, was Caption magazine’s runner-up photographer of the year and was published in all my favourite wedding magazines.
It might sound like I’m bragging, but I’m telling you this to inspire any creative entrepreneurs and show you that making it is possible.
And believe me, I got hate mail.
People thought it was coming so easily to me. My peers blamed me for their lack of success and one US professor of photography even sent me a 10-page email critiquing my pictures. He was actually 100% right and I learned so much from him – I’m sure that’s not the result he wanted but it proved to me that if you have confidence in yourself then no one can shake you.
People will get upset if you fail or succeed. Just do it for you and you will be an unstoppable force
And it’s not all easy. I’m still fighting every day to continue this life I’ve built. Leelou and I currently live in a tiny house with no TV. I make good money but I invest it back into my projects, just like this podcast. I get up on stage at workshops and I’m still really scared but I know I have to be out of my comfort zone in order to keep growing.
I want to finish up by talking about my new business, jailong.co, which is focused on teaching business to creative entrepreneurs. It blows my mind that I can just think of a fun project and make it happen and that even thoughI’ve grown up, I still get to be a kid and play on the projects that I want to do. I make decisions not out of fear, but from knowing that I have the power to change my life, to do more, be more and love more.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Thanks for taking the time to listen to my stories – if it can help just one person then I know I’ll have succeeded.
Find me on Insta, and if you want to share this podcast then be sure to tag me in.
Cheers guys, catch you next time!
Hey guys, this is the first episode of a two-parter in which I want to share some super personal stories with you and talk about how they’ve shaped me into the person I am today.
First up, I just want to tell you that I have loved every part of my life, even the hard times – I learned from every mistake and wouldn’t change a thing. More importantly, I’ve never felt hard done by and I certainly don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. These stories are how I remember them from my perspective – I don’t want members of my family to feel as if I’m calling them out; my only aim in sharing these stories is to inspire those who might be in a hard place and show you that you’re not alone and that no matter what you’re going through you will get through it and have the opportunity to make yourselves – and the world – a better place.
OK, let’s start!
People often tell me that they reckon I’m the luckiest person in the world. Thinking back over my life, I’m not sure if any of my success is down to luck but more that I jump at opportunities when they present themselves…and sometimes I even create those opportunities myself. And this started at a very young age…
What got me thinking about this was that I’m trying to buy a house in the little town that I live and it made me remember my own childhood homes (or lack of them) and how stuff you pick up from your parents kind of sticks with you, no matter how different your life may be from theirs.
It wasn’t a traditional or easy upbringing but I loved every moment of it. As you’ll learn from the podcast, from the moment I was born there was always drama. For the first seven years of my life, we lived on the streets and slept in our car, driving from town to town and sharing tents and friends’ houses. Some people might be horrified at this but it meant that we could do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Appreciating the value of freedom is something that I carry to this day.
However, this nomadic existence meant that I didn’t get a lot of schooling other than a few months here and there and a bit of home education. So when we finally settled in one place, I attended my first proper school. And I loved it. But I’d still feel ashamed of the fact that I couldn’t bring my mates over to play at my house because, well, I didn’t have one. Eventually, we made up the long, long list for a goverment house and I understood the value of having a place that I could call my own.
Unfortunately, the house didn’t fix all of the problems at home. When my parents would argue and fight – sometimes really vicious, physical fights – more often than not it would be over money. This imprinted on me and I just thought that if I could make enough money then everything would be better. Of course, I see now that money can’t fix everything but it did teach me about the importance of having enough money to provide for yourself and those around you.
Even though I was only about 12 years old, I wanted to provide for my family. I managed to get a job picking weeds for a local guy who – after seeing that I wasn’t the type to take ‘no’ for an answer – employed me to wash dishes at his golf course restaurant. This was one of the toughest jobs that I’ve ever had (and not just because I had to cycle to and from it every night in the dark!) but it taught me that I could take action to improve my life and that of my parents’ through earning money.
Jump to the age of 16 and I realised that school wasn’t helping my purpose. I knew I wasn’t going to get a higher education – it just wasn’t part of my story. So I borrowed my mum’s car (slightly illegally) and drove to a construction site and told the foreman that I was going to work for him. While I might have seemed sure of myself, I’ve got to tell you that my heart was pounding out of my chest! But the guy saw that I would work harder than anyone and offered me $15 an hour. $15!! Guys, at that point I was working for $5 an hour washing dishes. So yeah, I took him up on the job and even though I looked about 12, I rocked up to the site and worked alongside full-grown men, saving my cash so I could send my welfare cheque to my Mum.
For the first time in my life, I felt valued by an employer. This experience taught me that confidence is everything. No matter how you feel on the inside, if people see that you’re confident on the outside they will believe in you.
I knew that I needed an electricians’ license to progress in my career but without much schooling, I knew that I wasn’t going to get very far. However, with the help of people around me, my mates coaching me and a ridiculous amount of studying, I managed to pass the test. I love that I overcame that challenge through the sheer force of hard work.
But a much bigger challenge was ahead of me.
When I was just 20, my partner and I set up a cafe. We put EVERYTHING into this – I’m talking all of our time, effort, money – and (spoiler alert) we lost it all. I go into why we set up the cafe on the podcast but the main reason was to get my Dad (who was essentially unemployable) a job. Unfortunately, he died a week before we opened. As well as losing my father, I lost my purpose for running the cafe in the first place. We fought and fought, I got a second job, we lived in a car but still finally lost everything. And you know how I felt that day we closed the doors of the cafe, just a year after opening? It was the best day of my life.
Imagine the stress that a failed business puts on you and your relationship. Now imagine that weight being lifted as you lose everything. Watching the sunrise that morning, I felt so free. I felt like the luckiest person on the planet. (So maybe people have been right all along)
As hard as it was during that year, I learned how to serve clients, lead staff, manage money – basically, a whole business degree crammed into 12 months of on-the-job experience. So now when I’m facing challenges, I look back at my life and try and remember the knowledge I learned in previous difficult times and work out how to use it to overcome what’s in front of me.
The main thing I’m trying to say is that if you see an opportunity, why not go all-in? Why not risk losing everything because that’s the only way you’ll truly gain anything? What’s the point in life if you’re not living it?!
Thanks for listening, guys – join me next time where I dive into how I started my photography career, all the ups and downs of the last 10 years, and share more wild and exciting stories.
I love sharing these stories, so if you hear something that resonates with you then jump over to my Instagram and say hi!
My new online course ‘Posing & Lighting’ is available on the 10th of Feb.
My goals are always centred around growth – both personally and professionally. Because of this, I’ve wanted to have a business coach on the show for a while now. That’s I was really excited to get the chance to chat with Kaylene Langford from Startup Creative in Melbourne. She runs a successful coaching agency that reaches clients through her podcast, online courses, in-person workshops, and a print magazine. She’s all about getting people to start living their best lives, so I thought it’d be cool to get some inside info on coaching as well as have actually her do a little coaching for me during the podcast.
I’m a firm believer that the experiences you’ve had in the past help to shape your current position in life. Kay started out as a youth worker who developed programs to engage at-risk boys. The skills she learned when she first started out (like taking something that’s dry or boring and delivering it in a creative way that actually engages people) has become influential in her current career. She also realised through spending some time working in government that she needed to stick with a job that allowed her to be creative and to bust out of the nine-to-five mold. My own background has also had a strong influence on my life’s journey. I grew up with not a lot of money, getting handouts and vouchers in order to get by. I couldn’t read or write well until after high school. I had to be creative so that I could sort of fake it ’til I made it. Growing up like this taught me to take risks, since I’ve always had everything to gain and nothing to lose. I opened my first business at 20, was bankrupt at 21, and learned that money comes and goes, but I can always grow (which I’ve taken with me into my later business endeavours).
Fear can hold us back from so much in our lives – but especially from succeeding in the business world. Kay suggests trying to step back and observe your fear as if it was happiness and to remember that fear is just a moment in time. Although it’s uncomfortable and can activate physical sensations in our bodies, if you can try not to take it so seriously and to just observe it, you can actually master the feeling. Instead of going into a full fight-or-flight response every time you’re scared, you can ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen. Being detached from your fear and looking at it from an outside perspective can make us less attached to the outcome. You can go through ups and downs and not become completely destroyed by the lows, allowing you to stop your fear from holding you back.
A business coach is someone you pay for their time, their network, and their expertise. Through them, you can get help to make a plan that will allow you to achieve your career goals. To find the right coach for you, start with someone you vibe with or someone who inspires you. Do your research and jump on a phone call with potential coaches to see if they’re the right fit for you before you go deeper into the process. The right coach can help you build a business that’s an extension of yourself and can get you out of places in your career that feel stagnant and stale. An effective coach can also teach you some valuable shortcuts so that you’re only spending time on the parts of your business that you really want to develop. It might help to look at a business coach as an investment – these people can serve as educators that can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t in your career.
I’ve found that one of my main hang-ups is that I’m stuck in my past – like deep down I still feel like I’m just a person who came from an underprivileged background. Because of how I grew up, I often wonder if I’m limiting myself to what the people around me could achieve when I was younger. What if I can’t imagine a brighter future because it’s something that I haven’t seen? Kay offered me a solution – literally changing the way my brain works. As the saying goes, “Neural pathways that fire together, wire together.” Instead of getting stuck in familiar loops, we should actually determine what’s truly possible for ourselves. She suggests getting in a meditative state where your unconscious mind can imagine unlimited possibilities. If you can feel in your body what your dreams would elicit in you then the brain starts to make new neural pathways. This can allow you to dream bigger because you’ll have the vibrational energy inside you and you’ll then be able to start attracting those positive experiences.
One way you can do this is by doing a guided meditation every day. If this doesn’t appeal to you, Kay also recommends writing out what a day in the life of you would be like five years from now. You can allow yourself to fully dream that anything is possible. Write in the present tense with all of the emotions and feelings you can muster. Then every morning when you wake up, you can conjure up those feelings and fully imagine that life for yourself. The goal is to start putting out those vibrations so that your brain is pulled more towards achieving those dreams.
For some people, their goals might be about reaching more Instagram followers or on making their first million dollars. For me, it’s different. I want to make more money so that I can reach more people and give more people a better life. Kay reminded me that there’s a belief that if you can dream it, it’s already in your path. People lose sight of their true goals or they can fail with their current goals because of limiting beliefs they have. If you stay focused on your purpose, you can more easily achieve your goals. Ten years ago, there’s no way that I could have imagined where I am today – so I think if I keep visualising my goals and looking inwards for my purpose, I’ll be better able to unlock my own potential and get rid of whatever’s holding me back.
You can fully achieve your goals if you find a business coach that encourages you to pursue your true purpose. Look for a coach who is in the next level of where you want to go so that you can actually see someone achieving what you’re after. Dream big by making a list of these types of people, so you can use them for inspiration. If you want your dream badly enough, freedom exists for you to accomplish it. Kay’s company, Startup Creative, exists to free people from lives that no longer serve them. She and I both agree that it’s totally possible for everyone to create the life of their dreams.
For more inspiration, head to Kay’s Facebook or follow her on Instagram at @StartupCreative. Don’t forget to check out her podcast on iTunes or Spotify or head to her website for more information about her online courses and print magazine. You can also email her directly with questions at [email protected].
Tune in next time for a chance to listen to more amazing guests like Kay!
I’ve got live workshops coming up in New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and Sydney – there are still tickets left and I’d love to meet you in person and help take your business to the next level.
This episode is brought to you by the guys over at PepperStorm, an awesome copywriting team who I have used across all my businesses for years. If you need some killer copywriting, get in touch and use the code: MAKEYOURBREAK to get $100USD off when you buy one of their packages.
I know that ‘money’ can sometimes seem like a dirty word. It’s a topic that some people hate talking about – but it’s so important! That’s why I’m hoping I can offer some good takeaways that make it a little easier for you to understand. Unfortunately, we simply don’t get taught about money unless we take it upon ourselves to get educated. We spend so much time trying to optimise our lives (how we can be the most productive, get more Instagram followers, etc.), so why shouldn’t we optimise our relationship with money as well? I wanted this episode to help you do just that, so you can actually have your money work for you.
Everyone learns about financial issues in a different way. For me, I’ve had to sort of learn through experience. I grew up in a very low-income household in a poor socioeconomic neighbourhood. I know what it’s like to not have money, which has allowed me to have the mindset that I only have something to gain and nothing to lose. Growing up in poverty has also let me use my creative superpowers to brainstorm more unconventional ways to make money. When I was about 25, I was making a lot of money but I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t afford certain things. So, I decided to read every book about money that I could find and hired a financial adviser and an accountant. Bottom line: I learned how to use this advice along with basic common sense to build wealth.
My favourite phrase is, “Build wealth for your future self.” This means that all of the choices you make today can affect your future self, which means that the time to take control of your finances is right now. The present is also a good time to get started because we’re currently experiencing the biggest transfer of wealth in history (more billionaires than ever, boomers are giving way to millennials, wealth is being unlocked). Education can help you tap into that transfer and allow you to create wealth for yourself and for future generations to come.
You might have some money hang-ups that are holding you back from building your wealth. You might be self-sabotaging by thinking there’s some sort of honour in poverty or by having the mindset that money changes you in some way. That means you’re operating in a scarcity mindset, often ruled by resentment or fear. However, I’m a firm believer that you are actually selfish if you’re not trying to make money. The single biggest impact you can make on the world is to make money – to create jobs and opportunities for the people that work for you and for your family. Making money means you also have the power to make decisions on where your money goes (such as into ethical business decisions that might improve society or the planet). Once you have enough to spare, you can put your money into things that you truly believe in.
By focusing on what you have and what you want, you can create an abundance mindset (instead of a scarcity mindset). This means you believe there’s enough money to go around, which then leads to the power of attraction. You can ask the universe for what you want because it’s what you know you deserve. If you look around, every single thing you look at is a reflection of someone making money or generating income. This unlocks the idea that there’s always money to be made and opportunities out there for you to take advantage of – the possibilities of which are endless.
Once you’re in an abundance mindset, you can put your money to work. I put away 40% of everything I earn, I have no credit cards, and I have no backup plan. That means I have to constantly put my money to work. If I invest my money in a low-interest savings account, I’ll barely get any return on my money over time (especially accounting for inflation). However, if I invest in the stock market, I can take advantage of the power of compounding. Keep in mind: investing is all about having foresight; you can’t stress yourself about short-term gains. Look at the broader picture to see what will have value in the future. On the same note, evaluate opportunity costs and what return you’ll get. For example, when I started out as a wedding photographer, I was shooting with lenses that didn’t really work because I couldn’t afford the equipment. Instead of spending $500 on new lenses, I signed up for a workshop that cost me $2,000. While I spent more money initially, this workshop ended up making me tens of thousands of dollars over the next few years, so the opportunity cost was well worth it.
One key point I’d like to make is that you should always tip your scales so that your income is heavier than your expenses. People have a tendency to keep spending money as they’re earning it. We grow with how much money we make. However, this can become toxic. I recommend putting your profits first, then focusing on sales, and then expenses. Be sure that you’re making sales and you’re making enough money to pay off or lower your expenses. Within the sales arena, don’t sell yourself short. Always price your services according to what people are actually prepared to pay. By offering unnecessary discounts, you could end up creating a less than perfect experience for your client and getting underpaid in the process. I’d also like to note that knowing your worth doesn’t mean that you should feel bad about taking on other jobs or projects. There’s no shame in getting a second job, a side hustle, upselling your services or taking on more revenue streams. All of this generated income can go into growing your business and building your wealth.
Making direct changes with my money means that I’m generating an income that serves my clients and myself. I’m using my money to create opportunities and build a better world. If you have questions or thoughts about this topic, DM me for a chat on @jailong.co. Hopefully, this has made money a little more approachable for you!
I’ve got live workshops coming up in New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and Sydney – there are still tickets left and I’d love to meet you in person and help take your business to the next level.
This episode is brought to you by the guys over at PepperStorm, an awesome copywriting team who I have used across all my businesses for years. If you need some killer copywriting, get in touch and use the code: MAKEYOURBREAK to get $100USD off when you buy one of their packages.
Follow me on Instagram @jailong.co
I’ve become a huge fan of Jessy and Perry from Rhodes Wedding Co. in the US. They’ve created a truly impressive company where they make handcrafted wedding bands and engagement rings. They’ve somehow also managed to establish the perfect combination of creative output along with a beautifully connected community. So, I wanted to chat with them about how they’ve been able to build this special kind of tight-knit community with such true intention and passion.
One of the most important steps you can take to create a business that you absolutely love is to figure out what you’re passionate about. Don’t just tolerate specific aspects of your business – instead, discover the tasks that you actually love and focus on those. It’s easy for me to stay creative and motivated with my work because I do truly love every task I do – and the ones I don’t, I delegate to someone else! You can also get rid of tasks you hate by asking yourself, “Is this really adding to my community and my mission?” It’s okay to toss out things that aren’t working for you or that don’t play to your strengths.
Photo by: katchsilva
It’s so easy for people today to get caught up in the numbers game. Whether you’re focusing on how much money you’re making or the number of Instagram likes you’re getting, it can be hard to put your attention anywhere else. However, I’ve found that if you’re creating something with good intent and heart, people will see that and the rest will follow. People will flock towards authenticity. Jessy and Perry created their company from a passion project that has since flourished into a successful business. Their creative outlet expanded because they decided to focus on making a living doing something they actually love and are passionate about instead of how much money they could potentially make. It can also be helpful to become a ‘giver’ – a person who makes an effort to give back to their community (to clients, colleagues, customers, etc.). If you think about how to give back, you’ll get so much more in return and you won’t be as obsessed with those other numbers. Your relationships and your success can grow from there.
Photo by: Phil Chester
As a creative person, I’m always bringing my creativity into my business. Jessy also noted that she can bring creativity into almost every task she does. With her social media outreach, she’s creating relationships and fostering connections with people in their community. These communications lead to the creation of their products – actual, tangible pieces of art that were inspired by that person’s story. Relationships within the community are also like a creative dance with another person since they lead to creative output. Working with a limited number of clients with a focus on clear communication and developing a deeper insight into the relationship allows them to craft unique pieces that resonate with their clients and the community as a whole. I totally agree with this perspective – I can feed my creativity doing any task (from looking after clients to marketing). Creativity doesn’t have to stick to a specific, traditional definition (me photographing something or playing the guitar or drawing a picture), it’s really just problem-solving with a new idea or bringing in a fresh perspective that can get my juices flowing.
Photo by: Nirav Patel
Along the same lines, this creativity can lead to strong relationships within your community. In order to do this, it helps to be open and genuine about your own life. It can be incredibly rewarding to create an open line of communication with your customers. People weighing in with offers of support or by sharing their stories creates valuable relationships (even with strangers you’re just interacting with on Instagram). If you put yourself out there in a vulnerable way, you might be surprised by how much you’re positively influenced by these interactions. I’ve had fans reach out that have been following me for years, and their support means so much. Even just an email from someone sharing their story really makes all of the hard work worth it because you’re building something real with other people.
As I mentioned already, it can be really tempting to get drawn into the obsession with Instagram. For some people, getting more likes and more followers is the ultimate goal for their business. However, for people like me and Jessy and Perry, Instagram can be an effective tool that doesn’t have to be used solely for numbers. Jessy notes that she spends around 20 to 25 hours a week on Instagram, connecting with new followers and commenting on posts to boost engagement. This isn’t about increasing likes though; it’s more about putting the time and effort in so that their customers notice the dedication they have to the community. Perry said it did feel like a burden at first to interact with Instagram on such an intense level every week, but then it felt more worthwhile once they were both able to experience a perspective shift. They realised that Instagram could be used as much more of a community-building tool for them and a way to effectively connect with the right people and form long-term relationships. I can definitely feel this goal when I look at their Instagram – it’s carefully curated and shows them being unapologetically themselves.
I’ve also found that I don’t have to get hung up on how many likes my posts are getting because I can be confident in my own work. A lack of likes doesn’t mean I’m not worth it; it could mean I need to work harder or set different goals, or it could mean that people just don’t get my work. I respect their opinion, but at the end of the day, I make my art for myself and not for other people. So, a less successful Instagram post won’t necessarily make me feel insecure or bummed out.
Since I don’t want to get myself down about low numbers on Instagram, it helps to make new goals for myself that feel more true to my own intentions. I do know what the Gram will like, but like Jessy and Perry, we’d rather do something that will resonate with others rather than just post something that would receive a less meaningful mass appeal. And if you’re not being true to yourself, what’s the point? To fail at what you don’t even love is tragic, but to fail at what you love, that experience can still have a lot of worth to it. So, my goal for social media often means that I need to keep reinventing myself. I want to keep being true to what I love and to always be growing. If this is a goal for you too, try asking yourself, “How else can I push myself?” This question can open up a brand new avenue both for expression and for success.
Photo by: Nirav Patel
You can build a really strong community by determining what you find valuable. Basically, you shouldn’t feel ashamed if your goal is not based on likes and followers, but rather on something more substantial like strong relationships or giving back to others. Sometimes this path might be a little harder (with not as much instant gratification or validation), but it can also lead to a long-lasting career with engaged community members who will be there for you throughout your journey no matter what. Holding onto goals that don’t feel genuinely rewarding to you will end up meaning you’ll attract the wrong people anyway. It’s always better to be true to yourself and what matters to you than to be fake.
Photo by: Nirav Patel
I had such an amazing time talking with Jessy and Perry. I’m seriously inspired by their goal to push themselves to aspire to limitless growth as well as by their success at building a community that blends perfectly with their business goals.
Cheers guys, I’ll see you for the next podcast when I’ll be sharing more stories from awesome guests like Jessy and Perry!
Si Moore is a hugely talented film photographer and artist from New Zealand who runs several businesses with his wife Sophie, including Bayly & Moore (wedding photography), Arcade (event furniture hire), Boxful (wedding catering), Story & Light (photography workshops), to name just a few.
He’s always working on different projects and is an expert on customer care, so I wanted to chat with him about the principles of offering and creating an amazing customer experience. I had a blast catching up with my friend and I hope it’s as inspiring to you to hear as it was fun for us to record!
If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you might think that making art is at the heart of what you do; however, as Si puts it, “Rather than thinking of it as us working in an art industry offering a service, we work in a service industry making art.”
80% of what we do as creative entrepreneurs is giving a service, whereas only 20% is actually making the art. So customer experience is crucial. Understanding how human beings work, how to build trust, how to be in the right place at the right time…all of these elements add up to creating a fantastic customer experience that is as important (if not more so) than the actual art/product itself.
Think about a Michelin-starred restaurant: it doesn’t matter how much research, preparation and passion goes into creating a beautiful plate of food – if it’s cold or just slapped down in front of you by a rude waiter then this negative experience will cancel out everything that led up to that point.
The delivery vehicle for your art is an essential part of the experience.
We hear that target markets can be mysteries to identify but if you think about it, as a creative entrepreneur, you have a ready-made test audience member staring at you in the mirror.
You may not have the same background, life experience or ideologies as your audience but you both agree on one important thing – you love your art. Build from that crossover point and you’ll be able to understand what your clients want in relation to the service that you’re providing. Why? Because it’s what you would want too.
We’ve talked about going out into the real world and learning from other customer experiences that you have with businesses that are totally different from yours (cafes, airlines, hotels, etc.). However, it’s usually been focused on how to implement the good elements…why not think about some terrible experiences you’ve had and learn from them too?!
You learn the most when you have an experience that you hate. The next time that you have awful customer experience, pay attention to how you feel, why you think it’s happening and how it could have been avoided. Learn from this terrible experience and see how can you spot warning signs in your own business so that none of your customers ever have to feel like you did.
The old marketing adage ‘underpromise and overdeliver’ is often misinterpreted as ‘underpromise…and then just deliver!’ So many businesses don’t take the time to put in the extra effort where it counts, so if you can identify these hotspots then you can win big.
Whether it’s replying to an email within a few hours rather than a few days or any other seemingly inconsequential element of your service, if you flex your empathic muscles and think about the little things that would impress you as a customer then you can be ahead of your peers with minimal effort.
Your pricing should reflect the type of clients that you want to deal with. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer and want to shoot $40K weddings then that’s great if you’re surrounded by the sort of people who drop that amount on a wedding. But if you’re not hanging out on yachts every other weekend, it’s going to be hard to jump into that world and essentially pretend to be someone else every time you have to work.
On the flip side, if you undervalue yourself then clients won’t respect you as much as if they were paying you a ‘professional’ amount. Don’t get insecure about your pricing – be confident in what you charge. You don’t always (or ever!) have to give discounts. Not everyone is a bargain hunter – some clients are looking for an experience and are happy to pay for it.
Let your clients know that you are on their side. Make them feel as if they are part of your club! And as club members care more about the experience than the price, you don’t have to nickel-and-dime them by charging an extra hour at the end of a shoot, tagging on additional shots to their bill, etc. because you’ve already covered this by charging a reasonable entry fee upfront.
Being the leader of a club means that you have to pay attention to how you interact with your clients, how you move through a room, how you engage over email…essentially tailoring every aspect of the customer experience so that at the end of the day it transcends money. What do I mean by this? I mean that you want to get your service to the point at which your clients aren’t thinking whether it was worth the higher fee but are so overjoyed that all they’ve had to do is give you some cash and they get this incredible experience.
Here’s what I tell everyone who attends my Free The Bird workshops: A business must be needed or loved. And a luxury wedding photography business is definitely not needed…so it must be loved! Work out how to get people to fall in love with what you’re doing and you will have a successful business.
As you can tell from the show, Si and I could have gone on talking for hours and hours and hours…so we have to get him back on the podcast, right?!
OK guys, if you’re listening to this podcast on the day that it drops, we’re coming up to the end of 2019. What a year it’s been! Whether it’s been a great one or a bit of a struggle, it’s so important to take the time to look back and reflect on what you’ve achieved, the lessons that you’ve learned and how you can use this experience to make 2020 even more productive and enjoyable for you and your business.
I set a lot of goals for 2019. Some of them I achieved, some I didn’t. But I worked as hard as I could and did my best, so I’m feeling pretty happy. That’s why I thought I’d pull back the curtain and give you guys some real insight into my business. I put a heavy emphasis on transparency, so you can learn the good, the bad (even the ugly!) about how everything is going.
First up, let’s take a quick overview of my businesses.
I work as a wedding photographer and we have one full-time employee, Morgan, and myself, plus contractors, including a copywriter, bookkeeper, accountant, etc.
It’s a client-centric business and I have around 100 clients at any given time; that’s 50 couples who have booked with me to shoot their wedding. This requires a lot of work with and plenty of communication.
We have a photobooth & DJ business that has 5 employees plus myself. We also have around 100 clients on the books and we cater to weddings, parties and corporate events.
~ Pictured below, Some of our staff from all three businesses
This business covers all of the educational content I put out, including online courses, live workshops, eBooks, workshops and the podcast that you’re listening to! We have 3 full-time employees and me, as well as contractors to help with facebook ads, design, coding etc.
So at any given time, I have around 200 clients. That’s a lot. And that’s not including the people that I serve, including the thousands – just like you – that listen to my podcast. This is why it’s so important for me to take a few months off every year and come back rejuvenated and prepared to best serve everyone who interacts with my business.
So with these three businesses, I set goals (broken down into 90-day, 30-day and then everyday segments) to achieve in 2019.
In 2018 I shot some amazing weddings all over the world, including Africa, Norway, the US, and I’m so grateful for this opportunity. However, this year I wanted to work closer to home. So I booked all jobs in a 10km radius of my house (fortunately, I get enough enquiries that I can pick and choose). This turned out to be a really cool year, as I enjoyed the lack of commute and building relationships with local businesses. Also, you make more money when you don’t travel – even when you get your travel paid for, you don’t get paid for the extra days it takes for you to get to a destination. So it’s been a win-win on that front and I’m really happy with how it went.
I set out a goal to double Heartbreak Hotel. To do this, I thought ‘why not add DJs to the business?’ I saw a gap in the market, as I’ve worked a lot of high-end weddings who put so much attention to detail to everything except the DJ, who usually turns up with a black trestle table, cords everywhere, playing Backstreet Boys. Not a great look.
What if we got a great DJ with cool turntables, isn’t cheesy, doesn’t play terrible music, etc.? Amazingly, no one else was doing that! So I interviewed DJs, found an amazing one (Reggie) and set about building the website, rebranding and redesigning the business.
How did it go? Well, we just did gigs for Nike and Google and have five weddings booked this weekend. We are now on track to double the business and, honestly, it feels incredible to have a goal and see it come to life.
OK, so before you think that I’m just going to tell you about all the great stuff that happened to me in 2019…check this out.
I wanted to set up a new workshop for creative entrepreneurs that covered everything that you need for levelling up your business, including how to hire people, do the admin, pay super, arrange tax breaks, etc. How useful, right?!
Well, yeah. I launched workshops in five different locations and sold….drum roll please…one ticket.
I’ve been running sold-out workshops since 2015. How did this happen?! I was totally deflated. The problem is, no one has ever done this before. It’s so hard to be a pioneer rather than just improve on a tried-and-tested formula. You need to educate people and explain why they need what you’re offering.
I learned so much from this experience and implemented so many changes. It’s why I changed the name from Free The Bird workshop to Jai Long workshop, why I started employing people (including the AWESOME Zoe, my project manager) and basically changed my whole organisation. I decided to reinvent my whole business, build it properly with good foundations and take the long road to where it needs to be.
I wanted people to trust in my brand (see previous episodes with Danelle and LeeLou on why this is so important). Even though I sold out my workshop, I didn’t have the time to deliver the best customer experience. Now we can take the time to curate the ultimate customer journey, from buying a ticket straight through to aftercare package. I want to make sure that I’m giving my customers more than they’re giving me.
We launched the Album Academy online course and, after an admittedly slow start, it sold really well and made a big impact on the photography community that I’m a part of; it’s amazing to get online feedback saying that a product that you’ve made has helped one of your peers.
And finally, the New York-based wedding & portrait photography print magazine RangeFinder has got in touch with me and asked me to contribute regular articles for them! This is such an honour, especially because I didn’t have much education and was never great at reading and writing. I never want to be egotistical on this show but sometimes it’s really important to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come, so I’m going to practice what I preach!
Now I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has listened to these podcasts and allowed me to indulge in these stories about my career – and I want you to do the same. Looking forward is amazing but always know where you came from. Appreciate where you are now, compared with where you were a year, or five years ago and harness this energy when moving forward into 2020.
I’ll be talking to you all again in 2020 – have a fantastic holiday season and a fun-filled new year!
Today we’re going to talk about goal setting and why it is so important to success. There’s no way that I would have made my own break without setting clear, ambitious goals and working hard to achieve them. It’s what got me started in this business and it’s something I do every single day in order to keep learning and growing.
The biggest goal that I have set for myself was to quit my day job as an electrician and become a full-time wedding photographer. Breaking into the creative industry can be difficult, especially if you don’t already have a foothold in it; however, I made it even harder for myself by saying that I wanted to be:
I quickly realised that I wouldn’t be able to manage this if I had a job. I needed to give 100%. So, I quit my job and…that’s when the full weight of reality hit me. I had to pay rent, look after my partner who was in Uni, oh, and I also had two mortgages!
How was I going to achieve these goals? Well, first up I knew I didn’t need any luxuries. I didn’t need a car (I’ll take the train!), I didn’t need a TV (I’ll research photography in the evenings!), basically I didn’t need any of the monetary-focused things that you save up for when you’re working full-time as a means to an end. Now things were different. I was passionate enough about the goals that I’d set to do whatever I could to make it work.
However, we were entering the off-season for weddings in Australia and waiting six months in order to start booking regular gigs didn’t fit in with my goals of shooting internationally and becoming successful within one year. Maybe if I hadn’t set myself these goals, I would have been more flexible but I’m so glad that I stuck to my plan and made my own break instead of letting life happen to me. I booked two tickets for my partner and me to fly to the US, where the wedding season was just kicking off. I contacted blogs, magazines, other photographers, etc. and told them my ambitions and even offered to shoot weddings for free, for a couch to sleep on – it didn’t matter because it’s what I needed to do to achieve my goals.
We shot about 10 weddings all over the country and in some truly epic settings; this was before Adventure Weddings became a big thing, so the shots I got were really unique. When I came back to Melbourne, I was an international wedding photographer AND I had 10 awesome weddings on my website and Instagram, all because I had set ambitious goals and worked incredibly hard to achieve them. I booked 30 weddings for the next year, achieving my goal of becoming a full-time wedding photographer. And because it looked as I was pretty well established I managed to get sponsorship from some US companies and in 2015 I won a bunch of awards as well as being named in Rangefinder’s Top 30 Wedding Photographers.
I learned a lot about goal setting along the way and I want to share this knowledge with you.
First up, it is so important to pat yourself on the back for all of the goals – big and small – that you achieve. If you don’t, no one else will! Get some perspective and look how far you’ve come since you set out on this path. Appreciate the hard work and long nights that have got you here and use that energy to propel yourself towards future goals.
In my mentoring sessions, we talk about setting SMART goals. I don’t want to get to business-ey, as I know a lot of you come here for the inspiring stories; however, I find that setting the right kind of goals is just as important as the concept of setting goals altogether.
For example, You might say I want to make $10,000 in 3 months. OK, that’s a tangible goal but it’s not very inspiring. What could that $10K do for you? You could go on holiday, invest in your business, help the people around you…anything that gets you inspired to complete that goal. Locking in on a feeling rather than a figure will always be more motivating.
So, what are SMART goals?
The more specific your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. Compare ‘I want to lose weight’ with ‘I want to lose 10 kilos in 3 months so I look great in my holiday snaps’. The former is too vague but the latter gives you a set target as well as a reason to achieve it.
Humans love to measure things, especially success. Have a set goal for financials, e.g. I want to hit $1K every week on shop sales. Just remember to celebrate when you hit them!
As you can gather from the story I just told, my goals were pretty unrealistic but I reached them. Although I’m really happy that I did it this way, I understand that some people will respond better to realistic, attainable goals. I don’t expect everyone to be the emailing-on-a-Sunday workaholic that I am and I totally appreciate that. So if you want to ensure a work/life balance as well as dreaming BIG, maybe set a large unrealistic goal but set smaller attainable goals that you can hit on your way there. That way you’re day-to-day life will be full of wins whether you hit your big target or not.
If you set relevant goals, it means that you won’t take on unnecessary work. For example, when wanted to become an international wedding photographer and had no real income, I would get offered money for family portrait shoots…but I would turn them down. People thought I was crazy but it’s because they weren’t getting me close to my goal. Making contacts, blogging, posting on social media were all more important to my goal than making a quick buck doing something that was just going to distract me.
Locking your goal into a time-frame will make you so much more efficient. When I started this podcast, I gave myself a four-week deadline. This was unrealistic, as we had to source equipment, outsource work, etc. but I didn’t let the date slip and we made ended up making it. And as any entrepreneur will know, there is no better feeling than reaching your goal inside of the time limit that you set.
We’ve got time for one more quick story. I have family in Norway and I thought ‘How cool would it be if I could shoot a wedding in Norway and catch up with my family at the same time?’ So, I set a time limit of a year and started putting #Norwaywedding hashtags on my Insta, reaching out to Norwegian bloggers and photographers, essentially doing everything to tell the universe what my goal was. Within 3 weeks, someone approached me to shoot their wedding in Norway. I was floored. Amazing!
What it reinforced in my mind is that you have to tell people about your goals, tell them your passions and then you will have so much more chance of reaching them. It sounds simple, but it’s something so crucial that a lot of people forget about. Let the universe in on your plan and it will help you in return.
As we come to the end of the year, I want you to think about goal setting. Think about the goals you’ve already hit in the last 12 months. Then think about what goals you want to set next year and what you need to do to achieve them. This could be signing up to a workshop, getting some mentoring or even buying a flight to go and see someone in the industry who you admire and just starting a conversation.
Whatever it is, you need to take charge of your business and make your own break – setting SMART goals and working hard in order to achieve them is the best way I know to do this.
Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next episode!
Danelle Bohane is a wedding photographer from New Zealand and regarded by many as one of the best in the world. She has a unique approach to business, which is why I’m very excited to have her on the show to talk about the importance of building a trusted brand.
Big businesses spend tons of time, effort and money in working out how they can get their customer base to trust them; however, this is something that a lot of small businesses overlook. When you look at how much trust is imbued within Danelle’s brand, it’s clear to see why she has been so successful over the last 10 years.
Humans rely on trust in every aspect of life, even if it’s subconscious. We don’t want to be lied to and are repelled by danger and discomfort. As soon as we sense any danger, we won’t buy a product or sign up to a brand. This is clear just in day to day shopping and it’s especially true when customers choose their wedding photographer.
Danelle talks about how she puts a heavy focus on the consistency of her imagery and creating a comfortable experience for the client from Day 1.
We discuss how Danelle made her own break, from the humble beginnings of her first job out of university, how she survived the different ebbs and flows of starting a business from rock bottom, sacrificing a lot in her twenties in order to build her business and how scary it was to market her first workshop to how she was selling out new workshops in 20 minutes just a year later.
We talk about how luck and hard work played a part in her rise to the top and why both are important. Now that she’s had a child, it’s important for her to shoot locally, so we touch on why building relationships with favourite local venues is crucial to establishing a work/life balance.
One thing that we’ve both noticed is how the format of launching a small business has changed in the last decade. The traditional method of spending a lot of money to go to college or university seems to have been supplanted by new business owners attending workshops and learning directly from industry leaders. This fast-track option is not specific to wedding photography and is present across several industries.
Danelle and I talk about how we feel about this method of learning and why we think that having the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them is just as important as formal education.
Danelle is one of the most trusted wedding photographers around and the longevity of her business speaks for itself. She explains that her customers know what they’re getting when they book her and she taps into the natural human instinct of not liking surprises – especially on their wedding day.
If you give someone an amazing experience and pretty good photos, they’re probably going to recommend to you. If you give someone a terrible experience but incredible photos, chances are that they won’t – they might even warn others away from you.
This is why she puts such an emphasis on client care as well as streamlining the focus of her marketing and social presence. Work out who your clientele is and ask yourself what they want to see on your social media – no matter how cute your dog is, do you really think that potential clients want to see it popping up on your Insta?!
Danelle explains that while online reviews are really important, nothing carries more weight than someone praising your name directly to another potential customer. Word of mouth is the way she gets a lot of her clients, which is why excellent client experience is essential.
We agree that as our prices increase, so does the level of trust coming from our clients. We get micromanaged less, we get sent fewer mood boards and suggestions – basically, our clients leave us to do the thing that they hired us to do in the first place. Danelle explains that clientele that pays higher prices also don’t have any time for sloppiness, so slick communication is paramount.
How to get people to trust you enough to fly you around the world to shoot the biggest day of their life? It’s a key question and one that Danelle answers by saying, “Keep it personal.”
She tailors everything to the couple, including putting their names on the pricing guide (rather than a standard PDF), shows that she is in control by doing all the research for flights, accommodation, and car hire, and asks them specific questions about what it is that they want as opposed to just delivering the same boilerplate service to everyone
Danelle Bohane has created a trusted, client-centric brand that will keep going and going as long as she maintains that trust. She’s booking weddings well into 2021 and in her own words, “Life is great!”
Check out Danelle’s work on Instagram at @danellebohane and join us for a new episode of the podcast next week!
All images by Danelle Bohane
Alex Cohen is one of the hardest working entrepreneurs that I’ve met. She knows what she wants and she goes straight after it and this is why she is so successful. Because she spends so much time, energy and money on fast-tracking her career, I thought this podcast would be the perfect opportunity to talk to her about how to be resourceful and give yourself the best education.
First up, who is Alex Cohen? She is a wedding photographer she’s based in Perth, WA but she travels a lot…and I mean A LOT. Every two weeks she catches a flight to an (almost always) exotic location that gives me extreme wanderlust. How did she achieve this career?
Well, for people like me and Alex, fear simply doesn’t exist. We jump in at the deep end and don’t want to wait around for success. It’s not about taking shortcuts, it’s about being resourceful and fast-tracking your way to the top – we talk about five ways to do just this.
Alex thinks paid mentoring and workshopping is the best thing that she has done for her career. (I’m honoured that she mentions my Free The Bird workshop as one of her favourites!) It can seem like a lot of investment but in the long run it can give you massive returns. Plus, you can’t put a price on the benefit of instantly joining a ready-made, likeminded community where everyone is at a similar stage and eager to learn.
It’s important to note that all workshops are not created equal! Choose carefully and make sure you go after the speaker who might be charging a bit more but is killing it, not the one who may save you a bit of money in the short-term. If you implement what you learn then you and make your money back in no time.
By the same token, you have to make sure that you hold on to the information that is relevant to you and our business and leave the rest to the side. Be careful – if someone suggests massive changes, it can render massive results…but just as this can go really well, it can go really badly. If your speaker is offering quick fixes then you should be suspicious. If it’s a wedding photographer that isn’t booking lots of work and is just trying to boost their income, be very suspicious. Do your research, request social proof, ask around and then double, triple, quadruple check before you pay for advice!
Podcasts are (usually) a free resource that we can listen to every day. I certainly do, every morning when I’m walking my dog. It doesn’t have to be about photography, it can be anything, just as long as it’s interesting and I can learn from it – in fact, I can’t remember the last time I listened to a photography podcast! As Alex and I discuss, people go deep on podcasts and can get really personal; however, they also give away a lot of tangible information – prices, numbers, copy wording – and this helps us understand their business.
Alex thinks that online courses are incredibly useful to a wedding photographer’s education; once you have bought the videos, you can go back and watch them again and again. She recommends Lilly Red and India Earl and sometimes still revisits their videos before a wedding for inspiration. Templates (emails, guides, etc.) are very useful too, especially if (like Alex) English is not your first language. It’s a great way to save yourself trawling through YouTube to create the content and spend your time on something more profitable.
Personally, I put together Album Academy to give photographers a complete roadmap to selling and creating an album. I only want to put courses out there that give 100% value. I make $1000 from one album and the course is just $350. If you take the course – and do the work! – you will sell albums. To me, this is a no-brainer! It’s crazy to me that people wouldn’t buy this course and that’s probably true of other good courses too.
We agree that social media is absolutely essential for education. Alex reckons that YouTube is great for absolute beginners learning to shoot but now the platform is a bit “dusty” and IGTV has taken over! We both love following inspiring stories on social; it doesn’t even have to be about photography – we get revved up by the success stories on Chef’s Table!
Community is the most important thing for business – we wouldn’t be where we are without the help of our friends. Alex says that so many of her best friends have been made online and in her words, “It’s how I made my break!”
I totally agree and anyone who has done my workshop will know that I stay involved well after the course. I’ll organise get-togethers, Christmas parties, etc., whereas some workshop leaders are out as soon as the final talk is over. I think this is the difference between ‘networking’ and ‘communicating’ – ‘networking’ hints at selfishness and greed as you are only out for yourself, whereas we think you should be all about ‘connecting’. Make friends first with no conditions and if something happens for your business then that’s great – if not, at least you made a friend!
Instead of thinking of what you can get from people, think of what you can do for them – then the world will open up to you and people will fall over themselves to pay you back.
Nowadays we live in a world in which education is at our fingertips, whether it’s YouTube classes, mentoring or workshops. This is awesome but it can also be overwhelming, as there are so many ways out there to learn and a lot of them are free – but are they worth it?
Alex thinks that free resources only touch the shallow end of what you need, whereas paid content is tailored to give you everything you require. I certainly agree that you value things differently when you’ve paid for them compared with when you get them for free. In my courses, the people who have traveled, hired a babysitter, etc. will be the ones who are paying the most attention.
It’s the same with clients -the ones who pay top dollar are the ones who understand the experience and leave us to do what we do best.
Take Alex, for example – in under three years, she has gone from new on the scene to recently booking a $15K wedding. That’s my biggest wedding fee to date too and it feels amazing to be valued at that price. However, we deliver at least $20K of value and those clients will walk away thinking that we were worth more than what they paid. Be confident in your product and yourself and you will earn what you deserve.
I had such a blast having Alex on my podcast and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy listening to it too! You can find Alex on Instagram either at her Wedding Photography account: @alexcohenphotography or her personal one: @alexcohen.
And before I forget, I have two courses coming up that will cover Posing and Lighting. We’ve been working so hard on these and they are going to be game-changers!
See you for the next episode!
Imagine taking a break from work and earning more money than when you stayed in the office. I discovered that this dream can actually become a reality, so today I want to talk to you about avoiding burnout and reclaiming your creativity.
In the world of western commerce, we’re told how important it is to hustle, work hard and that free time is wasted time – we’re rarely told how important it is to take time off. This is is crazy to me, because when I take time off I come back recharged and actually create much more of an impact than when I’m toiling away at my desk for months on end. It might sound incredible to you but the years in which I’ve taken the most ‘holidays’ are the years that I have made the most money.
As a creative entrepreneur, I can guarantee that you work harder than most regular employees; you also almost certainly wear several hats – marketing, building websites, creating content and even working for free. All of this you do because you love it but it can also be exhausting. So how do we avoid burnout at work AND increase productivity?
Realistically, we can’t always jump on a plane to an exotic location every time we feel a little overwhelmed at work. Saving up for a holiday abroad, getting someone to look after the kids, dogs, house, etc. – this can add to your stress levels. The answer? Take a mini-vacation every day. This can be just one hour that you set aside for yourself in which you go for a walk, head to yoga, listen to podcasts – anything that just takes you out of the world of work and into your own space. I go for a walk every morning with my dog and when I arrive at the office, I’m so much more energised than if I’ve just rolled out of bed. It’s also when I get my best ideas, which, for a business owner, is crucial.
I’m all about creating the biggest impact with the work that I do, and this means more time brainstorming and less time actually at my desk. That’s why I start every day by creating a To Do list on Asana and then as soon as I finish my tasks, I can go home. If this happens at 11 a.m., great! I can come back and start a new day tomorrow.
Full disclosure: I want to practise what I preach, so I need to tell you that right now is a very busy time for me. I run several businesses that are going full-pelt at the moment; I don’t remember when I last took a full day off. But that’s why my mini-holidays every day are SO IMPORTANT! They allow me the space to recharge and come up with new inspiration.
Everyone has that friend who’s always working, rarely available to hang out but never really seems to be progressing very quickly (if at all). Then there are those other friends who always seem to be travelling, hanging out and partying but always show up on your social media, growing their business and having a really good time while doing it. This is because when you step away from your business, you have more space to view it from the outside and see how others see it, which in turn will allow you to improve your services.
When I go on holiday, I interact with other businesses – not necessarily ones in my industries but hotels, airlines, etc. – and I think about how I interacted with them, how they made me feel as a customer, what their booking process was like, etc. and then I look at how I can put that into my business. This is something I could never do from my desk!
Last year I took three months off work and travelled around the US and Europe. I had a lot of time in airports, on planes and buses, so I made myself a deal – every time I was in transit, I’d get my laptop out and write an eBook. It was such a fun project and one that I would never have the time to do unless I stepped away from the office – and by the time I got back I had an eBook!
I’m a big proponent of this concept and I’m always thinking of how to repurpose and repackage the little amount of time that you have each day to make an impact. For example, if I’m meeting a friend who works in business or a client with whom I have a strong relationship, there’s an opportunity to get the microphone out and create a podcast.
I employ about 10-12 staff across all of my businesses, so I know think what can I do now, what can I postpone to later and what can I delegate to someone else? As I said, right now I’m incredibly busy so I’m actually looking at doubling the impact I make by delegating a lot of the really impactful jobs to someone else so I can look around for new trends and fresh inspiration. This isn’t always the best way to run a business, as organic growth is usually preferable – but it’s how I have always approached business and will always want to push growth that little bit extra.
If you’re a business owner and you feel underpaid, stressed and don’t get enough time off then I have to be honest – you’re a crappy boss! I wouldn’t want to work for you, nor would other people and I don’t think you do either. Make sure that you are treating your main employee (you!) well and look after your mental health with regular holidays and rejuvenating breaks.
When you go to the gym and work out, it’s actually the rest days when you grow. It’s the same when you’re at the office – build up when you take a break and you’ll come back and see a marked improvement.
As we head into the festive season, many of you might be tempted to power through and work, work, work – it’s so important not to do this and take a proper holiday, see your friends and family, put aside time for yourself and come back and start 2020 well-rested and stronger than before.
Creating content on a budget is one of the most important skills that a business owner can learn. Why? Because content is king and it isn’t going to lose that crown any time soon. But the pressure to constantly create fresh content can make the process seem time-consuming and costly. What I want to talk about today is taking the stress out of creating content and saving you more than a few dollars along the way.
We all create content every day, maybe without even knowing it; that Instagram caption that you just posted? Content. The Snapchat photo that you sent yesterday? Content. Which leads us to our first important lesson…
That’s right. Some content is brilliant. And some content is…terrible. You only have to flick through a social media feed to understand this. However, when you are creating content for your brand, you only want to promote the posts that are going to represent your brand in the right way. Understanding this can save you a tonne of time and effort, which equates to money saved on creating poor or mid-level content.
I’m a firm believer that it’s better to put out nothing than something that damages your brand. To do this, think of why you are releasing this content? Who is it for? What reaction do you want?
I know that it can seem as if you’re missing out if you’re not posting every second of the day but I urge you to let go of this idea. Don’t get anxiety about posting all the time. Nowadays, people see through the fakers, especially on Instagram and the platform itself seems to be rewarding genuine and interesting content rather than the same old stuff churned out just for the sake of it.
If I’m only creating one piece of content then it has to be the best content that I can make. This doesn’t mean that I have to buy the most expensive gear or spend thousands of dollars in ads promoting it but it does mean that I have to think about the impact that I want it to make. How can I make it interesting, entertaining and informative enough for the listener to share, like, comment or listen to the next episode? Because if I can’t, what’s the point?!
If you don’t care about your content then your audience won’t either.
If you want to create content on a budget then you need to learn how to stretch out your content. This can involve repurposing existing content, getting multiple pieces of content out of one session of work or even sharing your content on different audience platforms.
For example, here’s an IGTV video that I made about How To Shoot Large Format Film.
One piece of content, right? NO! Not only am I going to release the video, I’m going to create a blog post around it, share it on social media, use it in my Instagram tiles and share it on my newsletter. I can do this because I planned ahead of time and put a lot of effort into deciding the best way to create a piece of content that can be used not once but multiple times in several different formats.
I’m going to do the same for a podcast that I recorded on the same day – not only am I going to create the same auxiliary content around it (blogs, social, Insta tiles, newsletters) but I’m also going to create another piece of content for my guest to share with his audience, giving me the opportunity to put my brand in front of his followers who may then also become my followers.
So out of just one day of work, I’ve created dozens of content opportunities, enough that could keep a brand going for a week, a month or maybe more. It didn’t require any extra financial investment – all it took was forward-planning and initiative.
If you have a group of friends who work in similar industries (designers, copywriters, photographers, etc.), why not pool your resources? Have a brainstorming session and don’t be afraid to create content for them – it always comes back around, as they will be incentivised to create content for you as well as allow you the opportunity to link to your brand via the content that you made for their audience.
Sometimes you might feel as if you don’t have enough time or resources to create content – I understand this sentiment but if you think about it, you probably have everything you need to create quality content in your pocket (your smartphone) and an upcoming bus ride/plane flight/evening alone that’s the perfect opportunity to get to work.
Creating content on a budget can be easy these days, given all the awesome tools at our disposal. If you have a smartphone then you essentially have a great camera, an editing suite (apps) and direct access to platforms on which to post your content. We sometimes get so caught up in thinking that we need to produce the raddest content possible and forget that it’s the content that’s honest, useful and created with a specific audience in mind that will make the biggest impact time and time again.
Let’s put this particular piece of content (the blog post that you just read and the podcast that you listened to) to the test and see if it’s inspiring enough for you to leave an awesome review, subscribe to my channel, share it with a your friends and tune in to the next episode, which is all about how to avoid burnout and recovering your creativity.
See you soon, guys!
Do you wish your branding on your website was amazing and doing what it is supposed to do; Create trust, better serve your clients and position you as a leader in your field? Well no matter your budget, I believe you can do exactly that. Let’s dig in and give you 5 ways you can better use your branding on your website.
On the podcast today, we give you 5 ways to Creating a Stronger Business Brand, with Graphic Designer Leelou. For full disclosure, Leelou is my wife so I might be a bit bias, but I do think she is so talented and she has one of the best boutique design agencies in Melbourne; By Leelou.
Leelou has just released website templates for wedding photographers and I think you should definitely check them out. A template just makes things so much more affordable and you have a good base to work off and customise so it’s your own. When I spent $10k on the design of my own website, years ago, I wish templates like these were available. Would have made my life so easy.
If you want to hear the full episode, jump over and hit play. Promise it is packed with good stuff and it will get you thinking about your own website.
I wrote a blog post to give you 4 ways to better use your website. CLICK HERE to read.
So why is a website still important in 2019/2020? Some say a website is not as important as they used to be and I do agree with that to some degree. But I could also argue that a good website is more important than ever before.
I think if your website is built right, has loads of relevant content to what your traffic is looking for and is visually pleasing, it can turn your traffic into clients and fans.
It is important to know what the purpose is of your website and how you can build it to best serve your business and best serve your clients. Also, it is good to know what content you should publish and put more time in. Things change so fast in the digital world and the way people use websites has changed dramatically even in the last few years.
For example, 4 years ago, I would publish new weddings on my blog and website pretty often. I would do that because I could see that is the type of content my traffic was trying to find when they came to my site. You can track things like that with great tools look Google Analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics set up on your website yet, I recommend doing that sooner rather then later.
Today, not many people go to my website to see my portfolio. Mostly because they now spend a lot of time scrolling through Instagram and they are happy with my portfolio on my social media. So when they are heading to my website, they are looking for different content, such as blog posts that will answer questions or help them with their wedding. Or to find more about my packages and what I offer and a means to contact me and send an enquiry.
On the podcast, Episode 11, I talk about these 4 things:
– Is it google voice friendly?
– Do you have subtitles on your videos and content?
– Can anyone read the text? Is it legible
– Not over complicating the website
– How can you connect with your clients with your brand
– Does it best represent your services and what you are about?
– Does it represent the quality of your work?
– Does it represent trust?
– Is it informative?
– Is it relevant?
– Is it interesting?
– Is it binge-worthy?
– Video + text?
– Should you use a copywriter?
– Seo – Optimising your website to work well with search engines to get organic traffic.
– Social channels – Make it easy for your traffic to share their favourite content.
Convert traffic into clients and even fans!
Also, if you struggle with your SEO and would like to do it yourself. Check out my friend Dylan’s SEO course.
Use code: Jai for 10% off
If you’re a wedding photographer that wants to add value to your services as well as increasing profit with every single client then one of the best ways to do that is learning how to sell wedding albums.
Maybe you already offer wedding albums, or maybe it’s an add-on that you’re trying to work out how to assimilate into your services…or maybe I’m totally wrong and you’ve never even considered them!
Either way, if you’re not yet offering wedding albums to every client (or you are offering them but not in an effective way) then not only are you leaving a lot of money on the table, you’re also depriving your clients of an incredibly valuable service that they’ll treasure forever.
With the Album Academy course (available from 4th – 18th November 2019), I present a straightforward guide for any photographer looking to start selling wedding albums to every single one of their clients.
I’ve been working as a wedding photographer for several years and I offer albums to all of my clients and the vast majority of them sign up as soon as they hear my pitch. I rank so highly in Melbourne (my home city) for ‘wedding albums’ on Google that I actually get other photographer’s clients coming to me to add my wedding album service on to their existing package!
While this is great for my business, it does make me wonder why other photographers aren’t offering wedding albums as part of their service? Or, perhaps more accurately, why they aren’t offering it as effectively as I am?
My success in selling wedding albums doesn’t come from years of honing a super-slick sales approach or putting the hard sell on my clients; I simply present what is a really valuable option as part of the package in a way that lets the couple envision holding their very own wedding album in their hands even before a single picture has been taken. And I’m going to show you how you can do it too.
The answer to this question is simple: Wedding albums are timeless memories of the most special day in two people’s lives.
Remember when you were a kid and looked through your parents’ photo albums? How much longer you spent taking in each picture instead of just clicking to the next image? This is what couples will want their kids to do. The finite quality of an album also works in its favour; online you can put endless reams of photos up from the big day but in an album, you are limited to around 50-100 images, so it puts a massive emphasis on quality over quantity by condensing the absolute best moments from the wedding.
Nowadays there are a ton of different ways to show people photographs – you can show them on a USB, a CD (or even a floppy disc, depending on how retro you want to go!) – however, I haven’t found anything that beats the tactile experience of holding an album in your hands.
That’s why I never take a screen to a client meeting (no phone, laptops etc.) but instead I show them a selection of sample albums so they can envisage what their own album will look like.
In this course, I will show you my process – this is how I sell wedding albums and this way has been really successful for me.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the exact same process will be successful for you; maybe it will and you can copy it verbatim or maybe you’ll need to adjust it to fit your own style.
There are so many factors that can affect this – your budget, location, specialism, etc. – so bear this in mind when you watch the course and look out for the general takeaways that I will highlight as we go along, as these will be effective for every wedding photography business.
When you’re watching the course, focus on the parts that resonate with you and assimilate them into your business model; don’t worry, I’m not precious about my personal approach – I want you to remodel what I do and make it perfect for you!
In the Album Academy course, I’ll show you a refined method of how best to sell wedding albums as part of your regular packages.
You’ll also learn tips and tricks to securing sales, including how to give your clients a tactile example of the finished product, how to source swatch samples, making sure you’re covered in terms of a contract with the right T&Cs, and so much more.
There are entire modules dedicated to the three most important elements of selling wedding albums: Design, Sales & Marketing, and Delivery.
Remember, a wedding album is something that your clients already want – you just have to offer it to them in the right way.
In this episode, I got did a shoutout on Instagram to see if anyone wanted to take over my Podcast show and ask me any questions. I think it was a good way for someone to connect with me and ask all the things that want to know. It would have been an amazing opportunity for me when I first started out; asking an established photographer any question I had!
Daphne Sky is a wedding photographer based in Queensland, Australia. She has done some mentoring sessions with me so I know her a little and I have been helping her out with taking her business to the next level. It has been a really fun project to work on and I know she will be killing it next year with all the work she is putting into her business.
She asks loads of interesting questions and be warned, this episode has a few swear words!
Daphne asks me, where did the name Free The Bird come from? How did I start workshops and what is my take on spirituality and religion. It is really interesting listening and I hope you guys enjoy it!
This episode is brought to you by Vision Art Wedding Albums.
Use the code: MAKEYOURBREAK for 30% off your first order.
In this episode, I talk about hiring your perfect team and how to go about it. I have been hiring people to work for me since I was 20 years old, when I ran my first business, a cafe called, Buddha Belly. Diving into hiring and creating a team without any experience was a huge learning curve for me and something I continue to learn about every single day.
I’ve hired and sometimes had to fire people but what I really want to tell you about is how I have grown as a leader, which didn’t come naturally. No matter where you start in life, you still need to hone your leadership skills to be able to steer the workforce.
If you have the ability to listen to the people that work for you, you are off to a great start because most people just want to be heard. We’re all human beings, and when I talk about my employees or hiring someone, I am talking about a real life human that experiences the same things I do that has dreams and goals, and all those wonderful things that I have too. They are real life humans and step number one is, treating them like so.
The other thing about working with humans, is that we are emotional. As a leader, you need a certain degree of EQ, emotional intelligence. In fact, I would argue that, it’s the most important attribute you could have as a leader.
I have a full time editor at Free The Bird Weddings and he basically runs the daily tasks of the business, including editing. It is amazing having him here with us and taking a chance on him was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. He started back in 2016 and he really was fresh. Still at university and didn’t really know what he was doing. I made sure to put in as many hours as I could to train him up and today is produces incredible work. It’s not all thanks to me sitting over his shoulder though. But it is thanks to the experience I have had, being a leader. I give him the space and time he needs to learn and I listen to him. I push him enough so he is always growing and I make sure he learns it all on his own.
So before you decide to hire anyone, take a step back, and think, do I have what it takes to be leader?
ALBUM ACADEMY is LIVE!!! Hit this link to see what it’s all about.
In this episode of ‘Make Your Break’, Jarrad Seng shares with us how his career got started and some of his career highlights. Then myself & Jarrad dive into a quick mastermind to talk about ways you can either identify an opportunity or create an opportunity from a situation. I think it is inspiring to hear from people like Jarrad, just how he has created his career into what it is today.
My highlight from this conversation is when Jarrad is telling us about a story from a few months ago, drinking with Ed Sheeren for his birthday at Pizza Hut and buying a house on a whim over the internet in the early hours of the morning. It sounds like such a typical rockstar story!
Here are the 5 different stories Jarred and I cover in regards to creating or identifying an opportunity:
My online course ‘Album Academy’ is about to drop. So if you would love to start designing and selling albums, this course is going to be a game-changer. To get started, you can download the free tip guide and join the waiting list.
If you would like to internet creep Jarrad, check out his Instagram here. I also suggest googling his name and watching some of the funny things he has been up to over the last few years.
In this episode, we dive into something I think is very important to any business: Up-selling and add-ons. A good add-on will bring extra revenue into your business, which is important because you need to make your business as profitable as possible so you can continue to grow and provide the service your clients love. I talk about eight tips to help you start up-selling and creating add-ons and no matter what industry you are in or what you decide your add-on will be, this episode will really help you.
I have also put together a workbook for this episode so if you would like to download the workbook and follow along…
Now, before we get started, I want to mention I have just put together my first ever online course called the Album Academy. It is a complete 4 step course from designing wedding albums, how to sell albums and how to make your workflow super fast. This course is available from the 4th of November for 2 weeks only. If you are a wedding photographer and want to make extra money in your business, speed up your workflow and better serve your clients, this course is a game-changer.
To find out more about the course THE ALBUM ACADEMY
So let’s not waste any time and dive straight in.
What is the difference between upselling and add-ons, also known as cross-selling?
Upselling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make the primary product more expensive. For instance, A wedding package that now includes a wedding album. Or buying a camera and having the option to have a memory card, battery and camera strap.
Cross-selling is the suggestion of any other product to be purchased in conjunction with the primary product —
Buying a microphone? Maybe you need a microphone stand.
Buying a plant, Maybe you need a new pot. Or some fertiliser.
I call Add-ons, cross-selling because It is an add-on that is relevant to the client’s purchase.
Ok, we all know what they are, let’s talk about the why.
The most obvious reason is to make extra revenue for each sale. We want to do that for two different reasons. One, because we need to make as much revenue as possible so we can create a better service and just keep our doors open for longer. Did you know it is much cheaper to sell to an existing client then it is to get a new client? You have already paid for the ads, you have already put the leg work into marketing and you have already converted your client into a fan.
It is expensive and time consuming to gain an extra client. The second is because we want to better serve our clients.
That’s right, most people don’t associate upselling with serving clients but today I am going to see if I can change your mindset on selling.
Here is the thing. Your clients love you and what you do. They probably wouldn’t have hired you otherwise. So that is a pretty safe bet. They respect you as a professional and they value your professional opinion. So with an upsell of a larger package, if you are anything like me, I wouldn’t upsell a large package to anything that I don’t think would benefit from it.
For instance, if I get a wedding client asking about my photography packages and which one they should book. I ask them about the wedding and what they need. If they are having a small wedding with 40 guests and its all in the one location, I won’t be trying to upsell them a big package because they don’t need it. I will advise them on my smallest coverage and tell them exactly what they need and how we can make it work.
If I have a client with 100’s of guests and a very complex wedding, I will be advising my biggest package plus the extras that I believe will help them make their wedding day easier and what will be more cost-effective. If they want a wedding album, I let them know that it is much cheaper if they just choose my biggest package with that included and its better value for money.
Your clients trust you because you have earned it. So my biggest piece of advice is don’t take advantage of someone’s trust and sell them something that is not exactly what they need.
Your clients are looking for the products they want and if you don’t have those products because you believe you don’t like upselling, you are actually not serving your clients in the best way possible.
I get enquiries every week from other photographer’s clients asking if I can create them an album with their wedding images because their photographer doesn’t offer that service. I even book a lot of clients just because we have the extra add-ons they were looking for and others didn’t offer it.
People love shopping. And People love choice. So if you are not giving them that experience, you are doing more harm than good.
I believe the more your personalise an add-on for your client, the more likely they are going to feel looked after and more likely to purchase. For example, If you are trying to upsell a videographer to muir clients and they have expressed they don’t want video, it’s a safe bet to say you won’t get a sale. But if they really love photos and they are there most important, upsell an album and talk about why you believe this is the perfect product just for them.
Your clients trust you as a professional and they believe and even want to buy, products that you believe in and curate just for them. People love shopping and they love the power of choice. If you don’t give your clients choices, it can feel like you are pushing a package or product onto them with no options and it can feel like a one-size-fits-all’ type of thing and most people don’t like that.
On the other hand, people don’t like too many choices. And with too many choices can cause the same reaction as not enough choices. Your client will get confused and it simply becomes easier to just not book you…
Just like when you walk to a drink fridge and there are 50 choices of drinks and it gets way too hard to make a decision.
Some of the best upselling examples get this right by making visitors imagine how they could make use of the upgrade, or by triggering the fear of missing out (FOMO). This is psychologically proven to help make more sales. Good copy to communicate what your packagers and offers will do for them is key.
You don’t have to be a salesman to sell add-ons and often that is exactly what your clients are afraid of.
Be honest with your opinion and make sure you have your client’s best interest at heart and not your agenda to make extra sales. If you are going for an upsell, talk them through why you believe it is the right choice. Being genuine and transparent is always going to trump sleazy sales tactics.
I know discounts are never a good thing because you will become a discount wedding photographer or a discount designer. But I believe once someone has booked your services, there is no reason why you can’t treat your clients with insider specials and discounts or even something else, like a thank-you card or a gift. Or even a voucher for a future purchase or a discount on a product that you know they will love.
People have a hard time visualising something that is not right in front of them. So it is important to have examples of what you have on offer and if they can touch it, hold it and feel it, the product will sell itself.
For example, I sell wedding albums to my clients and I love the albums I sell. I believe they are the best money can buy and I believe they are an amazing investment for my clients. But it is hard for me to just sit there in a client meeting and tell them that. It is much easier to put a sample album into their lap and let the product sell itself. And if I am telling them all the facts and features of the albums, at least they can hold them in their hands and see why I am so passionate about what I am selling.
With any kind of add-on or upsell, it needs to be an easy process. From the choice, all the way to the payment and delivery.
There are many programs out there that help you sell add-ons upon checkout or upon booking your services which means they don’t need to get out their credit card twice and it becomes one easy transaction.
Also offering things like free delivery, free gift-wrapping or any other way to make it easy and desirable for your clients, the better.
I would also make it easy with pricing. People hate hidden fees and extra credit card fees and extra tax fees and all the other things to stop people from buying. The easier and more painless you make it for someone, the more sales you will get. So next time you re complaining about the credit card fees you have to pay, just remember that you may have made a lot more revenue this year just because you made it easy for your clients and you accepted credit card payments or even payment plans.
Most of the time people don’t even know what they want until you show them what they want. Educating people on your products makes it much easier for people to buy your products because they know what they are, how to use them, why they need them and just simply, so they know your products exist.
You can educate your clients through your mailing list, blog, social media platforms, in person at meetings and many other ways.
So I want you to have a think about what you offer and how you can educate your tribe on what you offer.
Ok, I am going to have to wrap up this episode. But I could literally talk about this stuff for days. I am passionate about it because I love the fact that I can make more money for my business which means I can employ people, give my clients a better service and live the life that I want. So it really is an amazing tool to be able to offer the products your clients actually want.
Again, my new course ‘The Album Academy’ is almost here and I can’t wait to start teaching wedding photographers how to sell albums effortlessly and bring in more money for their business. The course will be available from the 4th Nov for two weeks only. So it’s only a small window, but seriously guys, this course has so much value and I am excited to be bringing this to you.
So last recap before we end the show,
Tip1 – Personalise
2 – choice
3 – get your lounge right
4 – be honest
5 – reward loyalty
6 – visualise
7 – make it easy
8 – educate.
Don’t forget to download the free workbook for the show.
See you next time.
In today’s episode, I am talking with Nara Commerford, the founder of Evolution Botanicals in Byron Bay, Australia. Evolution Botanicals are a collection of premium tonic herbs and adaptogens. Nara has been running this company only for a few months now and we dive in to see why he decided to go out and create a product from scratch and how he is going about getting out to the world.
I have known Nara for a long time now and I know he is good at life and education hacking. So that is exactly what we talk about today.
Here are the three tips Nara gives us at the end of the episode on creating a physical product to bring to the market.
I am personally bringing a few physical products to my online store in the next 12 months, so it was so nice to have a chat with someone that is doing it and get some inside knowledge and insight. It is literally the best way to learn.
Today’s episode is with an Australian singer-songwriter, Kyle Lionhart. Kyle has been making waves lately with his new album hitting the shelves and it has been non-stop busy for him. So I am very luck I could catch him for 40 minutes and get a good interview for you.
Kyle Lionhart is actually my brother-in-law and I have known Kyle for most of my life. So it has been incredible watching him grow up and not only dream big, but believing in himself to make those dreams his life. Not many people do that, especially after becoming a young parent.
So today we talk about riding the highs and lows and I know Kyle gets both in spades. So many incredible things happen for him every day with his career but it is not always good news. Sometimes he is fighting to the odds to keep the dream alive.
The biggest take away from this episode ‘persistence’. Reaching your goals and dreams, it really comes down to how persistent you are. How many times are you prepared to get back up and try again. If you just keep trying you will eventually get there. Sometimes you will need to change how you are doing things and change the formula, but persistence will out trump anything else.
The other take away that I loved is loving your clients and fans. Serve them and give them the best experience, no matter what industry you are in. It will pay off in spades.
If you want to hear more, get over to the ‘Riding The Lows & Highs’ Podcast episode with Kyle Lionhart.
In this episode, I chat about how we need to change our mindset on the concept of ‘busy’. Being seen as busy is over-celebrated and far too glorified in our culture. What does busy even mean?
Being busy can simply mean that you’ve sat in your office chair all day and kept yourself engaged in low-value tasks just in order to “keep busy”. Being impactful, however, is using what little time you have to make the biggest impact…and, therefore, the biggest splash.
There are so many ways to make a bigger impact on a day-to-day basis. One of my first pieces of advice is to arrange your tasks and give them a number marking the highest value task to the lowest. Then work out if you can delegate, delete or do something else with the lowest value tasks so you can free up more time to spend on high-value tasks that bring in more income, grow our business and – yep, you guessed it – make the biggest impact.
In this episode, I mention a couple of programs that I use – here are the links:
ACUITY – Client booking and calendar system
ASANA – Everyday management system
STUDIO NINJA – Client management system (CRM)
Promo code: MAKEYOURBREAK (50% off your first subscription payment)
This episode marks my first ever podcast interview. Dan O’Day joins us to have a chat about his relationship with money and how taking control of his finances and setting personal goals has been a real game-changer.
I remember having a good discussion with Dan a few years ago in which he told me about how he was going to buy his first home. This is a goal that many of us share but can sometimes feel unachievable. What I loved about the conversation was hearing how Dan was taking action and making steps towards that goal. We chatted about the importance of having a professional financial advisor in your corner to help you along the way.
I’ve put together a few tips on how to find the right financial advisor for you. The world of financial advice can be hard to navigate and I understand that many people don’t even know where to start. So let’s change that right now!
Ask around to see if you can find a good referral. As with any service, it’s always easier to talk to someone you trust by getting get a first-hand recommendation. If no one in your immediate friend circle springs to mind, think of anyone you know who may use a financial advisor and reach out to them for some direction.
Now you’ve shortlisted a couple of advisors, go and meet them to see if the two of you will get along. Hiring a financial advisor usually means that you’ll be working with them for years to come, so it’s important to have someone you can trust and with whom you can communicate effectively.
Find out how they expect to be compensated. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for one upfront, while others will receive commissions from products that they’ll try and get you to purchase. I always go with someone that I pay directly and who I feel has my best interests at heart. Sometimes you can set them up in your super fund so that you’re not out of pocket straight away.
Be honest with both your advisor and with yourself. Tell them your goals (even if they seem impossible) and be candid about how much you really earn and spend. They’ll be able to help you on the way to achieve these aims and it will be incredibly beneficial to have an exact number of what you need to make as a target to aim for.
I hope that these tips will help you find the right financial advisor; now check out the podcast episode and hear more about how Dan O’Day has approached his journey towards financial success.
I’ve always pushed myself to do the things that make me most uncomfortable and, truth be told, this is one of the main reasons why I’m starting a podcast. Yes, it’s a business podcast, so listeners will glean a lot of advice, tips and tricks from each episode, but the underlining (selfish!) reason why I’m doing this is to push myself and encourage me to grow.
I’d been asked to do several podcast interviews and I noticed that I kept saying no. It wasn’t because I didn’t have time to do them – it was just because I was scared of recording a conversation and making a mistake in front of an audience.
That does sound scary, right?
Make Your Break is a creative business podcast show that’s aimed towards helping my community push their businesses to new heights. I’m packing it with stories, inspiration and tangible tips designed to help anyone at any stage of their creative business take action to improve their situation.
I’ve been recording it in my bedroom, which isn’t the quietest place even at the best of times. We live behind a busy café and are surrounded by shops and public transport. But you do what you have to do and I actually think the sound quality is working out really well!
I’ve also received some help from a company that specialises in podcasting and who do all the post-production. We have so many projects and businesses on the go at the same time and it would be crazy for us to try and do everything ourselves.
To be completely honest, recording the first episode was much harder than I thought it would be. I overthought it, ruminating on it for days on end. I changed the subject a few times and did too many script rewrites. By the end, I had to apply one of my personal rules to the process: Done is always better than perfect. And I know that the show will only get better, so I can’t get too caught up in perfecting the first episode. I fumble my words in some parts but I actually like this real, authentic feel. Plus, it gives me a great chance to improve! I want to get more confident when speaking in front of a microphone and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do just that.
So, if you love listening to podcasts before work for that extra bit of motivation as much as I do, I invite you to take a listen to the trailer and subscribe on your favourite channel – let’s start spending our mornings together!
Oh, and if you have any suggestions for the shows then I would love your input, so please leave a comment below.