Photographers Dilemma: Yes, No, Maybe

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Over the last few days I received several emails from photographers. One  photographer from London was wondering how he could trust someone in the U.S. who had no office in the U.K? What if something goes wrong?  He told me that he had already lost some money through internet scams. While he clearly is interested in the information he couldn’t quite make the leap and sign up for the program (yet).

Another email just came in from a photographer in the US. She said that she wanted me to remove her from any offers that had a price tag to them but keep sending her the free invites. If she’d find a moment she’ll would listen to one of the free calls – eventually. (Reminder Free Call is tomorrow)

That got me thinking and I thought a pep talk is in order.

Free information is a blessing and a curse. You as photographers have seen what price erosion and cheap and free offers do to your businesses. Someone offers what you do just a little cheaper and you are in trouble. That other person might be hurting more than you are, has no integrity, doesn’t know better or is simply an idiot who doesn’t understand what that does to our industry. But irrespective they are now the competition and you have to deal with it.

Then there is Generation Y who has come to the conclusion that the use of Google makes them a specialist on just about any topic because there is so much free information and dog begone, they’ll find it and throw it back at you. Who needs to pay for anything anymore anyway? Not to say I don’t like Generation Y but boy, there is an entirely different way of doing business coming our way.

Here is what I hear frequently:

  • You just want to sell something.
  • Why would I pay for it if I can get it for free?
  • Why would I trust you?
  • This is just another internet scam.

So let us break it down in sizeable chunks:

1.) To build up credibility and trust and form a relationship you (and I) need to do just that. Unless you or I want to be a one-hit-wonder it’ll take time and effort. Andrew Eccles calls himself in the Cash In A Flash System interview an 8-year overnight success story! Don’t expect that potential clients will know who you are after only one contact. In marketing we call it the rule of seven for a reason. For the same reason I know that you and I also have to build a report. What I do is transparent. Irrespective on whether or not you like the content and the boldness, but there are no secrets to what I do and I am very clear.

2.) Unless you want to work for free and give everything away don’t expect that you’ll get everything for free either. Respect that when someone offers you something for free that there’ll be a pitch. If you offer something for free make sure that you’ll figure out a way to tie in your win-win. Think about Michael Albany who is giving away free portraits for the unemployed. I made sure I told him that he needs to get some serious PR out of this event. While the shots are technically free, his win-win will and should come from massive exposure. Do you even know what that type of exposure will be worth for your business? But will that delude his charitable thought? Is it better or worse that more people know about it? Is it a bad thing that the news are for once good? Shouldn’t people know that some people do something good? WHO CARES!!! This is BUSINESS.

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3.) If you want to do things for free and give them away – do what my Dad told me to do. He said to become very successful and become a powerful person. Then find a charity that you generously support. That is what I do and what most if not all successful people do. When you have a lot of money you can do a lot of good. My coach James Malinchak told me on a call last Friday that he was at a huge charity event at UCLA. He is successful beyond imagination and he donates a lot of his time and money for great causes. One of the speakers at the event who runs a $70 mill company said that he just paid $25 mill in taxes. He believes that it is his obligation to do even better next year so he can pay more taxes. Why? Look at these budget cuts. Is there anything more important than to pay taxes so we can reinstate important programs? I love it when I hear about this kind of mindset and when I write my checks to my coaches and to my charities I remind myself that this is who I choose to be.

3.) Poverty versus Prosperity Mindset

This one is driving me bananas. Stay with me for a minute. If you say spending or investing what do you think happens in your brain? Spending means you expect the money to go out of the door and that is that. Investing means that you expect that there is a return on your investment. So which of the two is a better mindset? Please from here on forward say that you invested in a new camera, lighting system, conference, membership and of course – coaching.

4.) I can’t…. (your words go here). Times are tough for many, that is right and I am not disputing it.  But someone gets that job to shoot the car. Someone shoots the wedding, the celebrity cover, the at-home story, publishes the book with lots’ of images and and and. That needs to be you. Unless you have a firm expectation that this person at the top of the game, genre, niche will be you, stop shooting. Don’t tell me you woke up one day and said I want to be a mediocre, struggling and penny pinching photographer. So get back to that attitude that you used to have where you said I am going to make a killing in photography and will be a recognized and respected photographer. If that is not you right now – guess what? What you are doing isn’t working so well. So go and find out what you need to do to change that. How? First you got to get the right mindset and motivation. Next figure out how the successful people do it. Invest in courses, coaching, education, training and seminars and do what you have to so you can snap out of your current “I Can’t” misery. Can you afford to not do it?

5.) Get yourself educated on what’s going on around you. The industry has changed so dramatically unless you get with the program it could get even tougher. There are so many cool new toys and ideas out there that you could implement that will make a huge difference for your business. I will just give you one tip, if you do a repetitive task you need to find a way to automate it. And yes, that will include one of those email blast services that fill up your mailbox. And you might not even like that or fight the fact that this is where it’s going. How about if you just find a way to put it together that you are OK with the way YOU use it and that it follows your standards.

That’s it for a Monday morning pep talk. Now go and step out of your comfort zone and examine what you can improve in your photography business.

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I am rooting for you and please send me your stories and questions.

Your coach Beate

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