Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed,
I just got this from Michael whom I asked to be a guest blogger. His story needs to be told. We just recently met via LinkedIn and Michael signed up for the FREE INFO that I give away. I just loved his idea and when I find something that I like, I support it anyway I can. You may remember that I featured his idea in the Made Me Look section. So take a look and read for yourself how he took ONE IDEA that he got from a FREE MINI BUSINESS SESSION that I give away and blew it out of the water and ended up with $100,000 of free advertising was featured on three TV stations and is a fully booked busy photographer – and all in one month! For those of you who would like to pick up this idea for your city please contact him directly, info at the bottom. Nothing makes me happier than a great success story! Just amazing.
My oh my, what a wonderful… event! On August 26th I did the Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed and it was fantastic! A stellar turnout! I want to take a moment to review all that this event was, how it came about and why.
Having been released from my corporate position back in February I decided to take my part time photography business full time. I have been doing all types of marketing, and really pushing myself online as best as I knew how. Business however was far from booming.
I had joined many different photography groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and others. I would look at all the blogs I could find and read all I could. One day I saw a post from the person whose name just caught my eye, Beate. That was the same name as my ex-wife’s cousin and you don’t see that name often here in the US, at least not if you are a typical American like me and only speak one language! I read her post.
Wow! Here is a woman who worked with not one but a few of my favorite photographers, and specifically Helmut Newton. Add to that she had a successful stock photography company that she sold to Bill Gates of all people. Her post was talking about her website and program on how to have a successful photography business. And it’s great information! She offered a few things for free so I signed up.
I had joined my local chamber of commerce and I was trying to network with people but as the new kid on the block, not that I am new or do I even resemble a kid, most people said, “Oh a photographer, nice to meet you. Do you do weddings?“ and they moved on. I knew I showered that day…
Through all of this I needed to come up with something that would let people know I was not only serious, but talented too. I listened to Beate Chelette’s free audio and the thing that really stuck was thinking outside the box. At least that is the message I got from it. I am sure everyone gets something different from it, but I am just as sure that everyone gets something from it.
Then one day it hit me. Who needs photography work and will be the most appreciative? People that can’t afford it! Well there are plenty of people that can’t afford things these days, that’s for sure. I knew a lot of people who have been laid off and some of those people were calling me asking if I still had this or that photo of them from this event or that holiday party. And I thought, Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed! And so it was born…
Originally when I set this up I didn’t know how it would go. Was I doing this for me or for the unemployed? I can tell you that I was doing this for them; I just got lucky and hit on a gift that gives back, too. So I set a date and started posting announcements.
I threw it up on LinkedIn first. Beate saw my post. We had chatted back and forth a few times so she wasted no time telling me it was a great idea. That same day she wrote about it on her blog. Because of that, other photographers started writing to me asking questions. People as far away as Perth Australia started commenting. My idea was growing thanks to Beate. Hits on my website went up over 3200% and they are still growing.
Beate gave me a few things to think about while I was doing this and I listened to everyone. I took her advice without question and it has paid off, big time! I contacted all the media I could at her suggestion and I am glad I did.
On the day of the event we had a full book, we had walk-ins, and talk about press! Three of the four local televisions stations showed up; we had local morning drive time DJs announcing it and the cities news radio station did an extensive interview and aired it three times that day. That all drove more people to the event!
Since then I can’t tell you how many calls I have gotten. Many from the postcards I handed out to everyone that attended that day. My phone is ringing constantly, I have been booked all this week, I have talked to 5 photographers that are considering doing this in their cities and one, Bill Anderson from Indianapolis Indiana who just scheduled his event.
At Beate’s suggestion I am offering a special. For the month of September I am giving a discount on my rates for those that are working but still want or need business portraits done. It has been an amazingly successful promotion. I am busy!
It has been very busy month or so. But I’m not done yet. Something else Beate said to me in the midst of all this, “think about what’s next too.”
I am working on a second event that will be sponsored by one of the local news stations. We are still working on details but I can say that there will most likely be another event in November. That event will get a huge push by this news team.
Lastly I want to say that Beate also gave me tips on how handle an interview and how to get my promotions in so they stayed in. My god did that work! Afterward the interviewer said, “That was great. You’ve done this before.” No I hadn’t. Never.
You can see some of the resulting shots of the event at www.magickmichael.com and in the near future I will have a video or two on my blog at http://www.zhounder.com . I am hoping to get a copy of the interview too as I haven’t seen it yet!
Stay tuned, and until next time…
Magick Michael Photography