I made 24 bucks my 1st year. How “pickle farming” grew me to 6 figures. Without vinegar.

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Let me tell you a quick story before I deep dive into my miserable first year of business.

 

Then I’ll share the strategies I used to grow to 24k, then 50k, then $99,978 (I’m calling it 6 figures!) 3 years later.

 

I heard a version of this story recently from a class by Andre Chaperon (not an affiliate link...just giving credit where credit is due!)

 

It goes something like this:

 

There are two farmers.

They decide to go in together and buy and sell pickles at the farmer’s market.

They load up a truck with pickles they buy at $2/jar.

They spend all of Saturday at the market, selling pickles at $2/jar.

At the end of the day, they do the math and realize they just broke even.

Farmer 1 says to Farmer 2:

“Next time I guess we need to load up a bigger truck.”

 

I’m sure you can see what’s wrong with that comment at the end.

 

A bigger truck just equals more work, and will still be break even on the pickles!

 

The moral of the story, is that if it’s not profitable now, scaling up will only make things worse.


 

So what’s this got to do with my photography business?

And how can you scale to 6 figures, is it impossible?

(the short answer is NO - I’ll share the simple math equation below, and you can get more free resources here).

 

So the first year I was in business, I was also working full-time as a secretary at a copier and toner refill company.

 

Like many of you, I was working my tail off to hopefully in the end make it a full-time and profitable gig.

 

After all was said and done, I profited a whopping $24, without paying myself a dime!

Now obviously it isn’t as cut and dry as the picle truck example, nothing is.

I had to buy gear, prints, website hosting, the list goes on. You get it.

 

But at that point I realized things weren’t working…


 

If I doubled my clients from 18 that year to 36 clients the next year, I would STILL only make $48!

 

Ofcourse that’s given the same average sale, same price list, same expenses, etc.

 

It wasn’t the number of clients I was getting, it was the equation I was working with.

 

2-2=0

It will ALWAYS = 0.

 

Any ways - I knew I needed to gain some knowledge on how to make my business work.

 

I became addicted to conferences, blog posts, online learning, you named it.

 

And one thing I came to realize, was that it was all great information.

 

However, there was a very specific ORDER in which things needed to be done.

And nobody was really talking about that.

 

If you just started getting more clients but you weren’t even making a profit, just like in the above example, you would just work more and still not make a dime!

 

The same is true for time, by the way.

Even if you’re making say 50k/year, and you’re working 50 hours a week.

And say you want to earn 100k next year….so you want to double your clients.

Now using simple math, you’ll be working 100 hrs a week!

That just doesn’t work. At least not if you want to have a family, a life, or get any sleep.

Again, their are obviously variables, but we’re going to keep it simple.

 

So the question becomes -

 

How do we change 2-2=0,

 

To 3-2=1? (Earning more per client)

Or even 2-1=1? (Cutting expenses)

Or how about 3-1=2? (BOTH earning more per client AND cutting expenses)

 

At that point we can scale. We can absolutely scale!

 

A truck starting at 3-1=2

Then doubling its volume

Will now be 6-2=4.

 

Thus also doubling it’s profit.

And of course there are a lot more complex things going on...like when you scale up some of your expenses will stay the same, so you’ll make a higher profit. But also you may start needing to hire on help, so you profit less there.

We aren’t going to go into those complex issues today.


 

So let me ask you a question -

At the current state of your business, whether you’re breaking even, losing, or highly profitable, how can you change the equation?

 

Let me give you some ideas and a resource (it’s free) that will help you start putting these things into place.

 

Making more per client:

    • Start either doing in-person-sales (Christine Yodsukar NAILS IT and takes you step by step through the process)

    • Tweaking your marketing to attract people who want to purchase products (Chris Scott talks about how to set your website apart, and literally come to YOU over others, because of your specialized gallery that’s different from the norm)

    • Modify how you sell online (Vicki Taufer teaches how she uses a simple email to get clients ready to purchase more, which works even for online gallery selling)

 

Cutting out the waste:

  • Do you REALLY need all of that extra stuff? (Melissa Reynolds talks about how she scaled down and moved her studio, so she could work less and make more)

  • Stop over spending by knowing what your bills coming up are (Megan Lane talks about a simple system that requires NO accounting knowledge that will let you quickly peak at your bank account and know what you get to spend, what to pay yourself, and what needs to stay in the bank!)

 

Now it’s time to scale!

First, start saving time so that you can use that extra time to market!

  • Save time by using technology in a smart way (Cole teaches how to use a free technology to make thinks run smooth, show you as more professional, and give your clients a better experience)

  • Offload the tasks you don’t need to be doing (Garrett and Jared show you how to look at all of your tasks, and see what you should NOT be doing. They’ll show you how to save time by outsourcing editing, blog posts, and more)

 

Now let's get more clients!

  • Get FOUND and SEEN with simple SEO tweaks (Joy and Time Vertz share very easy tasks that won’t take you much time, to get you to the top of Google)

  • Make your website a client generating machine (Nate Grahek shows you the 5 website mistakes that are very common, and how to tweak your website so you get actual paying clients)

  • Use Facebook ads the RIGHT way (Easton Reynolds will arm you with strategies to write mouth-watering ad copy, and how to grab attention)


 

This is just a SMALL list of the 39 classes at the free 6 Figure Year Online Event that’s about to start!

 

You can signup right here at this link.


 

Cheers!

 

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. I never really did explain how I scaled up, did I! Just gave you the strategies and the link to the 6 Figure Year Event.

 

I don’t want to leave you hanging - so here’s the simple answer:

 

Step 1: I changed my pricing. From a $199 and $299 package (the only options I had) to $249-$1250. My average changed almost immediately from $250 to $749.

 

Step 2: I was FREAKING AFRAID. To change my pricing. Of what people would think. Of not getting booked. But I knew my numbers, and knew this was a MUST. It was all about knowing my numbers while also figuring out mindset (also a BIG topic of the summit)

 

Step 3: I switched to IPS and projection. In 2009 I quit my day job. And Within 3 years (so in 2011) of that crappy $24 year, I was able to bump my average portrait sale to $1,050 and my average wedding to $2,700. Soon after I started doing engagement sessions with IPS, and that added an extra $600 to each wedding.

 

I started basically taking on less clients, but overall making more per client, and profiting more.

 

Obviously the above is a simple explanation - the classes in the 6FY will give you a lot more how-to, from super smart people on those topics.


 

P.P.S. On Sunday during the live kickoff of the 6FY, you’ll get to learn some of my strategies and also ask me any question...so signup here.

Fly paper and dog vommit - REAL life...i'm kinda embarassed ;)

Try not to judge the toys strewn about my house...(it's actually often way worse!)

...or the fly tape still hanging from last July...

...or the mess of papers in piles on the dining room table that we bought 18 months ago and finally felt like we are "adults" because we got rid of the small square 50's blue table we found in a basement...

This is real life!

  Above: What you'll see during the free      6 Figure Year Online Event

Above: What you'll see during the free 6 Figure Year Online Event

  Above: "Real Life." Fly tape,      dog vomit    and all :)

Above: "Real Life." Fly tape, dog vomit and all :)

But, it's "behind-the-scenes."

You see, today I couldn't record one of the final 6 Figure Year Online [free] event classes in my studio with my guest (Andrew Funderburg...you know, the one and only "Fundy!").

I moved my studio, and the internet hasn't been hooked up yet.

So I had to improvise and figure out a place at home...near a window, without street noise, simple backdrop without clutter/piles of Lego (fun fact, multiple pieces of Lego are still Lego - no "s" added...though here's a fun argument about it).

Anywhoo-

The REAL point here is that appearances are just that: appearances.

Shoot - normally I'm in a hoodie without makeup on with my glasses (that's how I am right now actually while I write this).

And behind every seemingly polished person, business, household, EVERYthing, is "the fly tape."

The not-so-glamorous.

The REAL LIFE.

And the problem is this:

When you're on the internet...browsing Facebook, Instagram, etc, what you're seeing is a highly curated collection of what people WANT you to think they are.

Polished.

Happy.

Well-off.

Messy hair don't care (hm...maybe they do care).

And that?

Is a recipe for feeling like dog vomit (there was literally dog vomit on my staircase because I was in too much of a rush to clean it up this morning...so there's that...it's cleaned up now :)

One of the most important things I've learned over the past few months, especially from the 6 Figure Year Speakers, is to stop looking at people's top .05%.

The .05% "everything is perfect."

The .05% highlight reel of their lives.

Because honestly?

Your .05% highlight reel is JUST as good.

One of the first classes on Day 1 of the 6 Figure Year is Ben Hartley - and he's talking ALL about getting past that type of thing, PLUS other things like fear...of pricing, of standing out, of doing the thing(s) you know you SHOULD be doing to get further in your business (but aren't).

Because it's REALLY hard to do anything.

Especially anything "new," if you think you'll never be able to get anywhere close to the success of people you're seeing online.

Seriously.

Next time you start to think that way, just imagine my fly tape, dog vomit household (that once the kids get home from daycare/school is much, much worse).

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards.

 

P.S. Why haven't we taken the fly tape down?!? It's much like "ad fatigue." Basically, once you're seen something for a long time, you don't even notice it even more. So for us, the fly tape was up last summer, and by the time late September hit, we forgot it even existed.

P.P.S. Do me a favor. If you haven't already, go on and signup for the free 6 Figure Year Online Event (we just announced 5 brand new classes on top of the other 14) at this link. There is SO MUCH value.

I may be biased - as I am the creator. But I gotta say. The information I've learned from these speakers includes a LOT of things I haven't heard before, or are a completely fresh look on a topic I HAVE heard. I've had many "aha" moments...and I'm like an online course/blog post/audioble book nerd.

The 3 Tweaks That Completely Flipped Everything I THOUGHT I Knew About My Photography Business

Some of these may sound so simple.

So obvious.

Because, well, they are.

Chances are at least one (if not ALL) of them will be things that have been right in front of you for years.

But you just haven’t noticed.

Sort of like how it is being a photographer vs. a customer -

WE see the things...the long eyelashes, the way a husband smiles at his wife, the way the peeling paint on the 100-year-old-building shows texture in the golden hour.

And our customers applaud us for seeing the things that have been in front of them all along.

 

These are the best things.

Because they’re simple, not complicated.

They just make sense.

They are beautiful in their simplicity.

They are timeless.

 

I’ll warn you - this blog post is about very  “high-level” strategies and ways of looking at things. Not specific tactics like post 3x/day on facebook.

 

That being said, I won’t leave you hanging on how to implement - I’ll be pointing you in the right direction to free resources, to the speakers, educators, industry leaders who have the specific steps and how-to’s you’ll want to follow-up on.


 

Thing #1: Resentment of clients and even yourself is often due to lack of boundaries and systems.

A simple way to put that into place.

References:

 

Thing #2: Marketing isn’t one big lump “thing” or “activity.” It’s broken down into 4 specific stages with defined lines. If you do them out of order, or skip one, results will be disappointing.

The 4 stages in order, and how to “do it right.”


 

Thing #3: When we can’t get past fear of doing “the thing” we know we need to do, we will not take action. Without action, knowledge is useless.

How to get past our fears of what others will think of our pricing, of reaching out to that vendor or clothing boutique, of getting past “I’m not good enough.”

 

To sum it all up - how you think about your business can drastically change a LOT of things.

  • How much action you take
  • How happy you are in your business
  • How many clients you get
  • And much, much more.

We'd LOVE to have you signup to watch the free classes mentioned during the 6 Figure Year Online Event for portrait and wedding photographers.

You can do so at this link.

Hope to "see" you there!

 

Cheers,

Lisa Edwards

Where the frosting meets the cupcake [Cash + Freedom FINALE!]

The Fourth part of this hugely useful series (yes modesty isn’t a strong suit for me) covers one of THE most important keys to putting your incredible ideas (or stealing one of mine) into action and making a profit from it.

Now to be fair, I could have shared this at the beginning but you know what they say...save the best for last...also they say patience is a virtue...so wait “just” a little longer so I can recap the first three days:

On day one we talked about the need for sessions this time of year (quit your burger-flipin thoughts!

On day two I showed you the crazy idea generator for unique (and profitable) sessions.

On day three I gave you a technique for deciding if your idea was right - if it was for the right people who could (and would be willing to) pay for your idea.

Day four is all about how to move your idea into action.

It’s about creating an offer with a plentiful target market, talking to them in the RIGHT way, and crafting the perfect ratio of creative + traditional. Of wacky + normal. Of insanely brilliant + just plain beautiful.

 

Introducing the Mouthwatering Mini Session + Creative Kicker

You’re going to get my framework for how and why I do this in the next few paragraphs.

But honestly? I have SO MUCH MORE to share with you - my exact strategy for putting a 6k Mini Session in action this diabolically slooooooow late Winter/Spring.

So for those of you who want advanced information, sign up for my Free Master Class event happening next week here. You’ll get to steal my “Celebrate Mother's” session + kicker idea if you’d like, or just use your own idea around the same framework. More on this at the end of the email.

 

What on planet earth is Mouthwatering Mini Session + Creative Kicker?

Well, my friend, I’m so glad you asked.

It’s a creative idea, a wacky idea, an idea SO FUN and/or SO UNIQUE that people want to do it.

However, it’s just a small, tiny little portion of the session. The last 3-5 minutes of a 15 minute mini-session.

Wait a minute...stop the train LISA! Why wouldn’t I create something crazy/creative/wacky out of the whole session?

 

Why in the yellow-snow are you trying to stifle my creativity!

So here’s the thing.

People WANT creative.

People come to YOU because you ARE creative.

But when it comes to opening their pocketbooks and parting with their cash?

More times than not, they’ll spend much, much more on the simply beautiful portraits.

I know this from experience.

In my past years' senior model programs some seniors get a “themed” session that happens during my slow season.

Moms LOVE these! The seniors LOVE these! But they only ever buy a few.

Sure, you could argue that that might be because they just had a senior session 6 months prior.

But it isn’t just with my senior models - it’s with my family sessions, it’s with my tween sessions. The pattern is all the same.

Moms want to buy gifts -> Higher-ticket gifts go to grandparents -> Grandparents like smiles and prettiness and “traditional”

So here it is, and what would one of MY emails be without another math equation?!?

10 Minutes of “pretty,” + “5 minutes of crazy wackiness” = Your Mouth Watering Session + Creative Kicker

You want examples now, don’t you?

You want to know how you can put your Crazy Wacky Mini Session idea into a bonafide marketing-mayhem and make boats of money in weekend, don’t you?

Well I ALSO want to share this with you!

I have seen far, far, FAR too many of my colleagues and even past classmates either quit photography or run themselves ragged with a “$150 Here’s EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink” mini session.

And I hate it - I hate seeing them struggle.

I hate it because they are amazing photographers. I hate it because I know the hours and hours they are spending, and that they deserve to have the money to pay off their credit card, they deserve to make a real living doing something that they love.

I hate it because (deep gulp because this is a scary thing to say) some of them are better photographers than me particularly at kids and newborns, and I feel a tinge of guilt, because they should be making as much if not more than I am.

OK - back to the sarcastic, a bit egotistical photobacon-a-licous (not to be confused with “Fer-ga-licous”) Lisa you’ve all grown to love despite the somewhat annoying tone she uses.

To make things even more fantastic and to continue this winning streak that we have unleashed over the past three weeks, I am teaching you some of my best methods to kick serious money-making photographer ASS in a 60-minute time-frame.

Sign Up for the Master Class “5 Steps to a 6K Winter Weekend - The Exact Path to Book Celebrate Mother's Mini Sessions.”

  • You'll learn to how to create an irresistible offer to pull in 6K this winter, an offer that will make even the most self-conscious mom look past those “extra 20 pounds of baby weight” and feel she needs to book this mini session NOW (not for her, for her kids)!
  • You will understand why most mini sessions fail to pull in more than $150 a pop each (and why yours should be more like $450, even up to $900). And no, I’m absolutely NOT suggesting in-person sales for mini sessions.
  • You'll discover the 3 Psychological Triggers that Make Moms Buy (and how to use this to create both good-will AND sales)

Sign up for this absolutely fantastic, life-changing and business transforming series at this link.

>>> Sign Up For the Free Master Class Here <<<

Cheers to a 6K Winter Weekend!

Lisa Edwards

P.S. “Master Class” is my fancy way of trying to make “webinar” sound less boring and snore-worthy...what do you think, maybe I should change it to “Ass-Kicking Class?” Your comments and thoughts greatly appreciated.

P.P.S. When you click this link about the Master Class - what do you think about my head shot? I was debating use this “nice” one or one of me holding a Photoshopped platter of bacon in my hand with a “surprised” look...too much? Yes, no?

My stinky idea flop that left my studio smelling like animal poop + my bank account empty [Cash + Freedom Step 3]

My studio smelled like dirty animal.

You know, the smell of wood chips + animal poop, kind of like how your 3rd grade classroom smelled when you had Gerry the pet gerbil.

The reason for this?

Baby chicks.

8 cute, soft, utterly adorable -- baby chicks.

But worse than the stench of my studio?

Was that my seemingly AMAZING and CREATIVE idea that I thought nobody else in my town was doing? Cost more than the money I brought in - WOOPS.

 

It flopped.

 

My bank account was empty, and my ego was ashamed. I had people asking me, “how are your baby chick sessions going?”

And the only thing I could say was, “they’re going really good, I’m having a ton of fun!”

Never-mind I only had 3 sessions after spending at least 10 hours doing a test shoot and promoting it on Facebook.

Never-mind I freaking despised the sessions - I couldn’t get the damn baby chicks to do what I wanted while also chasing around crying 3-year-olds.

Never-mind that I was slightly frightened of the baby chicks because they pecked at my hands when I took them out of their cage (really just a WHCC cardboard box with newspaper).

So why did my idea flop?

Welp, I’m going to teach you why it flopped, and show you how to evaluate the ideas you came up from the last email to decide if it’s a Profit Puller, or a Profit Flop-er-oo. this is the process I go through, and I haven’t had something so shameful happen to me since.

...[ Teaser alert ] In tomorrow's email I’m going to share with you the 3-step blueprint I use, that you can too, to transform you irresistible idea into a 6k cash injection ANY time of year (in fact, I do it 3-4 times per year).

Why my idea flopped - aka “Two Ways YOU can have an idea that belly-flops like mine!”

1. The delusional thoughts that lead to my self-destruction.

AKA - “my idea is so unique” syndrome.

While I THOUGHT I was the only one doing a “baby animal” session around Easter, the truth was? I just didn’t know about them yet. There were at least 3 other photographers offering a myriad of baby animal sessions. To put it bluntly, my idea was NOT unique. Why should someone come to my studio when the next studio was doing it for cheaper?

And, I know what you’re thinking, maybe everyone else just copied you. OK, so maybe you’re NOT thinking that, but I was thinking that 4 years ago when I did this session. The truth? They probably weren’t copying me.

LESSON: your “unique” idea might not be unique.

2. The wimpy idea vs. idea’s on steroids.

The other photographers did the idea better. It was like they had my idea but on steroids. One photographer didn’t just have baby chicks, she had goats and bunnies! Another photographer had baby chicks and lambs! The point was, they had at least two types of animals. I only had one (and thank god for that)!

LESSON: your idea needs to be ON STEROIDS if other photographers are doing something similar.

Take 10 seconds, and go ahead and laugh at my expense.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of our system, let's take a looksey at the ideas you came up with from the previous email, and go through the “steroids” process. That is, the process of making your idea unique and not something every other photographer down the street is doing. All the benefits of steroids without the acne or roid-rage outbursts.

The Steroid Infused Twist Process

Step 1: Mix-and-match two categories from the idea generator worksheet (you can find it here).

Create at least 20 mix-and-match combinations.

Now, before you start shunning your ideas thinking things like, “sure it’s creative, but nobody would hang a wall portrait of that idea...nobody would buy an entire ALBUM of that idea…” I want you to look PAST that.

Because, 1) you’re right, most people won’t by a wall portrait of an album of these crazy ideas (like white-washing each other with snow, for example...ok, maybe I PERSONALLY would).

BUT, 2) your session won’t necessarily BE only the “steroid-infused twist.” The twist is what gets them to notice you and gets them in the door, the rest of the session is where the money is being made (more on the steps to do this in next week’s lesson)

Target Market + Twist = Irresistible Idea

Target market examples from your worksheet would be things like hockey team, tweens, people who sled, and snowmobilers.

Twist ideas are your wacky, sometimes incredibly insane ideas from your worksheet from categories such as“things to throw” or “things people eat this time of year.”

Example: Ice skaters throwing buckets of water (a la “flour” photos, or do an indoor spin on it and actually DO flour photos of ice skaters), snowmobilers and their families drinking cocoa and roasting marshmallows at their day-camp, tween sledding party.

Step 2: Evaluate if this idea can be profitable, by using the Pay Certainty Test.

You need a market both WILLING and ABLE to pay - the “pay certainty factor”

Let me share a little story of a past client with you.

She walked in with Steve Madden heels, a Loui Vuitton purse dangling from her elbow, walking arm-in-arm with her husband, the son of one of the largest construction company’s in town.

She walked out?

With nothing.

Let's be frank: The photos were legitimately good. And I RARELY get a “no purchase.” It happens maybe once every two years - and this time? It was a complete shock to me. So this is a case where they had the means to pay for the photos, but they didn’t put much value on the photographs themselves.

However, one could argue that it is a possibility that they actually didn’t have money in the bank - that all of their money was tied up in mortgages and the designer purses.

Unfortunately - you can never totally avoid these types of situations. BUT, you can minimize your chances of these things happening.

The Pay-Certainty Test

Step 1: Ask yourself, does this target market have the MEANS to pay for your work?

In other words, can they afford me?

I know what you’re thinking. How can I really know if someone has the money to afford me?

There are certain professions and even sports that have a higher household income.

But before I share some of these with you, I want to let you know that there are always exceptions. Not all people with certain professions or in certain sports have disposable income. And at the same time, some people with minimum wage jobs can live frugally and have other sources of income that allow them a disposable income.

A word of caution: the suggestions below are based around what I have found in my community of 33,000 people in Montana. Just because people who work for the city/county usually have disposable income, doesn’t mean they will for you (the cost of living here may be much lower).

Professions: Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Orthodontists, people with a 4-year degree in general, Miners/anyone that works in a working mine, people who work for the city/county, people who work at the hospital, owners of construction company’s (although you know how that one panned out for me one time), business owners who have been around for 10+ years (if they’ve made it this far - chances are they have a profitable business. This is not always the case, however).

Sports / Interests / Schools - these ideas come from the fact that to be in most of these sports, it generally costs a lot of money.

Hockey, traveling sports teams, traveling dance teams, equestrian sports (horses), skiing/snowboarding, (minus the college ski bum), snowmobiling, private school sports teams / groups.

In other words, while you can target families who like to go sledding, any family can afford to go sledding. You are targeting everyone from people below the poverty line to those well above it.

On the other hand, if you target people on the hockey team, let me be clear - the gear is not cheap. There is a lot of travel costs associated with it. And, it isn’t a “school” sport in my town, meaning everything expense related comes out-of-pocket from the parents - there’s no “school money” or “tax money” brought in to it at all.

Step 2: Ask yourself, do they WANT to pay for your work?

Just because they pass question #1, doesn’t mean they will actually put a high value on photography and pay you what you deserve to make.

This step is much harder to figure out. And the only real way to understand if they are willing to pay, is to offer something to sell and see what happens.

And your “offer” is something we’ll talk about next week.

Until then, here are your next action steps.

  • Cross off any session ideas above from the Steroid Infused Twist that don’t pass the “pay-certainty” test.

  • Mix-and-match at least 20 session ideas to create a Client + Twist (find worksheet instructions and the worksheet from last week here)

  • Commit to ONE client target idea, and come up with 10-20 variations of a “twist.” Then, circle your top 2-3 twist ideas.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's lesson - where I’ll share with you exactly HOW to go about generating cash from these ideas, and my most lucrative Client + Twist idea that brought me in 9k last year (this framework brings me in at least 6k each time I implement).


Cheers to 6k!

Lisa Edwards

P.S. In you case you missed them, you can read Cash + Freedom Week 1 here, and Week 2 here. Tomorrow will be the finale - you won’t want to miss it!

P.P.S. Don’t forget to like us on facebook - where we share MORE delicious, bacon-infused strategies for photography!

[Step 2 to Freedom + Cash] Booku Bucks with Profitable Ideas

Yesterday we talked about why we feel like the freedom has been sucked out of us this time of year - because the phone doesn’t ring when it’s the subarctic, post-holiday time of year.

Today we’re coming up with irresistible ideas for slow-season sessions, and in the next lesson we’ll evaluate what ideas will help you make cash because people will WANT to pay for those sessions.

Today I’m gettin’ all tactical up in here. Less theory, more doing. And, if you’ve got a spare 5 minutes on your hands, be sure to do my idea generating exercise in this email.

So today = creativity. The next email = technical and evaluative.

But today, today, my dear photographer, you’re going to let your ideas flow.

But before we get started, it’s important I give you a few rules.


Rule #1: no idea is a dumb idea. Scribble down even the most insane, crazy-person ideas in your head that will “never work because…”


Rule #2: NO IDEA IS A DUMB IDEA. The more crazy it sounds? The more you need to write it down.

Today is about generating as many ideas as you can, without holding back. In the next lesson we’ll start axing things off the list. But today? Let’s go crazy.

The session-generating machine

Download the worksheet with the form below:

 

Write down 5-10 answers to the following:

  • What are things you ONLY do outdoors this time of year? (ex: sledding)

  • What are things you ONLY do indoors this time of year? (ex: sip hot cocoa)

  • What sports happen this time of year? (ex: hockey)

  • What can you throw? (ex: snow)

  • What can you punch? (ex: Lisa’s face...er...just kidding...scratch this from the list)

  • What do you eat/drink this time of year? (ex: tea)

  • What do you hate about this time of year? (ex: slipping on ice and falling on my face)

  • Where do parents have kids birthday parties this time of year? (ex: the pizza place with the carousel)

  • What do people wear this time of year that they don’t other months? (ex: Ughs)

  • What has a cult following that you just don’t (or do) get? (ex: American Idol)

  • What age groups / demographics do people leave out? (ex: tweens, retired couples)

Ok, I told you to NOT judge your ideas. But you did, right? You were judgy mcjudgerson, like Judge Judy yelling at the lady who didn’t pay the $500 back to her baby daddy that she borrowed to bail out her other baby daddy…

So go back and put those crazy ideas in there, alright? And as the weekend goes by, jot down more ideas. You know, those amazing ideas you have in the shower or while driving or while binging on Ghirardelli sea-salt, caramel, dark chocolate’s (the square ones in the blue wrapper).

Alright then, I’m glad we got that out of the way.

So here’s the thing - you’ve got some good, some bad, some darn UGLY ideas written down. 

Tomorrow we’re going step-by-step through the process of how to evaluate which ideas will actually make you money (and how to turn seemingly crazy ideas into something people will pay for.)

And some of the craziest, wildest ideas may or may not make the cut - but even if they don’t make the cut? I’m going to show you how you can use them in your marketing copy, mad-lib style.

Plus?

I’m going to share an epic idea flop...an idea I was SO SURE would be a hit and make me tons of money, but just left my studio with a stench (literally) and less cash in my pocket than when I started.

Cheers to the crazy ones with crazy ideas!

 

Lisa Edwards

I need to start making money with my business now, or else get a “real” job + [Cash + Freedom] Step One

My bloated heart nearly shattered into a bazillion shards when one of you emailed me this recently, “I need to start making money with my business now, or else get a “real” job.

Not because I felt bad for you, but because I’ve been there.

Truth be told, we’ve all been there. And if a photographer tells you otherwise, they’re either lying or have a fatty trust fund they dip into every month.

FACT: over the next 4 days, I’ll be arming you with the strategies to get booked during the slow season.

So today, we’re going over:

Step 1: the Down & Dirty of why you REALLY need sessions (it’s not the money)

Let’s get down and dirty, and talk about what you really want out of your business.

It’s not to get butt-loads of clients during the slow season.

It’s not to buy the 85mm 1.4 lense and feel like you’re in the “cool kid” photographer club.

It’s not even the money.

No really, it’s not the damn MONEY!

I know what you’re thinking, “what the hell is she talking about - of-course I have to make money!”

Yep - you are correct!

But here’s the thing - money isn’t what you want.

Freedom is what you want.

No, it’s what you need.

For your own sanity and the well-being of your children (because let’s face it, a few years ago when I was broke? I was one angry momma that could explode at any moment).

The freedom to buy your morning half-caf latte at Starbucks without feeling guilty you’re overspending.

The freedom to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park for a winter photography excursion and photograph frosty bison (I don’t get you people, seriously...do you really want to freeze your butt off and get that close to a herd of beasts?)

The freedom to buy that 85mm 1.4 lens (and not the damn Sigma, the Nikon, BABY!) without guilt, so that yes, you can feel like one of the “cool photographers” that can afford it.

 

And freedom is really freakin' hard to come by during the slow season - these winter, subarctic months where sometimes you submit test forms from your website just to make sure the form isn’t broken (you mean it isn’t broken? REALLY? You mean nobody is even TRYING to book sessions?)!

Straight-up fact: 80% of you that filled out my survey, listed your biggest business problem as getting sessions (or some form of that).

After looking at the stats, I had a “lightbulb” moment.

Photographers are freedom-deprived. The need for sessions = the need for cash = the need for the freedom that money brings you.

And if you aren’t making money in your photography business?

You have no freedom.

You would have more freedom if you flipped burgers at McDonald’s and had money to spend on fun things (and yes, a few years back I actually considered it).

So the theme of this next 4 days is this: Cash + Freedom

What’s the first step to get cash and freedom this Sprint & Winter?

Well, I’m glad you asked, my dear old friend [imagine me reaching through the screen and patting you on the shoulder...wait that sounds thriller-movie creepy, never mind, scratch that].

Cash + Freedom Step 1: Create an irresistible photo session that people can ONLY get during the late winter/spring, and can ONLY get from you.

That’s right - while all of the other photographers are sitting on their bum’s weeping when they log in to their Wells Fargo online banking - you’ll be checking your account and deciding what tropical vacation to plan for next (just please, don’t post a zillion photos of your feet in flip flops with the ocean in the background).

Hint: I’m not talking about baby chick and goat photos for Easter...that’s WAY to obvious, and everybody does them.

In the next email of the series, I’ll give you the framework for coming up with a session that fits your style, location, and something people will even yes, pay for.

A session they people just can't resist.

Expect that email tomorrow.

Cheers to spending $5.55/day at Starbucks and feeling no guilt! (Except for the guilt of oh-crap, my pants don’t fit anymore, maybe I should stop drinking 450 extra calories a day from this venti, quad, iced-mocha with no whip)

Lisa “Quad Shot” Edwards

P.S. If I waved a magic wand and you had an extra 6K in your bank account right now with no explanation, what would you do with it? Reply in the comments - I read every answer.

Want to Earn 6 Figures and Beyond? FREE Live online event coming up!

Can an online event change your life?

Well, one of our readers watched just ONE of our upcoming LIVE event keynotes, and here's what she said...

 

If ALL you do for yourself even this year is watch Ben Hartley's class...

...if that's ALL you do...

I think it has the power to make a shift in your life, your business.

That's a big freaking promise.

Sign up here to watch. After you signup, you'll get an email with the schedule and how to / when to watch.

Go ahead and signup now for free!

[3 of 3] Introducing My Pink Pickle, TWEENS

We’ve been talking for the past few weeks about The Pink Pickle Strategy, what it is, why “The Big W” came out with it so they could stop competing on price with the “Amazing A.”

They aren’t even COMPETING at all with Amazing A, because Amazing A doesn’t even offer it..

And how it’s not JUST about competing on price, but on creating new business and income that isn’t competing with their own REGULAR pickles.

Because shoot.

You still want a good-old-fashioned green pickle spear next to your grilled cheese!

So you’ll get people buying BOTH pickles.

The same is true with photography. When you create a new type of session that isn’t going to compete with your OTHER sessions.

A new type of session that isn’t even going to compete with any OTHER photographers!

 

Tween Sessions (ages 9-12) is WHERE.ITS.AT.

People come in January, February and March (sometimes even April) for a tween session, which isn’t competing with my busy season in the summer.

Some will come in during the summer or fall AGAIN for a family session. In a year or two one of their older children is a senior and I get that business as well.

It has a domino effect.

But getting that income in January and February, March and April? For ME that is a HUGE weight off my shoulder.

OK. You’re probably thinking, “I have no idea even where to START with tweens!”

And WHY would a mom even DECIDE to book a tween session?

It’s all about the emotion.

It’s what you say and how you say it.

Instead of saying, “Now offering tween sessions,” talking about WHY they should want it.

WHY if they can only do a single thing for their tween daughter, making them feel less pain. Making them feel even a tiny bit better about themselves and how they look?

Now THAT is something a mom would pay ANYTHING for.

If you have children you know what I’m talking about.

If you’ve had a child who didn’t get invited to a birthday party or didn’t get included in something, you know that you would do anything to make that pain and feeling of hurt go away.

But it’s not JUST the photos, either...it’s about creating this experience where moms, parents, teachers, siblings and friends are in on a HUGE surprise…

...quotes and stories mixed with the images when the images are revealed!

So today I’m introducing you to My Free Master Class - How to Book Your Slow Season Solid with Tweens! (SPECIFICALLY this February!)

You can get more of the low-down at this link to signup for this free training all about breaking into the Tween Market.

 

 

[2 of 3] The Pink Pickle Saga Continues & Why You Should Care

This is a pretty smart group of photographers, I must admit.

 

When I asked you what you thought the business strategy behind The Big W’s pink “Tropickle” pickle, the answers floored me.

 

Really, really good stuff here. (If you missed it the last email, check it out here.)

 

And, honestly, it’s fun to read “pink pickle” in my email inbox :)

 

Maybe we should change the rhyme to “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pink Pickles.”

 

NAW.

 

That would be ludicrous…

 

Speaking of ludicrous...remember that guy and his music from back in The Day?

 

OK, let's get back on track.

 

Many of you got one of the BIG Pink Pickle Strategy’s correct.

 

Well, honestly, there really weren’t any WRONG answers.

 

But it goes much, much deeper than you think...the “Strategy BEHIND the Strategy” is where the real golden nugget lies.

 

Have you heard of the 5 Why’s of Toyota?

 

When you get the first reason “why,” ask why again, and again, and again, until you hit “5 Why’s.”

 

BEWARE the example below - I know NOTHING about cars, so car buff’s or anybody who knows anything about cars, don’t correct me please :) :

 

  1. This car’s leaking oil. WHY?

  2. The oil pan is cracked. WHY?

  3. It overheated. WHY?

  4. There’s no coolant. WHY?

  5. The coolant cap is missing and spills out while driving.

 

If you didn’t figure out the problem BEHIND the problem, the new oil pan would just keep cracking again and you’d be replacing it every 6 months...instead, you replace the oil pan AND coolant cap and you have now SOLVED the problem.


 

So you all had great, pretty creative answers, and they are ALL one reason “why.”

(Starbucks card winners you will get an email from me this afternoon, after my oldest son’s Christmas play!)

 

Candy says:

PinkPickleEmailEdited-v2.jpg

YES!

 

Not only are you creating something new and creating a buzz, but you “offer something unusual that people didn’t even know they needed.”

 

Even better? You aren’t competing with yourself.

 

You aren’t just coming out with a pickle that will compete with your Great Value brand...people aren’t choosing one over the other.

 

They are choosing BOTH.

 

They want to try the new pickle, give their kids some entertainment during mealtime,

 

AND they are going to buy another jar of pickles for Saturday sandwich days.

 

You aren’t competing with yourself, or with ANY of the other 13 supermarkets in town. It’s all new money being earned.

 

This is called making the competition irrelevant, and I’m a HUGE fan of this concept.

 

So what’s the DEEPER why?

 

So why does Wal-Mart want to BE the “Purple Cow?”

 

Besides just being innovative and making the competition irrelevant, they want to solve their problem.

 

What’s the “Big W’s” big problem?

 

The “Amazing A.” You know, that store that started by only selling books.

 

And this isn’t just my guess.

 

This background info is my summary of Planet Money’s episode on the Pink Pickle.

 

So, why is The Amazing A a problem?

 

Because since they purchased Whole Foods and dropped the pricing substantially, Big W customers are switching over to The Amazing A.

 

Why is this a problem?

 

Because, Wal-Mart can’t compete on pricing any longer and doesn’t want to be in the race to the ALREADY low “bottom.”

 

***INSERT GASPS***

 

You know it’s truly a remarkable time in our lives when even the big box stores who have the production volume to drop prices and succeed, don’t want to compete on price any longer.

 

Is it just me, or is this stuff fascinating?

 

And in fact, the pink Tropickle isn’t the ONLY new innovation they’ve come up with. Can’t have all your pickles in one jar, right ;)

 

They have a lab called the Culinary and Innovation Center dedicated to this stuff.

 

When you think about it, the battle between The W & The A isn’t so different than what we’re facing, is it.

 

Cutting prices to try and “steal” customers away isn’t anything new, and crosses pretty much every industry.

 

And so we must create our own Pink Pickle.

 

And...I’ll share how to do that coming up in the next email :)

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. I’m opening up Tween Booking Blueprint for a limited amount of time, which is the exact steps of how I created my own Pink Pickle (and you can too) that gets me on average 12-15 bookings in the slow season of Jan-March.  Heck I’d be happy with just 5 :)

 

So if you’re REALLY intrigued by all of this, you can signup to watch the upcoming webinar here (3 times over 3 days).

[1 of 3] How a Pink Pickle is Changing the Photography Industry

Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

A jar of pink pickles stops you in your tracks.

A pickle jar so bright, it’s practically glowing in the the entire aisle of 179 jars of all shapes, sizes, and “cuts” of pickles.

It’s like it was meant to be.

Jar meets hand, meets shopping cart meets checkout, meets bag meets minivan, meets kitchen cabinets meets mouth.

tropickle pink pickle

To be fair…

This pickle isn’t quite on shelves yet.

That visual was just the sensationalist movie reel in my mind when I heard the product announcement.

The photo is my concoction of pickle meets Kool Aid.

 

THE TRUTH:

The Big Chain Store (we’ll just call them The “W”) has invented this product and coined its name.

The pink “Tro-Pickle” is a tropical, fruit punch flavored pickle.

I get it.

I know what you’re thinking.

What’s a pink pickle got do with ME?

A lot, actually. Particularly when it comes to your photography business.

Big W’s invention of the Tropickle is actually, in my opinion, genius.

At least the strategy.

I haven’t been able to get my hands on a jar of these just yet..

...seems kinda disgusting really.

But hey, I’ll try anything once (well MOST things).

I want to give you the answer to the Pink Pickle Strategy.

But first I think we should play a game.

It’s fun, and it’s simple, and you can win 1 of 5 Starbucks Gift Cards.

Just answer me this:

Why do you think the Big W is coming out with this Tropickle, aka “pink pickle?”

BONUS points if you go more in-depth (what business strategies are going on here...it might not be your first gut reaction...)


Hit reply and pop me back your best guess. The best 5 answers win a Starbucks Gift Card.

 

CHEERS!

 

Lisa Edwards


P.S. The Pink Pickle Saga will continue in a few days.

I’m not sure what day I’ll announce the winners yet.

Depends on my mood. My weekend.

So hit reply SOON!

 

P.P.S. I’ll reveal how to use the Pink Pickle Strategy in you business, so be sure to keep opening your email.

How is it that in giving, I felt like crap? Am I a sideshow circus freak or just damaged goods?

She said it out loud…

 

...those words that I had been feeling but had no idea how to articulate…

 

“It’s this fear of saying the wrong thing,” Ashley said.

 

We’ll get back to who “she” is and why you should be listening to her here in a minute...

 

WOAH.

 

8 words that made me realize why for a long time I haven’t been as giving, or as charitable as I’d liked…

 

Not in the “round up to charity” thing on Amazon or the “want to donate to the food bank?” thing at the grocery store…

 

No, not any of those.

 

It’s this desire to want to reach out to families in my community who have a terminal illness and photograph them like they’ve never been photographed before.

 

To GIVE that gift, wanting nothing more in return than to know that in a few years when their loved one is gone, they can relive those smiles, the piggy back rides, the laughter, the hugs.

 

What’s “fear of saying the wrong thing” got do with it?

 

A LOT.

 

I just don’t know what I’d say, I don’t know them that well, what if they don’t even respond?

 

And that fear of what to say, has translated into the fear of what they’ll think.

 

If I post an image of the session with my logo on it...won’t that feel like I’m just trying to use their tragedy as advertising?

 

What do I give them? I don’t want to just give them digital files...I want them to get print. But if I gift them prints and they want to buy MORE...I don’t want them have to SPEND money from a GIFT! But, I can’t give them canvases of EVERYTHING...

 

Let's get a few facts straight.

I HAVE gifted a few sessions like this before.

So many of the feelings above are from my experiences with those sessions.

 

How is it that in giving, I actually made myself feel more like sh*t?

 

Which in turn, has prevented me from giving much at all?

 

Am I a sideshow circus freak or just damaged goods?

I immediately called my good photographer friend Melissa to subtly ask just that. I found out that no, I’m not a crazy person who needs $1 million in therapy sessions.

 

She has had similar thoughts.

 

So what do we DO about that? How can we give one of the (if not THEE) best gift possible, the gift of photography to those who need it, without the worry, the fear, the uncertainty, the feeling like crap afterwards?

 

Ashley Nicole Jones of Love Not Lost is going to teach us how to DO IT RIGHT during Photo Bacon’s newest free online conference in January (more details to come later).

 

How to either give a % to charity, or give the gift of photo sessions to a family in need.

 

Because that’s what she DOES. PERIOD.

 

Love Not Lost “is a non-profit organization who photographs people facing a terminal diagnosis.  Through free portrait sessions and beautiful photo albums, we celebrate life & support people in grief.”

 

BOOM.


 

BUT and a huge BUT….I need your help coming up with questions for her. This is uncharted territory for me, and everything I’m trying to articulate to her turns into gobbledygook!

 

So do me a favor, reply  in the comments (or email lisa[at]photobacon.com) and answer me this:

 

When it comes to giving or wanting to give photo sessions to families in need, what is your biggest frustration, challenge, or hangup? Be as specific and detailed as possible.


 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. Learn more about Love Not Lost at this link...Ashley’s story is AMAZING.

 

She’s one of those rare people who can take her own tragedy, flip it 180 degrees, and turn it into something that betters the lives of others.

 

So check it out at this link, then be sure to reply back to me with the question above!


 

P.P.S. One of my favorite blogs Growth Labs just featured her on their first episode of "Tiny Empires." Check it out here - it's only 9 minutes, and is a truly amazing story of how she's using photography to help others with grief.

Change the conversation from pricing to value [90 second video]

video-matt-lisa-thumbnail.jpg

Today I was chatting with Matt Hoaglin and I had an “aha” moment…

...He made a statement that was subtle, but this subtle tweak in your business can truly change how inquiries and clients talk to you.

“I don’t want people to come into my business with the whole discussion based on price,” Matt said. “It’s just about being creative with how the conversation starts”

Watch the rest of this 90 second (yes seconds not minutes) to see what he’s talking about.

 

This is just a short excerpt from his Master Class Interview that will be live during our free online summit “The 6 Figure Year” coming in January 2018…

...These 90 seconds were so good I just couldn’t keep them to myself :)

 

Check out more about Matt Hoaglin here.

He and his wife have more than 300 photography clients each year, and also teach and mentor other photographers.

Introverted and HATE talking about price and doing sales? ......Me too...

Do you HATE talking about price?

Does the thought of in-person sales make you break out into a nervous sweat?

Are you introverted?

Or perhaps not normally introverted, but somehow turn into a completely different person when someone says "how much do you charge?"

The reason I'm asking, is because I AM that person. It's taken me 7 of the 10 years in my photo business to truly get a handle on it all.

...To stop HATING sales...

...To stop HATING those phone calls where the first thing they would ask is "what do you charge?"

 ...To finally figuring out how to do pricing and sales and make it WORK for me, instead of constantly feeling like I'm being "pushy" and literally being TERRIFIED of answering the phone and doing sales.

 I'm considering creating a few emails and maybe some free training / pdfs on how I deal with this...but I need to know if YOU are interested.

 So click below to comment and tell ME if YOU are introverted, or BECOME introverted at the thought of the pricing conversation/sales.

CHEERS!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. Bonus points if you comment below and not ONLY tell me if you're an introvert, but give me the details of what you struggle with MOST when it comes to pricing and sales!

Do you hit ignore on your phone because you don't want to get rejected when you go over pricing?

What have you tried that hasn't worked for you?

Give me the deets!

[5MiFri] He told me my gift is NOT photography...or at least that’s what it felt like

Gulp…

WHOA…

What I heard was half mind-blowing, a quarter skepticism and a quarter disappointment.

What do you MEAN….you mean…

Everything I’ve worked for these past 10 years…

...my “passion…”

It’s not even true?

Those were my thoughts last week.

What coursed through my blood started with shock...utter disappointment...then a mountain of relief, because it all made sense.

Here’s what he said:

 

“You’re able to loose skills, but you’ll never lose your gift”...Tony Robbins paraphrased from a “Find Your True Gifts” audio.

Ok. You’re sitting there like, “dang, Lisa, he didn’t tell you that you SUCK as a photographer...what’s the big deal?”

 

You’re EXACTLY right.

This isn’t a negative email.

This is a POSITIVE one.

 

Let's do an exercise, try it I dare (all of my Nonstop Booking System Students are smiling right how ;) )

Close your eyes.

Now think about what would happen if all of the sudden your eyesight was taken away from you.

Literally.

You woke up tomorrow, and you couldn’t see.

All at once you feel like your passion, your LIFE, everything you’ve worked so HARD for - your PHOTOGRAPHY, it’s been taken away from you.

You’re sad.

Depressed.

Pissed the HELL OFF.

Now what if you realized...photography is a “skill.”

The ability to use depth of field, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, HECK even the rule of thirds, creative lighting techniques and posing?

That’s a skill…

SURE some people learn it faster.

SURE some people have more of a “knack” for it…

 

But the talent?
The GIFT you or they have is none of the above….

 

TRUST me... (because damn...posing wasn’t ever one of my gifts...I had to LEARN THAT SHIT and watch...and BUY... every freakin’ Bambi Cantrell and Sue Bryce Creative Live EVER).

...the GIFT Is something different entirely…

It’s the gift of one of thee below (or NONE, maybe something different entirely):

 

  • Making women feel comfortable in their own skin and relating to them

  • Being an amazing storyteller (of….history, of romance of MYSTERY of….you name it)

  • Being a creator of new conceptual ideas

  • Being able to make people realize that what they have in life is already AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL

  • Being able to show technology and businesses as relatable (commercial photography, anybody?)

  • Being empathetic

 

Do you understand how YOUR gift is so much more than photography?

 

That your skill of photography is a “means to an end” to explore and SHARE your real gift?

 

Maybe that you were drawn to photography not because of aperture, shutter speed and ISO (unless your gift is understanding technology), but you were drawn to photography, because it helps you express your REAL gift?

 

Hit reply and tell me: what is your REAL gift(s)?

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. You might be reading this thinking...WTH? Your LAST blog post was about psychology and science...and this week is all freaking in the clouds...SERIOUSLY?

 

Yes...seriously.

 

Because one of my gifts is helping people see just how amazing, beautiful, and FULL their life’s already are...

 

BOTH with my photography business, AND with Photo Bacon.

 

And it took my “non-guru” guru (watch the Netflix documentary, you’ll understand) Tony Robbins to understand that.

[5 Min Friday] Drop these 2 symbols for higher sales

I want to talk to you about psychology today.

Psychologist? No no, I am not…though I did take Psych 101 in college as a senior, the only thing I remember is Pavlov's Dogs…

….Bell ringing….dog salivating…..like Homer Simpson dreaming of Duff beer….mmmmm…..beer…..

Ok back to reality….

...Science fanatic when it can back up marketing and sales strategies?

Yes sir & madam!

…because for ME I want to have a little bit of proof…

...a little bit of meat I can sink my incisors into…

PROOF that a tweak, trick, “hack” if you will, is FOR REAL and not MADE UP…

...and things like psychology and brain science? Like actual studies done in labs and obnoxiously boring reports are written and published in journals and books?

 

To ME, that’ something solid.

OK.

You’re sitting here like, “LISA GET TO THE POINT!!!”

OK...I Get it :)

But let me ask you a question first...then I’ll tell you the answer and go into the psychology behind it.

Which price format do you think would get the highest sales?

And do you think it even matters?

 

Seventy Dollars

70

$70.00

 

Whadaya think?

Don’t peek below until you guess….

...seriously…

 

The answer?

70

“Contrary to expectations, guests given the numeral-only menu spent significantly more than those who received a menu with prices showing a dollar sign or those whose menus had prices written out in words.” -- $ or Dollars: Effects of Menu-price Formats on Restaurant Checks by Cornell University.

Full disclosure here...this study was done on a restaurant menu, NOT a photography price menu...but I’m guessing the results would be similar.

 

So how can we apply this?

We need to remove TWO symbols…

The “$” and the “.” with the two zero’s after….I suspect we should eliminate all commas in our over $1,000 range as well.

Lets swap your $185.000 session fee for “85”

Lets swap your $1,500.00 package to “1500”

Now...when you look at the $1,500.00 vs 1500, doesn’t it just FEEL smaller?

 

Even $1,500 vs 1500 feels smaller...less…

It’s this thing called “money cues.” Basically, the actual dollar sign ($) and visuals of dollar bills, etc, give these “money cues.”

You can learn more about that in the book “Brainfluence.”  I don’t want to get too in-depth on the research, you can read it for yourself if you want to learn more…

...if you’re nerdy like me…

...if you want the real meat to sink your insiors into instead of just hearing about theory with no evidence whatsoever…

 

Cheers!

Lisa “I’m so nerdy I coded an RPG game at age 10” Edwards...for real though, not kidding.

 

P.S. Want MORE 5 minute Friday’s and other blog posts with brain science, psychology, and REAL evidence to sink your teeth into?

I’m into it…

But honestly?

I don’t know if YOU are into it…

Reply in the comments and say, “I’m into it!” if you want more science-backed info in the future.


 

P.P.S. You might be thinking, “will this REALLY make much of a difference? I mean...just dropping those two symbols?”

I get it...I TOTALLY get it…

But what harm can it do to implement?

What if you even make $20 more per session…. And you do 50 sessions per year...If you could make an extra $1,000.00 in a year would it be worth it? (See what I did there? YEAH, I’m clever....made that thousand dollars seem EXTRA BIG!)

 

But what if you made MORE than an extra K per year on it...What if you averaged a 10% higher sale across the board?

100k in sales now adds another 10k...50k in sales adds another 5k….

This could be the difference in adding a LOT to your bottom line! Or just a little...or none...who knows until you try!

[Part 2 of 3] Hip-Hop Business Lesson "cake": You Are Cruel

Before we get into Flo Rida’s amazing business lesson #2 from his song “Cake,” let's chat about the last email…

 

So what IS the “cake” of a photography business?

 

Some people responded back from the last email they thought it was, “to make memories,” to “have freed,” to “have flexibility,” and to “love what you’re doing every day.”

 

...and, they’re all sorta right.

 

But I want to be a little bit more clear here, so you’ve got something to work with.

 

The “cake,” or the REAL reason for your photography business is…

 

...drumroll…

 

...TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE…

 

If that sounds a bit anti-climactic, that’s because it IS anti-climactic…

 

But there is a HUGE problem in our industry which is:

 

Almost nobody in the photography industry actually IS “living the life they want to live…”

 

 

...so here’s the thing…

 

And I’m just going to call you all out right now on it...

 

Are YOU living the life you want?

 

Probably NOT.

 

And I’m not talking “my life is ok,” and “I am content,” and “well the starving children in Africa would think my life is amazing so I’m just happy with what I have” BS.

 

You’re doing this photography thing, you’re doing it for the “life you want,” which probably means freedom to bring your daughter to the bus stop.

 

Freedom from a boss you hate.

 

Freedom from being “tied down.”

 

But ARE you free?

 

DO you have freedom?

 

Not just freedom of time, but from your own guilt and mental anguish?

 

Do you actually have the WORST boss you’ve ever had - the meanest, rudest, most “you can never get enough done at the quality you want done” boss…that ALWAYS makes you feel guilty?

 

...and that boss?

 

Is YOU?

 

 

I want that to sit with you for a minute...

 

 

....

 

RE-READ the paragraph above if you need too…

 

...

 

The reality is this, and it was for me, too.

 

The cruelest person, boss, critic of them all?

 

Is YOU.

 

If there was a boss as cruel as you are to yourself?

 

We would call that mental abuse, sue the S*** out of them, and spread the word on Facebook like there was no tomorrow.

 

OK - rant OVER.

 

I won’t leave you hangin’ - because Amazing Flo Rida Business Lesson #2 is HOW we’re going to fix this...HOW we’re going to make #1, the LIFE we want to live, a REALITY.

 

This is so much more simple than you think.

 

Let me give you a visual first, then I’ll explain what this all means...

 

A brief visual of Flo Rida in the music video -

 

Sleeveless tee, hood on…

Grill...on his teeth...yeah...

Gold flashy Jewelry...

Diamond earrings...

Sunglasses...at night...and indoors…

Strange blue and bleached jeans that resemble capris but for men…

Bag full of gold bars…

Blue sequin high top shoes…

Fancy schmancy car...

 

So what does this all MEAN?

 

Quite Simply: “Dress for the cake” or “dress the part”

 

You keep the END in MIND.

 

In Flo’s case, he only came for HIS cake, to “leave with somebody.”

 

Think about it…

 

He KNEW the goal was to leave with somebody, which is going to effect:

1. The way he dresses

2. The way he acts

3. How many dollar bills he throws in the air...lol...

 

 

Back when you were single (or maybe you are single), when you went out for the night, did you wear a hooded sweatshirt, jeans and flip flops?

 

I mean...that’s how I go out NOW, now that I am MARRIED…

 

But back when I was single?

 

Heels, dark jeans, flattering top that wasn’t too fancy but wasn’t too casual (because I’m in Montana…where our men wear carhartts, flannel and have beards), volumize hair, curl, lip gloss, DONE! (as opposed to hair in ponytail, glasses, might not have showered today, jeans, flip flops)

 

You keep the END in MIND with everything you do.

 

Here’s the BIG problem I see in most photography businesses:

 

Said photograph knows the end they have in mind, but they feel like they will GET THAT end result with enough blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice and “hard work.”

 

“Once I get my name out there it will all come together…”

 

“If I just give the best customer service I can, including working evenings, weekends, and giving up time with my kids, then in the next year or two it will all work out and I’ll have that freedom…”

 

Sound like anyone you know?

 

;)

 

Freedom and the life you desire does NOT come with hard work, sacrifice, or putting your clients needs ahead of yours.

 

It comes from DESIGNING IT that way…

 

You must KNOW what you want your life to look like, and then base your DECISIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS around that.

 

Instead of what you’re probably doing right now:

DESIGNING YOUR BUSINESS for what you think will be most convenient for your clients, designing it around what “other photographers in your area” are doing, and giving up your own happiness because of it.

 

Some tough love:

 

Stop FREAKING photographing at sunset in the summer every night if you have young kids at home, then complain you can never tuck your kids in at night, because YOU are the one who DESIGNED IT that way!

 

Do you think I photograph at sunset in the summer, read, 9 pm at night? HELL NO! I have a 3 kids under age 6 at home...and THAT’S why I have off-camera flash - so I can make pretty light ANY time of the day, even at high noon.

 

Do other photographers in my area photograph at sunset in the summer? YEP! And I feel bad for them...and to put it bluntly without trying to brag...I’m probably making more than them...

 

 

But I get it - designing your business for your own happiness, freedom, and what YOU desire, is about as easy as losing weight.

 

Sure, it’s simple: eat less calories, work out more...but the REAL challenge comes in your mindset.

 

Mindset isn’t an easy thing to tackle, which is why in our paid mastermind group we actually HAVE a MINDSET COACH to talks to each student one-on-one.

 

But it’s VITAL.

 

OK - running out of room here so the mindset stuff will have to wait, as well Flo Rida’s Amazing Business Tip #3.

Cheers,

 

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. OK - you “caught” me...there IS no “running out of room” when it comes to email. But here’s the thing, there’s only so much “space” and “room” in your attention span for me. I don’t want to overstay my welcome in your brain :)

 

 

That being said, if you DO have some “extra room” in your brain for more info on growing your photo business, 45 minutes to be exact, then check out this video I made...it won’t disappoint :)

 

[Part 1 of 3] Hip-Hop Music Business Lessons for Photographers - I only came for the cake

Yo!

Ok...maybe "yo" was too much, but I wanted to stick with a hip-hop theme here...I don't even know if people SAY "yo" anymore...

Anywhoo -

I didn’t come here to party…

I didn’t come here to stay…

I came to leave with somebody…

I only came for the CAKE!


 

If you’re sitting here thinking, “has this chick gone mad,” that’s OK.

Because while I was blasting this hip-hop song on my stereo today while driving, I had an epiphany.

EPIPHANY #1: “HUH! It’s “cake,” not “KEG!”

That’s right, this song first brought me back to those high-school days where keggers in the woods was a “thing,” and so was beat-up pick-up trucks with lifted tires, sitting on the tailgate, and “keg pushups” (different then keg-stands, I found out, while in college when people looked at my like I was crazy when I wanted to have them hold my feet PARALLEL to the ground while I legit did push ups, rather than being completely upside-down….but enough of the visual)

 

EPIPHANY #2: DANG, Flo Rida & 99 Percent are SMART business people, this song could be the title of a business book! “I Only Came for the Cake: 3 business concepts that will change your life”

You’re probably sitting their puzzled...and I promise, all of your questions are going to be answered about this song and why it’s SO GREAT!

Ok, so we’ve established this song has THREE business lessons in it. So let's get started on those:

Smart Business Man Flo Rida Lesson #1: Know what your “cake” is.

First, what the heck is CAKE?

It took me a while to figure out what he meant by cake too...especially because I thought it was “keg” first.

So here’s my definition:

CAKE: The REAL reason and motivation behind your actions…

You go to your niece's piano recital not to hear the music, but to support her and be a good Aunt.

 

You go to a Super Bowl party not to watch the game (OK...some of you do, but not me…), but to have fun with friends.

 

People go to Church to be saved, not for the church service (I’m a pastor's kid...I’m allowed to say this one…and in fact my kids go for the “kids message” because they always get sugar-high on candy crosses and cake pops)

You go to a business open house for the CAKE!

For Flo? (ok, now I’m acting like we’re best buds...we’re not...obviously...but if we were? I would call him Flo…)

For Flo, his “cake” is “leaving with somebody,” and no, I will not paint a picture here...because I’m sure he just means going for a long walk on the beach…not the drink.

So what’s YOUR “c-c-c-c-c-c----c-c-c-c-c-c----c-c-c-c-c-c-----c-c-c-c----CAKE?”

What is the END GOAL of your photography business?

 

Is it REALLY to have more clients?

NO.

Is it REALLY to take photos?

NO.

Is it REALLY to make money?

NO!

 

So then...what is it?

What is the REAL “cake” of photography businesses?

 

I want you to THINK about it...Honestly, just THINKING about it is going to be very insightful.

 

And I’ll give you the answer tomorrow, when I reveal the #2 business less we can learn from this song…and YES people may have different answers, but 90% of you are going to have the same cake...

 

If you so desire, click reply and tell me what you THINK the “cake” of a portrait/wedding photography business is. Or, click here and post your response in our facebook group dedicated to the business of photography.

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. I’m still unclear as to why the music video has children dancing around during part of it, then scantily clad women in other parts…

 

...then...the CRAZIEST part of all is when Mr. Flo hands out gold bars and people start biting them….I was TOTALLY surprised for this one…

 

...Watch the video here.

 

P.P.S. Want to continue the photography business conversation with us? Join the Facebook group and see what other people think the “cake” will be!

She didn't book me because of my work or because of my price…

I'm literally writing this just minutes after booking a family portrait session over the phone.

 

Because I had an immediate insight after chatting with a super nice lady for about 15 minutes and getting the booking on the spot.

 

She didn't book me because she thinks I'm the best. The most luxurious brand. And certainly not the cheapest (because I'm not).

 

She didn't book me because of my style, editing, or even "what makes me different."

 

She booked me because I CALLED HER BACK.

 

And I didn't just call her back, I called her back on the SAME DAY.

 

And I ASKED for the booking.

 

If I had called her back tomorrow?

 

She would have booked with a different photographer that actually called her back.

 

Because you see - for her, yes, she wants professional grade photos. But, she wants the certainty of booking her family portrait session specifically on December 20th, the date all of her children are in town.

 

And she aint got 3-4 days to wait around for all of the other photographers to get back to her.

 

She has a life.

 

That's right - when we as photographers wait 2,3,4,5 days to call people and actually expect they have been patiently waiting for us the OBVIOUS best choice to call them back?

 

Well, when we do this, we are being completely unrealistic, and are opening ourselves up for self-destruction.

 

Because when we do that -

 

1. We are led down the daily shame spiral of NOT calling people back and feeling terrible about it.

 

2. When we finally do call them back, we are mad at ourselves because they booked someone else and woe is me everyone is better or cheaper if more different or...or...or... DEEP BREATH!

The truth is, whoever they booked wasn't probably better, or cheaper, or more unique....

....They were just faster, and followed through better.

 

So today my #1 tip for booking sessions is this:

Answer the phone, and if you can't answer, call back within hours and at LEAST the same day. Get an email inquiry? CALL THEM!

It's so simple, yet I have been guilty of waiting two or three days to call people back and then being disappointed when they do not get back with me.

 

My #2 tip for booking sessions:

 

Ask for the booking over the phone. After you go over what you do and why what you are going to give them is going to rock their Santa-striped socks off, do this:

"Do you want to go ahead and get that on the calendar?"

BOOM!

Then take their credit card number, and give them the most amazing portrait experience they could imagine.

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. Wanna go on a photo walk with me? Join me for my Photo Walk at WPPI in February! It's PW36: Posing and Creating Confidence with Tweens to Boost Your Slow Season! Click for more of a description - and lets hang out!

FINAL Facebook Experiment Results for Photographers: Did I get Inquiries/Bookings?

The ONLY thing that matters when it comes to social media is...

...wait for it...

WILL IT GET YOU BOOKED?

AKA, will you make more money if you post consistently to social media?

The two week Facebook Experiment is done - the results are in, and they're both surprising yet very logical at the same time.

The short video series below is going to show you my exact results, as I rip apart my website leads, facebook message leads, website traffic, search engine rankings, Instagram posts, and more.

The videos are each short - between 4 and 13 minutes each (though most of them are more around the 4-6 minute length). There's even a quick summary at the end.

But first, if you haven't already done so, be sure to get caught up by reading the past info in this series.

#1: I should be out of business [SERIOUSLY]

#2: Don't be fooled: Your seemingly BAD facebook posts are probably your BEST ones for results.

Part 3 in this series: The final facebook / social media report.

Video #1: Does time of day matter when it comes to social media success?

Video #2: Do photos, videos, or link shares work best?

Video #3: Watch as I rip apart the success of my Instagram posts

 

Video #4: How does social media affect my website traffic?

Video #5: Does social media affect my SEO rankings?

Video #6: THE most important - did I get inquiries? Did I get booked?

Video #7: Quick Summary

 

Next Action Steps:

1. ALWAYS make sure you post your website link in EVERY post, preferably "above the fold," aka, above the "view more" area.

2. ONCE PER WEEK (at least) write a blog post, even a 2-image blog post with 1 paragraph, and post that link to your facebook page for OPTIMAL clicks to website. (click here to download the guide on your success with blog posts)

3. Make sure google analytic is installed on your website.

4. Compare your facebook posting vs. website traffic vs. inquiries and bookings to see for yourself if social media is boosting your bookings.