The business of my dreams appeared literally overnight. And when I say literally, I mean it; I went to sleep and when I woke up in the morning, cosy and warm snuggled up to my baby daughter, I opened my inbox on my phone and practically fell out of bed.
Sale after sale after sale of my film photography book, Supercharge Your Profits.
While I had been sleeping, my book had been selling hundreds of copies all over the world. I ran downstairs to show the hubs, who was busy getting ready for work.
That’s great! He rushed out of the door with a kiss ‘ we will talk about it tonight’ and I was left holding my phone screen, baby, and the little life growing inside of me at the time; standing in a morning ray of mystery and wonder.
And that’s when I realised that for so long, I had been getting it wrong. Striving to build a business based purely on the fact that ‘I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER, Goddamnit!’ Instead of embracing all of the other possibilities open to us.
Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? We cling on to our identity as a photographer.
I work with SO MANY photographers over in Shining Lights and The Fierce Photographer Society, who shoot the one thing that they think they are supposed to be shooting, when actually, after a lot of digging deep in private coaching sessions, they start to realise that they want to be doing something else altogether.
They have another, deeper passion, more ideas, more excitement for other projects.
But we get caught up in photography. In being ‘a photographer’.
Why? It’s easy, and it’s prestigious for some of us. It was for me. It was quick and easy to be GOOD at something, and I LOVED being able to say I was a photographer and people say- oh wow! or – that’s cool, or similar.
And I loved it so much that to even entertain the idea of possibly even being anything MORE is just out of the question, or even indulgent and greedy.
Why should we dare to want MORE, when we have created something that we are GOOD at? Why should we even stop to consider those OTHER dreams, those other passions? Which, if you are a multi-passionate, multi-potentialite like me, you probably have many.
But. They are there.
And it’s not that you have to forget about photography and focus on that ‘other’ dream you have instead- instead, it’s about figuring out how to bring those other dreams and desires and gifts and talents you have INTO your photography (or the other way around).
It’s about embracing who you are as a WHOLE, not just within your identity as ‘photographer’.
When I wrote my ebook, I was giving myself over to the writer that lurks within me. She has always been there, since childhood. Endless incomplete novels, chapters, poems, letters, diaries and journals.
I didn’t write this book because I thought- oh, this would be a great way to make money– though the hope was there of course, but I even struggled to write it a little with the GUILT that – argh! this was taking precious time away from GROWING MY PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS!!! which of course was the BEST way for me to make money as I am a PHOTOGRAPHER, right?!!?
What I didn’t realise when caught up in the passion of words, of writing- was that THIS-
Embracing your other passions within business is the BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS, and one of the BEST forms of marketing available to you.
When you create something outside of actual ‘shooting’ itself, for a commercial brief/ client / project, here is what happens.
– You instantly stand out from the other photographers – both in the eyes of the industry and your clients. If you are passionate enough to create something of value that isn’t just another client booking, it demonstrates that you LOVE your work. Your passion and your expertise SHINE!
– You establish yourself as an expert. This puts off so many people from creating a book, course, tutorial, workshop, coaching / mentoring sessions etc because we feel as though we will never be truly ‘an expert’. (Let me just clarify what ‘expert’ means – it just means you are a few steps further along the road than the person / target audience you wish to teach). I’m pretty sure you have SOME knowledge of your passion, right?
So what else can you do with it that embraces MORE of who you are??
Love speaking? Run a workshop. Love writing? Create a book. Great at admin / speaking / writing / building a community? Create an online course. LOVE building websites? Set up a website template shop. Etc Etc etc. The options are literally as big as your imagination and gifts.
But back to being an expert – when you create something that is passion-fuelled and is combined with your knowledge, you automatically elevate yourself to ‘expert’ status.
I wasn’t an expert on film photography or the world’s best film photographer, but I did have ten years of film photography experience behind me and was hugely passionate about what I was writing about- but I still very definitely was not an expert and when I wrote the book I had actually been only shooting film for around 8 months after YEARS of shooting only digital! So I was actually rusty! and nowhere close to being an expert – yet this didn’t hold back book sales or the hundreds of questions that came flooding in after the launch!
And when you elevate yourself to ‘expert’ you automatically by association LIFT your business up to MORE opportunity! After my first book launched I was offered to become Marketing Editor over on an incredible film photography blog, I took part in some lovely shoots, I got more of my ideal clients coming to me, my photography heroes actually started SPEAKING TO ME!!!! which for most people wasn’t a big thing and it’s not like I worship my idols or anything like that, it’s just I bloody LOVE artists with an incredible vision which brings me on to the second thing you need to do to market your business brilliantly.
Do what you do every day, and tell the world about it.
It’s THAT SIMPLE.
But it’s the part that most of us fall down on. Are you shooting every single day, (or doing one of the other things that you love and tying into your photography every day) and are you sharing it, daily?
Because how on earth do you expect your clients to find you if you don’t?
Do you hope that one day they will just miraculously find you? That they will maybe stumble across one of your features on a blog somewhere, (because there are only about oh I don’t know, 2 bazillion blogs that they COULD be reading?)
You have to do what you love and MAKE IT THE BIGGEST PART OF YOUR LIFE!
This can’t just be ‘oh, I’ll do a little shoot here and then I’ll get it published and then YES! Everyone will find me and my business will GROW’
This needs to be EVERY SINGLE DAY! And this is where most of us- very definitely myself included– fall down. Every single day I wake up with a ton of blog ideas, newsletter ideas, shoot + photo-project ideas, but how many do I manage to get out there?
Probably about ONE a week on average. Maybe you are like me and spend way too much time procrastinating on facebook, spending a ton of time with your family, flicking through magazines.
Which is kind of ironic really seeing as the more your business grows the MORE time you will have for ALL of the above, and especially if you create products of some description as you don’t actually have to DO very much at all! (Well you do, but not like in the way that you need to go and shoot somewhere- this is no longer a trading-time-for-money-transaction)!
And the thing is – we all have such good intentions.
Yes! I love photography! Of COURSE I can shoot every day, and possibly blog at least every other day.
But then you do it for about six weeks and when you see no return you give up and go back to the snails pace that you were living before.
The thing is with marketing?
It needs to be CONSISTENT. So you need to do this for the long haul and you need to do it for however long it takes and if you want to give up after a few whiny WEEKS?
Then you haven’t got marketing nailed and you probably haven’t got what it takes, and again I’m talking to myself here because I probably wonder at least on a weekly basis whether I have it too because it is HARD,
It’s doing what you love, every day, and then doing more of what you love, and then sharing what you do that you love with the world and making it easy for them to find you. Consistently.
That’s it. But it’s not easy. But if you can muster enough self-discipline for the short-term loss and maybe even learn to LOVE that loss in the process as you make room for the long term GAIN-
and you use the following 2 essential marketing strategies which you probably won’t find in most marketing RULE BOOKS but are basically the ESSENCE of success which is why you find every big name photographer under the sun running workshops and creating books and courses- if you can understand THIS-
Digital products and creating other things using your other gifts and talents massively boost your visibility, making it easier for people to find you, which is the real reason photographers should always have an eye on DIVERSIFYING- NOT just because of the income boost it provides.
And then when you can compound this with showing the world who you are – ALL of your gifts and talents filtering into and alongside photography like a kaleidoscope, that you cannot turn your eyes away from – CONSISTENTLY-
THAT is when you get to say you have got your marketing nailed.
So if you want tasks?
Start to think about what you can create that brings in your other loves and passions and encompasses more of who you are. What are you going to create and what will it look like. Who would it be for, who would want it? And don’t scrimp this even if you’ve already launched or in the process of launching other things! The more you launch the more visible you become!
And next – are you shooting daily, or at least nurturing your creative spirit on a daily basis, and are you sharing THAT with the world? The easiest way to do this of course, is via blogging or sending newsletters on a daily basis – (Don’t even try me with Instagram!! It’s just too disposable and forgettable)!
So – can you? Are you?
Are you making the commitment to elevate your business and grow your following and are you doing it CONSISTENTLY- and above all, are you in this for the long haul?
Because if you are. And you can do it.
You will get everything that you want. You too will be wrapped cosy and warm, watching in wonder as your business grows overnight and in front of your eyes- and in ways you have never before even imagined- if you can take the leap, stretch yourself, create something new, and show up consistently, doing all that you love.
Love + Light
Got your own secret dream about writing a successful book, launching a course, running mentoring sessions?
But just don’t know where to start, how to focus, how to make it manageable while running alongside your existing business?
PLUS you want the tech details needed to actually MAKE THIS HAPPEN for you?
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