Couple of things I’ve seen on social media about photography business advice today fired me up.
I won’t go into the first one, but I will share the second.
And I’m sharing this and saying what I’m going to say with empathy and compassion because I was in a very similar situation years ago.
I’m not going to share the whole thread, but here is their comment:
[pullquote align=”normal”] I’m actually scared at the moment. I have spent far, far too much, tried to take on too much advice re the business from every corner and it often all contradicts. I feel I have probably done that time you mention and a lot more working at it all but am still not in the right place. But I am not and cannot stop. I do love my work and I will get there but I can’t do it at the expense of my health and my family so need to be very careful at this stage of the proceedings. [/pullquote]
You have no idea just how much I can relate to that.
And let me tell you it seriously sucks, especially when you keep seeing conflicting photography business advice.
Here’s where I see the problem.
Today, with tech, the internet, it’s so damn easy to get overwhelmed with information.
We’re almost brainwashed into feeling that we need to be collecting more information, more knowledge, that the answer we’ve been looking for is just around the corner.
We just need to buy one more course from a Rockstar Photographer, or just one more Creative Live.
Like I say, I’ve been there, I dread to think how many unwatched Creative Lives I’ve got!
There’s this huge FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out.
Well, let me tell you now, if you acted upon 10% of what you already know, or the knowledge you already possess…
But I digress.
Here is the real problem with photography business advice…
We have lost sight, especially in the photography world, of the principles of business:
1. Know what you want to achieve, know where you want to get.
2. Know and understand your target market and what they are really buying.
3. Position what you offer so that it fulfils their needs/solves their problems and create a message around that.
4. Do the work to stand out, be different, understand your unique advantage.
5. Bring 2 -4 above together with what I call Magnetic Branding – this isn’t about logos, fonts and colours – it’s about creating a consistent message in all that you do in your marketing, and creating a journey through your website.
6. Generate leads and nurture them into clients – systemise this as much as possible
There are steps beyond that, but the above will get you a long way.
Most photographers skip 1 – 5.
They try and sell portrait photography or wedding photography or pet photography, but that is not what people are really buying.
Their branding is about logos, colours, fonts and a slick website, yet those are just the trigger for how people perceive your business – think Pavlov’s bell.
And they jump straight to no. 6 and do it in a way that is a bit like asking for sex on the first date.
There are lots of different tactics and methods that you can use at step 6.
And that is the photography business advice that most people are selling.
Just about every tactic out there works (Facebook ads, networking, direct mail, radio ads, organic social media, email etc, etc).
Not every tactic is right for every person or business. And the best tactics in the world will do stuff all for you if you don’t understand the fundamentals, 1 – 5 above, and especially 2 and 3.