What stresses you out? What keeps you up at night as a photographer? For you the issue might be, "How am I going to get more clients?" Or it could be, "How am I going to manage my time so I'm not spending every waking hour working in my business?"
Whatever it is for you it comes back to this: How do you bridge the gap between where you are now, and where you want to be?
In this video we'll take a look at some very practical ideas to help you find what you need to be doing to reach your goals as a real estate or architectural photographer.
Here's what we covered in this episode (you can jump to the different sections in the video timeline):
0:00 - Intro and welcome
1:07 - What are the things that stress you out and keep you up at night?
2:33 - Start by identifying the bridge that you need to build.
3:23 - "How do I get more commercial clients?"
5:14 - "How do I manage my time?"
6:50 - "How do I share content on social media every day?"
8:32 - Summary of this process.
How to get from where you are to where you want to be?
I was an architectural and real estate photographer for 17 years, so I know that there are a lot of things that keep you up at night. You might be thinking, how are you going to get more clients? Or, how are you going to manage your time so you’re not spending every waking hour working in your business?
For other photographers out there you’ll have other issues – you’re questioning whether you’re charging enough. You’re wondering when or how you should add team members to your business so you can expand. For some of you, making the move to work with commercial clients is your big concern. For others, you’re not sure what to share on social media though you know you should be doing something.
Whatever it is for you, it comes back to this:
How do you bridge the gap between where you are now, and where you want to be?
That gap, whatever it is, is probably causing you a lot of stress and I get that because I’ve been there myself, and sometimes we don’t even know how to start to get across. Well, today I want to outline a simple process that might give you a little hope that you can reach those goals that you have.
Ok, so in order to get from here to where you want to be, we want to identify the bridge that you will need to build between those two sides. Once you know what your bridge is then you can work through the process of slowly building that bridge.
I chat with a lot of photographers who say that they want to get to the next level or reach some goal, but they don’t really know how to get there – they just know that they want things to change.
How do you identify what your bridge is?
One way we can do it is by looking at where we want to be, and ask ourselves, “Why aren’t I there yet?” And we keep on asking that question until we identify the underlying cause, and that’s your bridge.
'Why don’t I have more commercial clients?'
So for example, if your big issue is how do you get more commercial clients because maybe you’re really struggling with that, then you would ask yourself:
“Why aren’t I there yet? Why don’t I have more commercial clients?”
So your first response might be, “Well, I don’t do any marketing to commercial clients, and the few clients I’ve had so far are by word of mouth.”
And maybe you’re starting to see that word of mouth can only get you so far, so you’re trying to work out how you can take things further.
So then we ask the question again:
“Why aren’t I there yet? Why don’t I do any marketing?”
Now you might answer that by saying, “Well, to be honest I guess it’s because I don’t think I’m good enough yet to do those jobs.”
Ok, so now we’re getting somewhere. The bridge you need to build here is not a marketing bridge, though we’ll need to get to that eventually, but first of all it’s going to start with learning new skills and then building your confidence levels so you don’t feel like a fraud when you try and sell your services to that luxury hotel or to that big construction company.
I think what’s important to note here as well is that the bridge may not be what you initially think it is, and secondly, you don’t have to build the whole bridge today, just start by building the foundation of that bridge, and that's going to be small steps that collectively result in major change. So maybe that means learning more about shooting commercial projects, and then work on your confidence so you can go out there and build connections with those commercial clients.
'Why do I spend so much time in my business?'
Ok, let’s look at another example, and this is something I see all the time amongst photographers – how to manage your time. If that’s something you struggle with then once again you would want to ask yourself, “why aren’t I there yet? Why do I spend so much time in my business?”
You might answer that by saying, “It’s because I have to do everything myself.”
So again we ask, “Why aren’t I there yet? Why do I need to do everything myself?”
You might answer that by saying, “I can’t afford to pay someone else to do any of this for me.”
So we ask, “Why aren’t I there yet? Why can’t I afford to pay someone?”
You might answer by saying, “Well, I guess that’s because I haven’t increased my prices in 4 years and I’m really cheap.”
So now we’ve found your bridge – it’s not so much time management, but it’s actually related to revenue and pricing, and so once you resolve that issue, once you start charging enough, you can then outsource a number of activities or bring on an employee so you don’t have to do everything by yourself.
So again, you’ll start building that bridge by working on the foundation, and you might start by working through your numbers and getting clear on what you need to charge and then move on from there.
'Why don’t I share something on social media every day?'
Another issue for some of you could be, how do you share content on social media every day? You would start by asking yourself, “Why aren’t I there yet? Why don’t I share something every day?”
You might respond by saying, “Well, I don’t know what I should be posting.”
So then you’d ask yourself, “Why don’t I know what I should be posting?”
You might respond by saying, “I guess I haven’t put much time into it and I don’t really know much about social media.”
So you’d keep digging and you’d say, “Why haven’t I put much time into it?”
You might respond by saying something like, “I haven’t picked up any clients from social media yet, so I guess I don’t see it as being really worthwhile.”
So there’s the underlying cause - you’re not sharing content on social media every day because you’re not really convinced that it’s worth all the effort. So maybe where you need to start is in learning how to get clients on social media. So the next step for you is not blocking out time, but it’s learning what posts you could be sharing, how to find your prospects on social media, what hashtags do you use, and things like that.
So once you learn what you should be doing and once you start seeing the results come in then, firstly, you’ll know what you should be posting, and secondly you’ll be absolutely committed to doing it because you know it’s going to help your business.
Do you see what we’re doing here?
If you’re struggling to figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be, then we need to identify your bridge, and then we can start to build that bridge and make a difference in your business. And one way to do that is to ask “Why?” and then keep on asking why until you get to the underlying cause, and that’s the bridge that you need to work on.
For some of you, building that bridge is something you can do by yourself, and that’s great, but for a lot of you, it’s going to be a real struggle to get enough confidence in your creative skills or whatever it is you need to do. I think something that has been made very clear to us this year is that we can't do everything by ourselves.
We are not the superhero - we're actually the person who NEEDS other people to help us, and that’s okay.
Now if that’s what it feels like for you then I want you to know that I can help you if you want me to, and you can find out more about my coaching program for real estate and architectural photographers right here.