Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Tell Your Client, You’re Fired!

When Do You Fire a Client?

Imagine a day, when you wake up and feel so excited about your business. Your clients are paying you the big bucks on time, you enjoy every minute you interact with your clients. Your clients also keep on referring more clients that also pay the big bucks. You see your bank account grow day after day. You feel so lucky and blessed that you have a thriving business that provides you and your family with the lifestyle you want. It’s never been this good ever. But wait! No one gets to this level of success by accident. It takes time and effort to build up your business to reach this type of success. Choosing your clients is one of the most important things you need to undertake to move your business towards this direction, you need to build up your good clients and fire those that won’t help you move to the next level.

5 Reasons Why You Should Fire a Client

Reason 1: If a client is a pain in the butt, and they keep on complaining or whatever you do is not quite enough. Or if you made a mistake and they don’t let you fix it and also they make you regret it. These are the type of clients you don’t want. It will just demoralize you over the course of your relationship with them and make you grumpy. And sometimes your other good clients will sense your grumpiness and you might end up losing those good clients in the process. It’s hard enough to get really motivated and inspired if things get really busy, you don’t need additional negativity from clients in your business to pull you down. You want to find those clients that when you work with-will energize you and will make you feel that you really love your job. These types of client will really make things easier for you to move forward.

Reason 2: If a client requires you to do something completely different from your core competency.  Sometimes it is wiser to say no, the reason for this is that you cannot create effective systems if you try to serve different clients with different needs. If you do wedding photography and someone asks you to do product photography, it’s going to become a stretch, your photography equipment might be good for wedding photography but not good for product photography, you might not perform very well and sometimes end up tarnishing your reputation.

Reason 3: If a client doesn’t excite you to work with them and they just drag you down emotionally, they might be a candidate for you to fire. There would be clients out there that you encounter will just clash with your personality, it happens, that’s just how the world works. These are the clients where you really get frustrated working with them. Maybe because they are unprofessional, or they don’t respect your time, or whatever it is, every time you work with them you really get so frustrated.

Reason 4: If a client doesn’t have a potential to bring you more revenue in the future or if they don’t have the potential to refer other clients to you. Yes, money matters in business, with no potential growth your business will suffer. This reason typically comes into play when you are choosing between two clients, always look for a client with future potential revenue, whether your client tells you or not. You need to find out who your client is, who they are connected with to make a sound decision.

Reason 5: if a client doesn’t pay on time. One of the most important things in business is getting paid. If your client doesn’t pay up, your business won’t survive. So if they don’t pay, don’t provide any more services to them. Say they pay late-they are already a candidate for being chopped as a client. Find out if they fall into the other reasons listed above. If it warrants it-fire them!

All these reasons give you a way to qualify your clients, chose your clients wisely, fire them if needed and your business will thrive.

The main idea to remember is, sketch out your ideal customer. Make every effort to find and qualify your client, provide a world class service to these clients, create systems that will help you serve these ideal clients better. And over time, happy good ideal customers will refer other similar customers if they have a good experience with you.

Top 8 Reasons Why Some Photographers Turn Their Skills into Info Products

1. Generate Income While You Sleep. Contrary to having a photography practice, if we take pictures for our clients, it’s really impossible to generate income while we sleep. On the other hand, if you have a series of info products teaching other people become better image makers, your information product store is always open. You can virtually make money 24×7 even if you are sleeping, eating or even taking a bath.

2. We Stop Trading Hours For Dollars. When we trade hours for dollars, pretty much we are limited to the amount of hours we have, chances are we can only work up to a certain numbers of hours in a given week, may it be 40 hours, 60 hours or even up to 80 hours. And sometimes, we don’t really get bookings continuously to keep us busy all week. And say if we are fully book hopefully we don’t kill ourselves working that many hours to make a good income.

3. Potential Income is Much Higher over a period of time. A natural progression of the previous reason is if we are not limited to the amount of time we get paid for, our potential income can be a lot higher.

4. You Can Create an Unlimited Number of info Products to sell. Info products like mastering exposure, mastering composition, mastering marketing skills, the art of photography etc.

5. You Don’t Need A Lot Of Money To Start. Many people start off selling ebooks, and creating a pdf is so simple nowadays almost every word processor or presentation software will allow you to create a pdf that can be sold as an ebook. Many people also create audio and video products and these types of medium have higher perceive value – meaning you can charge more.

6. Work Anywhere Work Anytime. More Time For Family & Friends, you’re no longer confined to working mostly weekends if we are a wedding photographer or confined to your studio if you are doing studio portrait since info products can be created anytime.

7. The World is Your Marketplace and work from Home. You sell your information products throughout the world, there’s no limit where you can conduct your information product business.

8. Anyone Can Do it, Dog Trainer, Florist, Bonsai grower, tomato grower anything that requires skills and specific knowledge you can turn into an info product.

Is starting an information Product Business for you?

How To Generate Ideas for Your Next Photography Blog Post

In this article, we are going to talk about how to generate  ideas for your next photography blog posts.

Even though, you are an idea man(or woman), it’s sometimes very hard to come up with ideas to post every week, let alone every day. When I was starting our own blogs, I use to dread this process myself, how do I come up with ideas of blog posts to write? This simple strategy will help you generate so many ideas-that you might actually end up not being able to create and posts all the ideas that you generate, but it’s a good problem to have.

The idea is, you need to get as many sources of ideas as possible and funnel all those sources to one place where you can just look through them quickly. For sure, some of the articles you funnel will generate the badly needed ideas for you to write. Of course, don’t copy other people’s posts, you want to get an idea only so that you can add your own flare, add your own ideas, disagree with it or whatever you want to add, so it’s your own opinion that you want to publish.

Also, note that the process has to be very simple and not time consuming, so you can go through things quickly.

Here’s the process:

 

Software You will need: Blogging software ie. WordPress, Google Reader as your funnel/collector, Instapaper / Safari as a tagging software to read later, Posterous / wordpress’ post via email to posts via email. These are all free on the web.

Step One:

Gather all your favorite blogs to one place, if you aren’t doing this or not using a better way to look through all the blogs you read, be sure to try this strategy. Create a google reader account, and add all the blog feeds you visit related to your work/photography. Include other items like twitter feeds, yahoo answers, google news feeds, forum feeds and other sources.

Step Two:

Organize your google reader so that you can prioritize yourself every day. Create a folder in your google reader that you want to check daily, add all the blogs that you find important and that you want to look through daily. Add other folders depending on your preference, like weekly, monthly or fun stuff etc. etc.

Step Three:

So this step is slightly implied in Step Two, you basically look through all the blog feeds in google every day, you start off with the daily folder. Whenever you see something interesting, or something you have an opinion on, you would tag the items, if you use instapaper, it will work within google reader(I haven’t tried this in Safari, I heard they have a feature that let’s you tag pages.) You can tag 4-5 items so that you can choose later, you can even just do upto 10 if there are so many good ones, because there would be some days that you won’t find any good ones.

Step Four:

In this step, you use Instapaper’s text feature to read the blog posts that you had tag earlier. This step is crucial because you don’t want to spend time looking at the site’s advertising or whatever other stuff they have popping up on their website. After reading those top articles, it should hopefully give you one good idea or two to posts that you have an opinion on or that you think it’s worth a read for your customers.

Step Five:

Write your posts: you can quote another person’s blog as long as you make sure you put their link on there and give them the credit. Then you put your own opinion into your posts. You can just type directly to your wordpress or blog software, or better yet, you can write your posts in your email client and send it to your blog. You can use wordpress “post via email” feature or use the software posterous (would require some set up, but it’s simple) to send the posts into your blog automatically via email.

Step Six (Bonus):

You can also set things up so that you tweet the blog posts automatically. WordPress has a plugin that will allow you to post to tweeter after every posts. You can also use BufferApp.com to schedule your tweets. BufferApp.com is also available as a wordpress plugin, so that you can make sure your tweet shows up around the time when people are checking their twitter accounts. You can also do this to other social medias.

 

This process will help you save those valuable hours. And after you start this process you’ll find that there maybe some other strategies that you can add or even remove, to make this process even faster and simpler for you. The goal is to generate those ideas quickly, create a posts and put it out there as fast as possible. So that you can spend time doing other important tasks within your business.

How To Create a Referral Program That Works

One of the main challenges that newbie image makers going into business is generating more customers. Consider creating an effective referral program for your business and you might just see your business thrive. If you think about it, it’s so expensive to run traditional advertising even running your own Google Adwords or MSN Adcenter can also be expensive.

How much are you spending to get new leads / customers into your business using advertising? How much are you spending per buying customer? Why not supplement your advertising with an incentivized referral program, it only cost you money if a referral customer buys, won’t that be a powerful approach? Consider this idea:

Reward Referrers, Incentivize Leads

Baby and child photographer Tennille King, for example, uses two kinds of rewards in her referral program. Each referral wins a $50 credit towards prints after the client’s next photography session — credits that can be combined to deliver large value deductions. But the new clients are also given a $25 coupon to help pay for their print order.

Clients aren’t just giving a card to a friend and receiving something with an apparently low value; they’re also giving a friend $25 of someone else’s money and receiving $50 for doing so.

Remillet now does something similar. She still uses referral cards but she limits the number she gives to just eight to make them look exclusive and special. She has also handed out free 3 x 3 accordion mini-books which are more attractive than referral cards and therefore more likely to be kept close and shown off. She offers gifts with each new purchase, such as a printed iPhone case, which guarantees that her photo will always be in a client’s handbag and motivates new leads to buy. And she keeps in touch with clients who have given her referrals, sending them handwritten notes thanking them for their recommendation and complimenting their friends, together with a gift certificate to a local theater.

Even more importantly though, Remillet tracks her results, identifying the rewards and the programs that are most likely to produce the best results.

Read the full article here.

One other way to do this is to ask your current client for the top 3 friends that will benefit from your discount program, and if the referral buys, your current customer gets discounts towards either their next photo session or prints.

Also, You would want to make sure your current customers continue to buy. A great way to do this is to have specials for existing customers every time there’s a holiday. Be sure to make it exclusive for your current customers to make them feel special.

So sit down and think about the last time you were referred to a company, what did the company do to make you a customer. Jot down 10 ideas and prioritize them according to simplicity, the easiest first and then the hardest last. And take action now, don’t wait, implement an idea today. If you do this, it will lead you to new ideas down the road.

Moving The Free Line To Get More Customers

I haven’t been to a wedding party for a while since we had our baby about a year ago. But two weeks ago, I had a chance to attend one and what was interesting and relevant about the wedding to my online photography business is the photo booth. The bride and groom rented a photo booth for their guests. We all got a chance to take their props and had our photos taken, it was awesome and fun. We all goofed around and had taken our pictures with different group of friends and it was memorable.

 

So this got me thinking, why don’t more photographers use this awesome tool to generate more business? You need a little bit of planning to really take advantage of this strategy.

The idea is to let your potential customers take fun pictures in your photo booth for free. Get Their Contact Information so that you can market to them. And you need to make sure you do everything in a way that it’s affordable for you to operate.

First, you need a photo booth, if you don’t have one, try renting a photo booth for a few days and run this marketing to see if it works.

Second, the location, make sure you do this in a high traffic location, like a busy mall, busy state carnival, etc.
Third, make sure you do this: all photos should have your contact information/website at the back, as well as take their email address and or phone number whenever possible before you hand your customers the free small photos of themselves.

A couple of items you need to consider.

1. lots of props, goofy props, hats, eye glasses, etc.
2. Limit photos to however many you are willing to take and give away per group.
3. Always tell your customers you are getting their email so that you can inform them when the larger version is uploaded to your website.
4. Make the process as smooth as possible, you want to get as many contacts as possible.
5. On your first email to your customers, tell them their images are ready and always try to make a subtle sell by telling them what your services are.
6. If you haven’t done so, sign up with an email newsletter provider and consistently keep in touch with your customers.
7. And make sure you have a good sign that says free goofy photos of you and your family & friends.
8. finally, measure how many people using this strategy becomes your customer, try this two or 3 times and find out if it the marketing works.

These are some ideas to help you get started with this type of marketing, as you try this out, you will find some ideas work better than others and be sure to keep on trying. After all, marketing is like driving from coast to coast, you don’t really see the other coast when you start driving, however, if you do take the journey, the path will be revealed to you maybe 100 ft at a time, and eventually you will reach your destination.

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