Archives for Business

The Wonders of Technology

Don’t get me wrong- there are certainly days when I long for the “good old days” – when we used film and people didn’t stare at their phones all day.  Technology can certainly be a nuisance.  However, sometimes it comes in pretty darn handy! OFF TO THE ARCTIC This week I was scheduled to speak in Minnesota to the Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association.  I was doing a 5 hour program on photography and looking forward to visiting my friends up north.  However, things got a bit dicey with the weather.  Wind chills were getting really low – like 40 degrees BELOW ZERO kind of low.  The day before the program, I found out that Southwest cancelled my flight and I had no way to get there in time for the program.  I’ve been speaking for several years and never missed a program due to weather.  Such a bummer. THE SHOW MUST GO ON This is where technology came to the rescue.  Rather than disappoint a room full of education-hungry photographers, we decided to attempt something rather adventurous:  doing the program via Skype.  As with any sort of long-distance venture, there were a million things that could go wrong.  However,
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A Year From Now

The Quote “A year from now, you will wish you had started today.”      –Karen Lamb Think about that for a second. Really let it sink in. The Plan If you are like me, you probably have a ton of plans.  A million things you plan on doing at some point.  The problem we all run into is that they never seem to work their way to the top of the To-Do list.  When I came across this quote a while back, it really spoke to me.   Its the whole ” A long journey begins with a single step” thing…. the hardest part is starting. For example, I love to play guitar- but I rarely pick it up and practice.  I’ve often thought about dedicating just 15 minutes EVERY day to a quick practice.  I wonder- if I had started doing this a year ago, how much better would I be today?  Man- I wish I had started a year ago!!!  So why didn’t I?  That’s the question.   I think the biggest obstacle we face is that life is geared toward putting out fires.  Whatever your job is, you probably don’t have the luxury to pick and
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The Business Headshot Makeover

  “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”   We’ve all heard it before- and in the digital age, it is more important than ever.  When potential clients first locate your business, it will likely be done online – via your website, LinkedIn, Facebook page or other site.   Putting your face on the page helps give your business a more personal feel – but here’s the part that holds most people back:  they don’t like having their picture taken. I always say that updating your business headshot is a lot like going to the dentist – you dread going, but afterwards you are glad you went.   Think of it as “visual hygiene” if that helps.  You gotta keep it fresh. The Makeover I decided it would be a fun project to offer up a free image makeover for a couple of people – just to illustrate the difference a professional headshot can make.  The tough part, of course, was finding willing participants.  For starters, its hard to tell someone that they have a bad headshot on their website.  Also, people don’t like change – so they end up using the same shot for years
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Are You A Guru?

This weekend, I was reading a post from a self-proclaimed “blogging guru” and it got me thinking…. what does it take to be a guru? Authority or Guru The first thing to clarify is the difference between an “authority” and a “guru.”  Basically, if you can tell someone more than they care to hear about a topic, you are probably an Authority on that topic.  It’s also possible that you are just boring – but lets try to keep things positive.  Being an authority implies a great deal of knowledge in that specific area.  It is pretty cut-and-dried. A guru, on the other hand, is a little more complicated.  In addition to a great deal of knowledge, it also implies a willingness to help others.  In other words, a guru is a teacher.  In today’s society, it usually means someone who will teach you – for a price. Guru Requirements So how can you tell if YOU are a guru?  Well, it can be a little confusing – but there are a few unwritten rules. 1.  Know It All To call yourself a guru, you need to either have a vast knowledge of a subject or at least claim to
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Are You Running AWAY From Business

The Story A while back, I was at a school auction and won a certificate for four music lessons at an area music school.  One of my boys has been wanting to take some music lessons, so it seemed like a good match.  Then I called them… The Concept When most businesses donate something to a school auction, they aren’t generally doing it to help the school.  Unless you have kids at that school, you are usually just doing it to get your name out there.  In other words, it is a form of self-promotion.  It is important to keep this in mind, because you need to stick with that strategy. Mistake 1 When I called the studio to setup his lessons, we ran into our first problem.  They couldn’t find their copy of the certificate.  I tried to explain that I had the certificate with me and would bring it to the first lesson – but they said they needed to find their copy of it.  The puzzling question is….. Why? Mistake 2 The next issue was the expiration date on the certificate.  It was due to expire at the end of February.  Since I knew we had a
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The Shocking Truth About Sales

The Art Of The Sale Selling our work seems to be one of the toughest jobs a photographer has to do.  It is can be stressful, difficult and ultimately lead to the demise of your business if you don’t know what you are doing. When I speak at photography conventions, the topic always comes up – in one form or another.  It seems to really baffle people.  The truth is that is is actually pretty simple- if you break it down.  Just remember the Four P’s. The Product Would you rather try and sell water to hikers or sell ice to Eskimos?  If you have a product that people really want, it is a LOT easier to sell it.  That is why improving your photography will actually help your sales.  If you are creating images that people fall in love with, then the selling will generally take care of itself.  Sure, people will always be limited by what they can afford – but if they want something bad enough, they can generally figure out a way to make it happen. Also the images need to be different (in a good way) from what others are offering.  Otherwise, you will be
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Are You Buff Enough?

This week, I finally finished up the book I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks.  It is a how-to guide on setting up a solid social media strategy.  For photographers trying to grow their business, it might be just what the doctor ordered!  If you just can’t wait to read it, click here (shameless plug). My New Secret Weapon One of the big things I talk about is using Buffer to schedule your updates.  Now I have to be completely honest, when I first heard about Buffer, I couldn’t understand why anyone would need to schedule out their tweets or Facebook updates.  Seemed like just another way to waste time online.  Turns out, I was wrong. Are You A Newsfeed Flooder? If you are anything like me, you probably do your online activity in waves.  For example, I will usually scan news stories in the morning while eating breakfast, then check in on Facebook and Twitter before I start my day.  It is easier for me to get it out of the way so I can concentrate on working through the morning.  During this time, I will generally come across several things that I would like to
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7 Secrets To Promote Your Next Blog Post

You’ve written the perfect blog post… now what? You publish it to your blog, cross your fingers and sit back to wait for the traffic to roll in, right?  The problem is- where do you get all the traffic?  I asked some of the best in the business to give me a few of their secrets of publicizing a blog post.  Basically, after they publish a post – what do they do next to promote it?  Here is what I came up with… 1.  FACEBOOK AND TWITTER According to Marian Schembari (Marian’s Blog) she will post to her Facebook profile and tweet to her Twitter followers.  However, she depends a lot on subscribers, “My readers come from their subscription. Building up those subscribers involved a lot of guest posting on other blogs and lots and lots of commenting.” 2.  PING! Ana Hoffman has an incredible blog and did an article on blog promotion a while back (check out Ana’s blog post).  The first technique she mentions is to ping your post.  Pinging is basically notifying different services that you have posted new content.  On many blogs, this is done automatically, but Ana likes to do a manual ping as well. 
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Are Your Goals Up To Date?

Summer is over and the fall is right around the corner.  Next thing you know, we will all be saying, “Wow-is it the holidays already?”  As the year winds to a close, we discover that most of our New Years resolutions have fallen to the wayside and we reset them for the next year.   If you set some goals this January- now is the time to evaluate your progress and plan out the remaining months. Earlier this year, I wrote a post on goal-setting – BLOG: TAKE A BOW – my plan was to map out each month’s post schedule and commit to getting in two posts every week. Well, it went along fine for the first few months… then things started getting busy and the posts became a little more sporadic.  The good news is, my goal for next year – “Stop Procrastinating” – is still on schedule. If your 2011 Resolutions are a distant memory, here are a few simple steps to get back on track. REVIEW YOUR ORIGINAL GOALS Make sure you remember what your goals even were.  Write them out on a sticky note and put them on your computer.  You can’t reach the goal if
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