You know that feeling when you “end up” on your competitors’ page and all of a sudden a thousand anxious thoughts fill your head?

“I really need to step up my game.“

“I should be posting more.“

“She’s got double my followers, she’s probably got an inbox full of enquiries – god, I really need more bookings, things have been slow the last few weeks.“

“That post is good, and why is she getting so many comments?? She is good.”

And so on.

It’s all good to say you should not compare yourself to others, but in the age of social media sometimes it’s really inevitable. We are on each other’s faces – or feed – almost all the time.

If it’s not a post on a group it’s an ad, or a recommendation, or whatever else.

But if comparison is (almost) inevitable, you have a choice over what happens next.

If you are still at a stage where those anxious thoughts follow you to bed – breathe, please. You have time.

Step away, close your laptop, throw your phone away (figuratively!) and forget about it all for a while. 

Focus on what you have achieved so far. Chances are, it’s pretty fucking amazing.

Go back to where you started, how many things you have figured out. Go back to when your page had 15 followers and you had no solid plan to get more. Go back to shooting for free for family and friends.

Everything that’s happened between there and now, including taking your business through months of lockdowns and no shooting, it’s yours. You have built it.

And you will keep doing the same. It’s going to be ok.

If, instead, you have already mastered the art of “staying sane when your demons come visit”, I have a challenge for you.

Learn to keep your eyes open. Don’t run.

Learn to stare those demons in their eyes – and see what they have to teach you.

Learn from your fear.

Learn to sit in the eye of the storm, stand in that space between “she’s better than me, I am going to fail” and “fuck it, who cares” and see if there is a lesson in there for you. 

That fear might be showing you something that you know, deep inside, you have not mastered yet.

Something you are missing, or have been neglecting for a while. 

An “I keep meaning to…” or “I really should be…”

Whatever that is, deep inside you know you’ll have to face it, at some point.

And that point is now.

So go master it.


Feeling on the brink of burnout? Read our guide “Photographers on the brink of burnout

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

Waiting for restrictions to ease, because then “hopefully business will pick up again”?

But what if it doesn’t? 

As I write this, on the one side I’m seeing headlines talking about recession and disruption caused by Brexit.

On the other side, all top marketing inner-circles worldwide have become an incessant flow of posts about a secret war over privacy between Apple and giants like Google and Facebook.

Yes, it’s true, these cycles have always existed.

Recession has happened before and, eventually, things have always improved.

But what if your business was the price you have to pay to survive all of this?

What if resting on your laurels, expecting business to ‘pick up naturally’ meant losing it?

After all, business doesn’t tolerate complacency

Remember Blockbusters…?

IS THAT REALLY THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?

If you still don’t believe me, take a walk around and see how many businesses have already been forced to close their doors. 

And the reality is, they will be followed by many more before the end of April 2021.

Now, if you think I am just trying to scare you and don’t want to deal with any more stress… I hear you.

Believe me, I do.

Navigating through these last 12 months has been exhausting and has forced me to change many aspects of my business, way beyond what I planned.

I am so very ready for some normalcy and rest.

But as tempting as it is to comfort myself with the idea that we are “near the end of this”, I know I need to prepare for what’s next.

I know, and you also do, that the way we do things has already been altered.

The way we shop. 

The way we spend. 

The way we work. 

The way we go out to pubs or restaurants.

Many of these changes will last way long after restrictions have been lifted, so what makes you think your business will return to normal ‘just like that’

Marketing has always been a fast, ever-changing, vertigo-inducing practice.

Why should that be different this time?

3 THINGS YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON RIGHT NOW

Want to know what is the good news?

It’s not too late, you still have time.

So instead of burying your head in the sand, get to work right away and make sure you have the following in place for your business:

  1. A crystal clear strategy to use your session portfolio to target the right audience. No, I am not talking about an abstract idea of “ideal client”

    I am talking about having the right offer and the right marketing to reach the segment of your audience that will be able to afford you 12 months from now.

    Because remember: some of those businesses that will be forced to close belong to your (potential) clients.

    Some of those employees who don’t have a desk to go back to anymore ARE your (potential) clients.

    Some of those families you have been calling “ideal clients” simply won’t have extra money to spend on luxury.

    So you better diversify and prepare.

    photography studio lockdown marketing

  2. Have a bulletproof strategy to reach new people fast and predictably, and to do it in more than one platform.

    The vastitude of the changes that will take place in SEO, Google and Facebook within the next 6-12 months go way beyond what you can imagine.

    You know why? 

    Because nobody is more aware of the tsunami that is going to hit small business than the giants (a.k.a. Google and Facebook) that made a fortune providing them with a platform to promote their services.

    So they too are forced to diversify, making it easier for big brands to eat a bigger piece of the online-customer-base cake.

  3. Stop worrying about what other photographers do.

    We all know that the market is over-saturated. It has been for a very long time.

    You’ve been undercut left right and centre.

    Look around, visit 5-10 websites of other newborn photographers and tell me if at least half of them are not using the same pricing, offering the same products and even using the same words on their pages.

    This is not the time to look like everybody else. 

    This time, the market is not going to be forgiving with those who are not bold enough to craft their own path and build their own business identity.

WHAT IF RESTING ON YOUR LAURELS, EXPECTING BUSINESS TO “PICK UP NATURALLY” MEANT LOSING IT?

AFTER ALL, BUSINESS DOESN’T TOLERATE COMPLACENCY.

REMEMBER BLOCKBUSTERS?

MARKETING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS: WHAT NEXT?

There is a bumpy road ahead, but there is still time for you to prepare your business for what’s coming next.

Focus on the 3 points aboce and you will not just survive this, but come out on top because of it.

If you want to know more about how these strategies can help you create a competitive advantage and position yourself to dominate the market, book your free marketing coaching call now.

Ever experienced “Editing procrastination”?

You KNOW that session didn’t go as planned and now you are just DREADING the idea of looking at the images. 

Never mind editing them.

But editing procrastination might not be the most dangerous syndrome for a newborn photographer.

Pause for a moment and think your business.

Are you avoiding business or marketing tasks that you struggle with?

Maybe you avoid following up on enquiries because you just DON’T KNOW what to say, and you feel like you are bothering people?

… or you keep putting off planning any adverts, as your mind goes blank when thinking up content?

Is your pricing all over the place but you have no idea where to start to put it right?

You are not alone!

IN BUSINESS AND MARKETING… EVERYTHING IS “FIGUREOUTABLE”

It’s fulfilling and enjoyable to spend time doing things we excel at, and easy to avoid tasks we aren’t so great at.

People tend to be scared of what they are not good at, trying and failing can make them feel inadequate.

We bury our head in the sand and brush things under the carpet, but that feeling does not go away. It keeps us awake at night. It gets louder every time the problem manifests itself again (and believe me, it WILL happen).

The good news?

In business and marketing, everything is “figureoutable”.

The BETTER news is that figuring things out and improving will empower you and boost your confidence.

Yes, because it’s that feeling of “I don’t know what I am doing” that is keeping you stuck and making you wonder whether or not you are “good enough”.

PRACTICE WHAT YOU CAN’T PLAY

As a former piano tutor, I would tell my students “Practice what you CAN”T play’ and this translates very well to the business world.

A dear friend tells her children they only find some school work difficult because they haven’t learnt how to do it yet. She tells them it’s a sign they need more practice and ultimately that they need to ask for guidance from someone who DOES know how to do it.

It’s the same in business.

It doesn’t mean you are BAD at something if you struggle, only that you require some help. 

It’s a bit like having a toothache. It hurts a little bit, so you ignore it to avoid the dentist and save money, then in six months it’s 10 times as bad and will cost even more to get sorted.

Identifying your weaknesses and looking for ways to improve, seeking outside help from those who DO know, will get you on the right path. Far better than ignoring them, knowing full well they are going to come and bite you on the bum somewhere down the line. 

Whether that presents itself as poor bookings, client issues or simply stress you do not need.

Once things click into place, you’ll find yourself enjoying 100% of your business, rather than just 75% and the rewards will be immense.

Part of being a good business owner is not only being able to delegate, but also to identify strengths and weaknesses, and be able to act upon them. 

As “the owner”, you aren’t answerable to anyone but yourself, so it’s easy to slip into a habit of avoiding tasks you are weaker at and playing to your strengths.

Eventually, however, your strengths will suffer because of this – you need the whole choir singing in tune!

For instance, if it’s your marketing you are having issues with, it’s no good being the best photographer in the world if your marketing sucks! 

Without clients, there is no photography business. 

Or if your pricing is your nemesis you could be working your butt off, producing incredible results, but getting nowhere fast.

3 STEPS TO A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS

“Ok, I get it, so now what?”

No matter what you are struggling with, solving your problem requires 3 steps:

1 – Total clarity about the problem itself and what’s causing it

2 – A solid plan

3 – The ability to make decisions when things don’t work as planned: stick to the plan or adjust? This makes the BIGGEST difference.

Achieving all this on your own is hard.

Being too close to the problem can lead to you not being able to see the wood for the trees. Facing your issues head-on can be daunting, so don’t do it alone. Letting someone assist you with their metaphorical axe paves the way for smoother running business, instead of giving up and going back to old habits, which can be all TOO tempting. 

So before you immerse yourself and write the most sophisticated marketing plan the photography industry has ever seen… ASK FOR HELP. 

Sometimes some outside guidance and little tweaks can be your ‘light bulb’ moment and go a long way to improving your confidence, happiness and success in what you do.

Yes, it can be hard releasing your hold on the reins when your business is your baby, but similarly, your baby deserves you to be firing on all cylinders.

If you are ready to finally feel confident and in control of your business, this is the most important page you will visit today.

Book a free business and marketing coaching call using the button below and we’ll help you define exactly how to implement these 3 steps to a better photography business.

Some days it seems like our entire life depends on making “the right decision”: the success of our studio, our next sale, being happy, healthy, and even being in the “right” relationship.

From the moment we wake up to bedtime, we are constantly bombarded by millions of pieces of information. To make matters worse, the world we live in operates and changes at an incredibly fast pace. Think about these two examples:

1 – You are walking in a side street at night and in the distance we see two people talking animatedly. You can’t hear what they are saying, or see exactly what they look like. Are you in danger? Should you walk away? Or is one of them in danger, instead, and it would be wiser to call for help? Or are they maybe just two people debating animatedly about a trivial matter?

2 – You are now a pilot, it’s past midnight. You are flying a modern, highly automated, plane over the ocean in complete darkness. All of a sudden, you start seeing and hearing all sorts of conflicting alarms, each with a different sound, light, and tactile feedback: you are flying too fast, too slow, then too low, but your computer shows that you are still high above the sea. How do you know which alarm to believe? How do you decide what’s the best thing to do when you can’t see the whole picture?

Our brains are constantly required to construct meaning, to make sense of situations like the ones above. They have to do it fast and accurately, allowing us to make decisions that will impact our success, happiness and survival.

To achieve this our brains have had to develop strategies and “shortcuts” that help us:

  • Filter out information that it’s not important or relevant
  • Make sense of a situation and the world around us even with limited access to it; we fill in the gaps to create stories coherent with our experience and mental model
  • Avoid paralysis, make snap decisions and act fast
  • Decide what information is going to be useful in the future, and it’s therefore worth remembering

Sounds good? Not entirely.

These shortcuts, called Cognitive Biases, can also sometimes make us prone to errors.

Biases, in fact, operate without our consent: in an attempt to bring us to a conclusion, they sometimes disregard important and relevant information. Or give excessive weight to specific aspects of the problem distorting our perception. Sometimes, we jump to conclusions that are actually counterproductive.

To make matters worse, biases can have a significant impact on creativity and innovation, as we have evolved to instinctively seek information that confirms our beliefs, keeping us on a safe path.

The 5 enemies of decision making for businesses

Many cognitive biases have been identified (and it’s worth looking at the brilliant categorisation made by Buster Benson), but we have picked 5 that you really need to look out for when making decisions.

1. Confirmation Bias

A new client comes to the studio for a cake smash. Since the moment she has sent an enquiry, she has seemed very cold and not very engaged. She has not been particularly difficult during the session, but not very excited either.
After the session, you sent her a link to her gallery, she reads the message but does not reply.

All you can think is that she is difficult, hated the experience and does not like the image. You are bracing, thinking that she will reply complaining about the gallery – or will only order a couple of prints.

Maybe you are already preparing for a difficult conversation, for having to explain why you cannot re-edit the images in a specific way.

She really does not like you.
Or does she?

Confirmation Bias refers to our tendency to interpret information around us in a way that confirms our preconceptions, dismissing at the same time opinions or facts that disagree with our own beliefs.

Confirmation bias is one of the most common biases that sneaks into our decision-making process, at work and in everyday life. Controlling its consequences might be a tough job, but can also avoid you spending time and energies worrying about something that is NOT real.
One way of dealing with this bias is to force yourself to find and list at least 10 facts that disagree with your theory.

2. Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon bias occurs when you adopt a belief because more people around you hold that belief. This can lead to groupthink, in which the desire for group consensus and acceptance is stronger than people’s willingness to express an unpopular opinion or critique a position.

The bandwagon effect is so powerful that its effects permeate politics and marketing and it’s critical to understand that the industry leaders have the biggest influence on the “followers” and the industry itself.

Industry leaders say you should charge a session fee? You will most likely feel like that is the right thing to do, regardless of your specific circumstances?

Same for marketing trends! SEO is THE most important thing. Have a newsletter. Have a blog.
Facebook ads, Google Ads…

So how do you control the bandwagon effect?
Become an observer rather than a follower! Learn to question everything and find YOUR OWN path to success.

3. Fundamental attribution error

Is the tendency for people to place more emphasis on internal explanations for behaviours observed in others, rather than considering the circumstances. In other words, we see others as “internally motivated” and responsible for their behaviour: a client being short (see above) might actually love our work and the experience in our studio… but have a different way of interacting with people compared to most of our clients! OR she might be going through some personal issues!

In business, the Fundamental Attribution Error is responsible for everything from arguments to firings and misunderstandings. While it can’t be overcome completely, one way of limiting its effect is to practice empathy (should we dare calling it emotional intelligence?) and ask questions before making assumptions about someone’s behaviour.

4. Planning Fallacy

It’s our tendency to underestimate the time (and effort) we need to complete a task or achieve a result. Coupled with our inclination to say yes to most people who ask for our assistance, this bias can contribute to stress, burnout and… overtime!

There are several strategies that can help dealing with this bias: consider setting your personal deadlines 2 days before official ones, add a time buffer to your appointments and most of all… learn to say no!

Organising your to do list in the form of an Eisenhower Matrix can help choosing what to say no to.

5. The Sunk Cost Fallacy

It is the tendency to honour already spent resources: we are more likely to continue with a project if we have already invested a lot of money, time, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do.

This leads to misallocating resources based on information that is either irrelevant or not up to date. Clearly an enemy of efficiency, but not only. Examples of Sunk Cost Fallacy can be found in all aspects of life, from getting a degree on something we are not interested anymore to eating too much, to sticking to bad business ideas.

To reduce losses due to the Sunk Cost Fallacy, it is essential to review periodically your investments (in time and money) and your return on investment. This should be based on data, not hearsay.

Awareness is key!

Cognitive biases are one strategy used by our brains to ensure we don’t get stuck, unable to choose and make decisions. While they make it easier for us to navigate the huge amount of information we are faced with every day, they also create traps that can cripple our ability to make good decisions.

As always, awareness is the key: know your limits and never settle for “the first answer”.