You know?

The one rushing through questions nobody is interested in, in the first place, just to get to the point where you leave the bar together.

Except, you can clearly see through it. And that’s why it feels gross.

Or like a ridiculous waste of time if, after all, you would not mind being asked out.

But what’s this got to do with marketing?

What makes marketing feel gross – like some dates – is not having an “agenda” (getting the sale), but trying to hide it.

WHEN HATING MARKETING IS INEVITABLE

What’s even worse, is that we don’t realise how this approach makes marketing feel gross not only for our clients… but also for ourselves.

Marketing with a hidden agenda is that feeling you get when you tell a lead “I only have two spaces left, make sure you don’t miss out” when the only appointment in your diary is your best friend’s birthday.

Is that “I hate writing” you feel in your core, when writing for marketing is reduced to “what can I write that’s gonna get me likes and enquiries right away so I don’t feel totally invisible?”.

At the core of this, there is the idea that being good means convincing people. Means getting them to say yes.

Yes, book me in. I don’t really know if you are the right one but I don’t want to miss out.

Yes, I’ll buy wall art. That new phone. That car. That course. I’ll regret it, but there we go – you have convinced me.

And it makes sense, because “yes” feels good. It feels like a win. It feels like money.

“No”, on the other hand, feels like… rejection. 

A GOOD FIT? 

Here’s the thing.

In business, same as in your personal life, going out with the wrong person has consequences. 

If you are lucky, you’ll only end up hating your dinner and how uncomfortable, even awkward, the evening felt.

But even if that’s not the case, rest assured you’ll regret that yes. Maybe even months down the line.

Maybe, you won’t even be aware of the consequences. 

A bad review (for your studio, that is), or simply a bunch of clients who “would not really recommend” you.

So what if marketing was not about getting people to say yes, but about making it easy for people to decide whether we are a “yes” or a “no” to them? 

What if marketing was not about finding our ideal client, but about making sure who we are is so clear that it’s easy for them to recognise us? (More on the relation between “who you are” and your brand here).

FILTERING vs CONVERTING

Ok, but that’s just theory – how do we put all of this into practice?

Let’s start with a simple excercise: let’s write something that will resonate with your ideal client, and repel your “nightmare” client

STEP 1 – YOUR “HELL NO”

Think about enquiries and questions you have received in the last few months.

Think about those that raise all of your alarm bells.

Could be people sending you a one line email that looks like “hi i’m interested in a baby session can you give me prices tx”. You know the one.

Could be someone sending you 30 images of babies in props, asking if you can do the same, when not a trace of a prop can be found on your pages.

Or maybe, simply, you don’t want to deal with any more “oh we are just looking for a few digitals”. To the point where reading that sentence would make you go “I’m fully booked”.

Choose one of these alarm-bell-raising questions and write it down.

STEP 2 – THE MUST-HAVES

Now think about something that for you is a non-negotiable, something that must be true for a client to be a good fit.

Could be… liking deep, rich colours.

Or liking posed images because you don’t do lifestyle.

Again, choose one non-negotiable and write it down.

STEP 3 – LET’S WRITE

Now, the easy part.

  1. Take your “must-have” and turn it into a sentence that sounds like: If you love [must have] you will love a session with me.

For example: 

If you love a rich, deep colour over any “baby pink”, you will love a session at [studio name].

If you love the idea of natural, unposed images of your newborn baby, a session with me is exactly what you are looking for.

  1. Take your “hell no” and list it in a “we might not be a good fit if” sentence.

For example: 

If you are only looking for a couple of digital images, we might not be a good fit. Although there is no obligation to purchase when you come for your viewing appointment, from the moment you enquire we will work to create a stunning gallery of minimum 20 images of your baby and most of my packages offer the best savings when you buy all of them.

STEP 4 – PRACTICE!

Use these sentences on your homepage or first reply to an enquiry.

FEELING SCARED?

If you have followed me until here, you probably felt good about the “if you love” sentence.

And terrified by the “hell no” one, because that will make people say no.

And “no” means losing a sale.

No means rejection.

But in the end, it all comes down to this: creating a business we love and that feels beautiful requires awareness of who we are, and what we want, and the courage of leaving behind whatever is not gonna get there.


Hi, I am Giulia (weird, uh? It sounds like Julia – but it’s written with a “Gi”) and I am the founder of Grow Your Photography Studio.

I am known for my no-BS, hands-on approach to helping newborn photographers get more clients and grow a business they actually enjoy running. I believe marketing should not be a “necessary evil” and that taking action is the first and most fundamental step toward success.

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

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

Most of our lives are filled with too much pressure.

Financial pressure, expectations, emails, messages and… time pressure. When you have your own business, time pressure and the constant feeling of being about to drown because you simply don’t have time to it all can easily bring you to the point of breakdown.

Shooting, organising studio and props, editing, ordering, answering emails and messages from clients, and on top of all this… MARKETING.

Social media.

Blogs, welcome guides, reels, ads, websites.

No wonder time, or the lack of it, is something we need to address so often during our coaching call on the Marketing Mastermind for Newborn Photographers.

But since all of these activities are essential to our business… is there even a solution to the problem?

After all, being too busy – literally to the point of burnout – is not only seen as normal but often celebrated. 

WHY “TOO BUSY” IS NOT OK

Truth is, being “too busy” does not only make us sick in the long term, it can also have catastrophic consequences for our business. Being too busy, and too tired, often means things don’t happen fast enough because you are always trying to catch up with what needs to be done.

This also means your energy, creativity and brainpower are not being used much for “high level” decisions and planning.

We are so busy working on the daily maintenance of our “car” that we lose sight of what matters the most: our destination, and how to get there.

STEP 1: WHERE TO START

Ever noticed how, when you feel overwhelmed, even the tiniest request or annoyance can push you over the edge?

That I just can’t do this feeling.

So here is the first recommendation: write a list of all the activities you are responsible for in your business.

Important: I am NOT asking you for a to-do list.

Your list should resemble something like:

  • Handling enquiries and bookings
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Accounting
  • Buying props
  • Cleaning the studio
  • Social Media (list platforms)
  • Blog posts
  • Google My Business
  • Updating the website
  • Advertising

Write down as much as you can.
Then keep this list with you and keep adding to it.

STEP TWO: DO I NEED THIS?

Look at the activities you have marked and answer the following questions:

  1. How is this going to affect my business?
  2. Is it really necessary?
  3. Is it urgent?

Something necessary and urgent should, indeed, be addressed first.

Urgent but not necessary… should only be done when you have extra time, or outsourced when you have extra money.

Eliminate everything that is not necessary and write it on a separate list.

“I REALLY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!”

In the early days of my career, I remember spending Saturday evenings trying to learn how to do things I didn’t know how to do, fully aware that it wasn’t “my job” and that it was taking me much longer than it should have.

At the beginning that sometimes wasn’t even a choice, I just didn’t have the money to pay someone to do it.

But then, as time passed and the business kept growing, that habit did not leave me.

I got busier and busier, but I was still doing everything. 

One part of me still felt like I needed to save money for “more important things”, another part of me didn’t think others would do as good as a job.

After all, I was a perfectionist.

Until, one day, the reality of what I was doing started to sink in.

1 – The more time I was spending time doing things that “weren’t my job” (for example, building a website) the less time I had for those activities that could help me get more clients.

And you know what? That’s how you make money.

Money that you can in part invest to free more of your time, get more clients and live a more sustainable life.

2 – In most situations, I didn’t need my “suppliers” to do a perfect job.

If they were good enough to take the job from 0% to 90%, I could take it to 100%, get a great final product in 1/10 of the time.

Starting to outsource also gave me a chance to test suppliers, build a relationship with them and give them a chance to learn more about my business. Some of them have now been working with me for years and my “final touches” take minutes, not hours.

3 – Time and freedom have simply no price.

Our time is limited, for real. 

So how much is an hour of your time worth it? And should you really spend it doing something you should not be doing in the first place?

For me, the answer is not and let me tell you one thing: the sense of relief I felt the first time I paid someone $80 that gave me a free evening to do what I wanted was inebriating.

Back to your list, chances are sometimes you feel the way I described at the beginning of this section.

That “I could use this money for something else” and “I know I would not be happy, I am a perfectionist”.

I want you to mark all activities that make you feel like that.

A few that I think might be on your list: website (especially building it), blog posts, admin, accounting.

One part of me still felt like I needed to save money for “more important things”, another part of me didn’t think others would do as good as a job.

After all, I was a perfectionist.

STEP FOUR: EVALUATE OPTIONS

Now you should have a list of activities that are necessary to your business and that you should not be doing.

Some of them will be urgent, some won’t.

Start from the urgent ones and evaluate options for outsourcing.

Ask in your favourite Facebook groups, ask other local businesses, and have a look at platforms like Fiverr.

When it comes to platforms like Fiverr please be extra careful with gigs that are way too cheap. There is always a reason.

Also, contact the seller before placing an order. Ask if they have worked with anyone in your industry before and, if that is the case, ask if you can see a sample of their work.

If not, ask for other samples.

And then just do it.

Outsourcing most of your activities won’t be a huge investment, so don’t waste weeks making a decision!

Part of your job as a business owner is to evaluate risks and make small decisions quickly, so your business can keep moving forward and your time and energy can be spent on what really matters.


Hi, I am Giulia (weird, uh? It sounds like Julia – but it’s written with a “Gi”) and I am the founder of Grow Your Photography Studio.

I am known for my no-BS, hands-on approach to helping newborn photographers get more clients and grow a business they actually enjoy running. I believe marketing should not be a “necessary evil” and that taking action is the first and most fundamental step toward success.

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

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

“Will this work for me?”
“What if it doesn’t work?”
“And how is this different?”

Quite often, photographers who have tried other coaching or marketing programmes are always more careful and unsure about signing up for The Marketing Mastermind.

And in all honesty, I love it.

I love being asked the tough, uncomfortable questions.

To me, answering them is part of the coaching just as much as anything after that.

SO HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT?

Finding a meaningful answer to this question it’s been a journey and, in some ways, it still is.

Want to know why?

Because the answer doesn’t lie in marketing.

It’s simple: What makes my coaching different is that I don’t try to hide the fact that growth is messy – as exhilarating and fun as uncomfortable and challenging at times – and I choose to be with you and help you navigate the whole of it.

We cheer and open fancy bottles of wine to celebrate our wins, but we also sit together when things don’t go as planned.

And then we go back and fix it, until the next celebration.

Does it mean I am just winging it and the coaching is a long trial and error process? No, of course not – snd I recommend you have a look at one of our testimonials or some of our reviews if you are wondering whether or not we can get you results, before reading further.

We have our go-to, reliable and tested strategies and tools… but sometimes the path to growth is more tortuous than expected. I acknowledge it so I can prepare for it, and ensure we know what to do in the unlikely event that happens.

So, if there is one question you should ask your next coach or trainer is “what are you going to do when things don’t go as planned?”.

“RUNNING A BUSINESS IS HARD”

There is a popular post that I have recently seen shared often on social media:

Running a business is hard. What they don’t tell you is that i causes severe anxiety, and drains you mentally to the point of depression in even the most laid back people.

[…] Starting up and running a successful business puts incredible strain on personal lives and relationships, many of which fail because there is just no work-life balance when starting a new business. You need to be the director, the worker, the admin, the marketing team, the accountant, the cleaner… All whilst being a parent, a husband or a wife…

There is a reason you don’t see many people succeed in small businesses after 5-10 years. It takes a toll. It’s freaking exhausting…

My take on this?

Running a business is hard, but what makes it unsustainable is the pressure the world around us put on us by trying to sell on the idea that it should be easy.

That being good at it, being successful, means not experiencing the ugly parts.

The doubts, the fears, the f*ck ups and bad days.

And since we would all LOVE to experience “the good” and avoid “the bad and the ugly”, that’s exactly what most courses and programmes promise.

The problem with that?

If my entire system is predicated on the belief that my programme is infallible, when it doesn’t work…. it can only be your fault. Because I simply cannot allow your “failures” to reflect badly on me.

Well… I prefer my coaching to be all about you, your journey and your success – instead of it being about me.

So if bad days happen we will acknowledge them, acknowledge it’s part of the process, and then move on to our next big achievement.

Running a business is hard, but what makes it unsustainable is the pressure the world around us put on us by trying to sell us on the idea that it should be easy.

That being good at it, being successful, means not experiencing the ugly parts.

OK, SO WHAT IF IT DOESN’T WORK?

Before answering that, let me tell you what I do to prevent you from joining the coaching if this is not the right programme for you:

1 – I offer a free 1-hour coaching call to help me learn more about you and to help you get a “taste” of the coaching.

2 – If, by the end of the call I feel we are not a good fit I will tell you so.

Yes, I am prepared to say “no” to a sale. My business, like yours, is built on my reputation. Long term, saying “yes” to everyone means unhappy clients.

Nobody wants that.

3 – I don’t use the coaching call as a sales call, so I don’t ask you to “buy” or “sign up” during the call.

Sure, the pressure would help me get a few more clients but… see point 2.

4 – I offer a 30 days money-back guarantee. Yes, I mean it, and no, I never had to use it.

Also, let me share with you a few things you might not know about the way I work and how it is different:

1 – We have weekly 1-on-1 calls and catch-ups, so there is a very high level of accountability

2 – We are obsessed with tracking results, so we know if our efforts are paying off. For example, we create ads in a way that allows you to see exactly where each booking is coming from and how much it is costing.

3 – We use specialist partners to help you with very specific aspects of digital marketing. For example, hashtag research is done by a specialist… because we don’t believe in “winging it”.

“Ok great, can you just tell me what happens if this doesn’t work?”

Simple: we will fix it.

I will give you a practical example of this.

Some of my clients joined the coaching just before the pandemic hit. Talk about things not going according to plan, eh?

Here is what I did with them:

1 – I did not stop the coaching during the various lockdowns, I thought that support was actually needed then more than ever.

2 – However, I recognised that many things could simply not be done because of the circumstances… so I extended my clients’ agreements free of charge. Crazy? Maybe, but fair on them.

3 – I worked incredibly hard to ensure we could adapt our strategies FAST to how I thought marketing would change after the pandemic.

And boy, has marketing changed.

From advertising to social media and the fears your clients have (more on this here).

ONE LAST THING…

If you have just found this article on social media… welcome to this crazy family.

I am Giulia (weird, uh? It sounds like Julia – but written with a “Gi”) and I am the founder of Grow Your Photography Studio.

I am known for my no-BS, hands-on approach to helping newborn photographers get more clients and grow a business they actually enjoy running. I believe marketing should not be a “necessary evil” and that taking action is the first and most fundamental step toward success.

To see if we can really get you results, read one of our testimonials and a few reviews from our clients

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first