Let’s be honest: hating Facebook is pretty easy, these days.

Like it or hate it, social media is an essential part of our marketing and business… and losing an account (or even worse, a Business Page) is definitely not an experience you want to go through. Trust me.

So while hacking attempt (and successes) are multiplying, I thought I would record 3 quick video to show you 3 essential steps to integrate in your security routine.

(And if you don’t have one… the best time to start is right now.)

After this 3-step prevention guide, you will also find a 3 step emergency process to follow if your profile is under attack, and an FAQs section.

Ready? Let’s go!

Your Personal Security

Watch the 5 minutes video here https://bit.ly/personal-security-fb or below

Access the Security & Login Settings page in Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security

Time required: 3-5 minutes the first time, approx. 1 minute a month for maintenance

Restrict Specific Countries from seeing your Business Page

Watch the 2 minutes video here https://bit.ly/restrict-countries-fb or below

Access these settings from: Business Suite > All Tools [left column] > Page Settings

Time required: 3-5 minutes

Use Facebook Business Manager

Watch the 2 minutes intro video here https://bit.ly/fb-bmanager or below

Access Facebook Business Manager: https://business.facebook.com/settings/?nav_source=flyout_menu&nav_id=1053560220

Time required: Setting up Facebook Business Manager can be a daunting process for new users. Facebook offers guides and support here https://business.facebook.com/overview

I have been hacked! What do I do?

Here is a step by step process you can follow. Please note: this is not guaranteed to work, and your ability to act fast is essential.

IMPORTANT: In order to help as many people as possible, this guide refers to users who are not in Facebook Business Manager – but remember: operating from within Business Manager will give you the best chances of stopping the attack and recovering your page. Not working via Business Manager also means that you cannot monitor your Facebook Ad Accounts once your profile has been hacked.

  1. Ask your second admin to remove you immediately from your own page
  • From your News Feed, click Pages in the left menu.
  • Go to your Page and click Page Settings in the bottom left.
  • Click Page Roles in the left column.
  • Click Edit next to the person you want to remove, and then click Remove.
  • Click Confirm. You may need to enter your password.

Watch how to:

2. Block your credit card and remove Facebook from your Paypal’s billing agreements https://www.paypal.com/uk/smarthelp/article/how-do-i-cancel-a-billing-agreement-faq2254

Remember that ad accounts are automatically created for you when you open your page/profile, and if you have ever boosted a post you will have a payment method associated to your account.

3. While you do this, ask your second admin to open a support ticket by clicking on the “?” icon on the bottom left corner of your Business Suite

Make sure you note down the Case ID that’s given to you.

FAQs

Q: How often should I change my password?

A: Minimum once a month, and remember to use a unique password (not used in other accounts)

Q: Should I create a second personal Facebook account and add myself as an admin to my page?

A: No. This violates FB policies (read here https://www.facebook.com/help/975828035803295) and, if flagged, will cause your assets to be suspended (this includes your ad accounts and Facebook Page)

Q: Who should I add as a secondary admin to my page?

A: Treat your social media and Google accounts as if they were a debit card or bank account.

Q: Is it safe to use options like “Login with Facebook” on “Login with Google” on websites and apps?

A: No. Well, it should but with each authorised login the likelihood of your username and password being discovered and used increases. In addition to this, when you use the “Login with [x]” option, you are asked to authorise the website/platform/app you are trying to use to access your Facebook/Google profile. That authorisation can be revoked, but it is a manual process that requires a few steps… so better avoid!

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

Christmas Minis are quick and easy sessions that should sell themselves, right?

Not necessarily, especially this year.

With so many newborn photographers now doing Christmas minis using a very similar pricing/formula, competition is stronger than ever.

In addition to this, almost nothing these days can be sold without a solid marketing plan and without investing enough time and resources, especially if you are not already well established and can count on a solid client base.

I THOUGHT THESE WOULD SELL OUT, BUT… THEY DIDN’T!

Ok, first of all… you are not alone.

Also, there is still time.

So if you have not sold out your Christmas mini sessions do not despair, but keep in mind these 3 simple “rules”:

1 – Think out of the box

Christmas Minis (like most minis) are a real challenge when it comes to marketing to a new, colder, audience. Since your profit is lower than full sessions, you need to find strategies that will help you reach as many people as possible… for very little money, or for free.

For this reason, in our checklist, we will include some unusual advertising and marketing strategies that we would not necessarily use to get bookings for your newborn sessions

2 – Don’t alienate your audience

Christmas mini sessions

We get it, you really want this to work.

However, in a couple of months this will be over, and you’ll be back to bumps, babies and newborns… so please try not to overwhelm your audience with Christmas images and posts – especially since it’s still September!

Remember that posting content your audience doesn’t like will affect your reach because Facebook and Instagram simply will not show your content to users who have not engaged with you in a while.

So if you see low (or lower than usual) engagement on your Christmas posts, do yourself a favour and limit the number of themed posts. Instead, plan on using some ads (again, read our checklist for low-budget ideas)

3 – Think about your business as a whole

Especially if you have little time to spend on promoting your studio, make sure you are not only focusing on your Christmas Minis!

If you are far from your goal (sessions you want to sell), or have not even started selling them, please consider whether you can even afford to keep going. Is it worth investing more time and resources in promoting mini sessions?

In our blog post about biases we have discussed The Sunk Cost Fallacy, our 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.

YOUR CHRISTMAS MINIS MARKETING CHECKLIST

So here we go, our list is below and also available as a free download here (printable).

❑ Email your database of clients (need a mailing platform for this? Check out our list of Essential Marketing Tools for Newborn Photographers). If your list of clients includes less than 150 people, you’ll want to plan for some extra promo (for example ads).

❑ Make a list of your best 10-15 clients (with children in the right age range for your minis) and mail them a personal invitation (yes, by post!) or call them. Why? Because it’s personal.

❑ Consider creating a lead magnet to help you gather some new, qualified, leads. A lead magnet is a piece of content that you make available on your website for free and that people can download by giving you their email address.

Of course, you want your lead magnet to be Christmas themed and targeted at your audience.

Ideas are: a PDF template for a letter to Santa, a template for Christmas cards or other themed templates, etc.

The process you want to follow is simple: create a blog post to describe your lead magnet and include a mini form (only requiring name and email address). Ask visitors to fill out the form if they want to receive your file and, when you receive their contact information… well, email them the content with a little reminder of your Christmas Minis (and a few images!). All tools needed for this process are included in our Essential Marketing Tools for Newborn Photographers.

Your lead magnet could be promoted using a Traffic ad, for as little as £2 a day – or could even just be promoted with a boost on your Facebook page.

❑ Create a Facebook event with the goal of using it for Facebook Ads. Ads for events are not the best ads for conversions but you will be able to run them for as little as £1 a day.

Remember: you can’t message directly people who mark themselves as “Going” to your event, but they will read your updates on the event page.

❑ Create an Engagement Facebook ad for one of your organic Facebook posts. As mentioned above, we choose these ads over Conversions (which are the best ads for bookings and sales) to contain costs – since your margin on minis is much smaller than for newborn sessions.

Check out this video to see where to find Engagement/Event ads.

❑ If you don’t have at least 2k followers on each of your Facebook and Instagram profiles, and your database of clients is fairly small (less than 100 contacts) consider partnering with another local business with a stronger online presence.

❑ Create a promo video that you can use on social media – Animoto offers a few great templates in this sense, but you can use almost any tool.

Don’t forget to check these tips for creating promo videos for your studio (source: Facebook).

❑ If you have not done a model call, consider doing one and boosting the post to your local audience – don’t forget to use engagement as a goal for your boost. Also, don’t forget to record some behind the scenes footage (and take a few shots) that you can use for Instagram reels and social media in general


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.

Need more hands-on help? Book a marketing call with us

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

Scheduling posts, sending questionnaires, email newsletters… getting your marketing in place can feel quite overwhelming.

However, as for all crafts, using the right tools can turn an apparently daunting job into a smooth and fast process.

So here it is: our list of essential marketing tools every newborn photographer needs.

Our list includes a few notes and a few free alternatives that are great when you are just starting out (and not only)!

A note about essential marketing tools for newborn photographers

The list is available as a free download here – no email address (or other data) required!


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

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

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

Monday night, one of my early days in business.

There I am, slightly (errrr) overworked, slightly frustrated and anxious because… well, how is everybody else getting so many clients and charging SO MUCH MORE than I am?

Notification: new email.

It’s 9pm.

A client asking me to do something that is not really part of my job – and of course, taking for granted I’ll do it anyway.

The above, of course, is followed by a 45 minutes internal rant, performed while pacing up and down the living room whispering to myself “this is ridiculous” and angrily typing the whole story on my phone for my best friend to read.

Eventually, I decide that NO, it’s not gonna happen. I need to stand up for myself, set boundaries and stop letting people take advantage of me.

It’s a big NO, no no no.

It’s my business, my rules.

Or maybe…

… maybe I could make a little exception and DO IT, but make it clear that I would NOT be doing it again.

After all, I am not that busy and I want clients to love working with me. Right? Also, deep inside I know I am charging a lot of money… maybe too much.. What if she gets upset and starts complaining and wants her money back?

Come on, it’s gonna take 30 minutes max – surely it’s worth it if it helps me keep the client?

LET’S TALK BOUNDARIES

To quote Brené Brown:

“When we asked people why they hesitate to set boundaries, the number one answer that emerged from the research was, “I don’t want to make people mad, disappoint others, or make them stop liking me”.  

[…] What’s really interesting is that when we asked the same participants to describe or explain the consequence of not setting boundaries, the overwhelming response was resentment. Followed by anger. Followed by frustration.”

Failing to set boundaries can not only affect our mental and physical health but also eat away our ability to see our own business as an enriching and enjoyable part of our life.

But we all know that, right? 

And still, for most of us “setting boundaries” feels like a constant struggle.

“… when we asked the same participants to describe or explain the consequence of not setting boundaries, the overwhelming response was resentment. Followed by anger. Followed by frustration.

Brené Brown

A MATTER OF POSTURE

Ever caught yourself all hunched over your desk, and reacted by – inadvertently – tensing all of your muscles in an attempt to sit up straight… just to end up slumping forward again within 10 minutes?

This very much reflects how I used to deal with boundaries in my early days in business – alternating between collapsing and posturing.

Collapsing is giving in to all requests and it often comes from our desire of being liked, of feeling needed, and from our lack of confidence. Collapsing is compromising our needs and integrity out of fear (of losing a client, of facing uncomfortable conversation, of disappointing others…): we keep giving more, so that the person in front of us will appreciate us more, like us more.

We keep giving in, and giving more, even when that means sacrificing something that is important to us.

We keep saying yes, stretching ourselves and neglecting our needs until we eventually “snap”… and lean into the opposite, the “I won’t be a victim anymore”.

Frustrated and exhausted, we go from collapsing to posturing.

Posturing is all about force is our “as previously discussed”, “as per the contract you have signed” – it is overselling, acting superior and wanting to feel important

RIGHT… BUT I STILL DON’T KNOW HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES

So what is the alternative to all of this?

If you have ever had to work on your posture or practiced yoga, you already know the answer: force and tension won’t take you far, but finding your core will.

As a business owner, you find your core when what you do and how you do it are perfectly aligned with who you are, and deeply rooted into why you are doing it.

As a business owner, finding your core comes from choosing to walk a path you can truly own as yours.

“Stress is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are” (Chinese Proverb)

When our actions and decisions come from such place we become beautifully strong and equally flexible.

And so do our boundaries.

“Did you just say… flexible?”

Yes, I did. Make your boundaries and give yourself permission to make exceptions.

People have this idea that being “good” and valuing yourself meaning making rules and rigidly keep them – no matter what.

Truth is, the secret to creating proper boundaries is to ensure they are strong and rooted in your beliefs, in your core, but not so rigid that they easily break under pressure.

But how do you decide when to bend a boundary, when is it ok to make an exception?

The answer is simple: when it feels right to you.

Trust your intuition, trust that voice inside you.

If all that voice is saying is “don’t even think about it, you don’t even WANT to work with this person anyway” – STOP. Breathe.

“No” is the right answer. And one that doesn’t need to be justified or explained. 

And by the way, my favourite “no” answer comes from Shonda Rhimes: “I am unable to do that”.

It just feels right and complete to me. It feels good.

“…my favourite “no” answer comes from Shonda Rhimes: “I am unable to do that”.

AND WHAT ABOUT SAYING… YES?

“Yes” is also an answer that does not need to be explained or justified.

So when it feels right to you to bend your boundaries, just do it. Know that you don’t have to be ashamed or justify it – to your photography friends, to your favourite Facebook group or to your mentor.

After all… your business, your rules.


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

Thinking about our Marketing Mentoring programme? Read this first

For some of us, the idea of having phone calls with leads can be anxiety-inducing, and even if you have been doing it for a while you could still wonder whether you are “doing it right”.

There are two common traps we have the tendency to fall into:

1- We feel that the goal of the call is to convince our potential client of something: book the session, buy wall art, etc;

And

2 -As a result of the above, we often overwhelm with words the person on the other end of the phone.

If any of this sounds a bit like you, there are 3 steps you can take to immediately improve your approach, and these take us back to the idea that growing a business means building relationships (more on this HERE).

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PERSON ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PHONE

Before asking about the colour of their nursery, how they want to display their images, spaces for wall art, try to answer this question: “What is more important to your prospect when buying what you sell?”.

Knowing what is important to them will help you understand what to focus your conversation on, and also establish whether they are a good fit (see below).

Let me clarify with an example.

Baby’s mum and dad are both originally from France. Their families and friends, including baby’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc are all there.

This might even be the biggest motivation for booking a session: to have photographs they can share with their family and friends abroad to feel closer to them.

Now imagine you spending most of your phone call talking about wall art for their home, while your competitor (having discovered what’s important to the client) chose to focus on extras like additional personalised USBs they could send home, digital slideshows or even albums and other products delivered to the grandparents. 

Who do you think they would instantly love?

Who would make them more excited?

And who do you think would be more likely to get not only the booking, but a bigger sale in the end?

Now, the easiest way to understand what is important to your leads is to simply ask them.

“Over the years I have learned that parents have different ways of thinking about their session, some envision beautiful wall art they can show to family and friends, some are doing it to create memories for the baby and so on… can you tell me more about what is important to you?”

Of course, you don’t need to use these exact words. Make it yours, and you will see how easy it is to connect with your people once you have the answer, as opposed to trying to sell your clients something without knowing exactly what they are looking for.

ESTABLISH WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE A GOOD FIT

Going back to our previous example, you might be thinking “Well I don’t want to sell digitals, so they would not be my ideal client anyway”.

Great, it would be even more important for you to discover that information and let the client know that you might not be the right person for them.
If you have ever worked with someone that really was not your client, you’ll understand how important this is.

SET BOUNDARIES AND CLARIFY WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

We all hate chasing clients, and clients hate being chased. 

Before ending the call, define exactly what is going to happen. Here are a couple of scenarios you might find useful:

  1. “I’ll speak to my partner and let you know”

    “That’s perfect, I will email you now and then try to call you next Tuesday. 

    Can I please ask you to email me back, should you decide not to go ahead? I want to ensure I don’t keep trying to contact you again if you are not interested”
  1. If the baby has already arrived and you have a very limited time to get the family in the studio.

    “Ok, if Wednesday 10:30am works for you I will hold the date for 48 hours to give us time to get you booked in.

    I am about to email you a recap of what we have discussed, so you have all the info in writing. I will also send you a second email with the contract, and invoice for your deposit/session fee.

    Should I not hear from you within 48 hours I will only contact you once again to let you know I am closing your enquiry and cancelling your reservation.”

When I first started in business I had a 6-page script to follow for my calls. A perfectly designed tool for sales.

And I hated it.

Fast forward to today, I can unequivocally say that the non-scripted approach I have taken after using my perfect script less than 5 times has been an irreplaceable tool to learn who my clients are, what motivates them, what language they use and – ultimately – to make selling a genuine and easy process.

Nearly every form of marketing and sales technique we see today is invasive and breeds distrust – despite most of us being instantly repelled by the slightest hint of pressure.

So if you have ever thought to yourself “I hate selling, I am not good at it!”… I am glad you did, it means you are still connected with that part of you that knows your relationship with your clients is the most important thing you have and that you can’t force a relationship to happen or people to enter it.

Thinking that most of what you do when promoting myself, answering enquiries and talking to leads is laying the foundation for genuine relationships – and not trying to deceive, force and push people – should immediately make you feel better about this whole “marketing thing”.

There are 3 essential elements to a relationship-oriented marketing:

TRANSPARENCY & CLARITY

This goes far beyond having prices available on your website, it is about making it completely safe for people to approach you.

We do this by:

  • Thinking of our business as our space, and making sure people feel welcome and respected when they enter it
  • When we are the ones entering our clients’ space (with an email, for example) doing so in a careful and respectful way, as opposed to making it feel like an invasion
  • Allowing our true intentions to be clearly seen. Be genuine when giving, be confident when asking (whether that is a fee, commitment, contact details, etc.

TRUST

Practising the above should put us on the right track for building trust, but trust also comes from respecting our clients’ need for time.

EXCITEMENT

I invite you to read our definition of brand HERE.

Being authentic with your marketing will have two effects:

  • Our people, those we define “ideal clients”, will be excited to work with us because who we are resonates with who they are. They will WANT to work with us.
  • It will make it clearer for those who aren’t our ideal clients to see that we are not who they are looking for.

In very simple terms, getting clients means building relationships. How we choose to do it determines now only how our business feels to us, but also how likely we are to be successful in the long term.

When we choose to create solid relationships with our people, based on transparency, trust and excitement, our clients will love working with us and tell the world about it. 

Or we can decide we don’t have time for that, and we would rather bet on our ability to take complete strangers and consistently, repeatedly, get them to give us their money.

The choice is yours, what will you choose?