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💡If I lost everything and had to start over, this is how I’d launch my photography business again to scale it to at least 100,000 a year.
Maybe you’re starting over, switching genres, or even moving your photography business to a new city. Here’s exactly how I’d do it.
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About Jenn Bruno Smith:
After leaving a successful career as a speech pathologist and clinical liaison, Jenn moved into pursuing her business full time. She has been shooting boudoir exclusively for 4 years and teaching marketing and business to the photography industry for the last two.
Jenn is a featured educator in the Do More Forum and AIBP. She is a guest blogger for Skip Cohen University and her work has been featured on Fstoppers. Jenn enjoys mentoring other photographers and teaching them her ninja business ways. She also enjoys spending time with her family and three small children, as well as sleeping (when she finds the time).
You can catch up with Jenn in her group The High Rollers Club- IPS, Business and Marketing for Boudoir photographers
About the Interviewer Humberto Garcia:
Humberto Garcia is the world’s leading photography business growth expert.
Founder of Photography to Profits and high-performance coach to multiple 6-figure photography businesses. Humberto coaches photographers from his special operations military experience and photography sales and marketing experience. After years of high performance in Marine Special Operations and building businesses, he knows what works.
Starting Over – First 100k.mp4
[00:00:01] It says that we’re streaming live on Facebook.
[00:00:04] Yeah. So tell me, how is your December starting?
[00:00:07] It’s going to be going pretty well. I mean, this has been a slower month for me. I think my revenue was maybe at like 20. But I definitely have had a harder month. December’s a little bit harder than most of the other months, I think.
[00:00:25] Yeah. And we’re like 18 days in. Do you have any shoot schedule for the rest of the year?
[00:00:30] No. I’m done. So my last shoot was on Monday and I’m done now for the rest of the year. I have I’ve had for ordering women to speak one more tomorrow and then that’s my last until January 9th.
[00:00:46] And by the way, today’s topic is actually we were talking about this before, but basically we always talk about where you are now. I think you just went live in the Facebook group and you said, you know, you hit five hundred K again.
[00:00:58] Yeah. Second year in a row.
[00:01:01] And well, that’s so impressive for most people. They’re just like, heck. I just need to get to one hundred K. Right. Yeah. So we’re basically going to talk through like if everything was like taken away and you had no Facebook group, no emails, no nothing like what would your order of operations be to like get your portfolio back. Like imagine like fire or something just took off there. You moved away for four years and you had to come back.
[00:01:25] Yeah, that’s yeah, that’s a loaded question. That’s a lot of work. I mean, though, it’s all you always have to start with the work, right? Like you always have to have a foundation of work. If if the work isn’t solid, it’s really hard to build a business about that. So, you know, if I was picking up and moving to a new place, I least would have a portfolio. Right. But like where it starts to get tricky is for the people that don’t have a portfolio yet. Right.
[00:01:56] Like how they where would they find the people to start building their portfolio? Because that’s the first step.
[00:02:04] Yeah. So. And by the way, like in this scenario, we’re gonna say that you have five thousand hours, have no portfolio. You don’t even have a camera. So you don’t even have to be a chance to switch over to Sony as I’ve been by.
[00:02:17] You’re making me think today. Yeah. Yeah, a lot of thinking.
[00:02:22] So before we even get into that, I know, you know, we can’t just skip over the fact that like two years in a row you did it and you just had a baby this year, actually.
[00:02:31] So he’s gonna be one on the twenty second. So I had a baby December 22nd of twenty eighteen. So and what’s today. The eighteenth and four days he’s gonna be one.
[00:02:44] Holy smokes. And four days he’s gonna be one.
[00:02:48] Yeah I know it’s crazy. When we first when we met a year ago he was only like a month old.
[00:02:57] Yeah. I remember when I flew up to Delaware I just thought like this is like a real little baby. Like, how are you been doing this? I have I have one 7 year old who can feed herself, go to the bathroom and like change diapers. I was like, how do you run a business with baby?
[00:03:11] Yeah. And two others. Two other little ones. I mean, luckily, I have a really supportive spouse, but really supportive partner. He’s amazing, but really like being very structured. Like I’m very organized. I have systems like we have schedules, you know, and that really helps.
[00:03:33] But it was definitely very challenging with a newborn, you know, because the first year I hit five hundred, I was pregnant for most of the year. And then the second year I hit five hundred. This year I had a newborn and then an infant, you know. So the great thing about that is, is I know that if I’ve done it through to like probably like the hardest life transitions that you can have, like.
[00:03:59] I know. And it’s gonna be easy. Moving forward, it’ll just get easier for me.
[00:04:04] Yeah. What’s it gonna be like when you’re not, like, hindered with family or like physically?
[00:04:11] I mean, it was I’ll tell you what. It was great this year, shooting and not being pregnant. I was like, boy, this is really nice.
[00:04:18] Yeah, it’s tiring. Even when you’re not pregnant, I can’t imagine like having like I was a disaster.
[00:04:24] I actually so I shot full time. I shot and I was thirty eight weeks and I get super sick when I’m pregnant. And I had to get I.V. iron. So I would go and get I.V. iron and then I would come back and shoot a session. I got like the wrap around my arm. And because I passed out, I get really sick. So, yeah. So shooting this year, not being pregnant, I was like, boy, this is great. I mean, movies, couches are on all I want.
[00:04:51] Awesome. Yeah. And by the way, we didn’t have a comment once before about us talking. And I always I know that there’s always like detractors. And I don’t I think it says more about the person thinking this. And it’s like, you know, we see people that have success and then we instantly have to put like barriers up. So it’s like, well, we don’t know if she was super rich, if her father was a photographer, if, you know, her husband gave her everything. And, you know, she just got really lucky. So let’s even go back like before you even got to that. Right. There was a lot of years of work that most people. Right. People just see the end product now. Now, how did you even get started? Know just something.
[00:05:32] So my father was a photographer, but he was also a teacher. And the photography was more like his side hustle. It wasn’t his full time business. So I grew up with like a dark room in our basement. But digital is very different than film. So, you know, that skill set, of course, is ends. I mean, it’s nice to have, but it doesn’t really help me run my business now.
[00:06:00] But I was a speech pathologist. I went to school for seven years, four years, an undergrad a year, pre-reqs for the master’s program and then two years.
[00:06:10] And my husband is a doctor. Physical therapy, which those sound like really good jobs. Right. But they’re not. When you have three hundred thousand in school think this is a way, you know, you don’t get out and make a lot of money when you have three hundred thousand dollars in school loans to pay off. So yeah. I mean there are great jobs if you don’t have school loans. But we were barely scraping by like because his school loan payment alone is twenty five hundred dollars a month. It was more than our mortgage. So we.
[00:06:43] About nine years ago for our Black Friday, my husband really, because he was working really, really long days as a physical therapist. 8:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night. And I was just bored.
[00:06:57] I didn’t know anyone here in Delaware. I didn’t have any friends circle. So he just got me a camera. It’s like, I think keep me, like, pacified. He’s a great guitar, like a hobby, like it will be a hobby for her. These little things like keep her busy. Right. And then it just turns into like this amazing life changing thing. But of course, it took years.
[00:07:19] I mean, I’ve been shooting since two thousand eleven maybe 2012.
[00:07:27] So how long did it take you to like actually take it super seriously where like you treated at the same as when you were like going to become a speech pathologist? Right. I’m sure like that. You know, you’re becoming a speed biologist.
[00:07:42] I love how I draw a thing.
[00:07:45] Maybe I need one. Yeah. But like obviously, like, you know, you knew it’s going to be rigorous, you know? Is it before years of undergrad? Like the whole seven years? Like when did you get serious about photography? When you were like, OK. I am on a track and I know I’m trying to get somewhere. And when did you start? Seriously?
[00:08:01] So I was in a unique position because I was working a marketing job. So I had a lot of flexibility and I was able to shoot full time while I was working that marketing job. And. I started realizing that I can make a lot of money, and so back in twenty, twenty, seventeen, my gross was to eighty for photography and my day job was like ninety five. And so when we got to that point through twenty seventeen I looked to my husband, I was like I need twice as much doing photography as I did my day job so and I’m booked for twenty eighteen.
[00:08:46] So let’s just do it.
[00:08:47] And it was at that point I would say like mid twenty sixteen into twenty seventeen that I realized I could, I could really make a living off of this. And then I mean it’s just gotten better from there because once you figure out the systems and you like figure out what you need to do to make it work.
[00:09:06] Everything just starts coming like it, just that the wheels keep turning. You left us hanging in there. I dislike turning bad and fouls, you know.
[00:09:15] Yeah. Yeah, it takes less willpower. It’s funny. I was actually talking to it was I think was on our mass. My call on Monday is that I do. We were talking about it and it was like a lot of times people get started on this path or they find this group, but they find you and they’ll say something like, OK, I need to get to where Jen is. Like, you’re the finished product right now. So when like doesn’t have a portfolio and a you know, and they’re starting out and they don’t have, you know, the sales training or just like the competence and they’re looking at you right now, they’re they’re basically going to say and almost correctly so it’s almost like, what else would you think? They think, OK, I need to emulate what she does right now. And they don’t realize like they should be emulating Jen from like twenty, seventeen, twenty, sixteen, like the one grinding and hustling. Or, you know, someone like Liz Hanson by the psychoanalyst Hanson from childhood or I think she got this is her first year in business. She got she said one of her biggest months this month or this year was about twenty eight thousand. And I just thought about that as like they need to be looking at emulating like previous you or the people that are up and coming right now. Right. Like, what have you done for me lately? The people now. So I guess that’s kind of what prompted this conversation is if you lost everything or if you are gonna be a student and the masked man and you were like about to get started, like even with your experience, like, where would you even start if you didn’t have ten, you know, ten thousand plus women in a Facebook group or email list?
[00:10:42] I mean, I was interviewing Heather Nickson yesterday and she just started saying boudoir in January. And now she’s having twenty thousand dollars a month. Right. Same thing. Since joining our mastermind. And I just looked at her and I was like, oh, my God, I wish I would have had the mastermind whenever I was just starting because it wouldn’t have taken me four years. It would have only taken me a year. Right. Because all of this information that we like, since that I’ve spent years and years creating, that you’ve spent years and years like learning and creating are all at our students fingertips instead of having to make piecemeal and put things together.
[00:11:21] And trial things and figure things out. So.
[00:11:24] So where would you start? So day one. First of all, let’s let’s get the fun questions. So you have five thousand hours. You have to spend it before December thirty first. I get all the balls.
[00:11:33] But, you know, I’m really good at spending money.
[00:11:36] Five thousand. That’s not that much. So you’ve got to buy a camera. What camera lens? What camera are you buying first?
[00:11:43] Well. So I shoot with a 750. I probably would just say with that.
[00:11:48] That’s a cheap by the way, if anyone listening like that is like an eight, nine year old camera. And I can’t believe you shoot with that idea.
[00:11:57] Idea. But it’s good enough. So, yeah, it produces excellent work. It’s sharp. I like the way it works.
[00:12:05] And by the way, I think we use maybe it might cost eight hundred. Nine hundred. I mean it’s not a set of camera. No body at all.
[00:12:13] So you have a camera, 750. And what about lens. What are you ordering?
[00:12:17] I use it 24 to 70. I have a bunch of lenses in my office. I don’t use any of that. They just sit there and collect us. They’re literally like paperweights.
[00:12:28] Ok. So let’s just say what does that take us up to? Like maybe twenty five hundred.
[00:12:33] Oh, my gosh. It’s not like I know because I’ve had that lens for like four years. I don’t know how much it is now.
[00:12:39] Ok. So we’ll go use eBay or K H or something. Where. Twenty five hundred. Yeah. Next let’s use a studio. In-Home studio.
[00:12:48] Are you going to go rent a place everybody in your home. Because if you don’t have any money coming in. You don’t want to put money out. So all you need is like some good windows which most houses have windows. Right.
[00:13:01] Why do you shoot Brighton area or whether you shoot dark and moody? You just use the ambient light.
[00:13:08] And like you could use your living room and get a couch like this couch behind me that I used to shoot on. A neighbor gave it to me. So spray. It’s so funny.
[00:13:19] The funny the funny thing is one of my favorite photographers came down to Miami for Art Basel like a week or two ago. Yeah. And she’s like a super nice photographer. She’s a portrait master. And she has this like huge five foot, like, parabolic. Right. I’m out of your game. This is this huge soft box. And we set it up and everything. It works perfectly. The first day works perfectly the second day. And on the third day, the bulb went out and she like we still needed it for a few hours. And she’s like, oh, man, like, what am I going to do? So I like literally. We took a speed light and we just pointed up to the roof. You could not tell the difference between the lighting. I’m not even kidding. So that is bittersweet. A five foot. And then her is. And we almost made it like. You know, we put like a little bit of a cone on it to make it a little bit smaller, to make it like diffuse. Yeah. And no kidding. It worked perfectly well.
[00:14:13] It laid out the ceiling.
[00:14:16] A recession. Yeah. And that’s so funny because anyone I went to go see, I was like, no, this can’t be that simple. You cannot be that simple because I remember when I was getting started or when a lot of you again started, like it’s all about gear and we focus on that. And like nine months go by and we barely made any decisions. We have a bunch of things in our cart. But your suggestion is fifty. Twenty four to seventy.
[00:14:38] And lay it like it doesn’t have to be expensive. Could be a cheap one. It was funny. One of my friends was like, I forget. I think they saw it as a picture of me shooting or something. And they’re like, why don’t you even have like you’re just using a seat? Like, What are you doing? You’re pointing at towards the ceiling. He was like, that’s ridiculous.
[00:14:57] I was like, works. And what’s funny is my dad actually taught me that, like he was here visiting like five or six years ago.
[00:15:06] And he’s like, your walls are all white. Use a speed light and pointed at, you know, a wall or ceiling. It’s perfect. And actually, like even a step further, like he when I was first starting, I would just take like a piece of tissue and put it over the lights and diffuse it.
[00:15:28] Like, that’s, by the way, for anyone listening. You’re not going to ever see the images. But this is Shen’s portfolio. So you’re saying almost all of this is all of this has flash?
[00:15:40] All of it. It’s all a speed light pointing towards the ceiling and ambient light.
[00:15:45] It’s so crazy because this looks like super, super soft, like I would not have been able to guess. Again, I don’t. I also don’t like sit there and like, stare at catch lights all day, but like, you really can’t tell even when you basically tell people.
[00:15:58] I know it’s only so funny, I actually unless someone, like, lets you talk to someone about their methods. I just thought that everybody did things like this, you know, and it wasn’t until I started really educating and teaching that when I would tell people to simulate what they grow.
[00:16:17] I mean, it’s what I’ve always done. I don’t know. I don’t know if there was any other better way to do it, because I didn’t go to school for this.
[00:16:23] I didn’t, you know, just kind of figured it out on my own. And of course, like I said, my dad, like he was the one that really gave me the idea, of course, about using satellite. And then I guess seventy-four started like I would just use the flake tissue.
[00:16:39] So I I will say that, you know, I know not every single person can, like, shoot in the house. Maybe their house isn’t as big. I remember even me like I saw I thought I had a pretty house night live in a great place notgonna. But like I was just a little bit self-conscious about bringing people there because it wasn’t like a designer home interior. It was like a broe house. Yeah, it was so clean. Everything’s black and like. I can’t. So have you ever like, have you ever had a shoot in other clients homes you ever, like, gotten in there? BMB Or like. Have you ever had to do that?
[00:17:13] All the time? Well, now, of course, but I don’t ever shoot in a client’s home just because I don’t like. I don’t know what I’m walking into. And I just feel like for safety reasons, also, like you just don’t know what you’re going to. And I’ll see you don’t know what the house is going to look like. So I always will get like I’ll get an Araby and B or I’ll get a hotel room that I really like. But I feel inspired by like I’m going I shot in Vegas two years ago. In twenty, twenty, eighteen, I shot in Vegas. And I just I get like urban bees I really like. And when I go back to Vegas for WPI in February, I think I’m might just get the same suite and then book shoots there because I’ve already booked that seat.
[00:17:56] So I have a portfolio from that that environment. So it should be easier to book shoots.
[00:18:04] Yeah. OK. So we have our gear and let’s just say you like all your images are gone. I don’t know you. You burned them all over. So what are you doing? You have a couple of weekends and then you got to start paying bills like what are you going?
[00:18:20] Well, the first thing I would probably do is gets do like a legit model call. Like not like a Monaco where you’re trying to make money, because I I feel like that’s not a good way to start off. So I would actually do a call for women that are as diverse as possible. This is another mistake. I see a lot of tiger snake is their portfolio will be all models like logit models. And it’s really hard for real women to hire you if all they see is people that are actually models that you need to have diversity in your portfolio. A woman won’t hire you unless she knows that you can shoot women that look like her. So, you know, I would do a call for a 20 something a have a 30 something or 40 something a 50 something or 60 something. Women of all ethnicities. You know, but to start like you want to have as much diversity as possible, especially like women, you know, that are curvy, slender. When you want to have as many different things to show as you can.
[00:19:28] Which, by the way, I can’t forget, I almost jumped one so you’d get that model call, but when you bring them into your home studio. But by the way, when I say home studio, people in the air realize it’s literally just a room in your house. That’s my door. What props would you have? Like. What are like must-haves that you would buy things from Amazon as their backdrops, as a paper? Is there anything you would buy?
[00:19:50] Yeah. So I use a tapestry from Amazon as one of my backdrops and it was maybe like $19. And I have two of them. So there’s that. And then I also went to HomeGoods and I have maybe like five or six furs that I’ll put on the ground or I’ll layer on that couch. And you can change sets with just by changing the fur that people are laying on. You want to change the fur or the cloth and then their outfit and then back in like he. Is that change. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be like a super crazy set. And as I’ve been going, you know, has been doing this more like I’ve added things like this. The plants behind me like things like that. And those are from Amazon, too. They were like 80 or 90 dollars. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. The most expensive thing in my studio is my makeup stand that’s in front of me. You know, I have my computer on right now.
[00:20:50] Yeah, I’m actually about to share. So let me actually see again if you’re listening. Put some screenshots up in the notes of this. But yeah, that’s the tapestry you have. What is that from Amazon?
[00:21:03] Yeah. Amazon. And I just have a thumbtack to the wall. You can actually see the income tax, by the way.
[00:21:09] Another one is it’s like how important starting out? Because I know like in this city we covered kind of like your client calls it and a little bit of what she brought, like how much would you get to start? Because I know a lot of people think like you have to have an entire closet. You can’t do a shoot or like you built. Would you build it like slowly as you go?
[00:21:25] Yeah, I would definitely build it. I’m still building my client closet. I’ve noticed that my curvier clients sometimes need a little bit more than my other clients. So I actually just got like three pairs of like Spanx underwear, like one X, two X, three X. And if you like, plus sized bodysuit sads my closets. I think you’re like always adding things to like what you have. I think that that’s important because as you go, like you’ll notice a you know, you might need more.
[00:21:59] And the big thing is that I found sometimes clients won’t. Sometimes clients won’t bring underwear that fit. They’ll just bring like the little G strings that come with juices and things like that. And that’s those don’t photograph well, they don’t look good on anyone.
[00:22:19] So that’s why I keep like those Spanx underwear. More coverage. That way we can just put them under things. And of course, they just wear like their regular underwear underneath of it. And then I just watched it and corrects it whenever they’re done.
[00:22:33] Yeah, it is so crazy with just just a little bit of wardrobe and like just some textures, everything from the hardwood to the backdrops, like how many different locks you can get with just four walls and. Yeah, some texture in there. And by the way, like I feel like so many will get so, so stuck here. And you spend they spend tens of thousands of dollars, they don’t lose half of it. And then they end up kind of like you, like just putting everything in a closet and going back to like three things that they know works and every set.
[00:23:00] Yeah. I’m very simple. And I think the other thing is like you always have to be evolving and changing. And just since we shot that, we shot that in like February, I guess.
[00:23:11] My my whole process has changed pretty significantly even from then. Yeah. Like I’ve I’ve changed around a lot of my sets.
[00:23:24] I’ve changed from a lot of my posing. So you have to like keep evolving as you continue to shoot. So like, I still use that grey backdrop, but you know where it used to be my topless that was in the middle. I’ve now moved back to the last SAT. I’d do it upstairs in the bedroom. I use white sheets more so my style and like my posing flow is always evolving. I just did another live shoot. Maybe like to record for the course. Maybe like four months ago. And my posing has completely changed since then. So it’s important to like continue to grow and change your posing flow as well.
[00:24:05] Ok. So you’ve got all your equipment, you’ve got your studio, you’ve got like your 10 models and maybe you made some sales from them. Maybe not. What is next like? How are you going to. How are you gonna get in like three to four women every single month?
[00:24:19] Yeah. So in the very beginning, I was doing bridal shows. That was huge for me. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. You are surrounded by your ideal client like women, right? And I was doing eight to 10 a year and it was definitely an investment to do the shows. But I would book about 1 percent of attendees. So you book like a three thousand person show, like it was feasible for me to book 20 to 30 from that show.
[00:24:53] And of course, now that I have an existing client base, I can easily book, you know, 30 to 40 from just putting up a flash sale and how like.
[00:25:03] So how much would you expect? Like that was my first show. Yeah. So again, I have a picture of her first show up.
[00:25:12] Few people I had to shoot before I did that show. You can see them on the there’s one girl in two pictures and another girl and the other two pictures.
[00:25:21] Yeah, because even me, like I by the way, you guys know me, I’m like very digitally Oren’s oriented. So like for me, this is like scary. Like it to me, it feels like it’s such a huge investment or like, yeah, it’s scary to me thinking maybe you have to have like 50 shoots done and like all this work. And you’re literally telling me here you had only two models shot before.
[00:25:42] You can even see the sample album that’s on the table. It’s the same girl. Like I literally had to shoot under my belt when I did this bridal show. You can see that it’s like the same girl.
[00:25:57] And what has changed now since then? So like now it seems like you’ve gotten a little bit better. You’ve got walls, lights.
[00:26:05] I’ve definitely loved both ups and said this is a bridal show I did in January that was literally a week and a half after I had my baby. I was a disaster. You can see the chair in the corner. I don’t usually I would never set up bridal shows, but I was sitting at that show. I was a mess, but I’d already reserved it like I’d already paid the fee. And this is the biggest show of the year. So luckily, Nikki was there and my studio manager, that’s my husband. So they did the show with me. And I mostly sat for this one because I had just had a baby like a week and a half before that. Yeah, that.
[00:26:44] Yeah. How do you even. And by the way, for those I can’t see it like you have like a bridal contract, a scrap like you have give away for it. Like this entire thing is almost like its own little marketing funnel. Absolutely. What made you even want to like do this from let’s just say from zero. You know, from just a few models, like what even prompted you to try this?
[00:27:06] So the funny thing is whenever.
[00:27:09] So I’ve always been like a marketer. I’ve always had that like Brene of like, you know, thinking, how can I make this better? What can I do? So when I was, you know, talking to my husband and trying to figure out like how we could find clients, I was like, where would people go that wanted to hire a boudoir photographer? Really? Like, no shows. Right. Like there’s women everywhere. It’s full of my ideal client. So we picked this random show in Chester, P.A., which I know most of you probably don’t know. But Chester is about 20 minutes from Philly.
[00:27:47] It is not a good area. It’s quite dangerous in some places.
[00:27:54] And we it was at this casino. We were like, wow, let’s give it a shot. Let’s do it. And it was scary. Like, it was like a seven hundred dollar like fee to get in the show. And I was I not going lie? I did not know you put it on a credit card. I was scared. And if you look up like, how do you do a bridal show as a boudoir photographer? There is very little information out there. Like I was on Pinterest. I was I was everywhere. I was asking Facebook groups. It was it’s very hard to find information on how to do a show and how to do it well.
[00:28:28] So sometimes you literally just said, I think this is where clients are. Let me just.
[00:28:34] Yeah. And luckily, my husband is very supportive and was like, OK, let’s give it a shot.
[00:28:42] And how many did you book on your first one? Nine. Nine. Holy shit. That’s a lot.
[00:28:47] That’s great results with my two clients. And you know, my one album. Yeah.
[00:28:54] Wow. And by the way, I guess that’s. I actually have. I always say, you know, like a lot of times you get stopped before my show, a little drying hair stop before they start seeing results. So like, it’s crazy to me that, like, you’re about to like walk off this cliff of let me do these bridal shows that no one really talks about. No one really knows if they work. I don’t really have a proven system, but let me just like step off the ledge. And the crazy thing is, is like eat what you’re trying to get to, like a place where you’re like looking out for the year and you have no idea how to get there. But the fact that you take a step off a ledge and you start learning and you make a few mistakes, Castilla bait, you start breaking even then as it gets good and you have like a script, you have a perfect offer, you more people help you and you keep helping yourself. You start to get to a version of yourself where it’s like now you’ve mastered this. And it’s just incredible to even take that step off. And it’s I think that’s a huge part. Right. Like you had a lot of momentum when you had those first nine, even though, by the way. Like I think a lot of the time, Sue, like if you go into Facebook groups and people start warning you and telling you, no, that’s gonna be bad or these are all the bad things that happened to me. And then you start doubting everything. You never take the step off. Like that could have just destroyed this whole vision. So, like, how do you deal with like how do you deal with, like, your doubts? Anytime you’re like, I don’t really know or you have uncertainty.
[00:30:25] So I don’t really have an certains I don’t really think like that. I am always thinking ten steps ahead. So I’m not necessarily thinking like, what if this fails?
[00:30:37] I’m thinking about when this succeeds. This is what I’m doing next. So I think that mindset has a lot to do with that. And I never really. This is so funny that I’m even talking about this now, because when I would hear people talk about mindset and how like going to mindset classes, I’d be like a fucking waste of time because instead of doing all that, you could just be doing it. You know what I mean? So. But now that I’m like on the other side and really successful, I look back. And I think it was because of my mindset that I’m successful now because I failure wasn’t really an option. Like I I didn’t even it wasn’t even in my vision that I was going to fail. It was only when this succeeds. I’m going to do this. And as that continues to help me, like. My husband always says he can’t keep up with me because I’m always thinking like, you know, a year down the road, tears down the road. What’s this going to look like? How can I make things better? But yeah, I mean it.
[00:31:42] But still like the investment for the bridal show. It was scary. We put it on a credit card. We did not have eight hundred dollars to give. Like it was you know, it was a risk. But once when we did one and it was successful. And by the way, I was pregnant with Scarlet when we did that show. So that was 20 succeed. And I was pregnant at that show to my very first one. I was like eight twenty two weeks pregnant.
[00:32:11] So I’ve been pregnant a lot in the last five years. I’m done.
[00:32:18] But I was pregnant, by the way, just for someone who’s wondering, like like for me, it’s actually for guys like I have no idea how these berisha’s go.
[00:32:27] I don’t I don’t even know why anyone would want to go. Why would you not want to search this stuff on your phone? Yeah.
[00:32:33] So, like, how do you even, like, choose? How do you even choose the first one? How do you make your selection? Like how many you’re going to have next year?
[00:32:40] So. So next year I’m only doing two because I’m booked out. Like I only have maybe 10 dates in 2020 that I can fill. But I consider myself fully booked right now.
[00:32:50] Those 10 dates are just like, you know, hey, if I book it, I’ll take it. Because I like money. But but really, I’m booked out for 2020. So I’m doing two shows and I did two shows this year.
[00:33:04] And then tell me, how many were you doing when you started that first year in 2016? I did about eight, eight shows.
[00:33:12] Holy smokes. And by the way, like how much they cost. And how do you how do you pay?
[00:33:17] So between my least expensive show is 400. And then my most expensive show is that Philly show that I showed that I was pregnant at last year or this year, I guess it was. And that’s about fifteen hundred. But the most important thing is that you get the email list from the show like you need to get those emails and the contacts because you can build your e-mail animation and build your audience like that. And building that email automation is huge. For me, it was a huge game changer.
[00:33:46] I feel like I feel like that’s one big thing that a lot of people when they go to these shows are expose that they like, almost forget like, of course, you have the benefit of. And we actually had a photographer that we worked with that she had something like, I don’t know, like ten bookings from from some some sort of campaign like that. Yeah. And no kidding. She was like really not depressed, but she was very disappointed. She is like, man, like this didn’t go too well, like, you know. Was this a failure? What could we have done better? And it was like, wait. Did you follow up with people? And then we’re like, oh, we could do that. It was like, wow, it’s like, let’s hit the phones and let’s say e-mail. They put something like over forty five people after that. Yeah. So most people just dropped the ball on that or they’re not prepared. They’ll try to do it six months later.
[00:34:32] So and so important to have an email automation that continuous because I will book people from shows that I did two years ago like that did the whole. The most important thing is to reach your target audience in as many ways as possible. So if they’re on your email animation, try and get them in your VIP group if they’re in your view or you get their e-mail that way, they’re seeing you in as many different places as possible so that when they’re ready to book, they think of you first. You’re a you know, in the front of their mind. It’s very important that you continue to have as many touch points as possible with your prospective client base.
[00:35:09] Have you had people like what’s the far this back some of his book like or is like you have people from like your first bridal show or like your first year ever come back and say, hey, we met way back then.
[00:35:21] Yeah. Some actually that that story about that this year I had a client booked me and and Nikki, my studio manager, now does a lot of bookings. And I hear this from photographers a lot like I don’t have people to help me and I can’t do what you do. I’m like, no. I didn’t have a studio manager all this time.
[00:35:38] Like, that’s not how I started.
[00:35:41] I used to do this all myself, you know. But anyway, so she books people now. So she had booked this girl and her name is Gen2. So she comes for a shoot. And I was like, oh, you know, how do you find me? And she’s like, funny story. She’s like, about seven years ago, you were pregnant. Here we go again. I was pregnant and I saw them in a Christmas tree farm and they had their baby Delaney with them. And this baby. Their baby was just beautiful. So these big blue eyes. She was maybe like seven months old and I was pregnant. And we were about to shoot my gender, reveal pictures. My husband, I were just going to shoot them. And I saw her. And I was I was you know, I was inspired by their baby. As a kid, I just take a picture of her. She’s just a beautiful child. I’ll just e-mail you the. Sure. You know, you have to pay me. I just. Her face is beautiful. And so they really casher. So I took the picture of the baby and I e-mail it to them and then they got on my email list. And seven years later, Jen. The way she puts me. And that was it was a $5000 sale. But she stayed. They stayed in my email automation seven years. That was like the first. It was like two years after I got my camera.
[00:36:53] And that’s really awesome. So.
[00:36:58] I know, I know you went back to a little bit about right now, so let’s just let’s just say it’s someone like me that says like, oh my God, I’m super scared to like order these backdrops in order these samples and like the thought of talking to one hundred people, because I’m assuming too like so we just did like an art show for every one person that said yes to like participate. We probably had like three people say no. So there’s like a lot of notes that go into it. And it like I remember thinking when we were doing that, I was like, OK, I can get past this because we’re not saying no to me. They have their own lives. Whatever. It’s not like really rejecting me. But I remember thinking like, for somebody else, this could be like really impactful. For someone who says, Jen, like, I don’t want to get any nose. And that’s not my personality. Like, what would be like your fallback? Let’s just say that didn’t work nowadays. For some reason, I was just changing.
[00:37:50] Yeah, well, so I think like in any sort of cell sales job, because that’s what we’re doing if you’re running a business or a business owner first and sales is a part of our job.
[00:38:03] And I think a lot of creatives would fly away from that because they want to focus on the art. But it is important, you know, you’re gonna get a lot of no’s and you just have to stay focused on the S’s because, you know, just like. Just like some products at the store. Like when you’re going for it to buy some wine.
[00:38:26] Right. Like there are some people like certain types of wine, other people like other types of wine. It doesn’t mean I’m saying no to wine because he’s going to say no to wine, but it just means that your preferences.
[00:38:37] So I don’t ever get worked up about nose, but. So like if there wasn’t bridal shows, what would I do? Yeah, I would totally prospect on Facebook. We have access like that at our fingertips.
[00:38:53] Thousands and thousands of people. Groups of people, you know, where they shop. You know where they work. You know who their friends are. You know what they like to do. It’s so powerful. The power of Facebook is unreal.
[00:39:06] And even like, you know, five or six years ago when I started this, it I feel like it wasn’t as powerful as it is now. I feel like it’s just gotten like more. More like.
[00:39:20] Yeah, like everything. Everyone’s more connected. It’s easier to connect with every single person online. I mean, I always think that right. Like back in the day and I guess this is a testament you kind of touched on, like how much easier it is to start a business nowadays, right. Like yesterday, you’d have to learn how to do things in the dark room. You’d have to actually buy photography, education, like to even learn the camera. Yeah. And then to like even start a website, you’d have to pay thousands of dollars. Yeah. Well then you have cell phone. So you were in the Yellow Pages. Right. Like I remember the story that somebody was going around selling like, you know, online listing pages and people were like you think you can ever replace this yellow book? This is where business will always be done. You know? Yeah. Just the fact that like nowadays it’s just so much easier. And it’s funny because I know I ask you this and for you it’s like, oh, easy. But for some people, it’s like, well, no, Jen, like it’s still hard out there.
[00:40:15] Yeah, I it was funny. I flew home from I was speaking at a conference in Texas in November and I flew home. I fly first class because my not if I’m working my ass off. Right. So I sat beside Ray, who owns this. I tell you about this.
[00:40:32] I told you about Ray.
[00:40:35] I step aside. Right. Like this classic like Texas guy is like 70. He owns a business installing indoor playground floors. Right. Like at McDonald’s and IKEA.
[00:40:49] And he has all these big accounts like that’s his account, like IKEA’s like McDonald’s all over the world. Right. So I’m like, Ray. How do you find business? Like where? How do you find this? He’s like, oh, I talk to people. And I started telling him I was like, so let me see your website. And he’s like.
[00:41:10] He pulls it off. And I was like, are you a Facebook picks on us? He goes, What are you talking about? He had no idea. And so back in the day, because my dad does this is the same way you and the water softener company and they’re super successful. And he has no idea about any of this stuff either. But he talks to people and he networks. And that’s like what’s missing in our culture now is like actually talking to people. We just assume that, like, Google is going to do everything for us.
[00:41:40] But it’s not the case here. Ray, he’s 70, running it. You know, tens of million dollar business all over the world. And he’s finding his business by talking to people, you know.
[00:41:52] And I think it’s I think it’s something that a lot of us lose sight of in the digital age that we’re in. But it’s important. And that’s probably why bridal shows work so well. Right. Because you’re turning all these cold leads into one leads like instantly. And the same with prospecting. Why it’s so powerful. You are reaching out to people personally instead of like depending on Google to do all of your work for you.
[00:42:18] Yeah. Yeah. And it’s free. Right. Yeah. And I actually think, you know, as blessed as we are to have all these tools in you. Right. Maybe sometimes it diminishes the, you know, those muscles that we used to have. Right. Like like back in the day, we have to hunt for our food. Most of us go hunt for their food at the grocery aisle or eat it. If not, we’ll start. But I know. Got to go pick up a kid and I want to keep you here forever.
[00:42:42] I have buses coming. Take you back down memory lane. Thank you so much for the insight. And it’s pathetic for anyone listening.
[00:42:51] Hopefully this serves an encouragement. Twenty 20 is about to start. I mean, when you’re listening to this. Well, twenty I will always start here in a couple days. But regardless, you’re listening. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks so much. And we’ll we’ll talk soon. Okay. See you. Bye bye.