Three Things You Can Do Right Now To Increase Your Visibility On Facebook | Social Media Strategy

Three steps to increase your visibility on Facebook!

Let’s cut right to the chase.

You are wondering if you should abandon Facebook as a social media platform to use for your business.

Or maybe you already have. I mean, the only people seeing your posts are your mom and your grandma.

Am I right!

The algorithm has you crying into your coffee.

So is it time to abandon Facebook for good?

Well go for it, if you want to leave behind the 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook.

Love it or hate it, Facebook is still the NUMBER ONE, and MOST USED social media platform in the world. Your ideal client is on Facebook. Period.

Here is where I share with you some tough love, my friend. The reason Facebook isn’t working for you anymore is because you haven’t adapted your use and strategy to stay up to date with the current algorithm.

The truth of the matter is, the algorithm is there to enhance our user experience on Facebook. It is meant to only show us posts and content that we want to interact with and engage with. This saves us from seeing sales pitch after sales pitch. This is a good thing. Even for you, my fellow Lady Boss. This means that the folks who are seeing your posts are GENUINELY excited to see them.

I know, I know. You are busy and you don’t have time to keep up with Facebook who has more mood swings than your teenager.

Engaging Content Is The Number ONE Thing Prioritized In The Algorithm.

So let’s get one thing straight: you are a Content Creator. As a photographer and perhaps an educator, this is what you do. You create content (photos, captions, blog posts) for your audience to consume. And your content is marketing what you are selling, which is taking photos.

But photos aren’t enough. If you are simply dropping pretty photos on your business Facebook page with captions like “Isn’t this baby adorable?” then you are never going to be seen. This kind of content isn’t engaging, it isn’t serving anyone, and quite honestly, it’s boring.

Or worse, if all you are doing is posting things like “Now Booking” or “Offering Mini Sessions,” then you really aren’t going to get seen.

Because Facebook is prioritizing meaningful, engaging content, not saley, pestering content.Make sense?

Here are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to increase your visibility on Facebook.

1. Build community and promote genuine interactions on your page.

Straight from the official Facebook blog it says “page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.”

Ask yourself this: how am I serving my following? What can I do to encourage interaction with my posts?

For example, I am a family photographer. I regularly post about how to prepare families for family sessions, how to decide what to wear for a family session etc. In the summer, I post about how to deal with late evening sessions. For my newborn families I post resources on how to get help with breast feeding, self-care for a postpartum mom, etc. You can post about family events happening in your area. These are all ways to serve your clients so they will be excited and thankful to interact with your posts. What is also magic about high quality content is that it is shareable. Facebook loves when people share your content.

Think outside the box. How can you create content that is going to bring your ideal clients together into one collective community?

Finally, don’t forget to directly call your followers to action. Do this by ending your post with a question. Not all questions are created equal. Think of a question that is going to generate answers that people will be excited to see. For example, last week I posted a photo of a pregnant woman, of course because I want to book maternity sessions. But had I simply posted that photo and said “swoon” it wouldn't have been seen. Instead I asked “how close were you to giving birth on your due date?” I received over 25 comments and huge visibility on this post.

2. Don’t be afraid to use your personal profile to share about your business.

I know many of us are afraid to share our business stuff on our personal page but don’t be. Your friends and family love you and want to see you succeed.

However, if the only time you share about your business is to say “now booking” then you WILL annoy your friends and family.

I suggest the only things you share on your personal page be helpful, relevant content that will likely serve your friends and family. Or content that you know they would love to interact with. Using my maternity photo example from above, I know many of my friends are mothers or expecting babies. They would love to see how many other mamas had their babies on their due date. So if I share that “business” post on my personal page, I know it will not only get a ton of engagement, but will also genuinely serve and entertain my friends and family. Win-win.

Or share content that shares your story. Maybe you linked to a blog post about your journey as a photographer or perhaps you had a really fun session that you really want to share. Maybe you want to share your guide to summer fun on your personal page. Remember, again, you want to be providing relevant content.

3. Start using LIVE VIDEO NOW! Did that just give you hives?

Again, to quote the official Facebook blog where they list examples of ‘good content’, it says “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook” and go on to say “many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers”.

Facebook is prioritizing video in a HUGE way. In fact some of the biggest social influencers who use Facebook are *only* using the live video function.

I know it can sound intimidating but let me tell you, it works. Live video puts your page right smack at the top of the algorithm and it’s safe to say that if you aren’t using it for your business then you are not being seen.

Live video is wonderful because it builds the know-, like-, and trust-factor for your business. It allows your followers to see that you care and it directs them back to your page. If your followers are interacting with your videos, which will more likely be seen, then the algorithm will likely start prioritizing your other posts. Win-win.

Do you feel like you have no idea what you would even talk about or share on a Facebook Live for your photography business? Well my friend, we are going to help you out. We have a free download that is going to give you 52 Facebook Live content prompts.

We know it can be overwhelming to think about all of the things you need to keep up with in order to market your business online, but we want you to know that you can do it!

We are going to help you out with this FREE DOWNLOAD, 52 Facebook Live Prompts! Get started with Facebook Live TODAY! 

Three Easy Steps to Creating a Google Friendly Website

lady boss workshops 3 easy steps to creating a google friendly website with seo | sandra coan and elena s blair photography

I ask every single person who walks through my studio door how they found me and about 95% of them say Google or some other search engine.  

This comes as no surprise to me.  Ranking high in search engines is extremely important,  which is why I’ve spent years studying it. Building my SEO is how I built my business.  It’s powerful stuff! And It’s also easier than you may think.

What is SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process by which search engines like Google connect your business’ website to people who are searching for what you do.  To do this Google and other platforms use bots and algorithms to connect searchers (aka your clients) with content they will find helpful (aka you).

What is the number one thing you can do to build your SEO?

I know that you want to hear some super secret, add-this-keyword-phase-to-your-metadata-here sort of answer, but the best way to get your site in front of the Google Bot’s eyes is to simply provide high quality content.

How do I know this?  

Because Google told me!!

Content is King

Google’s own website, Webmaster Tools, has a page entitled Steps to Creating a Google Friendly Site on which they outline best practices for creating good SEO.  

Can you guess what came in as the number one thing you can do to improve your SEO?  

“Create High Quality Content”... and yes, thats a quote!

Google goes on to say that in order to rank high in searches you need to “Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do”

Let me just repeat that….  “the single most import thing to do”.

Why?  Because Google wants to make sure it’s putting really good information in front of it’s readers.  

What does this mean for us?  That the days of “keyword stuffing” are dead and Content is King

Three Steps to Creating A Content Rich Website

  1. Make sure your homepage clearly states what you do and where you are located.

    This lets clients know what you do and where you are, but it also give Google and other bots something to read!  

    If you are a newborn photographer in Seattle, WA  for example, then your homepage should say Specializing in Newborn Photography, Serving Seattle, WA.

  2. Avoid confusing language or tricky wording.

    This is a common mistake that I see all the time.  People will use cute or clever wording on their website instead of wording that is straightforward and clear.  Saying “Check it Out” instead of “Blog” for example may seem fun, but it’s confusing to your clients and confusing to the algorithms and may actually be hurting your SEO.  

    How?  Because one of the things Google looks at is how long people stay on your website. If clients come to your website and then immediately leave because they don’t understand what your links mean and can’t find the information they are looking for Google will assume your site is of no interest to its readers and will not prioritize you in searches.

    To attract and retain readers, think like your client.  What information are they curious about? What do they need to know about you and your services?  Most of my clients want to see my portfolio, know what my pricing is and know how to book a session.  So guess what I have front and center on my homepage? Tabs that say Portfolio, Pricing and Book Now… clear, and straightforward!

  3. Blog.

    Without a doubt, blogging is the best thing we can do to boost our SEO!  Remember, Google is looking for “High Quality Content”. It is “the single most important thing to do” and the best place to put lots and lots of high quality content is on you blog!  

    To do this, think like your client.  

    What questions do they have about what you do?  

    What do they need to know to have the best possible experience with you?

    How can you answer their questions and solve their problems?  

    These are all thing you can and should be blogging about.  
     

Now, I know  a lot of photographers have a hard time coming up with topics to blog about and so I’ve created a FREE cheat sheet to help you out!  In fact, I’ve created 52 blog prompts, that is a blog post a week for an ENTIRE YEAR!!  So grab your free cheat sheet now and start boosting your SEO today!!

Five Steps To Your First 10K Followers On Instagram | Instagram Strategy For Photographers

I will be the first to tell you that the number under your name does not matter.

What matters is that you have an engaged following that eventually converts into paying clients.

Five steps to your first 10K followers on Instagram.

But, this is social media after all, and with social media there is a little something called “social proof” that does have some value.

“Social proof is considered prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that the surrounding people possess more knowledge about the current situation.

The effects of social influence can be seen in the tendency of large groups to conform to choices which are either correct or mistaken.” ~Wikipedia

 For example, imagine that you are trying to choose a dinner location and you walk up to two restaurants that are side by side. One is bustling with people and the other is nearly vacant. You are likely to assume that the one that has a line out the door is better.

 This is the same phenomenon with social media. A photographer who has 10K followers appears to be more legitimate than one who has 100 followers. It’s just the way our brains work as consumers. We are more likely to hire someone who has more social proof of their expertise.

I have only had a professional Instagram account for about 18 months and in those 18 months I have gained nearly 10K followers, booked high quality paying clients, and used the platform to build my personal brand to new heights.

Now here is the thing, all numbers are not created equal. You don’t want a huge number of unengaged followers. Your goal should be to have followers who show up in your feed by liking your images and commenting on your posts. Followers who are looking forward to seeing what you have to share.

The algorithm loves engagement so that is always my goal and it should be yours too. The more engagement you get, the more you will show up in people's feeds and in hashtags (more on hashtags in a bit,) which in turn will help you gain more followers.

I have paid close attention to my posts and have tracked which do really well and which engage more of my followers and gained more followers.

I am going to share with you the five simple things that I did to gain my first 10K followers.

If you are a skimmer, the most important tip is number two so don’t skip that one!

 

  1. Curate with high quality photos. Gone are the days when subpar snapshots work for Instagram. The photos you post MUST be high quality. Notice I didn’t say they need to be taken with a professional camera. It is okay to use your iPhone, but you must edit the images and make sure they are on brand and portfolio worthy. Think of Instagram as a portfolio. Every photo you post should be high quality.

  2. Show YOU in your feed. Yes, your actual face. Friend, this is the MOST IMPORTANT tip. This is the one that will for sure grow your following. Every time I post an image of me I get twice as many likes and twice as much engagement which in turn brings me more followers. Why is this? It is because we live in such a disconnected world. People hide behind pretty photos of their life and work. We want to know that there is a human, a beating heart, behind those squares. Don’t believe me? Try it. Post a photo of yourself and share a few things about yourself. Your engagement will go up and you will get a ton of likes. I literally guarantee it. My goal is to have a personal photo at least every nine posts.

  3. Photos alone aren’t enough. You have to have engaging content. The easiest and most genuine way to do this is to speak your why and bring value. Every time I post I ask myself this: Am I speaking my why or providing valuable content for my followers?  I tell a little story and share my heart or I give a little tip. This strategy ensures that your followers are looking forward to your posts because your posts are literally serving them.

  4. Use hashtags with intention. When you are building your following you have to use hashtags. There really isn’t any way around it. You have to do some research. I suggest first starting with area specific hashtags. I have booked numerous clients directly from Instagram just off of my area specific hashtags like #seattlefamilyphotographer. Then, to broaden your reach, use hashtags that are specific to your image like #baby or #maternity. Then, go super broad and pick a few hashtags that will get you seen on a larger scale like #canon or #nikon. Don’t just randomly use hashtags. Make sure you are thinking about what your goals are and where you want to be seen on the platform.

  5. Use calls to action. People don’t know what you want them to do if you don’t tell them. I use simple calls to action like “double tap if you think this baby is cute.” Or, “tell me where you are from in the comments.” Or if you want them to go to the link in bio then tell them to go there. Don’t believe me, try one of these calls to action. You will immediately get more engagement on that post. I promise.

 

There you have it, friend. Using those five strategies, I have grown an engaged Instagram following that has converted to paying photography and educational clients. These strategies are simple and sincere. I hope you will give them a try. Oh, and when you do, head to our private Facebook community and let us know how they are working. We would love to know!

The Business Like a Lady Boss Reviews are in!!

lady boss workshops business like a lady boss reviews | Business tips for female photographers and advice for creative entrepreneurs

Our new workshop, Business Like A Lady Boss, has been live for over a month now!  In it, we talk a lot about the importance of knowing the “why” behind your business.  

Our “why” has always been about empowering women in business.  We want to see you succeed!  And that is precisely why we built this class.  

Reviews have been coming in from women, just like you, who have purchased the course (and I’m not going to lie… some of them made us cry).

We’re so happy to see that this class is already making a difference for some many!  

Here is what people are saying

“Elena and Sandra! Thank you so much for this workshop!  I was so nervous to sign up, mainly because of my budget, but I knew I needed the information. Signing up was the best decision I could have made to take not only my business to the next level, but take me to the next level as a photographer. 

I am learning so much from the videos and worksheets, I have taken workshops and classes in the past, but I am really resonating with the information & way it is presented (having "ah-ha!" moments on almost every module!). 

This workshop feels so personal, I know the information is coming from the heart through your past experiences and expertise and I thank you for opening that up to the world. I have been in business for only a few months and it has been a rollercoaster of trying to figure out what to do and where to start.

This workshop has been a huge asset to many areas I didn't even know I needed to think about. Thank you so much!” - Missy Scharer


I am BLOWN AWAY by this course! 

Yes, we all know that Elena and Sandra are crazy talented and all about community, but this course is so much more! The content is direct and truthful - I know some courses 'hint' at things or tease you with the great topic, but fall short on delivery. 

The Branding Exercise has changed me - I have been stuck so many times and always feel I was close but then would fall short... I had no idea why. It's because there was no passion or emotional investment from the person giving me the 'branding tips' like these amazing women do.

Elena and Sandra truly care about building us up and truly want us to succeed. Please, invest in this; invest in yourself and your business. Invest in the two wonderful Lady Bosses that have invested so much of themselves into our community.” -Emily Cannata


I was on the fence about joining because I've been in business for a couple of years, been booking clients, and thought I had an idea on who my ideal client is. So I was worried I wasn't going to learn too much more. 

Totally wrong! 

Every module has been amazingly eye opening. I am only halfway through and already think it's been totally worth it. I understand so much more about letting your passion drive your business making decisions and how that is what will bring true success. I understand why I'm not standing out in the crowd and I know so much more about who my ideal clients are. 

Sandra and Elena are gifted teachers with so much passion and compassion to see us succeed. I whole heartily recommend this class to everyone, all of those who are just starting out and those that have been in business a while.” - Christinia Prieto Muchow

 

Change your business (and your life) right now!  Follow this link to register today!

 

xoxo,

Sandra & Elena

3 Marketing Mistakes Most Photographers Are Making

lady boss workshops marketing mistakes that most photographers are making | Business tips for female photographers and advice for creative entrepreneurs

Do you find marketing is confusing?  A lot of us do!

The truth is there are many ways to market yourself. But we see many people make the same marketing mistakes every day.  Here are three of the most common:

  1. You are building your marketing plan based on what you see others doing. Raise your hand if this is what you are doing. It’s okay. If you are new to this, or even if you have been at this for a while, it seems like a good idea to go see what someone who has found success is doing and try and imitate what they are doing. But here is the thing, that person who is finding success likely has a strategy and you have no idea what that is. So simply following their lead isn’t going to get your ideal clients to your inbox. Today, stop building your plan based on what others are doing.

  2. You have no idea who your ideal client is and are speaking to anyone and everyone who will listen. When you post something on Facebook or Instagram, write a blog post, or send a newsletter, do you know who you are talking to? Are you being really intentional and speaking directly to your ideal client? If you are trying to speak to anyone who will listen and not that one specific client your marketing is going to get mixed up with the masses and lost. You need to get really clear about who exactly who you are marketing to right now.

  3. You aren’t infusing yourself into your marketing strategy. It is commonly believed that business should not be personal. Of course, there are instances when this is true. But when it comes to marketing this is not true. You have to connect to your potential clients on a personal level. If your potential clients only know your work and they don’t know YOU then they are going to price shop you because the only thing that makes you different than your competition is your work. If they know YOU then they will book you based on who you are want to work with YOU because of your personal brand, not just your work. So don’t be afraid to put your personality into your brand story.  

     

Lets Talk About Money

lady boss workshops let's talks about money and being okay with making money | Business tips for female photographers and advice for creative entrepreneurs

Money. Chances are this is a difficult subject for you. No? Well then you are the minority.

When women are asked about money they often say things like “I hate to talk about money.” Or even “I feel guilty charging money for my services.” And lately in my industry I hear people saying “you can’t make art that is true to yourself if you are accepting money for your work.”

So not true.

I am going to tell you a little story about me that takes place about 7 years ago. My husband had a good job, I had a good job, a safe one at that. But we were barely making ends meet. Barely. I remember a time when I had a three year old and a six month old and I needed to buy new socks. Socks, you guys. Not an expensive item. We  literally barely had enough money in our bank account to cover it. And I was working EVERY weekend, back to back 12 hour shifts as a nurse while my husband was busting his hump Monday-Friday at his job. What the hell? And don’t even get me started on the pile of debt we had at this time. By pile I mean mountain.

So why am I telling you this? Because you need money. Not just to do extravagant things, but to do necessary things, like buy socks, feed your family, pay the mortgage, buy clothing for your kids. Not to mention saving for retirement, college funds, and emergencies. And if you do make more then you need, you can donate and make change in this world. If you want to take nice vacations or buy nice things, good for you! If you worked for it then you deserve it.

So don’t ever for one second feel guilty for wanting to make good money. Because guess what Ladies? Most men have zero problem wanting money or seeking out jobs that make money. Zero!

After my little sock incident I had a real awakening. I could work a million hours at the hospital, busting my ass for hourly pay, on my feet, often with no breaks to make more, or I could learn how to be a good business women and kill it in with my side hustle. And that is exactly what I did.

I learned everything I could about being a good business owner, about marketing, and I learned about money. How to make it, how to save it, and how to invest it.

The rest is history. Last year I tripled what I was making as a nurse. And I am not ashamed that I wanted to make more money. Because money is necessary to live, ladies.
So change how you feel about money. You deserve to make what you are worth.

Marketing is a Scary Word

lady boss workshops marketing is a scary word how to overcome your fear  | Business tips for female photographers and advice for creative entrepreneurs

Let's start this week off by talking about marketing
 

For some reason, marketing is very misunderstood. And I will admit that I didn’t used to know anything about it either.
 

Seven years ago I was a mom with a camera desperately wanting to gain respect in the photography industry and desperately wanting my business to thrive.

What I thought I had to do was be like everyone else… because hey, if they are finding success I will too.

 

But I was wrong. Instead of making it work and standing out I was blending in and being price shopped.

 

You see, if you look like everyone else, then when someone falls on your website they will absolutely go with someone who is cheaper. Because what are you offering that is different?

 

And if you are unclear about who you are marketing too, you are screaming to the masses and not speaking to that ideal client who wants exactly what you need.

 

Marketing is simply speaking directly to your ideal client. Take the word marketing out and use storytelling instead. You are telling your story to the person who wants to hear it. Once you can figure out what is that you do that is special, you can craft a marketing strategy that will speak directly to the people who can’t live without what you are offering.

 

So right now stop and think about what story you are telling. Is it unique or is it the same as everyone else?

 

That my friend is how you get started on marketing that is impactful. Marketing is not scary, it is necessary and if you want to succeed, you need to learn how to do it.

 

Xoxo,

Elena

How I Grew My List By 100 In 48 hours (And How You Can Too)

lady boss workshops how i grew my email list by 100 in 48 hours  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

How I Grew my List by 100 new sign ups in 48 hours (and how you can too)

 

We’ve been talking an awful lot about list building lately!  And that’s because it’s so important!  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… the size of your list, not your social media following, is what you should be concentrating on growing!

 

Last week I decided to walk a bit of my talk.  I made the decision to focus on growing my list and guess what?  I added a little over 100 new followers in 48 hours!

 

This is how I did it.

 

1 ) I listened to what my people are telling me.  I’ve been teaching workshops to film photographers for the past five years.  In that time I’ve covered everything from film stocks to studio lighting and in every single class, despite how advanced it is, I’m always asked about metering. Metering is EXTREMELY important when shooting film and it freaks people out!  So I took that knowledge and…

2) I created content I knew would be helpful… I wrote a “How to Meter for Film” PDF and added it as an opt-in to my list on my website

 

That's it.  And in 48 hours I’ve grown my list by over 100 people.

 

What to grow your list?  

Get to know your people.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they struggle with? 
  • What do you know or do that can help them?

  Then create that content, and give it too them!  A simple “sign up to receive your FREE (fill in the blank) goes a LONG way!

If you would like more information on newsletters and email marketing be sure to sign up to get our FREE online training!

It Only Hurts If You Think It's True

lady boss workshops it only hurts if you think it's true how to overcome negative obstacles  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

I want to share something that just happened to me with you.

Back in March, I re-launched my ebook, The Missing Link: A Film Photographer's Guide To Off Camera Lighting.  The guide is the marriage of two things I'm very passionate about, film and beautiful light.  

I've worked on it for years, literally.  And I've spent a ton of time and money researching, shooting, testing and re-testing, writing and re-writing.  It's a bit of my heart and soul wrapped up in 90 pages and I'm very proud of it.

As I always do with a new project, I announced the release to my newsletter list first.  And, as alway, I got a few unsubscribes.  


Unsubscribes don't bother me at all.  

It is a natural part of maintaining a healthy list.  

But one unsubscribe came with a little note, that basically said that I was a greedy, money hungry person for charging for the new ebook and that I should be ashamed of myself.

And here is where this story gets interesting.


In the past, an email like that would have devastated me. 

I remember, early in my career, when I'd get a bad review or an unhappy client I would dissolve into a puddle.  

I'd question what I was doing, if I was good enough, if my photos were even worth anything... and the self-doubt and negative thoughts would last for weeks.

Now, a mean word or nasty email doesn't bother me in the least.  Why? Because I know it's just not true!

Do I think I'm greedy for charging for my work?  Nope!

Am I sad that the person who said that thinks that I am?  Nope!

I am confident in what I do, my products, what I sell and what I have to share with the world.  I am 100% proud, even if I make mistakes (which I do) and even though I know I have room to grow and learn (which I do).

But this is why I'm sharing this story with you...

Negative reviews and remarks only hurt when we think they're true. 

We all have self-doubt.  We all have something that makes us squirm about running a business, or asking for money, or sharing our art with the world.  To do our job and to do it well requires that we live in a vulnerable place. And that's hard.

And so when someone else says were are overpriced, or that we suck, or whatever, it often times feels as though they are speaking our worst fears out loud. 

That is why it hurts.

Once you can get to a point that you know exactly what you do.  And you know exactly who your people are. You will rarely ever get a bad review or a negative email... and when you do, it won't hurt at all.    

So spend some time focusing on your unique gifts.  Believe in what you do.  Know that whatever it is, it holds value.  And then pay attention.  The more you believe it, the more others will too... and pretty soon, a mean comment will just roll off your back!


xoxo,
Sandra

3 Things You Can Do Today To Improve Time Management

lady boss workshops things you can do today to improve your time management  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

Time management is hard. Especially for creatives. With so many distractions and potential projects it is easy to get off track. Here are three things you can do right now to improve your time management and productivity. Hint, there is not one technical device or app that you need to start.

 

  1. Write down your top three “to do’s” for the day.  Actually get a paper and write down the three things you absolutely have to get done today. Then, don’t open social media, don’t do a single other thing, until these tasks are done. Period.

  2. Get a planner! Lady Boss, you are a professional. You can’t wing it each day. Get a good quality planner and start planning. I do recommend having an actual physical planner.

  3. Set office hours or working hours and stick to them religiously. I didn’t used to do this. What ended up happening is that I was doing all the tasks on my plate at 40%. I was 40% mom, 40% photographer and business owner. This left me feeling unproductive, guilty, and exhausted. Now, I know exactly when I am going to tackle email, exactly what days I plan to edit, exactly what days I plan to write content, etc. When my kids come home, the laptop closes and I can rest easy knowing I got enough done to focus on who is most important, them.  This will take some fine tuning to figure out what times work best for you, but I urge you to figure this out ASAP.

 

You got this, Lady Boss. You can be in control of your schedule. Let us know how it is working out for you in our Facebook group. Simply click the link or search Lady Boss Workshops to find us.

xoxo,
Elena Blair

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Underpriced Competition Is Not Competition... At All

lady boss workshops underpriced competition is no competition at all | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

One of the most difficult things about being in business is pricing. Especially in the beginning.

Instead of pricing ourselves for profit, we tend to underprice ourselves because we don’t believe in our own worth. When we are figuring out our pricing, we often look at our competition and base our prices off of them.

One of the most common things I hear is “there are so many underpriced photographers in my area, there is no way I can charge enough to make a profit. When I raise my prices people don’t want to pay the higher price, they want to go to the lower priced photographer.” We think that the reason we aren’t getting clients at a higher price is because of the competition who is offering the same service at a lower price. But this is not the truth. I am one of the highest priced photographers in a very saturated area and I have no problem booking out a year in advance at my price. And I am sure the lower priced photographers are booking a ton of sessions too.
 

Here is the thing...
 

A person that is going to pay $150 for a photo shoot will never pay $800-1k for a photo shoot. And a person who will hire a photographer who charges $800-1K would never hire a photographer who charges $150 for a session. These are two completely different clients all together. They are not shopping for the same photographer at all. A person who will pay a higher price is not bargain shopping. They are looking for a high end product and experience. It’s just like the person who will pay 1K for a pair of shoes would probably never buy a $25 dollar pair of shoes. It’s just not the same person.
 

I have been in business for seven years and one thing I have learned is that there is enough business for everyone. The reason you aren’t booking clients at your higher price isn’t because of the lower priced competition. Instead of looking at your competition's prices and attributing your lack of business to their low prices, look at your business model and brand. Do you have a solid brand? Do you know who your ideal client is? If you do, will they pay your prices for your service or product?  Is your product or service a high end product or service worth a high price? Do you have an effective and genuine marketing plan? Are you serving your clients well?
 

Listen, Lady Boss, you have to stop looking at your competition and instead take a good look at your own business because I promise, there is enough business for everyone.


xoxo,
Elena

P.S.  Do you know a Lady Boss who could use some solid business advice?  Feel free to share this post!  Remember, sharing is caring!

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Do It For You. Do It For Them.

lady boss workshops do it for you do it for them working mom  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

If you are anything like me, you have a hard time thinking about yourself first.  

Chances are you are a mother and wife and putting others before ourselves comes with the territory.  

So when we are building our own business it can feel like a selfish act.  It is time away from our family and because we love what we are doing it almost feels like an indulgence.  I don’t know about you, but a date at a coffee shop with just me and my laptop makes me feel a little giddy inside.  Just me?

Okay, maybe I am a nut job, but I LOVE my job and I love creating and I have a feeling you do too.

But here is the thing I want you to remember...

It is good to have something for you.

It is so good.

You will come home a new woman ready to tackle dinner, homework, laundry, baths, and baby snuggles. Plus, you are showing your children that you can build something out of nothing and make it a success. You are teaching them that hard work pays off and that you can follow your dreams to create a life you love.

So leave the guilt behind.

While I want you to do this for you, I want you to remember that you are also doing it for them.

If you are doing it right, you are earning an income that will allow you to provide for your family, take those dream vacations, and create the life you deserve. If you get really intentional about your time, you can do it in less time than a typical 9-5 with more time to spend with those you love.

So today, stop feeling guilty.

Take yourself seriously.

Start building your dream business for you and for your family.

I believe in you, fellow Lady Boss! You got this! 
 
xoxo,
Elena

P.S.  Do you know a Lady Boss who could use some solid business advice?  Feel free to share this post!  Remember, sharing is caring!

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List Building When Starting for Scratch

lady boss workshops list building when starting from scratch  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

A few weeks ago, Elena and I did a Facebook Live all about Newsletters and List Building.  Shortly after it aired, we received this question from a fellow Lady Boss “Do you have any suggestions for people who've just moved to a new area and are starting from scratch?”

Great question!

If you are new to a market and/or just starting your business then list building should be your number one priority.

Here are some ideas I came up with that could help you grow your list and get your name out in your new community while doing it.

  • Approach local coffee shops and inquire about showing your work.  You want people to know you and know what you do, so think like your potential clients, and be where they are.  Shows are great list building opportunities, especially if they have a “meet the artist” night.  Just make sure you have someway to capture the emails of people who are there and looking at your work (this can be as simple as a sheet of paper that says “for information on future sales and events, join my list” and a pen)
  • Give back to the community.  Find a school or a charity that you love and host a fundraiser.  I do this twice a year.  One event (my Fall mini-sessions) benefits our local elementary school PTA and one event (my Santa sittings) benefits a local charity.  Fundraisers are a total win/win for everyone.  The charity is always thankful for the extra money, your clients feel good about giving to their community and you get name recognition and really great exposure.  Again, treat your events as list building opportunities and concentrate on capturing those emails!
  • Optimize your opt-in.  Make sure that you have an opt-in form on your website, your Facebook page, your email signature and on your contract.  Anywhere you are interacting with clients, online or in person, should have an opt-in opportunity.
  • Create a Call To Action.  Ask your people to join your list on every blog post, and social media post your create!  Link a url address to your list on Instagram and Facebook.  Create a "sign up today" button for your blog!  And then just say "Hey friends, don't forget to sign up for my newsletter list by clicking the link in profile/below this post/where ever your link is" at the end of every post.

Remember, when running your own business, a good list is like gold!

Make list building a priority.  You won’t regret it, I promise.

Why You Need Testimonials and How to Get Them

lady boss workshops why you need testimonials and how to get them  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

We have a great freebie for you at the end of this tutorial, so be sure to get to the end! 

Hey Lady Boss!

We have all visited fabulous websites or seen Facebook pages or Google Plus pages with raving testimonials. 

Often after seeing that you might think “wow, her fans LOVE her so much. How kind of them to randomly review her business.” Well I am going to let you in on a little secret. Most of those entrepreneurs that you see with raving reviews asked for them. 
Yup. 

Truth. 
Being self employed means you must get comfortable with self promotion.

It isn’t easy, but it’s a must. Asking for a review not only gets you reviews for your business, it also gives you an excuse to contact a past client who may book again simply because you touched base with them. Having reviews is a fantastic way for future clients to gain trust in you and your services. If someone is on the fence about hiring you, a good collection of testimonials may be what makes them decide to hire you. Here are a two ways you can gather reviews from past and future clients right away.

Make it part of your product delivery text.

Every time you wrap up a project with a client, kindly ask for a review. When I deliver a completed online photo gallery I include a short sentence at the end that says: “If you loved your session with me, would you kindly take a few minutes to review my business on Facebook, Google Plus, or by replying to this email with a short review. I operate solely on word of mouth and reviews really help me to grow my small business.”

Send out an email to past clients asking for a review.

Simply send an email saying that you are hoping to start a review page on your website. Say that you are touching base with your best clients for this task. You can offer a freebie, like a discount on their next purchase, money off a session, or a free product for their time. However the freebie isn't necessary.

You will be surprised how generous your clients are with their words. If you are providing a great experience and service, your people will be happy to return the favor. 

Go for it!

How to Create a Killer Marketing Plan

lady boss workshops how to create a killer marketing plan  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

Marketing.  

Love it or hate it, it's the most important part of your job.  It's what gets your name known in your community, brings in clients, and pays your bills.

It can also be very confusing.  Where do you even start?

I believe that to run an effective marketing campaign there a three things you must know. 

1. Know what you do.

This seems pretty straight forward but the reality is many of us are not clear on what we do.  Instead, we look around and try to do what others are doing, or what is popular, or what we think our clients want.  And I'm speaking from experience!

At the beginning of my career I shot "photo journalistic" weddings.  Why?  Because that's what was popular at the time.  Every successful photographer I met was a photo journalistic wedding photographer.  I wanted to be successful too!  So that's what I did.  

But guess what?  I hated shooting weddings.  

After two years of doing something I hated, I was burnt out and uninspired.  What I really wanted to do was work with babies and families, in a studio.  So I took a leap of faith, and started shooting what I love in a style that was 100% me!  And it made all the difference.  

When I figured out what it was that I did, I suddenly stood out in the crowd.  My work was unique.  I was happy.  And my business started to grow. 

2. Know who your people are.  

Just because you're a newborn photographer doesn't mean everyone with a new baby is your ideal client. Right?  Some people love posed images of newborns curled up and sleeping in baskets and some people love unscripted lifestyle images of diaper changes, nursing and first snuggles.  Two very different kinds of clients.

Your people are clients who love what you do.  They love your style.  Your point of view.  So get to know who your people are.

Look back over last year's contracts.  Who were your three favorite clients?  The ones who totally got you.  The ones that cried from joy when you showed them their photos and then bought your premium package without batting an eye.  Now ask yourself, what do they have in common?  Figure it out.  Write it down.  Create an ideal customer profile based on those similarities. 

Those are your people.

When you know who your people are, everything falls into place.  You know what images to share, what your website should look like, where your pricing should be, what social media platforms you should be active on... all of it.  Because you know what your people like, what appeals to them, what they can afford and where they "hang out" online.

And here is the best part, the more you share what you do with your people, the more your people will tell their people, and your business will grow! Yeah!!

3. Know how to communicate what you do to your people.

This is the marketing piece.  Know what you do, and tell your people about it.  That. Is. It.  

So, how do you tell your people?  

Blog about things your clients care about or need help with (like what to wear to a portrait session, or your favorite park for family photos).  

Share your images on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, where ever it is that your people are, and engage with your clients.  Talk to them.  Respond to their comments.  Build a relationship.  

Grow your list.  Capture client emails and send out newsletters that are full of beautiful photos and great content.  

Become known in your community.  Sponsor a local event or little league team.  Host a fundraiser.  I always love using my marketing budget to help out my community.  

Most importantly, don't feel bad about marketing.  Marketing is just sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it, and there is nothing wrong with that!

 
 

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Three Things I Wish I'd Know When Starting Out

lady boss workshops three things i wish i had known when starting out  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

I’ve been in business since 2000.  That means I’ve been doing this photography thing for 17 years!  
 

And the truth is, most of that time I had no idea what I was doing.  I was just making it up as I went along. Because I was just making it up as I went along, it comes as no surprise that I made many mistakes.  f I could go back in time, I would tell myself these three things.

Do not compare yourself to others. 

This is with out a doubt the most important thing I’ve learned over the past 16 years. Comparing yourself to others is bad for your soul and is absolutely toxic for your business. 

To be successful at what you do, to love your job and to be able to make money doing it, you need to be true to yourself and your creative vision.  You need to trust what it is that you do and you need to focus on that.  Doing so will keep you inspired, but it will also help you fine tuned your unique brand. And creating a unique brand will enable you to stand out in any market, no matter how saturated.

So don’t compare yourself to others.  Instead, figure out what it is that you do, and focus on that.  You’ll be happier and your business will be stronger!

Grow your list.

When I first started my business, we didn’t have social media (yes, I’m that old).  And so when Facebook came along I, like many other photographers, became obsessed with it. I could post one image on my Facebook page and get hundreds of likes and in doing so, reach thousands of potential clients. So I worked really hard on growing my following.

Then Facebook changed it’s algorithms, and suddenly it didn’t matter how many followers I had, none of them were seeing my posts anyway.

What I know now is that while social media marketing is important, the number of Facebook likes or Instagram followers I have is not where I should focus my attention.  Now I know that the best thing I can do for my business is to grow my email list.  The size of my list, not the number of followers I have, is what is important to me.

Here’s why.

I don’t own Instagram.  I don’t own Facebook.  Or Twitter.  Or Pinterest.  But I do own my email list.  So I know if I really want to reach my people, I can send them an email and get the important messages out.  And my clients will decide whether or not they want to see my content, not the Social Media overlords!

Grow your list!  It’s the best thing you can do for your business!

Take care of the talent.

A couple of years ago I had a light-bulb moment while talking on the phone with Brian Greenberg, the owner of Richard Photo Lab.

Brian and I were talking about my business… my workflows, marketing plans, that sort of thing, and then out of nowhere he asked “What are you doing to take care of the talent?”  At first I didn’t know what he meant and I had no idea how to answer.  He went on to say that when you are running a photography business, all of the nuts and bolts business stuff is important, but if you ignore the artist in you, neglect the talent, the business doesn’t matter, because you will not be able to sustain it.  When you are your business, you have to take care of yourself.  You have to nourish your creativity so that you have something to give.  

This is the best business advice I’ve ever received.

Take care of the talent.  Allow yourself downtime.  Create just for you. Or create nothing at all!  What ever you need to refuel.  Take care of yourself so that when you are at work you have something to give.

 

Remember, as business owners we get to make the rules.  We write our own job descriptions every day.  So write good ones!  Be smart about your business so that you can create a career and a life that you love!

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The Great Thing About January

lady boss workshops the great thing about january  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

In the business world, January is often looked upon with dread.  It’s after the busy fall season, after the Holiday rush and many find the slowness to be stressful. 

I say January is a great time to sit down and make plans for the upcoming year! Take advantage of the slowness to get yourself organized and ready.

 Here are five things I do every January to set the tone for the entire year!

Set a goal. 

I’m a HUGE believer in the power of setting goals.  The bigger, the better.  Decide what you want.  Make it big.  And then work toward that goal all year long.  Setting a big goal for yourself can help move your business in amazing directions!

Reflect. 

Look back over last year.  Make yourself a list.  What went well?  What are you proud of? What would you like to continue with in the new year?  What would you like to tweak? Take the time to take pride in your accomplishments and add your list of “tweaks” to your goals for the year!  Continue doing what works, and change what needs improvement. It’s a good practice in business and in life!

Look at your numbers! 

This one can feel scary but it’s SO important!  Go through your old contracts.  What are your clients buying?  What products are the most profitable.  Is there anything that is not selling?  Is there anything your clients LOVE that you could sell more of?  Now is the time to identify those things in your business.  Let go of the things that are not profitable and boost your offerings of the things your clients love.  know your C.O.Gs (cost of goods) and start your year off with your most profitable foot forward. 

Purge. 

This is a big one for me.  By the end of the busy season, my office looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane.  Take advantage of the slowness of January to clean and purge.  It feels so good to start the year off organized!  

Educate. 

Look back at your goal for the New Year?  What is it?  Do you want more clients?  Do you want to earn six figures?  Do you want to master social media?  Whatever it is, find a workshop or a class or a book that is going to help you get there.  Education should always be a part of your business plan!  And if strengthening your business is part of your New’s Years goal, then you’re in the right place!  Way to go Lady Boss!!

Lets make 2017 great!

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How To Identify Your Ideal Client

lady boss workshops how to identify your ideal client  | Business tips for creative entrepreneurs and female photographers

Read any marketing book, or listen to any business pod-cast and you will hear the term “ideal client”.

It is no secret that knowing who your ideal client is is key to creating effective marketing.  But figuring out just how to identify your ideal client can be hard!

This is what I recommend.

Go back over the past year or two.  Look through your contracts, go through your emails, and identify a handful of people who were amazing to work with.  

Look for the clients who had great style.  Who were fun.  Who you connected to.  Who totally got you and your work.

The clients who bought your most expensive package, loved every single image you gave them and then told all their friends about you.

Find those people, and ask yourself, what do they have in common?

What is their age. Gender. Income level.

Do they work?  If so, where?

What is their style? How do they dress?

The more information the better.   

When you look back at who your favorite clients have been, you will begin to see common traits.  

Write those traits down.  

Then add some traits of your own.  

Think about the kind of person you would love to work with, your dream client.

What makes them so dreamy?

Is it how they look?  The way they interact with their kids?  The fact that they value your work and are willing to pay for it?

Write it all down.

Then merge your two list…. the common traits from your favorite clients, with the list of your dream client.  

That is how you come up with your ideal client.


Once you’ve identified who your ideal client is you can start crafting all of your marketing to speak to her (or him)…. and that is when marketing gets fun!!....but more on that later.

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Welcome to Lady Boss Workshops

lady boss workshops business tips and advice for female photographers and creative entrepreneurs

We're so glad you're here!
 
Lady Boss Workshops is the dream child of Sandra Coan and Elena Blair
.  
We are both family photographers who left "safe" professions to pursue our dreams.  

We have come together because we know how hard it is to build a business.  

We also know how amazing it can be!  And we believe that with the right information, everyone has the ability to do it!

Our goal is to share what we have learned as creative entrepreneurs with you, so that you can build the business you love and a life you deserve!

Your future story starts today!

xoxo,
Sandra & Elena

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