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!


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. 


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!  


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!

Sandra & Elena

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