January 10, 2022
Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more time to listen to podcasts? Well, I’ve got you covered here. Today’s episode is a recap of the most downloaded guest interviews we had in 2021. The best of the best. This way, you can catch up on all the great stuff on the podcast in just 1 episode.
Holy cow, I can’t believe our The Beauty in Birth Facebook Group hit 5,000 members this week! It’s so amazing to see so many photographers who love birth photography. So whether you’re brand new or have been here since the beginning — thank you for being here!!
Tavia: If somebody is listening to this and they’re like, “Okay. Yes, my ideal client is somebody who’s pregnant. How do I know the thoughts and feelings and activities of a high-end client who is going to have no trouble affording my services if I’ve never had that client/I’m not that client, like if I can’t afford myself?”
Lindsay: Right. So sometimes you can just imagine them, first and foremost, or you can see how they look with another luxury brand. It doesn’t have to be within your category. So for instance, if you kind of know the difference between somebody who buys like an economical car versus one that’s really expensive, you can kind of start to think about the different mindsets and things that they want. Yes, they want something that’s reliable and that will run, right? But if you’re looking at a Honda, if you have a Honda or a Mercedes, it’s one of those things where like, do you look for something that is like, both are well-running machines. They all do the same thing, right? They all do the same thing.
Everybody wakes up, everybody eats. And for your people who are pregnant, they probably eat more than normal. I’ve been there. I think both of us have. So, you know, it’s kind of looking at that, but then it’s looking at the qualities and things that they really like. And so if you were to look at somebody who just wants a Honda, they’re looking at it for money or for something that’s a little bit more affordable. But if you look at the people for Mercedes, sometimes money really isn’t the deal or the problem. It is actually what’s the experience that they’re having. And so what kind of an experience do people want?
And I kind of touch on this a bit later, but it’s about the experience and like the benefits that they provide. They probably have super cool electronics in the car, right? Or like it can drive it by, I don’t know if Mercedes can do this yet, but it can drive by itself. But these are all different things that’s what a Mercedes does, but that’s maybe not what a Honda does, right? So if you start to think about what different people want and what they’re starting to think about differently and how they think. For me, I wanted to have a good mom car. So I was thinking about Honda, but there are people who want mom cars that make them feel like a queen. And so they’ll do the Mercedes, right?
Tavia: Yeah, I love that. I love the idea of a car is a car, right? They need a car. Same with photography. People seeking out photography services, they want photos. So then it’s like, how can you look at your brand and be the Mercedes and look beyond what they need and what they’re looking for and really figure out how to have that Mercedes-level of service instead of like Honda or Ford. I love that analogy.
Tavia: Yeah. I love that. Okay. So I know we’re kind of like pushing up on time and I want to be respectful of listeners and yours as well. So really quickly-ish, what are some common mistakes that you see creative business owners make when it comes to their brand?
Lindsay: Sure. So there’s a lot of them. I’m going to go through them quickly. I actually wrote them down.
Tavia: I love that. And whenever, thinking about what we talked about in the beginning of your brand being a person, and then you talking about trying to learn marketing strategies and not having the brand in place, so would this be a good example?
If you, the brand person, are hosting a dinner and you’re really good at cooking food. And so you’re cooking the food, but people are coming in and you’re not greeting them. You’re being kind of rude, sit down and it’ll be ready in 15 minutes. And you’re being very factual and you’re doing the thing and maybe your food is really good, but when the people are coming in, they feel like I don’t want to come back here because she’s a terrible host. Would that be a good analogy for not for just doing marketing without having the branding piece down?
Lindsay: Yeah. I mean, that pretty much hits it right the nail on the head. You can be doing all the great things in the background, but if you don’t have a solid brand and know what you actually want to say and know what you stand for and know exactly what your people want and need to hear that you actually do, there’s going to be a huge disconnect. And so when you’re actually doing the marketing and the advertising, the basis for all of that is a strong brand. Not the branding, the brand. And so that’s really where it all comes. So you can cook great food, but if people are coming in, they’re hearing like, “Oh, she’s too busy to do this…” they’re going to be like, “Oh, well, I don’t know. I don’t know if I want this.” But you know, what you were serving up is fantastic, but the marketing won’t sink because your messaging, everything is so disconnected.
You don’t have the different processes in place. You don’t know how to put boundaries on when you’re going to stop cooking, so you can spend time with your people, right? And it’s all about this even exchange. Does that make sense? Does that?
Tavia: I love that. Yeah. I love that.
Lindsay: It’s part of your analogy. And I think also one big mistake that they also make is that they try to emulate what they see versus blazing a trail that really gets them seen. So if you’re doing everything in the sea of sameness, how are you going to stand out? It’s about blazing that trail. Maybe saying things that other people aren’t saying, but also being that company that other people aren’t being, serving, giving them what they want. That’s where you’ll get seen. It’s not the people who are all doing the same thing. Like, yeah, you’ll get seen, be like, “Oh, that’s pretty,” but who are they to say like, “Oh, this person is different from them.” They’ll be like, “Oh, it’s like one of those photographers.” One of those that just as like a really nice, fine art look, or more candid, stylish, photojournalistic, whatever it winds up–bang–
In this next clip, I interviewed 6 certified birth photographers and asked them the questions you wanted to know. A common question we hear a lot is, how do I transition from model call pricing to full price? So that is what they answered in this clip.
Tavia: So Carey, let me ask you about pricing, because that’s always a thing that comes up and that’s actually a question that we have here in just a minute is like how to transition out of the Model Call pricing towards full price. So what did you do with that? Because you’re charging full price now. ‘Cause you’re like super busy.
Carey: Yeah. That was a really hard transition because yeah, of course we go from not feeling like we should be charging a lot. I’m personally anyways, you know, thinking like, “Okay, Model Call price, that’s what I should be charging,” you know. But really we were doing, you know, it’s X amount off from the actual price and then just jumping to that and being confident in that price. And it helps when there’s other, you know, like people that are charging around that around you, but just that confidence that you have to have to send your prices over and you know, talk with them and hope that it books and confidence.
Tavia: Where do you think that confidence came from? Because that’s something that I hear a lot from students is like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m worth that price. I don’t know if I am able to charge that price. Where do you guys think that that confidence comes from to be able to charge like $2,000-$4,000 for a birth package?
Carey: Well, I’m a Certified Birth Photographer now, so…
Tavia: Did you realize that it’s significant in your potential client’s minds. They’re like, “Oh, she’s legit.” Like she’s taking it seriously?
Carey: I mean, just having that badge on my website, I think helps even if it’s not for a client, it helps like me just, I did the course, went through it. So it’s definitely helped my own confidence. I don’t know about client-wise, but it’s a badge on my website that they see and probably another like ‘ding’, you know, in their mind when they’re looking.
Jelina: It’s also putting kind of value behind yourself of this is what I charge. This is the trainings I’ve taken. This is my knowledge that it kind of gives you a little more ‘oomph’, so to speak, to being like, “Nope, this is my price. That’s what it is. Like take it or leave it…but please take it. Cause I really want to work with you.”
Tavia: Leslie, I felt like you were going to jump in and say something?
Leslie: Yeah, I just feel like it’s just that whole, ‘this is my price, take it or leave it’, and that’s part of setting boundaries, which is so important in this field. It’s easy to take, you know, “Oh, I’m going to give you a discount for this reason or I’m gonna give you a discount for that reason because you want the births and you want to be there and do the work.
Tavia: And I also think that there’s value in declaring a high price. It’s like people look at that as almost a way to stand out. You know what I mean? Cause it’s like, “Oh, her packages are $4,000. She must really know what she’s doing. She must be really good.” That price can almost differentiate you from the people in your community. Awesome.
Make sure to listen to the rest of that episode to find out how they got their first few birth clients, how they got the confidence to charge their worth, plus how to balance being a birth photographer with life, especially when you’re a mom and if you also have a full-time job.
The next clip is perfect for you if you have a dream to go full-time with your passion. I am chatting with my one of my students, Kate Buckles, who is a multiple six-figure photography studio owner. And just recently was able to basically retire her husband from his corporate career to start working for her. If you need some inspiration, listen up!
Tavia: Okay. So once you started to really get things going, you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to make this a thing. I want to actually start making money with photography for real.” Did you have any goals for your business? Were you like, “Oh, maybe someday I can make this much money or do this or that…”?
Kate: Yeah, it’s funny. I was like, of course, just thinking about that this morning and the first goal I can remember having, and this is just blows my mind now to think about it. But my goal was to make a hundred dollars extra a month. So that could be our fun money as a family. Because my husband’s salary covered everything and that’s a hundred dollars a month. And I remember setting that goal and I had a conversation with a friend, who was kind of starting a business at the same time in a totally different industry, but we were kind of on this road together a little bit. And I remember telling her, being so scared to tell her that my goal was to make a hundred dollars extra a month. And I remember, I think the first year in business I think I made like $10,000-15,000 and being like, “Oh gosh.” Just little old me with three kids, two kids at the time, I’m like, “Wow, that’s pretty cool!”
Tavia: That’s 10x your goal!
Kate: Yeah! And that just started opening doors for our family because you know, honestly, my income for years and years, it’s just the fun money. And the money that we use to send our kids to a private school and things like that, that it allowed us to do things that otherwise would have felt impossible and really hard to do.
Tavia: Yeah. Let’s fast forward a little bit to where you are today and then kind of backtrack a little bit. So we know that you’ve specialized in birth, your goal was a hundred dollars a month, you like 10x-ed to that goal with no problem whatsoever…so what year was that like 2016?
Kate: Yeah, probably 2016, 2017, because I think it was right at the end of that, that I joined your, your thing. And I think, I wish I should have looked at the actual dates. I think that maybe I joined you guys in, like, I want to say 2018. Yeah. It was really odd. That sounds right. I think it was probably maybe late 2018. So that’s when you were like, okay, I’m going to be serious about this and I’m going to like actually try to make this like, try to make real money with it. Yeah. And then, okay.
Tavia: So let’s, let’s fast forward to today and then kind of backtrack a little bit. So where are you in your business today?
Kate: So I have grown more than I can even fathom. I still pinch myself most days. Most years, I’m doing between 500 and 600 sessions. So in a typical month, I’m like between 45 and 50 sessions a month. Most of those end up being full sessions. Some – like fall time, I do some minis. In the spring, I do some minis. So there are so many thrown in there, but for the most part it’s full, real sessions, not just minis. And I’m at like, I think I’ll probably be about $200,000 a year, this year.
Tavia: I know, right? It’s crazy to even say those numbers! For somebody who like wanted to make a hundred dollars a month, you know what I mean? To getting to where you are now. That’s so cool! And your husband is a stay at home dad now?
Kate: Yeah, he works with me full time. We work together. Yeah. Very much. He always has, if I can be honest, he has worked and been my biggest champion and support from day one. He believed in me more than I believed in me back in the day of a hundred dollars a month. But he’s like, I joke that I’m like, “If anything about my website looks good, that’s my husband.” My husband is amazing. He’s taken classes on SEO, he’s on all this stuff. His joke right now is, “My goal is that the only thing you do is edit and shoot sessions. That’s it. I do everything else.” So I do a lot more than just that, but he does a lot of the behind the scenes.
Tavia: And how long has he been doing that?
Kate: Yeah, he’s been doing all of that basically since day one. I would say we’re very much a strong team in this whole crazy business. But officially, like home with me, it’s been like a month and a half now. Or a month and a week. Not very long.
Tavia: Yeah. Who’s counting? So how does it feel? What is life like now that you’ve achieved this?
Kate: Gosh, you know, it’s interesting. I was just listening to a podcast by LA Kasasa yesterday and she had this quote and I am going to slaughter it a little bit. But she said something like, “Money doesn’t change. You’re basically you’re the same person you were before. It just amplifies who you were before.” And I thought, it can be a really negative thing and it can be a really positive thing. And so I think that in a lot of ways, it has allowed us freedom. It has allowed us so much.
I mean, with the amount of debt we’ve been able to pay off, the amount of financial freedom has been amazing. Even like bought a new house last year that would never have been possible. But I think, honestly, the biggest part for us has nothing to do with like a dollar number and has more to do with that.
That we get to be home, you know, like even today I’m like, “Okay, babe, I have an interview,” and he’s upstairs doing school with the kids. And for me to know that my kids get just as much influence from dad as they do from mom, I couldn’t love that more.
We get to live the intentional life that we wanted to. That we get to send our kids to a school that we believe in wholehearted that we know is just as much about what they’re teaching them is what they’re not teaching them. That we get to be home, you know, like even today I’m like, “Okay, babe, I have an interview,” and he’s upstairs doing school with the kids. And for me to know that my kids get just as much influence from dad as they do from mom, I couldn’t love that more. I’m so thankful. It’s such a God thing that we get to parent together and it’s not just mom. And sometimes, honestly, crazy mom because I’m running a full-time business and a mom. But that I feel like we have more bandwidth for things. And we have more, like we were in Phoenix this last weekend visiting my sister and we’re going to the cabin for 6 days this next weekend – things that we could never have done before that we get to do and make memories with our kids.
And to me, at the end of the day — I love my business. I love taking pictures. I adore my clients. But at the end of the day, my kids and my family are number one. And all of this is to support that and that’s part of why to me the business side is so, so, so important because if I don’t have my ducks in a row, if I’m working for too little or I’m not working smart or things like that, I’m wasting time. And honestly, if I’m just wasting time, I would rather move into a thousand square foot house and spend more time with my kids. Because they’re, you know, they’re only little ones and I want my number one investments through them.
The next clip is from episode 35 with Brandi Mowles and, it was really hard to not share the entire episode! In this clip Brandi is sharing how she retired her husband and what it was like building a business with a small baby at home.
Tavia: So somebody listening to this is interested in retiring their husband from his nine to five or they’re interested in themselves leaving their corporate job. So what did that experience look like for you guys? Because your husband was working when you started the online business, right?
Brandi: Yeah. So he worked my whole first year in my online business. He has always been—we went to college together and then he became a chef. And so we’ve moved around a lot because he opened up new restaurants and all that kind of stuff. And when my daughter was born, he had a week and a half off that he was there and then he went back at chef’s work, 14, 16 hour days. And they’re also working the weekends and long nights, early mornings, that kind of thing. And he was just missing out on so much of Riley’s life. Like we would wake up, he would usually leave before she was up in the morning and then he’d get back just in time for dinner, bath, and then put her to bed. Like that was our story. And we were like, we can’t do things on the weekend as a family, we couldn’t travel.
And it got to a point where I was like, “I really want to move back to Florida.” ‘Cause at this point we were back in Virginia where our family was. I was like, “I want to move back to Florida and I want to be able to travel. I want you around more. I want to bring you home.” And he was like, “Absolutely not.” And I was like, “Well, what if we can profit?” And I gave him a number and I was like, “I’ve already figured out the insurance piece. I’ve already figured out all this, this is the number we would need to hit for this to be like possible and still live the lifestyle we wanted to live.” And he was like, “Yeah, yeah, sure. When that happens.” Well, and that was in May that I told him that August 1st we were moving to Florida and he quit his job. So I was on a mission to make it happen.
Tavia: That is so cool. So he was resistant at first. Was he resistant ’cause he didn’t want to quit or because he just didn’t think that it was possible?
Brandi: I don’t know. So the thing I think also is coming from direct sales, you would always hear these women that were like, “We retired our husbands and they work in our business now.” And I think that coming from that, that’s what he saw coming home would be like him as a background person to my business. And he didn’t want to work in my business. And honestly, I didn’t want him working in my business either. Like that was not the dynamic that we have. And so I think that that was the hold-up in the beginning. And then when I painted the vision, “Hey, like how amazing would it be on the weekends to be able to go do stuff or to pick up a week and just travel.” And once I was able to show him the possibilities and what it looked like for him to be at home, everything, he was much more open to it. Also once we got like, “Here’s what will happen with insurance and all this kind of stuff,” he was so much more open to it. It was just showing him like, “You’re going to miss your daughter’s entire like childhood if we keep this up.”
Tavia: Yeah. That’s so cool. Okay. So your daughter was a baby in the early stages of business. And I know a lot of my students and a lot of the listeners either have babies at home or they’re pregnant or they have toddlers. They have young kids. And so one thing that I hear often from people is just, “How do I do all of this? How do I like virtual school my kids and run a business?” And, and, and. So how did you manage your days growing a business with a baby at home?
Brandi: Yeah, so like I said, the most of my, we grew to over six figures with my husband working all the time and Riley attached to me 24/7, not by choice but because it was the only way we could survive. She slept on me non-stop for seven months of her life. The first of months, naps everything. So in the very beginning of my business for a good three months, she was attached to me for the whole thing. And then it just became nap time-hustle status, where I’d wake up super early, getting the bottles together, packing for the day, making sure that we were set up for success for the day before she got up. Then doing as little bit of work as I could when she got up. Then when it was nap time, I’d get into hours of work. And then once she went to bed and after my husband was home and we got an hour together, it was right back working.
And now I look back and I’m like, “How the heck did I have that little bit of time and get all that stuff done? And now I can waste a whole day doing absolutely nothing.”
Make sure to go back and listen to Brandi’s full episode to hear her strategies for what to focus on as you grow your business.
What an amazing episode this has been!
I want to wrap up with episode 61 where I interviewed Marketing School for Photographers student Ash who shared how she hit $10k months with her photography business in less than a year – pay attention to the marketing tips she is sharing here.
Tavia: I would love to know where are you finding your ideal clients right now? Like, are there any marketing tips or strategies that have worked well for you to find those ideal clients that you can share with listeners?
Ashley: Yes. So, I actually am rocking it old school and new school. So first of all, I partnered with three 4D ultrasound place because anybody that is having an ultrasound already has a baby in their belly, which means that my turnover rate is good. I would say probably 30-40% of my clients come directly from my 3D, 4D ultrasound place. And what happened was, it was a previous client that decided that they were gonna do this. And I was like, “Okay.” I went in like, “Let me decorate your office. I’ll decorate your office.” I paid for all of the pictures in their office. I think it was like 800 bucks. I bought 20×30 metal prints for their entire office. I put my cards there. I wish I had my pamphlet, but on my Canva thing, I made a tri-fold pamphlet, has my prices on there.
So first of all, I partnered with three 4D ultrasound place because anybody that is having an ultrasound already has a baby in their belly, which means that my turnover rate is good. I would say probably 30-40% of my clients come directly from my 3D, 4D ultrasound place. I did a talk with a group of Brandon Burton’s students and I was reviewing their pricing and this one lady had a QR code on the back of her pricing thing that took them to their website. And I was like, “Oh! Stealing that! Gone!” That’s the greatest idea ever that they don’t have to type anything in. They can just scan it. The easier it is for somebody to pay money to you, the easier it’s going to be to get their money.
One thing that I learned recently, and I feel like you can learn from anyone, but I did a talk with one of Brandon Burton’s students, like a group of students and I was reviewing their pricing and this one lady had a QR code on the back of her pricing thing that took them to their website. And I was like, “Oh! Stealing that! Gone!” I was like, yeah, that’s like the greatest idea ever that they don’t have to type anything in. They can just scan it. The easier it is for somebody to pay money to you, the easier it’s going to be to get their money. I mean, it sounds funny, but it just makes sense. So I sold a QR code. I put it on the back of my thing. People call me, people text me, email me, go to my website. So I rocked an old school on that.
I post, I have a Grow With Me Group that I started when I very first started. I did all of my model calls in there. It helped create an amazing group of people that have stuck with me throughout this entire time that still pay full price. They, every once in a while, they’ll be there when I need them for model calls. So I think it any type of group is definitely beneficial.
Tavia: So you feel like the 3D, 4D ultrasound is definitely helping you find your ideal clients and probably that group as well. So like Facebook group and vendor connections with that 3D, 4D ultrasound is like primarily where they’re coming from?
Ashley: Yes. I do have some Facebook ads. I do $2 or $3 a day for that. So maybe a hundred bucks a month or less. And it’s kept me fully booked pretty much this entire time. COVID kind of put a little bit of a hiccup, but I just put masks on and gloves and I got vaccinated and, you know, people seem to feel very comfortable. I also offered to do in-home sessions, which I thought was very beneficial. Some people took me up on that having like a private space where they could come to or I could come to them. I think just giving them those options really, really helped.
In payment plans, I think payment plans really help that, you know, even if someone was about to give birth and they inquired at like 4 or 5 months that, “Hey, I need a birth photographer,” just giving them that option like, “Hey, you pay half now. And then you pay, you know, two other payments.” I think just having that option makes a huge difference. And have it paid in full like you get a free 20 x 30 print or a 16 x 20 print on me if you pay in full or just having options for them and giving them the opportunity to spend more money with you and things like that, I think make a big difference.
I think payment plans really help…just giving them that option like, “Hey, you pay half now. And then you pay, you know, two other payments.” And have it paid in full like you get a free 20 x 30 print or a 16 x 20 print on me if you pay in full or just having options for them and giving them the opportunity to spend more money with you and things like that, I think make a big difference.
There you have it! Our most downloaded guest episodes of 2021.
We’re going to link all these episodes in the show notes so you can go back and listen. Thank you so much for an incredible 2021 on the podcast and I can’t wait to record even more in 2022.
If you’re enjoying this podcast, please hit SUBSCRIBE wherever you’re listening and thank you so much for leaving the show a review on itunes! I read each and every one and it helps this podcast reach more people so Thank you!
My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves photography, or event planning, or real estate… whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!