‘If you’re tired of photography you’re tired of life’.
It’s a little catchphrase I came up with a few years ago and it has some underlying messages that can help you in your business.
As photographers we should embrace life, challenge ourselves, do new things and periodically scare the crap out of ourselves.
How can you be a great portrait and wedding photographer if you don’t like and understand people?
It’s like a wildlife photographer waiting for a penguin in Botswana. It’s not going to go well.
If that sounds like you then don’t worry, I understand. I used to have the confidence of a hippo at a diving competition.
What changed things for me was when I focused more on helping others.
I joined community groups which got me used to regularly talking with new people. The pressure was off because I was there to help, nothing more.
But by being active in the community it’s amazing how the tentacles have helped my business and personal life….
For example, as my confidence grew I attended business networking groups – always approaching each conversation with the mindset of being helpful.
By being helpful I started to get on really well with the organiser. How? Well it didn’t hurt that I was the only one who’d help her pack up after each event.
The organiser is very involved in lots of community and charitable projects. So, I offered to help wherever I could. She’s an amazing woman and inspired me to start a project called ‘Peterborough business heroes’. It’s where I photograph a business person and their business free of charge and write a blog post about them. Here’s her post: http://www.danwaterscreative.com/peterborough-business-heroes-hazel-cottrell
She loved me for it and has shouted my name from the rooftops ever since.
I’ve booked weddings and portrait sessions directly from her recommendations and connections.
She also hired me for her wedding.
When she invited me to a mentoring day at the local prison I ended up booking a wedding with a fellow mentor.
When she invited me to mentor young adults with special needs I met a fellow mentor who owns an estate agent and a cleaning company; that guy is now giving out my family portrait vouchers too.
She then made me aware of a local project called the ‘Pay it forward tribe’ where a group of people help the local community in a myriad of ways, including feeding the homeless, litter picking, charity drives, and even free hugs, professional massages and flash-mob laughter!! Yes, you read that correctly!
I’m now involved in this crazy group too. The leader of the group has a fantastic wellbeing business called ‘Soul Happy’, so I’ve photographed her team as my second ‘Peterborough business hero’.
Soul happy are now offering to promote me.
Plus, another wellbeing centre who’s owner I met at a networking event is handing out my family portrait vouchers simply because she’s friends with Soul Happy.
Last week I ran a Facebook promotion to do a free wedding for one couple who’s been through a tough time recently. A wedding planner saw the advert and loved the idea. She’s meeting me in a few weeks to see how we can help each other.
Marketing doesn’t have to be sleazy, or boring, or uncomfortable.
Sometimes it pays to take your business hat off and start making new and genuine friendships with great people. Start living life, create fun projects, surround yourself with positive and like-minded individuals and it’s amazing where it will lead you.
Have you had any experiences like this? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.