The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast

What To Focus on RIGHT NOW as a Wedding Photographer (Based on Your Income)

January 30, 2024
The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast
What To Focus on RIGHT NOW as a Wedding Photographer (Based on Your Income)
Show Notes Transcript

Today, Alora discusses the stages of building a successful wedding photography business, explaining each income level from 0 to 100k and beyond. 

At the 0-25k level, she advocates for free marketing strategies to generate inquiries. Between 25-50k, it's advised to diversify marketing strategies and pursue brand reassessment. In the 50-75k range, it's important to focus on better pricing strategies to prevent burnout. Finally, between 75-100k and beyond, she emphasizes the importance of business expansion, leadership, and outsourcing.

Alora also discusses commonly faced challenges at each stage and offers strategic advice on how to overcome them.

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✨ My Favorite Things ✨

Welcome to The Wedding CEO Podcast, where we discuss all things marketing, sales, and scaling, so you can become the CEO of your life and business. I'm Alora Rachelle, and I've been a wedding photographer for over a decade, and now I'm sharing all of my secrets so you can stop sacrificing your time and make more money like a CEO.

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Welcome back to The Wedding CEO Podcast. In today's episode, we're going to be discussing something that I have always had in my head, but I really want to put this out for you in case you're like, I don't really know what my goal is right now. I just started or I've been in this for a minute or I'm just ready to scale, but I don't really know what I need to be focusing on right now as a wedding photographer. I created this episode just for you. 

If you're in the zero to 25k income level, I call this the not getting enough inquiries phase. In this phase, you need to just basically get the word out, okay? This is where you get scrappy, you do all the free marketing strategies, you're probably binging all the podcasts, YouTube videos. Do people read blogs anymore? 

Whatever the case, you're consuming tons and tons of free content so you can figure out how you can grow your business as quick as possible. This is the scrappy phase. But it's also fun because you're still new and the possibilities seem endless. You're just getting started in your wedding photography business, it feels like there's so much possibility, there's so much you can do, you're excited about the possibility of being an entrepreneur.

At this stage though, you're usually second shooting, third shooting, or maybe you're being an associate, right? And you're thinking about, do I really like the business? Do I really like this as a full time job? The one thing I would say that you would want to focus on at this income level is word of mouth marketing as much as possible. I think collabs, networking, this is usually the phase where friends and family is referring you and they're like, this is a cheap photographer and oh my goodness, you're not going to find somebody as good as so and so and I did hate that. 

I remember on Facebook, I don't know if this is still a thing, but they'd be like, can you guys post like your most affordable photographers? And every time a friend or family member would be like, Alora is the most affordable photographer and her images are so good. I'm like, this is awful. That's not what I wanted to hear. The goal of this stage is to get the word out about your business so much so you feel like you're not just funding a hobby, right?

This is the part where you're gonna be getting your business off the ground. I want you to at least focus on making your first 25k in your business at this level.

The next level is the 25k to 50k range, which is you're not really getting dream client weddings. This is probably the time where you're still pushing through, right? Inquiries are inconsistent, so you're definitely going through like the ups and downs of like the inquiry roller coaster of like, Oh my gosh, I have so many inquiries. I can't wait to book them. Oh my gosh, they didn't book I'm an awful photographer. Why is nobody like me? Why is nobody booking? 

You probably have price shoppers half the time. You might have a part time or a full time job because you need to keep funneling money into the business. You need a new lens. You need a new camera. You're pretty much following whatever the gurus say. At this stage, most photographers actually quit. They usually quit due to the lack of marketing strategy and momentum.

You might be losing your passion at this stage and your love for artistry to weddings feels kind of monotonous and you're like, okay, what am I doing this for? I'm barely making any money. I can't quit my job. Why am I even doing this? I think it's best to focus on diversifying your marketing while building a long term strategy platform, which in this case, for some reason, nobody seems to focus on, is your website.

As a web designer background, I go on photographers websites so much. Especially when they're inquiring about why am I not getting inquiries? I'm like, oh my word, your website, please. I'm going to tear it up and I'm going to rebuild it into something glorifyingly luxury. So you say, these are the clients that I want. I'm like, your website does not reflect that. Not at all. One of the things could be. That you might have outdated images, right? Because when you're in the messy, scrappy phase, you're just throwing everything out there. Because you want people to know you're open for business. You want people to think that you're this in demand photographer. But when you start getting those inquiries and your little free marketing strategies have worked, now it's like, okay, I know who I don't want. I know who I do want, but I don't like what I'm getting. I say this, it's not getting the dream client weddings phase, right? It's time to shift your images, go on your website, go on your Instagram and just cut out everything you don't want.

Why in the world would you post what you don't want to attract? If this wedding was not a dream wedding, take it down, archive it. Nobody's going to miss it. You're not going to miss it. Your clients will be thankful because they're going to be booking a photographer that actually wants to work with them. See, it works for everybody. 

The next thing I would focus on is your messy messaging, okay? Don't talk about things your clients aren't actually looking for. Like, yes, a personal brand is so important. But your website, your content is not about you. It is about your couples. It is about your clients. When they are reading this, yes, we want to have a connection with you, but what else? 

What else is there? Please let me know. If you have a piece of paper. Write down some things that your clients are looking for or that your dream clients are searching for. What are they not looking for? How do they want to feel? Not about what you want to shoot. Those things go hand in hand. 

At this stage, you just need to go back to the basics. You need to revamp your brand story. I'm actually going to upload my brand story training on the podcast for you guys. This is for The Wedding CEO students. It's one of our amazing lessons that I've revamped and it really helps you hone in who your dream client is and who you want to serve. Definitely listen to that episode. I want you to just soak it in and I want you to get to work and understand and create your brand story. I want you to plug everything into your website, your marketing platforms and your content because dream clients won't find you if your marketing's a mess from being scrappy. It's time to clean up house and understand your why that brings you back to why you want to work with them in the first place. 

The next step is 50k to 75k, and this is anywhere between building momentum or burnt out, right? It's either. This is where most of my students come to me, and this is where I was stuck at for a very long time. Two to three years is too long, honestly, in my opinion. Why was I overworked and underpaid for so long? Where I was like, I need to do something, I need to change something, right? This is the part, baby, where you might be overworked, underpaid, and asking yourself, where is the money? Also, where is my life, right? Your weekends are non existent, people stop inviting you to events, and you feel more lonely than ever.

You started this business to fulfill a dream, and now it's starting to feel like a nightmare. This is a stage where you need a huge mass of brand pricing and sales makeover. This is where we wipe out the old and bring in the brand new. You probably have stayed at a safe low price because maybe your inquiries are half consistent, half intense, and maybe you're just scared that no one's going to book you if you raise your prices because you've been at this safe price for so long, you can't even get out of the mindset or the possibility that somebody would even pay more than they already are. Or maybe you're booking your low to middle package, never booked your highest package and you're like, I'm definitely not raising my prices if they're not going to at least pay my highest package. 

At this stage, you need to go through your expenses. You need to create your hourly rate and revamp your prices. Then, using our sales call map, you're going to book 50% more of your inquiries in just one call anyway, okay? This alone is going to change your business. But, It's also going to give you the confidence to charge a higher rate. That's going to keep you in business because now you're going to have sales confidence.

Imposter syndrome could be something you're dealing with. Even though you have the bookings, even though you have sort of consistent weddings and you feel like you're there, you feel like you're almost there. Imposter syndrome is going to start to fade away when you start having sales confidence, when you know what to say to clients on a call, when you know that this is what you have to charge, you're going to become very no fluff, no nonsense. You're gonna be like, no, I have to charge minimum this. This is my get out of bed rate, right? I'm not getting out of bed for less than this price. 

Then once you have mastered all these things, you will be very close, very close to doubling your income, which leads us to the last income level, which is 75k to 100k, which I call almost the CEO.

Once you've mastered all three, and we're going to go back, not getting inquiries, not getting dream client, and then burnt out hustler. You're gonna be thinking, okay, been there, done that, got the t-shirt, the souvenir, all the things. What's next? I feel so close to being a CEO. But I also don't know what to do to get out of this income level. Like I've been consistently here and I'm just ready to hit the 100k mark. It's time to expand your revenue sources. That's all. 

Being a CEO is more than just knowing everything about your business. It's about outsourcing. It's about delegating. It's also about stepping into leadership. Did you know? That if you don't have a team, you're not a CEO.

I know, it's crazy. You're a solopreneur, which is fine, it's fine. You have to ask yourself if that's what you want to do. Do you just want to work for yourself? And not have associates, not have second shooters, not have this or that? Maybe you're just a lone wolf and that's what you want to do. Be honest with yourself, because I feel like if you're not the kind of person that wants to develop leadership skills, be responsible for other people, take the fall for things. Then maybe you shouldn't even dive into the CEO possibility. 

But if you're still editing your images, it's time to outsource. 

If you're still sending email updates about every single wedding workflow, it's time to automate. 

If you're ready to double your income without adding more weddings to your plate and possibly double or triple your prices, then maybe it's time to build an associate team, especially if you're ready to just hop into that leadership role.

If you're ready to offer mentorships, brand sessions, presets, in person workshops. Then do it.

As a wedding photographer, the income opportunities are honestly so endless, like there is so many ways for us to make money. It's not just weddings. It's not just engagements and portraits. Once you decide exactly how you're going to add these other streams of income, we're going to teach you how to sell it.

Inside The Wedding CEO, I give you the strategies to succeed, no matter your income level. Every single thing that we've talked about, we teach inside of our program. We have them broken down into modules, whether it is mindset, pricing, branding, marketing, and sales. I have personally been at every single stage in my business and I have learned the hard way, so you don't have to. We have workbooks for easy implementation, as well as coworking calls, and coaching calls to solve your questions in just minutes. 

Just the other day, I tore up one of my students pricing packages. We went through it together, and I talked about how to position it, what to include, what to take out, and why did she book a thousand dollars over one of those packages by creating a custom proposal. In just a few minutes, she booked something she had no idea she could. 

All that to say, don't forget to sign up for my free training on February 22nd at 12pm, Eastern. I'm hosting a free class called "How to Make 100k with Half of Your Weekends Free". I'm going to show you exactly how we help our students go from ghosted to booked while raising their rates and consistently booking their highest package.

You don't want to miss this, and if you do, there's always a replay. So don't forget to sign up for the masterclass. 

Link in show notes. I'll see you inside. 

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Wait, don't go yet. If you loved today's episode, I would love if you took five seconds to leave a rating and a five star review. If you do send me a DM so I can give you a virtual hug and of course a shout out. Now, if you're ready to grow your photography business, I invite you to join the waitlist for The Wedding CEO.

The Wedding CEO is my signature program for wedding photographers who are ready to make 100k with half of their weekends free. You're ready to finally book higher ticket weddings. You can spend your time freely, whether it's creating more income strings, being present with family and friends or just working less like a CEO is supposed. Join the wait list for when we open the doors on February 22nd, 2024.

If you've seen my Instagram, then you'll know we have students making five figure months, launching their dream brands, doubling their prices, taking vacations, and more. Which are lifetime skills that you can take with you even if you decide to leave the industry.

Link in the show notes. I'll see you inside.