Once again, I scrolled through Facebook and saw the same advertisement, different advertiser:
I immediately rolled my eyes and kept scrolling. Why? Because I see these ads all the time. Each one with promises to catapult your business from dying to thriving.
But building a business isn’t like rubbing a magic lamp. A genie won’t pop out with your order of 10 high end clients wanting to book your biggest collection. I wish there was an easy strategy to give you that would take you from 0 to hero in 10 days (shout out to my Hercules fans!). But the truth is, there isn’t.
Building a successful business takes time, persistence and diligence. It requires long hours, hustle and learning. Only the persistent and truly determined make it, and for a very good reason because if it were easy, everyone would do it!
There are things you can do right now that will build your business, and while these strategies take time and consistent effort, they’ll help you thrive in the long run. I call it the “slow-and-steady” way. Building your business the slow-and-steady way builds a better foundation for your business to grow on, and you won’t constantly be fearful of it all disappearing in a crash of Facebook Ads.
To make your life a little easier, below are some slow-and-steady strategies that helped produce more clients for me. I’ve personally used all of these strategies to take my business full time and book consistently, and I want to share them with you. Be warned: they’re not monumental changes but small actions that build over time.
After getting engaged, couples (especially brides!) get so much information thrown at them about their wedding, and it’s overwhelming! Trust me, Garrett and I just went through this. There are a million resources thrown at newly engaged couples the minute she puts that ring on. So what makes a new couple choose a specific vendor? Often, it’s from referrals. Couples put a lot of trust in their friends and family for recommendations, and often they reach out to those vendors first. For most of my couples, photography is high priority. And after working with me, my previous couples can’t wait to refer me when their friends get engaged because they know my value. Then when I shoot their friend’s wedding, it’s like a mini reunion and everybody wins! My new bride will want to refer me just like first bride did, and the cycle continues!
This probably seems super obvious, but it really helps your business! Think of your social media profile as a tease of who you are as a photographer. Show off your portfolio, but also your personality. Build a connection with your followers. And don’t forget, social media is intended to be social. The last thing people want when they’re scrolling through Instagram is to be pitched to buy something. People crave connection, so engage and be yourself.
This might be the one that most beginning photographers get hung up on. After all, how do you post new work when you’re not booking? The answer is practice. Grab a friend and go photograph in a favorite destination in your city. Edit those images consistently with your style, and then blog and post them all over your business platforms! Even though you’re not booking new work doesn’t mean you can’t practice and perfect your craft. Show your value and your worth by getting out there and doing what you proclaim to love. That passion? It’s addicting (just follow @annstreetstudio on IG if you don’t believe me). And after all, “fake it ’til you make it” is totally a thing!
More than anything, I want to encourage you to keep building your business even if you feel like you’re in limbo. We all go through seasons in life, but just because you don’t see the wheels turning doesn’t mean your not moving forward. My business wasn’t built overnight or by applying “secrets to success.” I built my business over several years, tons of hard work, and yes, crying.
So cheers to a stronger business with a foundation that will last! *glass clinking*