Get Off The $10,000 Roller Coaster | Jewel Images | Photography & Education By Julia Kelleher

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Get Off The $10,000 Roller Coaster

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There’s been a lot of $10K+ sales talk going on lately. You hear it in Facebook Groups, rumorville and through your photog best friend in next-door-ville. And the reactions to these ultra-high, super-single, sales sessions is a collective, “Wow!!! HOW did they DO that?” And while I totally get it, it’s not reality. Yes, that photog really did have a single sale that high, but that doesn’t happen all the time. It’s actually a pretty rare bird for most photographers. And making your living off onsey, twosey $10K sales isn’t fun. It’s downright stressful. And more than likely, these high dollar photogs are pulling in regular sessions regularly, but those who are down there learning and looking, tend to glorify these sales (and hence, these high-end photogs) as the creme de la creme. 

How I see it? Yeah, $10,000+ sales are fun. They are magnificent. I had one a couple months ago, and let me tell you I was giggling and squealing after they left the studio. However, when you get off that $10K roller emotional coaster, you learn that steady, consistent sales and regular clients bring about a kind of serenity. You don’t worry anymore. You love what you do. You KNOW you’ll make your income, and you’ll be able to send your kid to summer camp, and pay the mortgage. Can you imagine? KNOWING you’re going to get 10 clients a month at $2000 per client? Ahhhhhh…. that’s nice.  It is. Really nice. It brings confidence, peace, stability and independence.

How do you get to this heavenly place of solid sales and consistent clients?

1. You need to believe you can be a steady, reliable business.

So many photographers huddle inside their insecurities that they’ll never get to a place where they are a “real” business. What does ‘real’ mean? To me, it means average sales you need and can rely on, and a steady stream of new and repeat clients who adore you and rave about you wherever they go. 

Why are your beliefs so important? Well, nothing will change unless you believe it will. If you don’t believe you are truly capable of running a high-end self-sufficient business, then you won’t. Karma has a way of manifesting what you put out there, and it knows whether what you’re putting out there is truly in your heart (a belief) or something you just say you want. 

Change won’t happen unless you believe it will.

So how do you change your beliefs? It starts with your deep inner thoughts. If you want success as a creative, you have to say and believe it WITH YOUR EMOTIONS that it will happen. 

I will be a successful photographer.

I will make 4-figure sales.

Now, can you just repeat the mantra and it will magically manifest out of thin air? That’s easy!  No. But consistent self-talk with your heart and feelings behind it,  changes your actions. And then your actions (with emotion driven motivation) will help drive your cause forward and provide the momentum you need to succeed. It’s keeping that positive mental reinforcement, even when the demon voices in your head say you’re a fraud. Go to hell, George! (inside joke)

2. Your pricing needs to be structured to make the right average sale.

I see so many photographers with pricing that is all over the place. It’s so confusing to the client and offers waaaay too many options. On top of that, and worst of all, it doesn’t incentivize the client to spend what you need them to in order to make your desired average sale. 

Pricing is not for the client. It’s for you. 

You HAVE to make your numbers. You have to pay your bills. You HAVE to be profitable to make it – to live. If you’re priced to provide the client with the products they want (eg. digital files) at a price that doesn’t meet your “happy place” goals, then you’ll never get the consistency you need or those magical unicorn $10K sales.  So go back and revisit your pricing. It has to work for YOU.

3. You need to take your branding and marketing off the back burner.

Seriously, it’s like you left it in the locker room cubbies when you got on the roller coaster. WTF? Noooo!!! Your branding is your most important business asset. It’s what entices a client to book with you. It creates client loyalty and it gives you the unique edge above ‘Silly Stephanie Photographer’ charging $50 down the street. Why would you not focus the majority of your attention onto this when you are starting your business?

No company has EVER made success without a solid, identifiable brand.

 And if you think I mean logo, font and website colors, you better go study what branding really is. Your visual “look” is like 0.001% of your entire brand message.

To get a steady stream of consistent clients AND attract repeat business, your brand has to ooze who you are and speak to the needs of your ideal client. So who is your ideal client? Who are you targeting? Define that and you’ve hit the jackpot in marketing and promotions. Your messaging becomes clear and focused. You hit her with your voice right into her heart, and she begins to know and trust who you are as a business which tips her over the edge to book with you. 

Your brand is critical. It’s what you control. And the brand has to MATCH the price.

So will you ever get a that elusive $10,000 sale? Maybe. Or would you rather have a consistent solid business with constant inquiries, solid bookings and happy clients who come back again, and again? That’s what I hope you work towards because that place is creative entrepreneurial heaven, and it allows you to support your family, your dream and your confidence.

-Julia

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