I have a good friend, who on occasion, I am privileged to have fantastic conversations with. We analyze everything from the market, to photography styles, to assistants, to copyright issues, and beyond. I could never list all of the topics we have covered simply for the fact that I wouldn't be able to remember them all. Last night we were having another one of these conversations, this time about photographer's business strategy.
The discussion topic went something like this:
Are successful photographers lucky? You know the typical story, "I got lucky back when I was first starting out, and happened to be picked up by the most popular magazine of the times."
So, let's think about this for a second. This person was picked up by the "most popular magazine of the times". How in world does that happen? Somewhere along the lines, the photographer had to be putting them self out there by some form of marketing. Whether it was word of mouth, postcards, a website, or a recommendation, this photographer was marketing. Most likely they were marketing in the right place, whether they knew it or not. If your specialty is photographing kittens, you aren’t going to market yourself to a surfing magazine. You would be marketing to Cats & Kittens Magazine. So, it is possible that this photographer is just a genius and didn’t realize they were doing all the things they were supposed to be doing to get to that point. I admit that some people are more financially stable, thus they can afford the equipment and marketing that will propel them into the market faster than others. No matter the amount of money in the bank account, a person still has to apply them self in the correct places. It's figuring out the "correct places" that can present the problem.
This morning, another photographer posted a list of things called "Shake Your Tree Today". This list was jam-packed things a photographer could do to break their own mold for the day. The list was fantastic! I read through it. Some things I feel that I do regularly, others were things I may not do at all. A lot of thought was put into that list.
The one tree shaking topic I chose to do today was number 13. Making a list of the top 5 clients I want to work for in the next 24 months. "Shoot for the moon", it said. I made a list of my top 5 dream clients, and today I will be figuring out what I need to do to put myself in front of them.
My plan is to print the list and keep it on my bulletin board. It will be a fantastic reference and a great motivator. You can find the list here: Shake Your Tree Today.
Good luck & Best Wishes!