You can wear flip flops AND charge a lot
Over the years I have mentored and coached many photographers and doulas through the challenges that come with owning you own business. One of the biggest is pricing. There are a lot of emotions and insecurities surrounding money. I am not sure how it happens, but we each believe certain things when it comes to pricing our business.
NOTICE THAT WORD? BUSINESS.
So many times we don't consider what we do as a business. It is our Art or a Ministry or even just a Hobby. When that happens, the last thing we consider is our price point. So when I start working with someone and that is what we are doing, it seems to be something they haven't considered.
The next thing that comes up are pre-concieved ideas about what "expensive" is. I will hear things like, "No one around here will pay that much." or "I am not good enough to charge that." or even "I want to serve clients like me and I am not rich."
FIRST LESSON, YOU ARE NOT YOUR CLIENT.
But that does NOT mean that you have to change who you are or that you can't attract clients who you can relate to and enjoy working with.
At one point in my studio career, I had been steadily bringing in $100,000 plus each year in studio sales. This was just births, babies and families. I was a single photographer studio, using IPS and basically working part time. I was averaging $3000-$4000 a sale and shooting only a handful of clients each month. Perfect, right? Nope, I really wanted to get closer to the $200K mark.
So I did my research. I tried to find photographers out there who were doing what I was doing. What I found is that there really weren't many. The studios who were bringing in double what I was bringing in did not fit what I wanted for my life or my business. MANY had to represent luxury. Wear designer clothes, drive expensive cars, eat and drink expensive foods. This was so far from me that I would not even consider it. I also was not ready to add a wedding division or bring in another photographer. I really didn't want to work more. So it left me where I was currently at.
I REALLY LOOKED AT MY NUMBERS.
Can I raise my prices? Can I restructure? Can I offer incentives to motivate clients to spend more? I tried all of them! Some things worked and some didn't. But I wasn't giving up. You see, I wear Tevas every day. I never wear make up. I drive my car until it dies. I LOVE thrift store shopping and recycling and being frugal and a minimalist. This is a part of who I am. And if you notice, my business is called Earth Mama Photography.
I NEVER TRIED TO PRETEND TO BE SOMEONE I WASN'T.
On my site, you will hear me talk about this. That I come without make up and that I do things a little differently. That I work on building a connection with my clients. Being warm and open and loving, just like I am in real life. When I show up to a multi-million dollar home to photograph a new client, I don't even bat an eye about having on my thrift store clothes, no make up and tevas. I hope when a client has hired me that they know that is what they are getting. If they don't, then once they meet me and see that I am sitting on the floor letting the dog kiss my face, or rolling in the grass with the toddler, or catching newborn poop bare handed, they will figure it out pretty quickly.
NOT WEARING MAKE UP HAS NEVER HURT MY SALE.
By the time a client comes into my studio for their sales session, they KNOW me. I have been with them through their booking and session. They have asked about my family and my life and I have openly shared. They have friended me on Facebook. They have invited me to birthday parties. They feel connected and a part of the Earth Mama Photography Family. So when we are talking about their images, there is no pretense. It is just about the images, their family and my love of what I do.
SO WHAT IF YOU LOVE EXPENSIVE THINGS?
Awesome!!! You probably have even more potential for higher sales than I did. However, if you learn to structure your business correctly and if you brand in a way that is authentic to YOU, it won't matter. You just have to learn to overcome YOUR fears of pricing high. Your clients will pay what you tell them to pay, if you do it the right way!