73: Wise Ways to Spend January

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73: Wise Ways to Spend January 3

Slow season is here, and with it comes the chance to step back and gain clarity in your business. In today’s episode, I’m sharing six common goals that you could choose to focus on right now. My hope is to help you pick one that applies to you and your business this year, and to share tips on how to get started.

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

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This episode is brought to you by The Round Table, a community built for female photographers who want to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way! Every month, you get access to three new pieces of content covering a vast variety of topics from myself and guest speakers. Come join us and get access to the content and private Facebook community!

Review the Show Notes:

Slow season is here (1:19)

Get more inquiries (3:25)

Convert inquiries into paying clients (5:06)

Launching a new offer (10:15)

Moving your business to a new location (11:49)

Upgrading your client workflow (13:21)

To get creatively inspired again (14:17)

Episode Links:

Portfolio on Purpose Freebie

Round Table

Episode 67 Guest Annemie Tonken: When Things Are Slow

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73: Wise Ways to Spend January 4

Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gephardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business, motherhood and life myself along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to to shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

Welcome back to the shoot it straight podcast my friends and Happy New Year. I don’t know about you. But my kids just went back to school today. And I’m super eager to get back into routines and a quiet house. Plus, I’m excited to finally have the bandwidth to start thinking about my business for this year. I’m definitely one of those people who loves the feel of a new year, right? It’s reminiscent of the start of school, that clean slate that energy of a new planner, a new notebook, it feels like a world of possibilities is out in front of me. Are you the same way? If so, I think today’s episode will give you some much needed clarity. My friend slow season is here. And I bet you are ready for it just as much as I am. You might remember back in episode 67, I chatted with my sweet friend on me talking about slow season and what it means for photographers. We talked about some of the mindset stuff around slow season but also some ways to determine what you should be doing with your time.

Now that the New Year is here, I wanted to give you a quick reminder of how to determine what you should be working on now. But I also want to take it a step further and give you some specifics. Some really specific ideas for things that you can focus on. In case you’re like, Sabrina, just tell me what to do. This is that episode. Okay. Before I give you a specific task list, remember, what you are going to spend your time on really depends on what your goals are. Okay, I don’t want you to hear this list and think that you need to do all of them. Yes, every idea I’m going to give you is a really good idea that is worthy of your time and energy. But they might not be worth your time and energy, at least not right now.

Not this first quarter or this year. Okay? If you try and focus on too many things at once, you’re not going to get anywhere, you’re going to spend your time and energy spinning in circles, being overwhelmed and being anxious because you’re not getting anything done. So instead of giving you a potential, just long list of things that you could possibly work on, I think the easiest thing to do here is I’m going to give you some ideas and some tips and some suggestions. And I’m going to group them by what your goal might be.

Okay, so I’m going to go through six common goals that I hear from my students on a fairly regular basis. And I’m going to give you a few ideas of what you can work on to support those particular goals. Okay, so I want you to listen to this episode, listen to the six different goals and pick the one that potentially applies to you. So goal number one that is really common is to get more inquiries, if not having enough inquiries is one of your goals. That means that you need more eyes on your business. So in the first month or two of the year, I would recommend that you focus on activities to bring people to your front door to bring people to your business. Okay, do an SEO deep dive on your website to make sure that it’s functioning optimally. And that probably includes updating keywords, adding new images and making copywriting updates. Next, I would blog I would aim to write as many quality blog posts as you can and then schedule them out over the year. Honestly, if you can write even six really good ones, and then have them post every other month, you will be doing great. A good with air quotes around it a good blog post will have at least 400 words. It will give valuable content to the reader and it will focus on a keyword statement. Okay?

It will also include at least one outbound and at least one inbound link and it’ll have some images, okay, and make sure that you name those images with keywords. After doing the website and the blog work. I want you to start focusing on social media content. Again, we’re focusing on getting people’s eyes on your business. What is your content strategy for the year going to be? How can you show up more consistently? What are the content pillars you want to focus on and how can you connect with your ideal clients online? Okay, So those are all the tasks, I would recommend if your goal is getting more inquiries this year. So let’s look at goal number two. Let’s say that you are getting lots of inquiries, but your goal is to convert more of them into paying clients. In this situation, you have leads coming into your website. But your booking rate is really low. People aren’t converting into paying clients, this is a sign that there is a disconnect somewhere, your SEO and social media are working. But something is happening once they fill out your lead capture form that is not converting them into paying customers. In this case, I would recommend that you focus your slow season on your client communication workflow, what exactly is happening after they send you an email? Do they get an automated response?

Do you have canned emails written to send them the information that they’re requesting? Are you communicating frequently? And often? Do these connections have personality? Are you communicating that you are the best person for the job? A lot of these questions that I just asked are related to either your CRM, or your email copy. If you don’t have a CRM supporting you, slow season is the perfect time to set one up. Okay. And if you are using a CRM, maybe it’s time to see if things can run even more smooth and more efficient. And if you haven’t read your canned emails in a while, because that’s kind of where we all are, right? We write them when we start our business. And then we kind of set it and forget it, if you haven’t read them in a while. Not converting clients is a great sign that you need to revisit them. Maybe the information is old, maybe it lacks personality. Maybe there’s typos. Maybe some of the automated emails aren’t actually going out, maybe there’s an error somewhere. Another potential conversion problem is the type of work that you’re sharing online. So for example, maybe you aren’t converting because you keep getting inquiries for things that you don’t offer, or you don’t offer anymore.

Okay. So for example, if I’m an in home family photographer, but I keep getting inquiries for weddings, my conversion rate will be really low, based on the fact that I’m not booking weddings. In this scenario, I’m probably showing something online, or on my website that I don’t want to attract and my audience is confused. Okay, maybe I offered weddings years ago, and the blog posts I wrote back then are still bringing in lots of traffic. Or maybe I photographed my cousin’s wedding earlier this year as a favor, and I showed some images on Instagram and they got a lot of attention. Neither of those things is bad. It’s just a matter of being intentional with how you’re going to combat them. You must share what you want to shoot. So if you haven’t written blogs about your current offers, it’s time to do that. If you haven’t been blasting social media with your current offers, it’s time to do that. You need to spend the slow season making it glaringly obvious what you offer to help the confusion go away to increase that conversion rate. Today’s episode is brought to you by the roundtable a community built for female photographers who want to continue growing their business while forging industry friendships along the way. In this group, you will learn practical ways to move your business forward. While finding community and accountability with like minded photographers. The roundtable consists of three main parts, new live trainings that drop every month, a growing vault of all of the past trainings, and of course the community. Are you curious how it works. Every month, you will get access to three new pieces of content over a broad variety of topics like pricing, editing, goal setting, website reviews, social media and videos of me behind the scenes at real sessions. Members also have the opportunity to learn from incredible guest speakers and industry leaders on a huge variety of topics. I pride myself in giving you just enough education every month to keep you growing and moving forward. While not overwhelming you with content. The membership vault is such a valuable resource that is honestly more than worth the cost of enrollment on its own.

As of today, it has close to 100 trainings and only continues to grow. It literally holds every training from the very beginning of the membership and not to name drop. But the guest experts that come teach inside this group are industry leaders like Amanda Warfield of chasing simple Maddie Shang Kohli, James J. Boyd and Don Richardson of tech savvy, creative just to name a few. So yeah, the education is great, but you can’t ignore the community. It is an absolutely incredible group of women just like you. In fact, I’m pretty sure that anyone in the group will tell you that the community is the best part. Consider Get your space to ask all the things, get all the support and make real life business besties. If you’re ready to join us, you can head over to Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash membership and enroll today. Now back to the episode.

Let’s move on to goal number three. Let’s say your goal for this year is to launch a new offer. If that is your goal, one of the best things that you can do is spend some super intentional time planning and preparing for this launch. This probably looks like choosing a date and a location for the new offer. Choosing a launch day for the offer, then backup and add two to four weeks before that launch day to intentionally market and prime your audience for the launch. And then make a list of things you need to happen before you can start marketing and priming your audience for that launch. That probably includes writing some newsletters, writing some blog post, creating social media content to support this new offer. Maybe you need to collaborate with local businesses, vendors or influencers to support the offer. And if you’re a photographer, you probably need to photograph at least one model so that you have the images to share. When you launch the offer online.

Again, you have to show what you want people to book you for. If this is you, I actually have a brand new freebie that I want to share. It’s called portfolio on purpose. And it’s the exact framework I use to plan and execute a model call opportunity. I use this in my business when I host retreats and look for model families when I launch new offers, and even when I just want to create something for fun, I’ll have this link to the freebie in the show notes for you to grab. If you’re hoping to do any kind of model call this year, it will be valuable to you, I promise. So goal number four, moving your business to a new location. Okay, moving a business is really hard. And it takes a lot of work to actually make that happen. It takes a lot of work to take something that was successful in one location and start it all over in a new location. Just because you were a big deal in your old hometown does not mean that the transition will be easy.

So how can you find clients in this new location? If this is you, I want you to spend your slow season focusing on SEO, social media, and meeting and collaborating with other local businesses in your new area. This means changing the location listings all over your website. Trust me, if your website was well done the first time the location is going to literally be everywhere. Location is probably buried in blog posts, image names, headers, footers, key word keywords, you’re going to have to update everything, it’s going to be like an Easter egg hunt. Also make sure that you update your location on social media and also your Google My Business listing. Then change your list of hashtags so that you’re using new local ones.

Okay, spend some time researching what those new ones might be that makes sense for your zip code, neighborhood and surrounding areas that you want to service. Then use social media to start searching for local businesses in your new area. Start following and engaging with them online and start to train the algorithm that you have relocated goal number five, let’s say that this year, you want to focus on upgrading your client workflow. If your goal is to upgrade this experience, then you need to spend your slow season going through every single touchpoint that you have with clients from the very first inquiry to product delivery. How can you make each step better and more smooth? How can you serve your clients even better? A great place to start in this process is to think about what questions concerns or problems come up most frequently. Those are generally a sign that there’s a misstep or a miscommunication somewhere that you could button things up a bit. Another way to upgrade the process is to ask, what part of this process can you automate, that will save you time and get your clients the information they need even faster. Goal number six, this is the last one I’m gonna go over for today.

Maybe you ended last year completely fried and burned out. You’re not enjoying the creative part of the business anymore. And your big goal is just to get creatively inspired again. If this sounds like you, then a great way to spend your slow season is not working on the inside of your business. But allowing yourself just to be an artist. Take on a personal project, learn a new technique, play with film, do something purely for the fun of creating. First come up with what this creative project is going to be. Maybe there’s more than one And then assess what you might need to do or learn. In order to do this work. If you need to work with models other than your kids, pets or friends doing a model call can be really beneficial for these products, they create an opportunity for you to create without any expectation, somebody has not paid you with the expectation of getting a certain type of work or certain type of images, you’ve hired these models, and you literally get to do whatever you want with them to create out of your heart’s contentment just for the sake of creating. And if it’s a failure, it doesn’t matter, right, there’s, there’s no expectation.

That’s the beauty of a model call when you’re wanting to create. So like I mentioned earlier, my new freebie portfolio on purpose could be helpful for you. The framework is how I organize and carry out all of my model calls. And it helps ensure that you find the right people for the opportunity that you have. Again, I’m going to have it linked in the show notes. Okay, that’s it for goals. This was a lot of information. And it was hard and fast. But again, I’m really hoping that you heard the list of ideas and one goal and one list jumped out at you just focus on that one. Just focus on the suggested tasks that align with the goal you have for this year and ignore the rest. Okay? Do not allow yourself to get super distracted by all these other ideas through to just hone in and focus on what applies to you right now.

That’s it for today, my friend. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And I would love if you could do me a favor. If you’re inspired by this episode, would you share it on Instagram and tag me? I really do love connecting with you over there because it allows me to support you and cheer on your business. All right, we’ll see you next week. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhart photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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