Photography: Katherina Andreeva
Probably one of the biggest – and toughest – lessons I’ve learnt through running my own business is that things are never as straight forward as you think they’ll be. Last week, after returning from a fortnight away from the office, I was met with the news that there was a complication (which was our fault) with the printing of the magazine. It was looking like we’d have to redesign a whole section, rearrange a bunch of stuff and then resubmit the whole document for proofing and printing again. This was not only looking to be a pretty costly mistake but one that was going to delay the release date of the mag by at least a month.
I’m not gonna lie, I flipped out. I wasn’t angry with anyone, more frustrated that this had happened. I’m meticulous to a fault when it comes to keeping things on track and everyone organised so I was annoyed with myself that I’d let something so simple but crucial slip through the net.
After fighting off the tears and thumping the floor for a while, Gareth, Shauna and I were able to work through a solution that was not only much less labour (and cost!) intensive than we initially thought it might be, but one that was actually going to make the magazine much better. Plus it was only going to delay printing by a couple of days!
I’d also already sneak peeked the cover on Instagram!
Photography: Edward Addeo Photography
Spending two weeks away from my beloved computer doesn’t half make me desperate to crack on with work as soon as I get back. It’s totally geeky I know, but that’s just me! As soon as I’d gotten through all the emails (oh so many emails!) that had build up over the past fortnight I was straight onto plowing through my RSS feed to devour all those business articles that I’d missed.
My geekery is your gain… and there’s plenty to gain from this week’s selection, I promise!
♥ Staying organised with an editorial calender
♥ How can you develop an authentic brand?
♥ Your goals are too small
♥ How to size your images so they look their best on Facebook
♥ They throw rocks at things that shine
“What you need to know is the following: some people just won’t like you. And some people won’t like me. They’ll spend hours plotting to dismantle your name and shake the love you have for what you do. What I’ve come to discover is that these people are unhappy, disillusioned, and frustrated with their current state so they want to hurt others they way they themselves are hurting.” Jasmine Star
Almost every photographer I know hates writing their About Me page. I confess, I used to be the same. I can merrily write about anything else but writing directly about myself makes me C R I N G E. I’m putting a cushion over my head now just thinking about it. If you feel the same then think about it this way… your About Me is just like an online dating profile. You’re trying to attract potential clients – but more than that, the ideal match of client for you.
Next to the homepage, the About section of your website will be the most frequently viewed on your site. If a potential client likes your work they’ll next want to know a little bit more about the person behind the lens. One of the worst things you can do is leave this part out. Couples have a lot of choice when it comes to their wedding photographer, so they will more than likely end up booking one that they feel a connection with. According to the amazing wedding industry resource Think Splendid, 45% of couples with premium wedding budgets say the possibility of becoming friends with their wedding professionals factors into deciding who to hire.
Unfortunately there are not many places you can go to for inspiration on how or what to write on an About page. In fact so many people simply look at what their competitors have written and cobble together something similar. I also frequently hear about wedding suppliers posting direct copies from other people’s sites – which seems crazy… more than anything else on your site, your About Me needs to be 100% authentic. I guess it is sheer panic that leads newbies to tactics like this. After all, it’s not very British to want to toot your own horn is it?
When it came to writing my About page I started to think about online dating profiles…. there are loads of resources out there designed at helping singles write a decent one so let’s steal a few tips from them instead.
Tip #1 Get dressed up
It sounds weird but if you sit down to write in your PJs with unbrushed hair, you’re unlikely to get in the professional zone. Putting on a suit might be too extreme but your favourite top and a squiz of perfume will immediately put you in a better frame of mind to write creatively.
Tip #2 Have a great profile picture
You may be a photographer because you prefer to hide behind the lens or a designer because you like to be behind a computer, but you must must must have a decent photo of yourself attached to your profile. People relate to faces so show yours!
I am a firm believer in the mantra that we teach people how to treat us. If you’re slow at replying to emails, lacklustre about saying thank you or always late paying your invoices the likelihood is that you’ll attract clients that also do these things – like attracts like and all that.
So how do we ensure that we only ever book the most awesome clients? The creative and cool ones who respect what we do and are a complete joy to work with?
1. Take responsibility
In every relationship, whether with a partner, a friend, a business colleague or client, it is through our own actions that we teach people acceptable ways to act towards us. If a client repeatedly emails you late at night demanding immediate replies, and you always do so right away, what does that teach them? That whenever they email you – no matter the time or the day – that you will reply immediately… and that that’s OK. However if you set yourself some boundaries and only reply to emails at a time that is most convenient to you, like during your office hours, you are less likely to get those late night or weekend client messages because they’ve learnt that you only ever reply during your working day.
The frustrations you’re feeling towards that client who always (blank) is actually not their fault – it’s yours. The way they act towards you is a result of how you’ve taught them to treat you. This might be a bitter pill to swallow but here’s another example that I witnessed recently.
When it comes to writing your blog posts, is the title you choose a bit of an afterthought? Something thrown together and shoved up there without a second glance? Have you ever considered if the title you pick makes a difference to how many people actually go on to read the post?
While there will usually only be a few little words in your post title, they are the most powerful ones that you’ll write because, for most of your potential readers, it will be the only thing they see. If they’re seeing a link to your blog via RSS, in a social media stream, in search engine results or as a link from another blog, that’s pretty much all you’ve got to entice them to click through and read on.
So what kinds of titles do well?
Firstly, think grabby (yes I made that word up, but I’m sticking with it!). You want your titles to attract attention and draw people in, so use your words to grab them by the shoulders and shake them! Let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this is an article they need to stop and read.
Another thing that really encourages people to read on is the promise of solving a problem they have. You know your readers better than anybody does, so think, what problems do they have? What can you write about that will help them? Mixing these two things together is a powerful combination and one I often use for the Green Room.
Finally, ‘How to’ articles or numbered lists will often outperform other kinds of posts. Blog readers always want to know how to do things and numbered lists are great because they let the reader know exactly what they’re getting. Usually (although not exclusively) a shorter list will also work better as people have limited attention spans online – they want answers but they want them quickly!
When I suggested the idea of doing a Blogcademy in Austin in August Gala and Shauna looked at me like I’d gone totally mad. ” You know it will be utterly boiling down there then? It’s practically on the Equator!” they replied. “Ahh ya wimps, how hot can it really be?” I responded. Well more fool me because when we stepped off the plane last week and were greeted with 40°C+ temperatures, I’m finally understood what living on the sun must feel like.
OK, so I’m exaggerating… but give me a break, I define porcelain. I’m so pale my skin is practically see-through and I wear factor 50 when there’s even a hint of sunshine! The intense heat was totally worth it though, and I would have stayed all summer long to spend more time with the amazing girls (and token dude) who came to the workshop last weekend. Is it bad to have favourites? Maybe… but this class was totally up there as one of the most enjoyable so far. As our last US date for 2013 we certainly went out with a bang!
The workshop was held at VUKA, a giant co-working space near where we were staying. Although there was no natural light inside (something I wish we’d known before but oh well!) and the service from the staff was less than wonderful, the food trucks over the road and juice bar two blocks away made it the perfect spot for us. It was also huge and it was really great to have the option of using tables this time too – like a proper classroom!