Being an entrepreneur is such a rewarding way to earn a living.
But the stress that comes with it… oh man, it can be tough!
Just when I got my photography business going, we upped and moved to a bigger city and I was faced with all those ‘starting out’ fears and anxieties.
Would I ever book clients?
How will people find me?
Will I be able to stand out in a flooded market?
Well, let me tell you…Within a year, I was shooting weddings I had only ever dreamt of photographing, and growing a much bigger business than I ever thought possible.
So let me start by saying, I know where you are.
I’ve been there.
So I’ve put together this list (and free checklist) of 10 things you can do to get in front of your ideal client when you’re just starting out. Make sure you download the checklist that accompanies this to really help you dive right in.
Shoot for free
You’re going to need a portfolio.
And the best way to do this, is by offering sessions to couples or families that match your idea of your ideal client.
In exchange, ask the couple/ family you’ve photographed to leave a review and share their session within their own social network without it coming across as a ‘marketing gig’.
Go out of your way to impress
When it comes to delivering the photographs to clients, go out of your way to impress.
Deliver ahead of schedule.
Throw in free prints.
Rave about what you loved most about this family during their session in a blogpost.
These clients will love you for it, and share their experience with others.
Work with other photographers
Before I officially moved to our current city, I travelled up to second shoot with a handful of photographers whose work I admired.
I was literally second shooting dream weddings and was able to share some of the photographs as well as gain invaluable advice that I still use in my business to this day.
And you know what… I did these for free!
Pick a project close to your heart
When I first started, I was taking part in a personal 365 Project. The aim was to just develop my photography skills but with the start of my facebook page, I started sharing this project with a wider audience.
It was loved by so many and I didn’t dare skip a day!
My reach was growing wider as more and more people became invested in my personal project.
Post content that resonates with your ideal client
Posting content that resonates with your ideal client means they’ll start to feel like they know and trust your capabilities, before they’ve even met you.
Show up everyday with your truth and they’ll love you.
Show up. Show up. Show up.
When you think no one is reading/ viewing/ liking/ commenting.. SHOW. UP.
Network with other vendors
Those photographers I second shot for all those years ago?
They’re in my network of referals now and it’s awesome. The sooner you join a network of likeminded business owners, the sooner you’ll find yourself referring work, and being reffered to. Having a business bestie is invaluable in what could possibly be a lonely entrepreneurial journey.
You know who loves styled shoots more than photographers? The service providers taking part.
Approach other businesses you’d like to work with and collaborate on a styled shoot.
This is a great way to build your portfolio and get to network with industry friends who will share your work to their followings.
Give away value
Share advice, share tips, share personal stories… share, share, share!
Giving away value is one of your best marketing tools. SHARE.
Master your SEO
Whether you need to get professional help with this or do it yourself, building your SEO foundation on your website is an incredible step in the right direction to getting clients finding you.
I’m a bit nerdy with things like this and love working on SEO and websites, so a blog post may be in the foreseeable future!
Good Old Advertising
I’m all for not being overly salesy.
But let’s face it, facebook ads are the best way to reach a wide targeted audience and the sooner you can get to know how to create stellar ads, the sooner you’ll be on your way to mastering your sales pitch.
What have you tried? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.