Be You to Find Your Niche with Wani Olatunde
Episode 89: Wani Olatunde
In Episode 89 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser chats with Wani Olatunde of Wani Olatunde Portraits about her journey from finance banker to photographer and from the UK to Nigeria, to South Africa, and back again to the UK. Wani began her business in Lagos, Nigeria, when she was on maternity leave with her first child. She and a group of 4 other photographers decided to bring the Sue-Bryce-style business model to Nigeria and found great success by being devoted to what they truly wanted to achieve, artistically and business-wise. Wani found that the style of wedding photography she most enjoys – light, airy, and feminine – was not yet popular in Lagos when she pioneered it. But there is great potential in being someone who stands out by being different.
Now, Wani has returned to her birth place in the UK. As she re-boots her business in a small-town outside of London, she is once again pursuing the ethos that the best way to do business is to be the business person you want to be. Then you just need to find the right clients who want and value what you are providing. It’s been a delicate balance, establishing a business during these times of covid and lockdowns, but by being true to herself, she is gradually increasing her prices and her client base while always keeping an eye on where she will be.
Be sure to listen to the whole podcast to hear how Wani built her businesses in Nigeria and the UK, including what types of partnerships helped, what kind of vouchers worked, and how cultural differences have played out to present different challenges and opportunities.
In this blog, you’ll find some of Wani’s beautiful portraits, links to her web presence, and answers to some bonus questions.
If you’d like find out more about the SBE courses and podcasts mentioned during Nikki and Wani’s conversation, feel free to check out: Sue’s Marketing Intensive, Achieving High-Value Sales with Carrie Roseman, Service and Connection with Lenka Jones, and Episode 12 with Bethany Johs.
Get to Know Wani Olatunde
Q: What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?
A: I’d probably say it’s realizing that my price is just a number, and the only thing that changes the way I feel about that number is the way I feel about myself and my confidence levels at the time.
When I first started, if things weren’t going well, I’d panic and lower my prices. Now, I no longer have that knee-jerk reaction. When things aren’t going according to plan (as happens with everyone), I no longer think – “Oh no, I’m too expensive!” Instead I think to myself – “I’m attracting the wrong clients! What do I need to tweak to continue to attract the right ones?”
Because I know from both first- and second-hand experience that the perfect clients for me do exist who are very excited about what I have to offer! It’s quite liberating to be honest!
Q: Most artists have a point in their life when they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?
A: I think like a lot of people, it was seeing Sue on CreativeLIVE for the first time. It was like finding that piece you didn’t know you were missing. At the time, I already had my wedding business but didn’t offer much in the way of portraits. So I was intrigued when I saw Sue’s beautiful pictures. And then when I saw they were just every day women like me – I was sold!
I must have spent hours on Sue’s website looking at her “before / after” photos thinking “I want to do that,” “I want to help women feel this fabulous,” and, of course, “I want to be photographed by Sue Bryce.” She has an incredible gift, and I’m really grateful that she chose to share it with us! #weloveSUE #SueBees4eva
Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?
A: Ooh – so fear is one of my favorite topics. So forgive me for the essay! I always think it’s worth sharing what I’ve learned even if it helps just one person get back on track!
So FEAR itself never really goes away! We just experience it differently as we evolve. As human beings, we are primed to experience fear when we step out of our comfort zones. But outside of our comfort zone is also where we grow! So as long as we keep on growing and improving our lives and businesses, we are always going to face fear. The question is really “What do you do with that fear?!?” Fear can either be the adrenalin that keeps you moving forward, or it can be the obstacle that leaves you feeling paralyzed and stuck. :-/
I don’t know who first came up with the idea, but both Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert talk about how fear is always going to be a passenger in this journey of life. But we don’t have to let it control our lives. So I’ve learned to say to my fear, “Sure, you can come along for the ride, but you have to stay in the back where you belong.” #nottodaySatan 🙂
For anyone who is currently being held back by fear, I highly recommend the book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers. I had so many a-ha moments within the first couple pages, and it really helped put fear into perspective!
In terms of practical advice – it’s important to do the self-value work as that will help you combat the fear. And truly, you just have to want something bad enough to break through the fear. There’s a point where the fear of not growing and staying stuck is greater than the fear of being rejected or failing, and that’s a beautiful place to be!
Q: What does the Sue Bryce Education community mean to you?
A: I love SBE and the whole community.
SBE is an amazing resource to help you grow your business. Sue has recorded thousands of videos, and there’s an incredible library of information that I can dip into as and when I need it.
Then the SBE community itself is priceless! I’m in dozens of FB communities, and SBE is one of the most supportive groups around. It starts at the top with Sue! She’s encouraging and solution driven, and it really feeds its way down to the mentors and community of photographers.
SBE is a safe place where there are no stupid questions. You’ll always find people to help you celebrate your wins, commiserate with your losses, and give moral support and helpful advice in tricky situations. SBE has helped me with everything from finding and setting up a studio to figuring out pricing and marketing.
Being a solopreneur is hard and can be quite lonely, so it’s nice to have a safe space to bounce around ideas and just be reminded that you aren’t alone! Love me some SBE! 🙂
Q: For someone starting out on their photography journey what advice would you have for them?
A: Ooh – so many, but my main tips:
- Treat your photography business as a BUSINESS aka make sure you know your basic numbers and have a financial goal you are working towards even at the beginning.
- Doing the self-value work from the very beginning will save you a lot of stress and tears. SBE has a ton of helpful videos on self-value, confidence, and money blocks – highly recommended!
- Find a mentor or supportive community who are doing what you want to do and learn from them. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are no new problems! I promise someone else has been through the same thing and has a solution to help. Again, I highly recommend Sue Bryce Education for this.
And finally, “Done is better than perfect,” so do something every day to help you build and grow your business.
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Wani Olatunde of Wani Olatunde Portraits
FULL TRANSCRIPT: Please note this transcript was generated by AI and may contain errors.
00:00:00:02 – 00:00:02:09
You’re listening to the Portrait System podcast,
00:00:02:21 – 00:00:12:20
if no one is doing it, then this is your opportunity to introduce something new because people want something new. You know, you’ll find your client who just loves what you do and who can’t get enough of what you do.
00:00:15:11 – 00:00:46:22
This is the Portrait System podcast, a show that helps portrait photographers and people hoping to become one, navigate the world of photography, business, money and so much more. We totally keep it real. We share stories about the incredible ups and the very difficult downs when running a photography business. I’m your host, Nikki Closser, and the point of this podcast is for you to learn actionable steps that you can take to grow your own business and also to feel inspired and empowered by the stories you hear. Today’s guest is Wani Olatundi and she is someone I could have chatted with all day long.
00:00:47:00 – 00:01:17:13
Wani has such fun energy and she just has a really great story. While she currently lives and has a photography business in the U.K., she’s previously had her business in Nigeria and in South Africa. And she talks all about what has been like starting over and over. Wani’s previous career was in the financial world. And once she had kids, she decided she was just done with it. She grew her photography business and has not looked back. And I can’t wait for you to hear her episode. OK, let’s get started with Wani Olatunde. Hey, Wani, how are you?
00:01:17:20 – 00:01:20:04
I’m fine, thank you. Very excited today.
00:01:20:16 – 00:01:27:04
Oh, good, good, good, good. I love your accent. You’re in the UK, right? Yes. And where in the UK are you located?
00:01:27:10 – 00:01:33:04
So I’m in Milton Keynes. It’s a little town. We like to call ourselves a city which is outside London.
00:01:33:18 – 00:01:41:08
OK, OK. Now, now for your photography clients to most people come from London. Are you booking clients within your small town?
00:01:41:27 – 00:01:53:12
So because I’m fairly new to the area, I moved here in twenty nineteen, so I do have quite a few clients coming from London, but I’m slowly trying to build up my clientele in the local area as well, so trying to cover my bases.
00:01:54:18 – 00:01:55:23
So where did you move from.
00:01:56:02 – 00:02:09:13
So we were, I was very sorry. I say my kids and I moved from Lagos, Nigeria. So but I grew up in Milton Keynes, so we tend to move around a lot. So we’re back in Milton Keynes now. So we’re here for a while.
00:02:09:23 – 00:02:17:17
OK, so you started in UK, then went to Nigeria, then came back, or you started in Nigeria. How did that all go? Yeah. Yeah.
00:02:17:19 – 00:02:30:06
So we started in Nigeria, then moved to the UK, grew up in the UK, then moved to South Africa, then moved back to the UK, then moved to Lagos, now back in the UK. And I’m staying put for at least the next decade. I’m not going anywhere else.
00:02:30:18 – 00:02:34:16
Well, yeah, those are big moves like different continents.
00:02:34:26 – 00:02:41:27
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. It’s been a lot, a lot of upheaval. So we’re looking forward to just being settled now. Yeah.
00:02:42:08 – 00:02:56:08
Yeah, I bet. I bet. I can imagine especially and I don’t know when you started your photography business, but, you know, I can imagine moving around like that. It’s like building up a client base again and again. Did you have to do that or did you just become a photographer recently?
00:02:56:19 – 00:03:27:21
So I’ve been a photographer for ten years. So I was a bank. I was an investment banker for six years so that I did in the UK and in South Africa and in Lagos. And then when I had my first son, it was just like working one hundred and twenty hours a week, not getting paid that well and not getting to see my son. It was just not working out. So I was like, you know what, I’ll just go on maternity leave and I’ll try this photography thing. If it works great. If it doesn’t, I could just be like I was on maternity leave and I’ll come back because I’m very risk averse.
00:03:27:27 – 00:03:35:06
So I know about taking big risks or anything. But I mean, luckily it did work out. So I’ve been a professional photographer for about ten years now.
00:03:36:01 – 00:03:39:08
OK, wow. And so your son is about ten years old then.
00:03:39:15 – 00:03:42:18
Your son is turning ten next month, OK.
00:03:42:22 – 00:03:45:08
Oh, OK. And you said you have two kids, two boys, right?
00:03:45:11 – 00:03:54:24
Yes. I have to. I’ll just. Yeah, just like you said, the joys, it only gets better. They’re nine and seven so. Yeah. No, never a boring moment with them.
00:03:55:13 – 00:04:02:19
Yeah that’s for sure. Yeah. Mine just turned three and five so it is. Yeah it’s fun. Yeah. Grazi.
00:04:03:05 – 00:04:09:09
I barely do more death defying stuff and just you know your heart’s going to be your mouth. The kids. What are you going to do.
00:04:09:15 – 00:04:42:01
Oh yeah. They scare me all the time. I just, I just actually just posted this yesterday that we had someone come out and do swimming lessons because living on the lake I’m just in constant fear of the water for them. And they oh, they just did their swimming lessons. And it was like so scary to watch. But the teacher knew what she was doing. But man, it’s like I feel like once they’re older, they’re safer in that way, like they’ll know how to swim and, you know, understand safety and danger more. But then it sounds like it gets just crazier what they attempt.
00:04:43:07 – 00:04:59:14
And yeah. So just keep an eye on them because like when my son was five, he jumped into the pool, he couldn’t swim. And so I had to jump in fully. Luckily, I spotted him straightaway. I had to jump in fully clothed. And I’m like, oh my God, dude, you can’t swim. He’s like you. I know, mummy. I just want to check. I’m like.
00:05:01:03 – 00:05:27:05
No more checking. Wani, it’s scary, it’s so scary, that’s actually how my dad passed away, is he? Yeah, and so I am so hyper vigilant. But now after five swimming, this is such a side note. Sorry for the listeners, but now after five lessons, they can both swim without a life jacket not superstrong, but they can make it to the top, to the surface and like float. That’s such a relief for
00:05:27:23 – 00:05:28:08
00:05:29:25 – 00:05:35:00
anyway. So, OK, so you built your photography business, though, with a baby?
00:05:35:25 – 00:06:02:03
Yeah, no, definitely. I think just like that typical mom mompreneur, your mom photog story where you were just like on the side and just starting from scratch. And, you know, someone says you have nice pictures. Like, oh, OK. And then someone wants to pay you, like, OK, you know, and just kind of built it from there. Again, I was telling you so like I said, I was new to Lagos. I didn’t have a network to kind of tap into. So yeah, it was really just building the business from scratch and just building it step by step as you do. Really.
00:06:02:19 – 00:06:09:17
Right. OK, how did you do that for people listening who are like, I’m just starting. How did you go about doing that?
00:06:10:03 – 00:06:41:06
So I started off in weddings. So my portrait business is like it’s fairly new. It’s about just the last five years. So I started off on weddings and you started off second shooting weddings, you know, and just like throwing myself at anyone. Can I go can I come in shooting a weddings for free? And then finally someone like let’s I’m going to give me a chance and say, OK, I’m going to shoot my wedding on my own. And I’m like, oh my God, is this kind of turning up and, you know, shooting as many weddings are shooting as much like sometimes I’ll start shooting as well. Just kind of stop building that portfolio.
00:06:41:08 – 00:06:59:18
And, you know, back in the day, it was just a lot easier, like with Instagram and all you have to do is pop your pictures on and that’s it. Like people see your stuff, they like it. But going of that marketing and all the things that the strategy you have to think about now with Instagram and all the social media platforms. So it just turning up, basically showing my stuff and that’s kind of it kind of grew from there.
00:07:00:00 – 00:07:09:00
Right. Right. Now, fast forward and tell us, do you still do weddings and what part of your business is portraits versus weddings and what do you shoot overall right now? Oh, yeah.
00:07:09:02 – 00:07:39:04
So I mean, I always feel like when people answer questions like pre covid now, so pre covid my my business is about 50 50, but I have a shot weddings and a while now since I moved because first we moved and so I didn’t work for about six months and then when I was ready to work, then covid hit. So I’m hopefully starting to go back to weddings this year, but the last year and a bit year and a half has just been portrait’s one hundred percent, basically, because all my events and weddings are kind of like going away.
00:07:39:06 – 00:07:39:21
00:07:39:23 – 00:07:49:12
Yeah, and it’s one of those. Right. Right. So if it wasn’t for covid overall, what would you what would you say the breakdown was? Or once you get back to normal, what will it be?
00:07:49:20 – 00:08:24:06
So I love weddings, but they’re a lot of work for me at this point. I really just want to keep my toe in weddings and maybe do like five to eight a year and have the rest of it with portraits. So probably be like twenty five percent weddings and 75 percent just I never want to give them up altogether, but they’re also just a lot of work. So I want to be paid a lot more for weddings because I had this block around and I don’t know if I was. I have this blok around weddings so my highest wedding is the same as my highest portrait.
00:08:24:08 – 00:08:33:17
It’s really, really weird when a wedding is like six times the amount of work. But I just. Yes, I just can’t. It is weird. I know. I know. I know what not to say.
00:08:33:29 – 00:08:45:04
I shouldn’t say weird. That’s probably not the right word. It’s just unusual because most people feel fine about charging a a ton for weddings, but feel really weird charging for portrait’s.
00:08:45:06 – 00:09:15:18
I don’t know, maybe because I’ve had to follow Sue from the beginning. So I’m like portraits. Here we are. This is what we do. Fantastic. Well, weddings, because I started like so low and I’ve just built over the years. So I’m still when I was in Lagos, I was still a premium wedding photographer. I was still more expensive than most people, but my portraits were also right up there. So I just I haven’t had the confidence to kind of push my weddings to where they need to be because it just air’s a little bit thin at that point. Right? Right. It’s work in progress.
00:09:16:01 – 00:09:39:29
Yeah. You know, it is it’s always a work in progress, regardless of what we’re doing. But OK, so let’s go back a little bit to when you started your business as a new mom and you just were putting yourself out there, second, third shooting, that sort of thing. And then you started booking your own weddings from there. And then tell us tell us about that. Like, how did you kind of grow that side of it
00:09:40:16 – 00:10:12:10
so for for weddings? I think for me and it’s definitely been a journey with weddings, because in Lagos, the style I guess my style is kind of light and airy in terms of weddings. That’s not something that was common in Lagos. So I think that made me stand out. Initially, I thought that was a bad thing, but I learned that that was the. Thing, because I learned to kind of identify my ideal client, I just really focus on what I did, what I did, and I really just tried because I tried to be do whatever what everyone else was doing.
00:10:12:13 – 00:10:43:10
And I just got a little bit lost in that. So when I started, I took a step back and re focused on who I was, who my ideal client was, and just really showing the stuff I wanted to show. I just started attracting these clients that just loved what I did and who just wanted that dreamy, feminine, light kind of wedding pictures, you know. So it’s a little bit of my style was a little bit of editorial portraits with emotional highlights. So, you know, it’s kind of best of both worlds. So they do have the storytelling.
00:10:43:12 – 00:11:14:02
But my portraits also are really strong. And so that’s what my brides really love about what I do. I did invest in like probably the most expensive that time. The most expensive thing I’d done was Jeff Yocum did like a branding masterclass workshop that was like six weeks or something. And that just really helped because, you know, there’s so many photographers, whether it’s weddings or portraits. And, you know, everyone is really most people are really talented. Most people can deliver really solid work. So what really differentiates us is who we are.
00:11:15:04 – 00:11:55:08
It’s not about because everyone’s going to everyone is going to take pretty pictures and, you know, capture those moments and give you a really good customer service. And we all do all the good photographers do that. So it’s really hard for clients to be able to distinguish between because at some point style starts to look similar as well, like everyone who does light and airy does light and airy. If you look at wedding photographers, you have one who does fine art. It all looks the same and one who does dark and moody all looks the same. So the only thing that really differentiates us as photographers is who we are. And I think so that that course really helped me start to strip out what my style was and really just start to speak my language and we start to connect with my client.
00:11:56:00 – 00:12:28:09
And a bit worried because at that time I think it was like maybe twelve hundred or fifteen hundred dollars. And I’m like, oh my God. But then like straight after the course, the first client I booked was like, Oh my God, because he helps you with your website as well. And she was like, oh my God, I saw your website. You were the one for me. Like, I just love it. It was just perfect. It was exactly what I wanted. And so I felt like it paid for itself. I mean, literally did pay for itself, but also I just felt like it helped me just really nail who I was. And and that just really helped me in the last year when I left, like I was I was just working with dreamy dream clients.
00:12:28:11 – 00:12:31:23
It was like they were just coming at me. I was like, where have you been all my life? Like, oh,
00:12:33:19 – 00:13:05:14
And the other thing that helped as well was that building relationships. So I have some really great relationships with them planners. And again, we were just we really got on the personal level and on our aesthetics were really similar as well. And we’re all kind of our clientele. We’re kind of similar. So it was it was a no brainer. They were always recommending me to their clients and they knew that I would take good care of the clients and the clients would be happy with whatever I was giving them. I noticed I give them great pictures. So I was just a mutually beneficial relationship. And I really miss that, to be honest.
00:13:05:23 – 00:13:12:26
I mean, I highly recommend it for anyone just getting started with weddings as well. Just just find you find a really great couple of partners. You’ll be good to go.
00:13:13:26 – 00:13:49:02
Well, you said a couple really important things there. One thing that you said is in Lagos, in Nigeria, you said that there weren’t a whole lot of light and airy, but that’s what you wanted to do. So you started doing it. Like sometimes I’ll hear people say, like, that’s not what I can’t do portraits in studio or I can’t do a specific style of poetry because that’s not what people want here. And people I hear people say that all the time, but in my town they only want outdoor photos or in my town they only want in studio or whatever it is. So it’s OK if not everyone is doing what you want to be doing, be the person that stands out.
00:13:49:04 – 00:13:51:05
And it sounds like that’s what you did in Lagos.
00:13:51:16 – 00:14:22:08
I did. A hundred percent. Fast forward a couple of years later coming to the UK, you know, and for me, you know, I’m fully invested. I look I mean, like most people, I just fell in love with Sue when I first came out on Creative Live, and I’ve been obsessed with her since then. And for me in coming to the UK, they’re actually not there’s no one in my area that really does glamour photography, like in Lagos, like birthday shoots are a thing, right? Like forty or fifty or thirty, thirty five.
00:14:22:10 – 00:14:29:23
Like it’s a thing everyone does it, you know, so it’s a no brainer. But coming here, it’s not a thing people like. Why would I do a photoshoot for my birthday.
00:14:31:17 – 00:15:08:27
I don’t. Why wouldn’t you. So again there was this little back and forth that all my personal branding, for example, I did a ton of networking when I when I moved here just to kind of get to know the area. And everyone just really wants to do the well, from my perception, everyone wants to do the personal branding where you go on location, you go to different locations, you go to the coffee shop, you go to the brick wall, you know, you do all that stuff. And I’m like, I don’t want to do to, but I don’t want to go to locations, I don’t want to search for anything I want to do in my studio where I can control everything and we’re not all hot and sweaty or cold, you know.
00:15:09:01 – 00:15:44:08
And so there was the struggle again to be do I need to offer what I think everybody wants so I can get clients. But as time went on, I was just like, you know, you sometimes just have to be a little bit stubborn. It you like. This is what I want to do. So by all I have to do is find my client. Right. When you haven’t done it before, it can be really overwhelming when it doesn’t happen straight away. But because I built my business successfully first time around, I kind of know the process. So I’m kind of like, if I’m not getting clients, it just means I’m looking in the wrong place as opposed to they don’t exist.
00:15:44:10 – 00:16:15:20
Right. And I think that’s just a very important distinction to make, because you see it in the group all the time where people are like, oh, no one wants this. Like, no, you’re just looking in the wrong place. You’re talking to the wrong people. Maybe your message isn’t quite spot on. So I just basically I’m like, you know what? This is what I do. And I kind of honed in here. I think the message that’s connecting here is really helping people who feel awkward in front of a camera, who hate having their pictures taken, who don’t have any pictures, any professional pictures of themselves they love.
00:16:15:28 – 00:16:49:06
You know, and using that message, you know, I can be like, this is how I do things. And you will come into the studio and you have your hair and makeup done and the hair and makeup artist will be there all day so we can do different looks and it’ll be really fabulous. And women are something like, oh, OK, OK. Yeah, you know, and then I’m also doing the 40 five forty. So then that’s also giving people another reason to do this campaign and to come into studio. So sometimes you do have to education is really important. I learned that in Lagos when we started doing portraits because no one really did it Sue style and educate.
00:16:49:08 – 00:16:59:11
We had to educate our clients there. And so I’m doing it here again. I’m educating my clients and I’m finding my clientele. And you just have to be a little bit patient and you have to just be a little bit stubborn as well.
00:16:59:20 – 00:17:21:02
Yeah, yeah. I really love that. People don’t know what they want if they don’t know that it exists. A hundred percent. Yeah. So like the birthday shoots for example, it’s like, well why would I do that. Because it’s not typical, it’s not common. But if we can get one person to do it and then their friends see it and they’re like well I want a photo shoot for my fortieth and then the next thing you know, it becomes a thing.
00:17:22:17 – 00:17:23:16
00:17:23:18 – 00:17:53:28
And like you said, for the personal branding as well, let people know what the options are because they might not know. So I guess I guess for people listening, I just don’t want anyone to be afraid of trying something and starting something that isn’t typical in your town, in your country, wherever it is that you live. And another good example of this is high school seniors. So it’s like even in the States here, some states it’s really popular to do high school senior photos. In other states, it’s really not as popular. And I know it’s like that in different countries.
00:17:53:29 – 00:18:16:14
People think that when I say senior photo, something like 80 year olds like, what are you talking about? So anyways, I’m just I’m glad you brought that up and you didn’t let it scare you from not doing these things. Like, I just love that. And you said you’re an averse risk taker, but I don’t know. I’m starting to wonder if maybe maybe you’re a bigger risk, bigger than you think.
00:18:16:25 – 00:18:51:00
Calculated, calculated. Because, you know, you’ve been there because for me, the story I always fall back on is like this marketing company was going to like a third world country somewhere. And they sent one guy and he was like, oh, my God, there’s no opportunity. No one is wearing shoes, you know? And then the second guy came back and went, oh, my God, there’s so much opportunity. No one is wearing shoes. It’s just a matter of right. Right. So so if no one is doing it, then this is your opportunity to introduce something new because people want something new. You know, you’ll find your client who just loves what you do and who can’t get enough of what you do.
00:18:51:24 – 00:19:02:08
So with a personal branding I’ve been cracking at it. And I found a client which is like, you know what? Yeah, I don’t really want to go outside. I really want to be inside and I want to look stylish. And I’m like, oh my God. I love you so much.
00:19:03:14 – 00:19:05:09
Do you have anyone else that’s just like you?
00:19:05:13 – 00:19:35:27
Exactly. So now I’m like based on I can kind of figure out who I need to attract and who my ideal client in this area is, because, you know, when you move from area to area, it does tweak a little because the culture is different, the people are different. So you do have to figure it out, you know, but they are there, you know, and that’s the thing. I always talk about the group as well, because when I moved here, you know, I no longer had the security of my brand because in Nigeria, everyone knew. I mean, I use this generally, but like, pretty much everyone knew who I was.
00:19:35:29 – 00:20:06:13
You know, like if I walked into a wedding, people were excited because they knew they were going to get great pictures. And if I people kind of saved to work with me like they’re doing portraits, they’re like, I I’m saving up. I will come to you next year. So, you know, I was kind of like as my confidence grows, like a kind of arrogant I like, yeah, yeah. I’m cool. I’m like, you can come work with me. I understand. But when you’re ready, I’d love to work with you kind of thing. But I didn’t. Bother me when people said no, because I’m like, you know, I’ll get my no’s and I’ll get one here and the one you getting. Give me the money I want. I’m good.
00:20:07:00 – 00:20:37:21
I’m serving a great client who will come back over for me. Excellent. And then I move to the UK and I was just like, oh, no one knows me, I’m starting over. Like, it was such a humbling experience because I moved I did an event like one of the first things I did, I walked in and I was like, Oh, are you a photographer? And I was like, I almost fell over. I was like, Oh my God, what do you mean? My photographer? I do not know who I am, but no one knows who I know who I was. I didn’t exist, you know, I had to rebuild.
00:20:37:23 – 00:21:08:07
And so my confidence was really, really low. Like, I think I think I spent a lot of time and self pity because I was just like, oh, my. I thought it would be easier, but it was to kind of start all over again. And it wasn’t because I started in January twenty twenty and I got my studio two weeks before lock down. So there was just a lot happening. And then there’s also a lot of negativity in the UK around photography. So I just when I came in, I was just like for me, I just need one person to be doing what I do.
00:21:08:28 – 00:21:39:15
I need one person I can look up to be like they’re doing it so I can do it. So I was just like looking around and going, OK, this is what I want to charge my photography. Who’s doing this? How do I get it done? And everyone I speak to is like, oh, no, people in the U.K. don’t pay for photography. Oh no. You can’t get more than two hundred pounds. Maybe you can get eight hundred pounds with your total, but with that only one person does that and she’s been doing it for like 10 years. It was just so negative. I was like oh OK. And then I was following Lenka in the SBE group and then I followed her for a little while as well.
00:21:39:20 – 00:22:10:09
So I literally like stalked all of her posts. I was like a journey for, like the first Lenka when she first posted an SBE in two thousand and twelve. You know, I’m just like, OK, I think so. Then she posted something recently about how how well things were going and everything is great, who’s doing this? And I just followed her journey. And and what was really interesting for me was that knowing like her from the beginning, She’d always been like, you know what, I don’t care if I’m the most expensive person in my area. This is what I want to do. I’m going to find my clients.
00:22:10:11 – 00:22:45:15
I’m going to do it. And she had consistently said that for years, even before she started seeing the sales and even before she became who she is today. And I just love that about her. And for me, that was just the importance of mindset, you know? And so I was just like, OK, cool, we’re doing this. And I just started I put my pricing where I want to be and I doing vouchers and like networking like a crazy person and posting on Instagram and blogging and website. I kind of just threw everything at it. And last month was like I made almost as much as I made all of twenty twenty, you know.
00:22:45:21 – 00:23:10:23
So for me it’s like it’s, it’s really hard work. Right. And there’s a period where you have to be brave and you have to be patient because it doesn’t happen overnight. Right. And sometimes it’s very easy to panic when you’re like, oh my God, my prices are high and no one is coming. Oh, my God, oh my God. I’m going to reduce my price. But the point is, you’re trying to make more money, not less. So if I reduce my prices, it’s going to make less money.
00:23:11:03 – 00:23:12:18
That is a great point,
00:23:13:09 – 00:23:51:21
Really, because because I was very panicking one day, I was like, that is not the solution. So you need to figure out your problem is you need to find your clients. So is it that you need to get people through the door, let’s do vouchers? You know, is it that people don’t know what you’re doing? Let’s do a campaign. You just need to find different solutions that bring in your clients through the door. Assuming that you have a strong sales average and all you have numbers and your business and you’re good at what you do and all that other stuff. So I mean the different parts to it. But I think just having that mindset, being patient and just really believing in yourself will take you a long way when it comes to photography.
00:23:52:00 – 00:24:24:05
Absolutely. That was like such an amazing two or three minutes of what you just spoke right there. I love, love, love that and that. And there’s a lot to unpack in there. So I just want to kind of go go through some of what you said. But first of all, LenKa Jones is episode seventy six for people listening. If you want to hear her whole episode about how she built her business in the she episode seventy six. But why do you look like you just said. It’s not necessarily an easy process, if it was, everyone would just have a business and, you know, that’s just how it would be, but it’s not and it takes hard work.
00:24:24:07 – 00:24:56:16
However, once you get that momentum, it’s amazing how much less work you have to do once you get that momentum. And I’m wondering for you, if you’re having a start over again, it can suck like I did it from Seattle back to Michigan. And I’m like, I already did this. I already did the networking scene thing. Like I already gave out the gift vouchers and did this and did that. And I had like such a good momentum in Seattle. And when I had to do it again in Michigan, I was kind of like like just like whining about it.
00:24:56:18 – 00:25:14:10
But then I was like, no, because if I want to be successful here, I know what to do. It’s easier now because I’ve already got the stuff that I need for it. I’ve got my PDF built, I have my pricing bill, I have my portfolio built, my website, blah, blah, blah. You just have to do it. Like, did you find that it was more like you’re just frustrated that you have to do it again?
00:25:15:07 – 00:25:39:20
Yeah, it was just it was an ego thing. I was just struggling with my ego, just like because I was like, oh, are you going to quit your business or what about your business is fine. I’ll build it up again. That’s fine. And it just it just was harder than I thought it would be. It was just then, I guess. I mean, obviously I was also settling in with two kids. So I think I was a little bit too impatient with myself and I didn’t give myself the time I needed. Like, if I was a friend, I should have been more supportive is basically what I’m saying.
00:25:39:22 – 00:25:42:07
Right, of yourself. You mean like supportive of yourself?
00:25:42:15 – 00:25:58:11
Exactly. Exactly. But it was an ego thing. I think once I stepped away, it was like, you know what? You made the choice to move and you’re here now. So do you want to succeed or do you not? And I want to succeed. OK, fine, then get going. Kind of like there’s no more time to waste on self-pity. Just get moving and then we’re fine.
00:25:58:25 – 00:26:07:25
Yeah. OK, let’s talk about the strategies that you did use. So for example, the gift vouchers, what did what did you give away and how did that work and who did you give them to all that good stuff?
00:26:08:18 – 00:26:41:02
So I don’t know gift vouchers is a weird because I try them in different ways. Over the years, I kind of like tried the teaming up of florists, saving up a stylist. I never really thought anything from it. How gift vouchers have worked for me is if there’s someone specific that I want to photograph, you know, and then I give them a gift voucher for a free session and then depending on the person, I’ll give either just a free session or sometimes I’d like one, two, one to three images included, depending on how badly I want them and how great if they have a referral network.
00:26:41:04 – 00:27:14:28
I’m trying to get in to us. I think they’ll be good to have like a good friendship circle. I want to do so. I’ll use it in that way. So giving it like partnering with other businesses has. And I’ve never really gotten anything from it. And I think maybe I’m doing that wrong. But like specific, just intentional. I want you to have a zero risk experience with me. And if you enjoy it, you can buy pictures. If you don’t enjoy it, you can walk away either with no nothing or with your free picture and we’ll call it a day. So like for the forty over forty, I want to kick it off with a bang.
00:27:15:00 – 00:27:37:07
So I pick someone and I gave her a voucher for the experience and I got one image included with that. And she was really great because she literally shared it everywhere on every platform. And I got a couple of people in that when people like, oh, I saw her video, oh, I saw her pictures. Oh, I loved it. I loved it. And so so that’s a good way to use a good future, at least in my experience.
00:27:37:14 – 00:28:11:24
Yeah. Yeah. I’ve had a similar experience too. I found it to be more successful when I personally gave out vouchers as opposed to a business doing it for me. Actually, I had a realtor who was purchasing my smallest package for her favorite clients. This was back when I was doing a lot of family photo shoots. So for her favorite top clients, I guess it was she would purchase the smallest package, give them the gift voucher, and then I would do the shoot. And then usually they would upgrade to a bigger package because, you know, just out of pocket, it wasn’t as much for them.
00:28:11:26 – 00:28:46:01
So that worked really well as a business type thing. I have heard of people partnering up, like you said, with Spa’s and that sort of thing. To give away the session in the gift after would just be for the session fee. So they would exactly what you say, come in at no no risk to them. And some people say that works really well, it’s like you said, it’s just about finding what worked well for you. And for me it was the same as you just giving away the gift vouchers to people who I wanted to photograph or if they inquired when I was still really nervous to say with my pricing even before they objected, I’d be like, here, here’s a gift voucher for the time being.
00:28:46:03 – 00:28:48:23
Come on in. When they may have booked me without it.
00:28:51:10 – 00:29:30:00
And can we talk about just being nervous to say your pricing? Because then I just found so I’ve gone from being able to just confidently say my pricing. This is business that suddenly I couldn’t what I used to charge two thousand pounds for. I couldn’t charge two fifty for it was ridiculous. I was just looking at going what is going on? But my confidence was so low that getting the words out of my mouth, I would just start to stutter like, well, it’s this, but, you know, I could give you a discount. And I was just like Wani Shut up, shut up, shut up. So it was a process. So I was also finding, like, when I do because I do the consultations, I get them over the phone, you know, but I wouldn’t talk about pricing then I would just be like, I’ll send you pricing.
00:29:30:05 – 00:30:02:16
And then I’d go to the viewing and there would be like, oh no, we never. So I’ll send the price at least three times. Like we have three different touch points. I’ll send it when they inquire. I’ll send it again often before the viewing, after the shoot. And we might talk about in consultation with not against the viewing. And they’ll be like, oh you mean no pictures are included or no, we just look at the pricing or no, we don’t understand the price. And then so it would just scupper my sale. And so after that happened with two different people, I was like, OK, you have to your big girl pants on and you now have to just be very clear about your pricing.
00:30:02:18 – 00:30:36:18
So the consultation on pricing starts at this one image collection. Most clients for what you want with clients will spend this. I will mention it again at the consultation when we’re planning their shoot. So for what you’re thinking, this is going to be the price point. So hopefully by the time we get to the third, by the end of it, and then we’ll talk about it after the shoot, as well as I’m showing them products that I did my consultations, I assume. So I’ll be the first time they’ve been in the studio. And they’re not just loads of this. This is this price. This is that price. So hopefully by the time we get to the viewing, the everyone’s like a little more comfortable and no one can use.
00:30:36:23 – 00:30:41:00
I don’t know why people say that because it’s like, oh, we didn’t look at price.
00:30:42:16 – 00:30:53:20
why do you do this to me? But that was my fault. So I’ve learned I’ve had to just be a bit girl about it and just be clear to save us all the trouble. Yeah.
00:30:53:22 – 00:31:16:25
That is such an important thing. It’s so, so, so important. We have to be upfront with our clients about what we charge, because if we don’t exactly what you said happens and they feel like they’ve kind of like had the wool pulled over their eyes when it was just our confidence level, like we have to be so transparent about it. So I’m glad you have a system that works for you that’s so, so great.
00:31:17:02 – 00:31:46:02
And now I just to make it easier, because I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me when it comes to pricing, but I just put it on my website, so it’s very clear. So I’ll be was wasting a lot of time talking to people who weren’t getting to like the session fee was like too much. So I like I say, it’s like people inquire. I point them to the website that has the initial pricing and then I’ll go over it again when we have a phone call and I’ll go over it again when we have the consultation. So that’s working out much better for me now.
00:31:46:16 – 00:31:59:10
Yeah, good. Good. I’m glad. OK, it sounds like the gift voucher thing helped you to get individuals in the door. And then you also mentioned networking. Will you talk to us a little bit about that and how that worked for you?
00:31:59:24 – 00:32:41:24
Oh my God, networking. I have such mixed feelings and well, networking because I know like people I know you love networking and Tammy and Felicia and I’m like, so working for me, like, is working for you. So I literally did as I think January twenty twenty, I joined like three networking groups and I must have done at least one hundred networking meetings in twenty twenty potentially because I was doing about 13 to 15 a month. So definitely more than that. But I don’t know if it’s the groups I’m in. It’s I just feel like I know because I’ve listened to you a couple of times and I know you’ve spoken about how when you went to your networking group, there was a photographer who used to do things like for a couple of hundred dollars and you came in like a thousand and
00:32:42:05 – 00:32:47:24
it was like one fifty. And here I am like, yeah, it’s like a thousand dollars to get anything from me.
00:32:47:29 – 00:33:19:15
Exactly. Yeah. That’s kind of where I am. And I’m just like, so at this point I’ve used networking for collaborations. And kind of think of like their referral network. So so the way I’ve gotten people from networking is into the campaign, which is like on a special offer. OK, yeah, but I’m just I’m just thinking that maybe I might be networking in the wrong groups. Maybe I just need to move to a different type of group. I did look at BNI, which was just a little bit too intense for me every six months.
00:33:19:21 – 00:33:50:10
Yeah, I’m an introvert and it’s quite draining for the networking, so I enjoy it because I don’t regret my networking because first of all, I’ve made some really great friends from it. It gave me a good landscape in terms of who the businesses were because I knew no one when I moved here. So it was the quickest way to kind of know who’s on the ground, who’s around, what businesses are around. And I’d also like to form partnerships with people and collaborations. I’m doing like lives and things with them, but I’ve only gotten a couple of clients.
00:33:50:12 – 00:34:12:06
So this is my year and a half. in networking. I’ve gotten a couple of clients from networking, so I’m just not sure I’m putting a pin in networking to see, to see because I think you try everything and see what works for you. And I’m not sure networking is the best for me, but I know that it works really well for lots of other people. So it could just be my personality is not the best for networking.
00:34:12:17 – 00:34:54:00
Yeah. And I appreciate your honesty around that. And you’re not the only one who feels that way. So in the marketing intensive, I don’t know if you watch the marketing intensive on Sue Bryce sducation where Sue kind of breaks it down, like there are some people who are really good at it and it is like their jam and it comes easy to them. And there are some people that it is really hard and there are ways around you making it work. And one of the things she she talks about is maybe having a partner in crime either go with you or having someone go for you, like do you have a makeup artist or an assistant or anyone who kind of likes that sort of thing who could sell you for you?
00:34:54:19 – 00:35:26:13
And then I don’t think that’s the problem. What I am experiencing is that perhaps I am too expensive for the people in the group and they are wanting a cheaper option. So I think in the bigger cities like London, people are used to higher prices and paying more. I mean, everything is just more expensive in London. So I just think but I just perhaps need to find the group that makes sense and the partners that makes sense, because there are people I mean, I get on really well in my groups and everyone’s really great.
00:35:26:16 – 00:35:44:27
But I think if you’re someone who is charging like a hundred pounds or sixty pounds for your product, it’s hard to imagine spending thousands of pounds on pictures, if you know what I mean, for personal personal branding. So I just think I just I haven’t found the right match yet. I think it’s just a mismatch at the moment. That’s what it is. Networking. Yeah.
00:35:44:29 – 00:35:50:19
I mean, it could be it could be for sure. I mean, although how how far is it from London to your town.
00:35:50:24 – 00:35:54:17
It’s not. I’m thirty minutes by train so far. Told me. Yeah.
00:35:55:05 – 00:36:26:21
I feel like there’s a couple of ways you could tackle that, like you said is just expanding and going to some groups in London. But sometimes it just takes and then you probably don’t want to hear this. And it’s like sometimes it just takes a long time to crack the nut and like have people see like, all right, if you want the caliber of service that you provide, this is what it costs and eventually you get there. But I mean, if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. There’s lots of ways that you can market your business. But just throwing that out there.
00:36:26:23 – 00:36:51:28
Yeah, like I said, I’ve had like one really great like one like kind of ideal client from it. So and that’s why I thought the covid year is not a good year to judge marketing by networking. So that’s why I join in for another year. So I’m just going to give it another year and see how it goes and then just decide because I try and look at all my marketing efforts side by side and see what’s working the best and what needs to like let go of basically.
00:36:52:00 – 00:37:00:19
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you had mentioned that you had a really good month recently. Can you tell us about that and kind of what the chutes were and where you found those clients.
00:37:00:28 – 00:37:16:14
Yeah, no. So that’s the really great thing about what we do is like, you know, you put in the work and at some point it just all comes together and you’re like, Ah, I’m so I have, first of all, a big shout out. So have where came up with the idea of a forty over forty campaign because I love it. You know,
00:37:16:27 – 00:37:17:23
Sue talks about
00:37:17:25 – 00:37:49:18
that a lot. Yeah. Yeah, I know. Exactly. And so I mean everyone’s been doing it and I just wanted a way for me because I’m new to the area. I just wanted to find a way to just start introducing myself to as wide an audience as possible. And so before you know, I’ll try this campaign as it’s worked so well for people and honestly, the interest has been so amazing and that’s kind of been like just brought in a whole ton of clients and a whole ton of people that I wouldn’t have necessarily have ever chosen to work with me or not exist to be at all.
00:37:49:20 – 00:38:20:26
So the fory over forty campaign has been very beneficial for the business. And so then I get my other clients as well coming in. And what’s great about the 40 over 40 something is you can upsell them to family pictures. We’ve been doing boudoir. We’ve been doing personal branding. You know, it’s it’s been really, really great. So that’s probably been the biggest change to kind of what happened last month. And it was just like the way I just checked my numbers is like, oh, my God, I can’t believe that’s actually happened because it happens to lots of other people.
00:38:20:28 – 00:38:51:29
But sometimes, you know, just when you’re working hard and nothing is really shifting and then suddenly everything just comes together and that’s kind of what it came through. And I was just, you know, I made all those changes where I say my pricing more is very clear, my pricing, and I keep raising my prices too because I think you get to the point where you people like when do I increase my pricing? Like when when you start to feel resentful about what people are spending and then, you know, you need to like live and you raise your lowest price, to raise your session fee. Yeah. So so that’s kind of like I raise my price into place.
00:38:52:01 – 00:39:23:21
I was happier with because I think last year I was like maybe like nine ninety five, four or five pictures and this year is twelve ninety five. And I increased my session fee to ninety five, the nineteen eighty four ninety five with two hundred pound credit that I was just going to be for ninety five because I’m eyeing like Carrie and Casse numbers and I’m like I’m, I’m Felicia’s numbers. I like, I like, I like what’s happening over there. That’s kind of like where I’m heading to because initially I used to be like, oh you know, a nominal amount for the session fee.
00:39:23:23 – 00:39:54:15
And then, you know, you spend your pictures, but you just finding that, you know, I have two kids, you know, you put a lot of effort into the planning and the consultation and the shooting. Sometimes we’re shooting for like anything from two hours to four hours and two ninety five is just not I just want to start getting paid for that time as well so that even if you’re only buying like one or two pictures, I still feel like I’m still earning at least fifteen hundred for my time. So it’s a constant work in progress. My prices are always shifting and I kind of know where I’m getting to.
00:39:54:17 – 00:40:04:04
But again, it’s like a confidence thing, right? You know, like, you know, mentally where you want to get to. But then you’ve got to have the kahoonas to actually put the prices up so
00:40:05:21 – 00:40:06:06
00:40:07:13 – 00:40:25:18
So for your packages, can you just talk a little bit about what is included in those? I know you mentioned your session fee and that sort of thing, but for your packages in general, what do they include? And then the second question is, do you have separate pricing for personal branded versus like a 40 over 40 type shoot?
00:40:26:06 – 00:40:59:17
Oh, my God. So that was one of those things like I don’t know if other photographers struggle with this because with personal branding, you almost sometimes want to lean towards, like, event photography where you like. I’ll just shoot you for this amount of time and I’ll throw these pictures at you. And so I’m like, what if your face is not in the picture? What is this? What does that like, just charge the same charge the same. OK, so this is the way I got around it. So I do my my packages. I have four packages. I do twelve ninety five, five pictures to two.
00:40:59:19 – 00:41:36:02
Ninety five for fifteen. I do twenty five, four, three, two, ninety five and I do forty five for five thousand four hundred, something like that. So I have this for because I keep the top one because it’s good for families, because families often in that package and then for personal branding, I kept the pricing the same. But to make me comfortable I make it nine nine five one nine nine five and two nine nine five and the number of images are slightly different. So instead of like a five fifteen twenty five, I think it’s five, 10 and 20 or something like that.
00:41:36:14 – 00:41:39:00
So that’s what I do. Yeah. Five, ten, twenty.
00:41:39:02 – 00:42:09:11
So the, what they’re spending is the same, the cost per image is the same but it just looks better to me. It’s a mental thing but it’s fine. It’s fine. And then I just have like simple like lay flat. If people want to lay flat so people want behind the scene pictures then there’s a price slightly like a bundle, like a bundle of I think ten will be four, nine, five or things like that. So just things you can add on simply or you can add as a bonus if someone’s going into your top package and just gives you a little more flexibility. But I keep them the same.
00:42:09:13 – 00:42:21:20
And because, you know, I think I think it should be the it should be the same because we always tell our clients you’re paying for the art, not for the platform. So we have to believe it is like the print, like the print is free is kind of my philosophy.
00:42:21:22 – 00:42:54:15
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That makes sense for sure. For sure. There is there is kind of a debate about whether or not to reduce prices for digitals, and that’s. For digital only packages and personal branding, so it’s always it’s always good to hear different perspectives and the different ways that people do it. And like you said in your time, and it’s no different. So, yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s great. I do different. My my personal branding is a little bit lower than my regular portraits because I don’t include the prints with them, with the digital and with the personal branding packages.
00:42:54:17 – 00:43:28:27
But it’s like it’s all about comfort level and it’s all about what works best for us. And that’s the beauty of all of this, is we can take a business model and run with it and just tweak it to make it our own. And and sometimes that might change. I remember at one point when I first started doing personal branding, I decided I wanted to do this, just a digital only package. I had one package and it was nine ninety five and that was it. And then I realized like, OK, I don’t know how well this is working for me. I like the idea of the upselling and mentally coming in.
00:43:29:04 – 00:43:40:21
Not everyone will want to start with that. Anyways, I went through all this back and forth my head and then I ended up settling on the small, medium, large, just like I was doing regular portraits. So it’s just it’s a process. We just have to go through it.
00:43:40:26 – 00:44:18:17
Yeah exactly. I think I think, like you said, everyone has the comfort levels. And as long as what you’re making is making you happy and you feel good about serving your clients and you feel valued, I think that’s the most important thing, because we all have different expenses. We all have different living situations. So you can’t really compare like with like but for me, I also never want to be charged. I never want to be the cheapest around, you know, I always like. So there’s room for growth. So like even when we started off in Lagos, I don’t know if you remember Tiepolo, she was one of Sue’s creative life classes and she’s like a huge, huge photographer and a celebrity photographer in Lagos.
00:44:18:29 – 00:44:53:06
And for her to work with her, it’s about to start to like kind of like eight thousand dollars or something. So I’m like, if she’s like eight thousand dollars, I like the way people are charging like a hundred dollars. That’s like a happy medium four thousand. Just I could just live in there, you know, so people who can’t afford her but want something a little bit more upmarket, you know, I’m perfect for them. And that’s where I found my place, you know. So there’s always like I think people overthink I, sometimes, like literally there is a client or every photographer, every style, whatever you want to do.
00:44:53:08 – 00:45:28:07
Your client is out there. You just have to put yourself out there and in a lot of places till you find them. And then when you find them, you can start to hone that client, speak to that client, learn the language of that client, tap into their circles. Because for me, I my when I was in Lagos, like the 50, I was my very happy place on my 50 year old clients because they were perfect. They would come in for their fiftieth birthday. Then they’re like, oh, we’ll add our family. And then all their friends would turn fifty. Like, I literally had one client who came in for and she had just stepped in for like a quick picture with her and she sent it to her friend.
00:45:28:09 – 00:45:54:03
Her friend started crying on the phone and then booked her session the next day. Like, I love it. Like I just said once, you can just find those. So that’s why I’m trying to find her and I’m trying to find my circles and my referral circles of girlfriends who just want to do this whole thing. And then I think like someone like Bethenny gets that a lot as well, because she lives in a small town. Right. And she’s photographed a lot of friends. And so once you can find those niches and kind of find your client, then you kind of set to be honest
00:45:55:01 – 00:46:08:27
when you mentioned that you don’t want to be the cheapest. I don’t know if you heard the episode with Carrie Roseman on the East Coast of the United States. She was saying that some of her clients are like, we wouldn’t even book someone for under like a couple of thousand dollars. Like, we just wouldn’t do that.
00:46:09:03 – 00:46:40:28
I literally I live and breathe when I’m like, oh, my God, yes, yes, yes, yes. I know. It just shows you like if you need to hang out in the right circles. Right. Like those are the clients she wants to be serving. I remember Kara Marie one of her episodes. I can remember what I think was probably her customers here. And she was saying how she had like I think she was charging like something like like five figures. Right. But she’s still kind of felt like the help as opposed to like she was serving and she was serving a client.
00:46:41:00 – 00:46:54:12
So I think that is a happy place where, you know, people who are used to this kind of luxurious experience, they just take it for granted. I’ve had that with my weddings. I’ve had clients who are like, oh, you’re just the photographer. But I prefer working with people who are like, you’re a photographer. Yay.
00:46:56:00 – 00:47:05:15
So I think that’s that’s the stuff that feeds my soul. So it’s not just it’s not just about the money is about the experience as well. So there’s definitely a balance to be had for me.
00:47:05:22 – 00:47:54:09
Oh, totally. That’s such a great point. Such a great point. And it is funny because like Bethany Jones, she was an episode. I think she was episode number 12, if I’m getting that right. I mean, she’s got an average of like over twenty five hundred like twenty seven hundred twenty eight hundred, something like that, in a tiny town outside of Fargo, like tiny town. So you can make whatever business you want. Wherever you’re at, it’s just a matter of putting in the work and like you said, finding your niche and really just letting people know what you do over and over and over again, consistently showing and sharing your behind the scenes, what you do, talking about what you do, like you were talking about what you provide hair and makeup and you pose them and just everything that you want people to know so that they’ll book you.
00:47:54:12 – 00:48:31:24
Definitely. I think you nailed it with saying you have to say, because I think because I know I suffer from this going well, I don’t want to be like talking about it too much. Like, people are just going to think I’m just all over myself. But I actually do have to repeat it because, like, at this point, because we’re so inundated with information, I think you need is it like something like twenty touch points for a client buys from you or something ridiculous. So they need to be seeing you everywhere. You know, it was on Instagram, on your own Facebook, or they saw that email or maybe sends a Facebook ad or maybe social networking or someone talked about you, you know, so don’t be afraid because everyone is saying everything all the time as well.
00:48:32:02 – 00:49:05:14
And that’s just the way I look at it. So I’m learning to be less shy about putting my stuff out there and, you know, just posting stuff, because I do get most of my clients through Instagram. I’m outside the campaign. So I, I do try and be relatively active on social media as well, because that’s important. But yeah, at this point, the hustle is real. You need to be putting yourself out there. Work is not just going to walk itself to you. You’re going to have to go and do the work. And obviously you get to the point where it gets easier, where you referrals are coming in. But like for me, I’m still in the beginning of just rebuilding my brand.
00:49:05:16 – 00:49:10:09
So I know that I am constantly pushing all the time and all kind of all the different avenues.
00:49:11:17 – 00:49:45:02
And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s funny because I just wrapped filming a personal branding course that’s going to go into the Portrait Master Store. And when I’m when I’m talking about marketing and social media and just a social media plan, I hone in on so much of what you just said of exactly what to do and how to do it and how it is repetition, repetition. And there are going to be posts that your potential clients will never see. So if you only post it once, they’re going to miss it and then it’s gone. Yeah, so it is. Yeah. It’s so important to keep top of mind to the people that you want to be your clients and.
00:49:46:05 – 00:49:52:02
If for some reason they find, you know, annoying, then they’ll unfollow you and they weren’t your client to begin with anyway, it’s just
00:49:52:04 – 00:50:24:08
exactly and I think I can remember who’s who you were talking to might have been Carrie’s podcast where you were saying, you know, when you post something that really does resonate with someone and it will be that third time because I mean, we talk about different things. Sometimes you focus about existing photos. Sometimes you talk about loving yourself, sometimes self empowerment. You talk about the kids are gone or, you know, there’s so many different messages that we can in terms of what we do, whether you wanting to be seen in your business, whether they want to build your confidence, maybe you want one great picture.
00:50:24:21 – 00:50:57:07
So just keep on rotating the messages and trying to speak to a range of your different clients. And then they’ll be that one post that someone like I saw that and I just knew, like it was time for me to look like I was I’m ready to do this because everyone’s I think people freak out or really I mean, how many clients do you need in a year? For me? I only need like 80 and, you know, 80 at a to average. I’m OK. I’m not trying to have a million dollar business because I don’t want to work that hard is like a sales.
00:50:58:03 – 00:51:28:24
I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur, so I really just want to have a business allows me to do the things with my kids that I want to do. So, you know, mid six figures two fifty K business would be amazing. Four one hundred K if you’re willing to work really hard. And that’s an amazing business. So you don’t need that many clients. And the the higher pricing is less clients you need and the less you have less you have to work a few hours, you have to work and be happier. Ironically your clients are happier because when people pay you a lot of money, they’re like you’re the experts we trust.
00:51:28:26 – 00:51:43:26
You do your thing and you’re both happy. So, I mean, it’s not for everyone. Some people really like to do the high volume and lower pricing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think, again, when we run our own businesses, you figure out what works for you and then just kind of pursue it.
00:51:44:13 – 00:51:50:26
Mm hmm. Exactly. Really, really great words to live by there Wani to talk to you all day
00:51:52:14 – 00:51:57:17
They’re great whenever you come to the states. Next, let’s find a time to hang out because I feel like I could talk with you all day
00:51:58:00 – 00:51:58:25
would be so cool.
00:51:59:02 – 00:52:14:02
All right. So for time sake, I have to move on to the next section of the episode. And that is the four questions that I always ask people at the end of each episode. OK, and the first one is what is something you can’t live without when you’re doing a photo shoot?
00:52:14:08 – 00:52:47:08
Oh, I always think about this when you ask the question. I think it’ll have to be like music and a good connection because I mean, really, I’m a I’m a pretty basic photographer, so I like using my camera and then in studio I use my lights and stuff, but I’d be just as happy being outside. But music helps, especially when I get a lot of clients who are really, really nervous, like you can literally see anxiety written all over their faces. So the music just helps to get them relaxed and then just building that connection. And when they trust you and they kind of do, even if it feels like weird or awkward, they’ll do the move.
00:52:47:10 – 00:52:49:21
And just having that connection really helps me.
00:52:50:27 – 00:53:14:15
Yeah, yeah, for sure, for sure. It’s funny because when I was again filming the personal branding course, I did a film to shoot with real clients, just filmed it. And I you know, you’re like a fly on the wall. And I couldn’t use music because it was I was filming it and they had to hear what people to hear what I was saying to the client. And we couldn’t have the background music and it felt so weird.
00:53:15:15 – 00:53:16:24
So, yeah, like it’s so quiet.
00:53:17:28 – 00:53:31:00
I say to my clients, like, OK, so normally I would have music and I know it might sound a little quiet or whatever, but just go with it. So yeah, it’s funny. And you’re not the first person to say music either. It really is an important part of a photo shoot.
00:53:31:02 – 00:53:39:18
I think. It just sets the mood and helps people relax, especially if you’re playing. You also plan to ask them what do you like? And I try and play some of their favorite music as well. So that helps.
00:53:39:22 – 00:53:45:10
Right, right. OK, the number two is how do you spend your time when you’re not working?
00:53:46:00 – 00:53:55:28
I’m always working, but if I’m not working, then I’m with the kids and we play board games or we watch cartoons because we really like Ninjago. So cool,
00:53:57:14 – 00:54:03:01
very cool. OK, number three is what is your favorite inspirational quote?
00:54:04:09 – 00:54:25:07
I’m a kind of quote junkie, but I think the one I always lean on his life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. And for me, it’s always a reminder that we all go through crap. And, you know, it’s really just about picking yourself up each time. And as long as you always get up one more time, then you fall down. Then you’re doing OK.
00:54:25:20 – 00:54:35:01
Mm hmm. Mm hmm. I love that. That’s exactly right. Very cool. And number four is what would you tell people who are just starting out?
00:54:35:18 – 00:55:13:02
Oh, well, I think, first of all, mindset to super important to work on your mindset. Do the self value work, do the self worth work, because if you don’t feel good about your prices, you’re never going to be able to charge what you want and and you just repel clients. Two know your numbers or your business. I think the biggest change came in my career was when I stopped being a photographer who had a business. I became a business person who did photography and it just transformed the whole thing because then I was trying to be very focused on my numbers, focused on discount.
00:55:13:04 – 00:55:45:11
What if I was giving discounts or not. I had financial goals I was working towards and it just made me a lot more focused. And then probably the last one is kind of surround yourself with like minded people. So when we like I think I mentioned already, like we had a mastermind like six photographers who we were all very similar. We were all kind of high end. And we and we there was no Sue Bryce model in Lagos before we started there. Three of us who are like, we were obsessed with Sue. This is the kind of thing we want to offer.
00:55:45:18 – 00:56:20:18
And so session fee wasn’t a thing when we came there. People just did your hundred dollars. Fifty dollars. You get all the photos and we’re like, no, we’re going to charge a session fee and they we’re going to charge separately. And it took education. So if you’re trying to build something or if you’re trying to grow, surround yourself with people who have the same mindset, who have that kind of ambitious, positive, very important, positive mindset. You know, that’s why I love the SBE community, because it’s always very encouraging people to share their struggles, but they share their wins as well.
00:56:20:20 – 00:56:55:18
So you can see what’s possible. I know I’ve benefited from just being and reading and and sharing in the SBE community. So I definitely recommend anyone who wants to build their portrait business or at least try it out, because it’s really one of my favorite, if not my favorite community. And I have lots of photography communities, so find like minded photographers. And so you can really help each other grow because rising tides lift all ships and you shouldn’t be about how much we charge, should be about our style and who people want to work with. So why shouldn’t we all just be like well priced photographers?
00:56:56:15 – 00:57:00:26
Yeah. Yeah, that’s solid advice right there. I’m like a rewind that. Listen to that again.
00:57:03:04 – 00:57:06:13
that was great. That was great. And and where can people find you online.
00:57:07:00 – 00:57:13:03
Oh I am Wani Olatunde portraits on Instagram, on Facebook and my website will you
00:57:13:05 – 00:57:14:03
Spell it out for people.
00:57:14:13 – 00:57:24:28
I’m sorry it’s W A N I O L A T N for November D for Delta E portraits dot com.
00:57:25:15 – 00:57:41:03
OK, awesome. I just want to make sure, I mean it’ll, it’ll say in the show notes but cool. Yeah. Awesome. Well thank you again. I really appreciate you sharing everything and, and yeah. You gave some really really great points and just you’re just really great to talk to so thank you.
00:57:41:16 – 00:57:45:12
Thank you for having me. I’m honored to be here. I feel I feel like I’m famous now, so I thank you.
00:57:47:06 – 00:57:47:28
00:57:48:00 – 00:57:50:12
I love it. All right. You take care. Wani.
00:57:51:04 – 00:57:52:12
All right, thanks, Nikki.
Thank you so much for listening to the Portrait System Podcast. Your five-star reviews really help us to continue what we do. So, if you like listening, would you mind giving us a review wherever you listen? I also encourage you to head over to SueBryceEducation.com, where you can find all of the education you need to be a successful photographer. There are over 1,000 on-demand educational videos on things like posing, lighting, styling, retouching, shooting, marketing, sales, business, and self-value.
There’s also the 90 Day Startup Challenge, plus so many downloads showing hundreds of different poses. We have to-do checklists for your business, lighting PDFs, I mean truly everything to help make you a better photographer and to make you more money. Once again, that’s SueBryceEducation.com.