The Business Lesson Learned from Lafanda Quee

Yesterday, a friend mentioned to me that they never check their “Other” folder on Facebook messenger, because all that is in there is random marriage proposals from foreign men. Laughing, I went to my “Other” folder on Facebook, with the plans to do some screen caps of what I found and … well, to be honest? To mock them on Facebook. Because seriously? Do those proposals ever work? Why do they send them?!?

Unfortunately the senders of all my marriage proposals have had their accounts suspended, so I couldn’t see their messages of love and devotion. What I could see though was a message from a man who wrote me back in May. Just a short note – “I think this person is using your photo for their profile.”

This was how I discovered Lafanda Quee.

Business Lessons from Lafanda Quee

As you can see, Lafanda & I have one thing in common – we look exactly the same.

Otherwise, we’re really not that similar. I’m not from Colorado. I don’t live in Las Vegas. I didn’t attend Brigham Young University and then go on to work at Hooters and now at a Strip Club. I wouldn’t describe my relationship as “It’s Complicated.”

I am still laughing about it, and my husband Mike & I keep making jokes about my new Lafanda Quee name. I posted about it on Facebook, and since then 95 people have liked the post and there are so far 78 comments.

I declared that I’m like Beyonce. She is Sasha Fierce? I am Lafanda Quee!

The Business Lesson

Our image is a part of our personal brand. How you look is how I know who you are. Avatars on social media have only reinforced this for all of us. When you meet someone, do you ever think to yourself, “Wow, you look NOTHING like you do on Facebook?” How about when you go to a conference and you don’t recognize someone because their avatar is normally a photo of their kids or their dog? I’m such a visual person, I recognize people’s faces before I recall their names.

Lafanda Quee? She stole my face.

While that is a representation of me online, just because she stole my face doesn’t mean she can be me.

Lafanda Quee can not compete with me. I’m more than just that photograph. Is it a part of me? Absolutely. It doesn’t bring everything to the table that I bring though!

When you’re a solopreneur, a small business owner, with a brand that is built around YOU? No one can take that from you. << Tweet this! >>

If your business is built around who you are? You never have competition. No one has your appearance, your style, your swagger, your personality, your stories, your experience, your knowledge. No one, no matter how hard they try, can be BRAND YOU. If you market that? What makes you BRAND YOU? You’re untouchable.

Don’t Let Lafanda Take Over Your Market

If your business is built around your logo, pricing, a style of editing your photographs, a way of posing your clients, how quickly you turnaround products, or the albums that you use? Anyone can copy those things. Anyone. You could have your own Lafanda Quee on your hands, trying to look just like you.

All of these things are important to your clients, but they are slippery. They can never truly be exclusively yours.

Lafanda may look like me, but obviously my Ideal Client Avatar would never connect with her. No matter what she takes, she is not me.

Which do you market? Are you building a #BrandYOU business? One where people love you for who you are and that is a part of why they want to work with you – whether they realize it or not? Or is Lafanda going to come along some day, copy everything you’ve done, and steal your clients away?

How to Run a Black Friday Sale Without Hurting Your Business!

How to Run a Black Friday Sale that Won't Hurt Your BusinessWhen it comes to Black Friday sales for your photography business, you want to be mindful of what you are offering. Be careful to not create a sale that ends up costing you money, or one that turns your clients in to thinking that they can get a deal all the time.

After all, we all know those stores that have everything on sale all the time. When you walk in and you see things full price, you scoff and laugh, and tell yourself to return in a week or two, that item that you want will be on sale again. Do you want clients to think of you as that business? NO. So you need to be mindful of sales. You need to run one that won’t hurt your business!

All of my wedding clients have received a USB drives of their wedding photographs, with a print release for personal use. After the wedding day, I also put their images online in an online gallery for their guests to view and order prints as well. Email registration and the gallery password is required for access for everyone viewing the gallery.

My Black Friday Sale Idea

One Thanksgiving night, while waiting for the stores to open at 4am, I had a crazy idea of something to do to kill the time while I waited to go shopping myself! I opened up all of my client galleries for the year that had already expired. Knowing my profit margin on print orders, I emailed everyone who had registered for the galleries that year and sent all of them a 30% off code for prints, good only for Friday & Saturday.

All day Friday & Saturday, I watched the print orders roll in! It was unreal!

These were print orders I would have otherwise never received!

I then did a 25% off Cyber Monday say as a follow-up in case they missed it over the weekend.

I sold thousands of dollars of prints that weekend – which was admittedly a little crazy to have to deal with fulfilling all those orders with going in to Christmas – but a lovely blessing of extra cash!

I Haven’t Planned Out my Black Friday Sale?!

Thanksgiving and Black Friday are just around the corner. I get it. So you might be stressed that you haven’t planned out your sale. Did you notice that I thought of AND kicked off my sale at about 11pm on Thanksgiving night? I decided I was going to do that sale about 10 minutes before I started emailing people. I just had to set up the coupon code first!

It is not too late!

Awesome, but I Don’t Do Online Sales of Prints

I get it. With the majority of my photography clients for the past three years being boudoir clients, and my concern for their privacy online, I’ve gone in to security lockdown mode and only offer In Person Sales for those clients. I would have to think of other ideas for them.

If you have past portrait or wedding photography clients who did an in person sales session, you could set up an online gallery for them and offer them a chance to come back and order extra prints. Maybe they want gifts for the family that they had not thought of at the time of their original ordering session? Maybe they would still like some holiday cards, or 4×6 prints to include in their cards?

I’m planning this year to go back to all of my boudoir clients from this year and offer any that didn’t purchase the digital file add-on the chance to do so. I’ll take a percentage off the price. They didn’t buy them the first time round, but since I have the USB drives and the files already – it is money I would not have made otherwise!

Give your past clients the opportunity to buy from you. Use Black Friday as an excuse to contact them about it. <<Tweet This!>>

Other Black Friday Sales Ideas

Looking for some other inspiring ideas for Black Friday Sales for your photography clients? My friend Jamie at The Modern Tog has a blog post full of ideas on how to run a successful Black Friday Sale, so be sure to check it out and see if it might spark other ideas for you! Think about what will be the best fit for your business, and what you can pull off in the time that you have, and make some extra cash for the end of the year!

Why You Need an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog – 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Great post on why you need an editorial calendar for your blog - 30 Days to Awesomize Your BlogI’ve been talking about creating an editorial calendar for your blog, and I’ve realized that for some people that may just make your eyes gloss over because you aren’t sure what I’m talking about. We should back up a step and clear that up!

In the magazine world, they have editorial calendars. You can look them up online for almost any magazine and find out well in advance what they will be discussing in upcoming issues. For example, here is the editorial calendar for Vogue. You can also check out the National Geographic Traveler editorial calendar.

Why do they post these online? Because that way, if you’re an advertiser in their magazine, you know what is coming up and you can plan out your campaigns.

Why You Need an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

You don’t need to share yours online, but you do need to have a plan for your blog. Creating an editorial calendar will make things go so much smoother for you when it comes to blogging! Think about it, no more stumbling along and wondering what to write. You can look at your calendar and just go from there!

Your blog is for your future clients. The perspective clients who will hire you. What stories do you want to share with them? What are the stories you want them to pass on to other people about you? How will you connect with them? We will talk more in the future about post ideas, but for now? That is a start.

Having an editorial calendar takes the pressure off of you when it comes time to write a blog post, which is why you need one! <<Click here to Tweet this!>>

Having an Editorial Calendar means you have a plan. You know what you want to say (at least from a high level), and you know WHY you want to say it. You know how it fits with your marketing plan. Your blog isn’t just a gaping void of frustration for you, one where simply opening up the post box is terrifying. Instead, you can use it to take you where you want to go. The editorial calendar? That is at the heart of it!

Start thinking about what you want to post about on your blog. We’ll talk soon about some tips on setting up your editorial calendar, and how I keep track of mine. You’ll want to think of monthly themes and also your own marketing plan. Make a list and you’ll be ready to roll!

PS – Some people call it a content calendar. To me, they are the same thing – and I prefer to use the term editorial calendar. Either one works — the most important thing is to have one!

Reality Doesn’t Always Look Like the Map You Have for Your Business

Reality doesn't always look like the map you have for your business

I study maps before I travel anywhere. I have a huge atlas that I take with me on road trips, plus I pick up local maps, and there is always my iPhone. I love maps; seeing the endless possibilities, orienting myself with directions, things I want to see and do.

For as much as I love maps, they are no substitute for reality.

Maps can show me where I’m going, but the best discoveries are unexpected gems right around the corner. When the light is hitting a scene just right and it is truly breathtaking. No map will ever compare to that.

I am in Acadia National Park right now, and I can’t stop thinking about this. For as much as I studied the maps, I still was not prepared for the reality.

We do this in our businesses as well. I talk with a lot of people that want to outline every last detail before they launch their company. Being prepared is a great thing, but at what cost? Are you sitting at your kitchen table relentlessly going over your map, without ever heading outdoors with it? Are you so focused on the perfect business plan that you simply can’t launch right now?

Go and DO. Launch your business. Try things. Adjust. Try new things. Adjust again.

For as much as you study those maps, the reality of your business is very different. Sometimes your plans will go out the window – and what you discover instead will be where the magic lives.

In case you wondered, this is what the map of Frenchman Bay, featured in the photo above, looks like.

Map of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands, Acadia National Park

Make Your Blog Posts Pinterest Friendly! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Make Your Blog Pinterest Friendly!I have a whole process that takes place now when I blog and by far the MOST effective, beneficial, OMG it drives traffic part of that that you should be doing?

Make your blog posts Pinterest friendly!

(My blogging checklist is a bonus if you purchase the October 15, 2014 Get Fully Booked – Joy of Marketing webinar! Listening in is free and the registration bonus is awesome too, so you should be sure to register!)

For every blog post I create I make sure that I have a graphic with the post title on it along with my URL. For this series, as you can see, I’ve also included the series name so that people know there are many posts about blogging on my site. These drive a TON of traffic to my blog!

As soon as I hit publish on every post, I immediately Pin that graphic over on Pinterest as well. It is my way of alerting my followers over there to come see my latest post, no different than sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. The bonus perk? A lot more people will see it on Pinterest than will ever see it on Facebook! (Unless I was willing to pay. Sorry, Facebook, not paying for every post.)

You can find tons of information online about what makes the best Pinterest friendly graphics. They should be vertical, long and lean, so that they show up more visibly. Reds & oranges are clicked on more often. Photos with faces aren’t viewed as much. In all of that, I have to tell you … find what works best FOR YOU. Because you just might break all of those rules. I see photos with faces go viral and appear everywhere, and I’ve had red graphics barely get a single pin.

The essential part is that they coordinate with your branding on your blog. Make a visible statement. Work on creating graphics that as soon as someone pulls up Pinterest, they will know that it is yours. Stand out.

If your blog posts are photograph intensive, use BlogStomp to create collages of your work quick & easily. That way, it is easier for people to pin a whole cohesive set of images and not just one photograph at a time. They make a great impression and really stand out on Pinterest too! I love BlogStomp for this because it is a quick, easy to use, stand-alone app. No extra software required! Get stomping!

No matter what you use? Make sure your blog posts are Pinterest friendly. It is the best way to draw visitors to your blog!

30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog is the process I’m going through myself to make my blog more awesome, and I’m sharing with you the tips & things I’m doing along the way! I’ll be sharing even more about Pinterest, along with editorial calendars and other goodness, so be sure to join the email list to be notified of all the latest happenings here!

Don’t forget to go and register the October 15, 2014 Get Fully Booked – Joy of Marketing webinar and get to listen to the registration bonus interview!

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