Heather Bookout – Episode 007 – A Photographer Podcast Interview
In this episode, we talk to Heather Bookout. She specializes in story themed session experiences. You may have heard about the Santa experience but she does something similar to it all year long and at a whole other level. She has a really unique way of making sure she has quality clients as well as quantity, don’t miss it. She also has the most amazing way of dealing with the stories we tell ourselves. If you have ever told yourself that you are not good enough or struggle with self-doubt when you are not busy, listen up because Heather has got it figured out.
She also teaches photographers how to get organized. Here is a link to a free resources that will get you started: Top 10 ways to optimize your photography business http://bookoutstudios.com/coach
Transcription was done by Temi.com which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.
Heather: [00:00] This is heather bookout and you’re listening to from nothing to profit.
Speaker 2: [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Welcome to from nothing
Kia: [00:21] profit. We are so excited today because we are talking with heather bookout from Huntsville, Alabama and she and her husband Ben Own bookout studios and they have been in business for the past 17 years. What I’m so excited about with heather is she’s probably one of the most creative photographers I know and whenever you look on like social media and Instagram, I feel like it’s just like regurgitation over and over and over of the same thing and whenever I see what heather’s doing, it’s just out of the box. Totally different but still so connected to what’s in style and really works with her clients. And so we’re excited to hear what heather has to say about being profitable and I hope that she’ll add in about being creative as well.
Matt: [01:10] Yeah and heather, I didn’t know much about you before, you know, Kinda brought you to my attention and you do some really, really amazing stuff. I mean on instagram and stuff like that. And then I, as you and I were talking leading up to this, we’ve talked over the last couple of weeks and I realized like how much of an operation you really have going, like when you guys are doing huge amounts of sales and it’s, it seems like it’s very planned but it’s very high in volume. I don’t even know how to describe it so I’m going to let you describe it, but it seems like you got really an amazing business in Alabama for sure.
Heather: [01:41] Thank you so much. We are, I’m so excited to be here. Um, that is something that I love, that I’m super passionate about is being creative and being profitable. So I am excited to talk about both of those things. I think it’s gonna be great.
Matt: [01:53] All right. But before we jump, go too far, tell us about your new puppy.
Heather: [01:57] Okay. So we just adapted a Beagle, uh, this weekend.
Matt: [02:02] So they have a southern, doesn’t have a southern accent yet.
Heather: [02:04] Well possibly. And we did name her rosie and we already have another dog that’s a Jack Russel Beagle mix and her name is barley. So we have a barley and rosie now and, and they are just so adorable, like we’re getting our cuteness overload every day. So I don’t know, I think it’s pretty great. We love it.
Matt: [02:21] That’s awesome. Alright, so I’m going to jump right in and kind of tell us about your expertise. I mean I, I kind of mentioned it a little bit, but tell us about your expertise and about your stylized and themes, shoots and all that stuff, kind of what you’re known for and what your business looks like.
Heather: [02:34] Well, uh, we just love creating really cool story inspired type sessions, so that might be like a mermaid and a pirate. Um, and then so what we try to do is create experiences that will work for both boys and girls and then we create a creek. My husband writes this amazing, beautiful story for it. And then, um, we create like a Disney ride type experience where we take the client that the child through this type of set with a story in mind and our goal is to hopefully sell them that storybook at the end. And it’s been really, really good. People really connected to that in the kids love it really well too because it’s kind of, it’s exciting and it’s fun for them because they’re acting out, pretend it’s like, you know, Hey, I’m a mermaid and this pirates trying to rescue me or, and stuff like that.
Heather: [03:19] It’s, it’s really fun. And then, um, another thing we do is we deal a lot of high end designer type sessions for families, um, and that’s where we kind of meet with them like an interior designer and this is so cool because we get to sit down and talk with them and create something custom just for them, which I love. Um, and the clients seem to really love it too, you know, just to kind of get something different that no one else has. And I don’t know, that’s what we do for our photography clients. And then for photographers, we really like to create organized results where we can kind of put together a specialized plans for each photographer so their business thrives according to what they do. So it’s not like replicating my business but it’s specific to what you’re passionate about and we make that a good plan together to support it. So it’s going to work really well and be successful.
Matt: [04:09] Awesome. So tell me, tell me a little bit more about the stylist theme session because when I had to do some research about what you guys are doing, my first impression was it was something different but you guys are actually doing like, so you’re, you’re building a plan and then you’re running a bunch of people through it and getting pretty high end sales. Like the one I. The one I think that’s really popular right now is like the Santa Experience, but you guys are like over and over and over all year long.
Heather: [04:33] Yes. We do like a fairy tale type experience when we’re not doing Santa. So we just had one called the enchanted oasis and it’s not terribly complicated the set, but the different things that they do in a set up in the, in the experience make it really interesting. So we try to create experiences that no one else would have a we are, you know, when I started the business there was like five photographers in my town and now there’s hundreds. So we’re always trying to think of ways that we can differentiate ourselves from others in our strengths. So my favorite thing in the world to do is design things, whether that be, you know, how the scene’s going to look in a portrait setting or like clothing or like how their hair and makeup is going to be. I just like all of that. And so I just, we try to really work on that and make that happen.
Heather: [05:18] So during the session then you coach them through an actual like experience. So rather than sit here on Santa’s lap and look at me and smile, you’re kind of telling a story that they’re living in, is that what you’re saying? Yes, kind of. So there’s the story really comes into play when they get the book and that’s where it all comes together and into life, but it’s super fun. So we have like these little mini vignettes where they’re like, okay, you look like for instance there’s a, there’s a scene that I do where Santa is looking in a book and they’re all looking in the book together and I have a light source coming from that. So we have Santa in the real life say watch what happens when I say your name, and then it’s really fun for the kids and then the light will go off and so. But that’s obviously not in the story. So we try to kind of create a really fun experience in real life. But then when they are, when they get the actual book, then that’s when the story comes to life a little bit more like that. So whatever we do in real life, we tried to make it fun, but sometimes it’s not exactly the same as what the story would be.
Matt: [06:23] That’s really interesting. And the way you described it to me is you kind of described it, it’s like a, like a ride at Disney world. So you guys, this is all planned and it’s Ah, that’s so cool. And so how many people do you guys bring through?
Heather: [06:38] So experience? So right now for our standard experience that we’re doing right now since it’s November is we have 73 sessions booked so and then we’ll do 10 in one day. We kind of group everything together in one day. So we’re really optimized and you know when you do, I like to group my specific types of appointments at the same time, the same day so I can really get in a really good flow. And we hire hair and makeup team. We hire a greeter to come in just that day. We have, of course Santa and we have a whole kind of well oiled machine from a group of people that we hire just specifically for that type of session. So it’s not something I’m carrying out a big burden for it with a huge staff all year long. But just for when we do those special sessions like this
Matt: [07:26] and you guys aren’t getting it, there’s just so people understand this isn’t like the $30 Santa experience
Heather: [07:31] as you’re making thousands of dollars per client. Last year our average was 2,204 Santa we’d look course with. We try every year we try to improve. So I’d like to, um, you know, over 73 sessions if we just improve it by 2000 or $200, that’s a lot of money. So just small little increments increasing or averages. I’m really help in doing that. That’s so fun. I love hearing about that. So I know we’ve talked about it a little bit, you know, with the question that we’ve just asked, but can you expand on, like what would you say is the thing that’s working now in your business? Okay. So I think the hardest thing for photographers is getting people in the door that are qualified. You know, we all know about the model calls and that tends to put people in the wrong mindset where they’re like, what can you give me for free?
Heather: [08:20] Or they say this horrible phrase and I’m sure you guys have heard it, oh, it’s not what I want, you know, I’m doing this for you. Like they’re almost like they’re doing a favor. Um, and so we tried to create that same sort of way. It works so great about the model calls as people are super interested in doing them. So we tried to think of a way that we could create that same sort of like mass amounts of people interested in it but also be qualified. So we switched to what we call an application process, but we never used the word model that’s super important. And um, what we do is we give them a really good incentive. Like we’ll do something like we’ll waive the session fee. So our session fee is $200, includes hair and, and we have a wide closet full of clothing.
Heather: [08:57] Um, so that’s normally what they would pay for, for 200. We waive that. And we also give them a free one image, five by seven. And then what we require of them to do is to pay their minimum order upfront, which is also $200. And in doing that it qualifies them and we had the whole application process that we do. It takes them through, hey, are you okay with paying for your $200 up front? And we have like bulleted questions where they can answer yes I am. Please pick me. No, I don’t want to pay for my pictures or see, I’d love to pay for them, but I don’t have the funds right now. And getting them in that mindset of going, okay, well if I can’t pay for it, I probably can’t do. It. Helps us really weed through people, you know, if they stay any of those two second options, we don’t choose them.
Heather: [09:43] And we choose all the people that said yes, I’ll pay for it. And that’s who we call and connect with. Do you have people that fill the whole thing out and say, no, I don’t want to pay for the pictures. Yes. Every now and then. But not normally. Usually the way the process works. Um, so right now I think we got a hundred and 40. No, no, excuse me, 120 applications, um, and for Santa and we booked about half of them. Um, you know, because we did get them from other sources, not just this one promotion that we ran. So, and what were, what were you do is we are always testing, like how can we improve, what can we do to improve our closing ratio on the phone? And one of the key things that we found is to really paint a picture following, like bullet points on a piece of paper and not necessarily a script because you don’t want to sound like a boring person.
Heather: [10:30] But just having, I’m like, hey, we need to cover this. And remember when you applied, we said this, that you’re going to have to pay for it upfront after we tell about how awesome it is. So it just doesn’t. You just want to take away all uncertainty. Anything that feels shady or not cool and replace it with excitement. And I cannot wait to do this. I want to come and pay for these pictures and get this awesome experience that’s so fun and different, but I think what you’re doing really works with what people want right now. They’re, they want to be special, they want to be chosen, they want to be famous. So yeah, that’s fantastic. And it’s one of those ideas and sales about pushing back a little bit and not appearing so desperate. When you push back a little bit that you may not be chosen, it tends to create that emotional desire and clients to want to be chosen and it makes them come to you a little bit more. It makes it easier to close the deal in and book the session.
Heather: [11:27] So this application live on your website. So no, no. We do this through facebook ads, so we spend every time we put an ad together, usually do one a week and will spend between 300 to $500 on our ad and we boost. It’s a boosted ad. So I know there’s a lot of different ways you can do it, but we do a post on our facebook business page and then we boost it and we boost it to a specific demographic we like to get that are between the ages of 28 and 45. And then there’s a, you know, facebook is always changing how they do things. But what we currently are doing is there’s a place for income and you can do the top 25 percent of people income. So they used to do it like how you can use to be able to do it by their house, which was awesome.
Heather: [12:12] But then they took that demographic away. So now we do it by the top income and then we also, when we’re doing Santa sessions or we do a children under 12, so they need to have children under 12. So we do all of those little breakdowns, you know, all the way down to a baby. And that’s Kinda how we really target our ads. And so a lot of people are confused when they first start doing facebook ads. And like, I don’t have a big facebook following, like I only have 500 people that like my page and so you’re putting it on your page but you’re boosting it to others. And so that’s confusing. And that’s one thing I’d love to clear out because I think that that’s something that could be really helpful for people just starting out as you don’t need to have a big following.
Heather: [12:50] You can put that money down and show it to thousands of people beyond your actual facebook reach on your normal page. So you’re doing like three to 500 per ad, is that what you’re saying? Yes, yes. Yeah. Well that makes sense. You’re not messing around, you’re making this. Oh yeah. Yeah. And so yeah, and we’re definitely get that we’re getting that return on our investment because this specific um, one, you know, we, you know, we booked, I believe it was 49 sessions in two weeks doing this in the last two weeks with Santa. So, um, you know, 49 times to you $200 is a huge deal. So you know, that’s can definitely can afford it even before you gotten them in for the actual session.
Kia: [13:34] Very Fun. All right, so tell us what you’re most fired up about in the industry. What do I mean? It doesn’t. What are you most excited about or what do you think? Yeah, I mean just when you think of the industry in general, what do you think of?
Heather: [13:45] So I love the fact that we all can be individuals and like if you want to just take pictures of pets, I feel like that you could do that and you could create a business plan that, that would create success in ut, thrive in it, and you do really well doing that. And then someone else could be super passionate of, you know, taking high school seniors and you could create the same sort of plan. I think what I love the most about our business is that you can really hone on your strengths and your values and what you really love to do and create something that is very successful. That’s fantastic.
Kia: [14:16] So our next question for you. It’s so funny, Heather. I knew this was gonna happen to me with your voice, you just sounds so finished your notes and I do this even when we’re just visiting on the phone, but I’ll forget that I’m actually doing the interview and I’m like, oh, this is such a fantastic podcast. And I’m like, it’s my turn. Okay. So Heather, what was holding you back from becoming a photographer when you. Very much
Heather: [14:44] so I think that, um, I think all of us struggle with this fear of failure. It’s, um, I sometimes you just, you know, anytime you do something new, if you’re, especially if you’re super, super established and doing something already, like let’s say you are a dentist and you’re like, how can I be a photographer? You know what I mean? Something just really established. And then there’s this fear of what are people going to say? Like don’t, doesn’t she know that she’s wasting all that time and energy she put to doing something else and now she’s doing this. All of those fears I think are what came into my head of about, oh, this is the next thing she’s doing. And um, I was very motivated to prove myself, which I think that that is important and I found something that just really connected with, you know, I feel like I have add like I get really bored really easy so I will always want to be designing something new.
Heather: [15:32] So the, the business I created was based on that kind of need to constantly do something new and. Interesting. So to answer your question, it was fear and I just had to put on my big girl panties and do it afraid. That’s great. And you’ve, I, I feel like you’ve worked through that on different levels throughout the years of business. Would you agree? Yes. When I really increased my prices three years ago, I really had visions of my clients picketing my building and like, you know, death threats or something terrible like that happening. And so of course that didn’t happen and I did what I needed necessary to uplevel. So I think sometimes when you go from like, what do you need, do you need to have more education? Do you feel a need to feel more confident in your skills and shooting? Do you need to have a better understanding about how to sell, like figuring out where your weakest link is and then filling that with information and education so you feel confident that you can, you know, uplevel and do it with success and confidence.
Heather: [16:29] I think that’s really important to you. And I’ve talked to him a little bit about how easy it is to get on the wrong mindset. You know, when, when things aren’t necessarily going right or when you’re changing things, you know. Yes. And so mindset is something that I’m, I’m always working on. That is a thing that all of us can get discouraged and something doesn’t work out. Like for instance, I have been promoting my Santa sessions off and on throughout the year and we did have the type of interest in it and so my brain started saying is saying these things like the pictures aren’t good enough. Nobody understands how cool they are except for you. You’re the only one. You made a product just for yourself. You know, that’s the kind of fear based things that started happening to me. And so when that stuff happens, it can destroy your business because then you feel like, well, I just need to pack up my games and my marbles and go home and I’m sorry that I can’t, I, I didn’t, you know, make, make it match.
Heather: [17:24] But a lot of times when we’re not getting the bookings that we need, it is because our message is messed up and that’s what we need to adjust and optimize as our message. It does not matter as much as you think it does. Um, how, how your pictures are crafted even though that’s super important to you as not as important to the clients. And that is something that will always come up in your head, uh, in a, in a desk for me still, if, if I’m, if I fail at marketing, I think I’m a bad person that nobody likes me. And like I really struggle with that. And so that’s something I have to kind of re frame in my brain and be like, is that really true? No, that’s not true. What is true and change those beliefs and go, okay, my, I didn’t have a really good offer so they don’t understand what’s in it for them. I need to reach, restructure that, and then that creates such a, such a better place to be in because you never want to create marketing when you’re feeling low and discouraged and desperate because that’s when you create those really bad clients because you know, you kind of get back what you’re putting out in the world. So that’s really important.
Matt: [18:28] That’s so true. Like when you’re struggling, you’re, you instantly think, oh, it’s my pictures, or it’s my business model, or it’s my prices and you start messing with that.
Heather: [18:36] Or it’s me, it’s me. They don’t like me. They don’t understand me or my town’s not big enough. Or you know, there’s lots of things that happen. But what really is the truth is that when you’re sharing your message for some reason, it’s not connecting to the people you’re trying to reach. And so either make, it might be confusing, um, that where it might not be giving them enough certainty. So they believe, you know, they feel like trusting you and taking the plunge. So just, it didn’t, you know, sometimes I will go and read stuff, I’ll start listening to good music, I’ll try and shake it off to quote Taylor Swift, you know, just to kind of get myself in a better place mentally because it really, really matters. You know, how you feel about what you’re doing. Yeah. That’s so true. So, uh, on that, on that note of, you know, kind of what you’re thinking, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Heather: [19:29] Okay. So, um, I feel like you were always either moving forward or falling backwards in your business. So I think that some of us are like, well this is going pretty good. Let’s coast. When you start coasting you start kind of sliding a little bit and get comfortable and you maybe stop marketing and they’re like, wait, I don’t have anybody coming in and next month what am I going to do? So what I try to do is always have a daily and a weekly, like every Monday we talk about last week, like how was it with our clients? What could we, what went right, what should we do more of, what should we do less of, how should we readjust? Um, and we’re talking about and everything when it comes to sales to experiences to I’m just processes, like clients seem to be confused about this, how can we make them less confused, things like that. And so I’m always trying to work on making it better and I’ve definitely got into that mindset of always make it better instead of let me just figure something out. And then. So I never have to think about it again. I think that’s the wrong way of thinking. You should always be thinking about how to make it better.
Matt: [20:32] Yeah. And so allison, I, my wife House and I just Kinda went through this whole costing thing. You were talking about using a we, we got pretty tired after running our business for 10 years and we’re like okay, let’s just like take a year off and reap the benefits of what we, you know, what we built. And it was, it was so hard and what, and I didn’t quite figure that out. I was like, man, this seems just as hard and what somebody told me is it’s just as easy or it’s just as much work to grow your business as it, as, as to maintain your business, so why, why don’t you just grow your business and the other. And the other part about what was interesting is when we are maintaining like the mental game was like totally different, you know, there was a lot of self doubt and stuff like that because things weren’t coming in because we’re just coasting and we’re waiting for phone calls and stuff. So the mental game was harder and the and running the business was just as hard. So you know, why don’t we grow it and start coasting. So we’ve, you know, in the last year made the switch back to growing again and it’s been such a much more positive experience for us.
Heather: [21:30] Yeah. Because I don’t think there’s such a thing as neutral emotions, you know what I mean? Like either you feel negative about your business or positive, and so when you get into that coasting mode, you just kind of just are like, Eh, you know, that math feeling. I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s not. It doesn’t feel great. You know what I mean? So I would love, I’d love to feel, you know, try to create experiences in my life where I feeling good every day. Well, and your clients aren’t attracted to men or they’re wrong. People are. And they’re like, why aren’t they? Yes, why aren’t they buying anything? They’re like, miss about it, you know, we don’t want that.
Matt: [22:05] I’m so sure one personal habit that you think contributes to your success every day.
Heather: [22:10] Okay. So I’m always working on my mindset and I do that by being super aware of what I’m thinking because usually a fee if you start feeling bad or feeling discouraged or feeling frustrated is because of a thought. And uh, my repetitive thoughts that I tend to have is that because something’s not working out, that I’m a bad person, that I’m not good enough. I didn’t do it right. Because I tend to be a perfectionist and things, that’s how I’m wired. So I read, I’m trying to rewire that and go, what’s a more positive way of looking at that? So there’s, here’s a problem. Is it positive to say you’re a bad person? Is that going to help anything? Because it’s so subconscious and so deep and it only makes you feel bad. It doesn’t create a solution. So all of us are always trying to focus on feeling good and when we feel good that gives life and energy and positivity or you get, you feel more creative and you feel more energized and you’re more attractive to people.
Heather: [23:03] I think that that is the state that we’re always trying to be in and that’s, it’s not possible to constantly be in it. But when we get in a bad place, acknowledging and seeing where, you know, look, me know, we’re looking back and going, why am I thinking this? Where’s this coming from? And um, and then redirecting your brain to think in a different way. And then thinking about focusing on positive things. Like, I, I feel great. I have lots of energy, even when you don’t sometimes focusing that way changes your whole dynamic, going on a walk can change your mindset, you know, dancing around to some crazy music that can change your mindset. So I’m always working on upleveling that mindset to a more positive, happy, enjoyable place to be.
Matt: [23:47] Yeah. Because I think mean self doubt can creep for me anyway, self doubt is probably one of the first emotions that creeps in. And so just trying to be really self aware of it and just push back on that and just say no, like where’s that coming from? And stuff like that I think is really good. I don’t know if I’m very good at that, but I think it’s really good advice for sure.
Heather: [24:07] Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so heather recommend an internet resource for us or something. Something digitally or electronically or online that you use for your business. Okay. Yes. Um, so I think that this speaks to along the lines of mindset and a lot of times people are like, I want to do it, but for some things held me back. I have these invisible walls. So um, I really love guided meditations. I’m not super good with regular meditations where you just have to sit there because my brain goes, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel. You just can’t create, create, create, right. It’s really hard for me to do so. But if someone’s talking and they usually it’s like, you know, imagine this or do this. My brain can rest in that a lot better. So there’s one called overnight riches, which I don’t really love that name because it’s not really what it does. What it does is change your brain into being in the right state to be successful. So I feel like just say how to be in a right mindset. That’s what that really does for me. And so the name of the lady is some summer mixed traffic and it’s called overnight overnight riches.
Matt: [25:12] So it’s like a website you go to just a little bit more. Yeah.
Heather: [25:16] So you go to her website and you can download this specific meditation. I have it on my phone and so I play it at night when I’m falling asleep and I usually don’t even listen to the whole thing because I’m usually out, but just doing that just primes my subconscious for directing me. It’s like a rudder on your ship. It just directing you in a better way. So you’re getting that influence, um, from others that’s, that’s really positive and it just helps support you to succeed. And I’ve recommended this to so many photographers and they’ve like my, the feedback that I’ve gotten not just for myself but from others is that it really, really works. And so you don’t have to think about it too much, but it’s just a very calming, encouraging, helpful thing that I’ve found. Uh, I increased our sale. I used to listen to it almost every single night and in that one year we increased our sales by $300,000. That one here. Um, and that’s, it was a massive increase from what we had been doing. The big jump. Yeah. Yeah. It was a big job. Ten percent just for chips and salsa. Yes.
Matt: [26:28] That’s really interesting to see. I’ve never done anything like that in my life, so I definitely could add this and not. It wouldn’t be that big of a change for me. I just never done anything.
Heather: [26:37] People are afraid of it because they, it just seems too far out there, but we’re always, we’re always meditating on something, whether it’s a TV show that’s like a form of meditation, it’s like sending a message to you and so listening to music is that way as well. So I think that it’s just a new way of thinking
Matt: [26:54] and I think the reason I’m ready to hear this too is. So here’s a story, a personal story that happened like maybe six months ago. I was having a hard time, not really sleeping, but I was waking up like really antsy and it wasn’t that things weren’t going very well and there might. One of my friends was like, Hey, what are you doing right before you go to sleep? And I was like, well I’m watching TV. And I was like, and I always have like lots of. Right, do I just watch some TV, I fall asleep and whatever. And she’s like, well, did you change what you’re watching, you know, that could change your mood. And she said, because what happens is even though you go to sleep, like your mind is still listening to the TV and then here, here’s my guilty pleasure that I will confess on the podcast. So what had changed as I started, I had started going to bed watching that show live pd where they’re like a
Kia: [27:40] no, no wonder you’re on. Yeah, people are getting tackled. That’s awesome.
Matt: [27:50] It was like no big deal for our first couple of days. But after like maybe a week or so like it was, it was changing my whole day and I had, I had to give it up and in it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever given up in my life because it’s really wasn’t doing anything for me. But I’m just stating the obvious to everyone but it. But it really made a difference. And so I think by listening to something like this, as you go to bed, your mind, your body, your mind is still listening to it. Even after you fall asleep and it’s off its debt, probably doing more for us than we would ever understand for sure. Yes. Wow. That’s such a great example. Yeah. So you’re doing, you’re doing guided meditation for $300,000 and I’m doing live PD and not getting along with
Kia: [28:31] than anybody in the world. That’s funny. So Heather, I have kind of. I want to ask this question in two ways because I want to. I want to hear your answer on both sides of it. One of the things is, while you were talking, I was thinking about all the photographers out there that do mini sessions and I mean my clients are like, well what are your mini sessions? What do you, when are you going to do your mini sessions? I want to do your $350 10 digital file mini session. And I’m like, there’s no such thing, but there’s this. I’m in this mindset out there from, you know, from regular people to photographers that that’s what they do. And I feel like before the digital files were really a big thing that you did a sort of mini session, like that’s what you were transitioned from. So what would be your guidance to a photographer? She was wanting to transition from doing that, you know, the low end many session to the high end, a volume experience that you do.
Heather: [29:29] So what we did is we just always try and do something different than everybody else’s doing and we’re, we always try to. We always try to reverse engineer where we want our clients to be when, when they come to the order process. So for instance, in the mini session they’re like, just give me those files. And I think that’s also that new question where people just don’t know what to ask. So they’re like, we just want to try you out. Like, can I just like, I had this conversation, I just want to try you out. Do you have like a mini session? And that’s just basically the same question of how much is your eight by 10 is what we heard constantly when we first started. And that’s just lack of knowledge from the client, not knowing what to say. And so I think that some of them out there on the phone really do want the mini session and want those, you know, 10 digital files, but what they really want to know is more information about your business.
Heather: [30:19] So I think just kind of stopping right there and going, wait, tell me why you want that. Is that just because you, you know, tell me more about that. You know, that’s a really great phrase we love to do, to kind of dig a little deeper when a client asks such as specific requests like that. Um, you know, when they ask you about eight by tens, I think sometimes people are just wanting a general ballpark of how much you cost. So just kind of reframing it that way. And then to your second question of if you are a mini session photographer, how to change it. Okay. So step one is you have to be like, I want to change it because if you don’t want to change it, then that’s going to just be really difficult. You’ll be fighting your own cellphone that, so you have to make a decision of, hey, I think there might be a better way where I could be making more money for your, for your time, and I want more respect for what I’m do.
Heather: [31:04] I don’t want to be just one of those shooting burners as everyone refers them. I want to be different and if you want to be different than, you know, create an experience that you would really connect to because whatever we do, we also have to believe in, you know, and then that’s what we did and that’s how we crafted our special experiences that we do. And so, um, if someone asked me that on the phone, I said, you know, we don’t have many sessions, but what we do have is something like no other photographer has. Can I share that with you? That’s good. And so that’s fantastic and that really helps into. Then of course they want, they want people want different so that, that really works well. Yeah. So in general, what would be your parting guidance that you want to leave with our audience?
Heather: [31:47] Okay. So I just kind of talked a little bit about reverse engineering every goal, you have, every idea, every thought and focus on your results. So if the result is I only want to work 20 hours and I want to bring, I’m going to sell $100,000 and I only want to do two sessions a year that you know, that really focuses on you got to find a $50,000 client, is that doable or do you have the skills there to create that? And I know that’s kind of like a crazy example, but that’s what you need to do is kind of figure out are your goals even possible with the skills and the level of knowledge that you currently have and then create a plan in place to make that happen. And so that’s what we love to do. You know, here at the studio, anytime we have an idea, we’re like, how can we make that work to make it profitable?
Heather: [32:33] And so we start with the end of we want to make an average order of this amount. How can we do that is as possible with our sales process and we go that way and then a lot of times photographers really focused on our average order getting that average order up and when I was really last year or two years ago when I was really trying to increase my, um, my yearly goal, I kept struggling because I kept increasing my averages. But then my frequency would adjust to be like lower if I was to hire my averages, like frequency is the amount of sessions we were doing. And it was like I kept just getting stuck at a specific number every month. It was almost exactly the same within a thousand dollars of it. And I was like, I have a problem here. I’m limiting myself from like, this is where I’m comfortable with the amount of money I’m making.
Heather: [33:21] And so then I started to focus on two different aspects of my goals. I focused on the average order and the amount of sessions that we were doing. And I really, really focused on that because you can look at a calendar and it looks super full, but it’s really not. You know what I mean? We trick ourselves think, oh, I’m booked, but are you bucks or you only halfway books and when you’re fully booked, that’s when those goals really come into play and that’s when you dial in your marketing, getting those plans that really get people in the door that are qualified.
Heather: [33:51] Man, I’m doing what, what Kinda you were saying you’re doing. You just sit there and listen. Like, wow, I just need to put down my headphones and go take care of. I’ve been taking. Okay, so real quick, two things. Share with our audience. I know that you have a book that you want to, but then also I know that you have a free gift for our audience as well, so just do those back to back and then we’ll wrap up right after that. Okay, so the book I’d like to recommend is the big leap and it’s called and it has like a colon. It says conquer your hidden fear and take your life to the next level. And the author is Gay Hendricks. It is so great because I love this book because it’s helpful to find out those hidden walls that we prevent us from reaching our potential.
Heather: [34:35] Like remember I was saying I kept making the same amount every month even though I kept trying to uplevel everything. It helps us realize what those might be and address them so you can get better and it really is super positive because it focuses your brain on things that you can turn up the volume on thing, on the good things in your life and the things you want more of. Like you want to have positive energy, you want to have success, you want to feel love and happiness and it shows you how to do that in your personal life and in business. And it was really, really helpful for me. I referenced it a lot. Um, you know, when I, when I jumped on the struggle bus and I’m like, Hey, I need to feel a little bit better. Why? What’s happening? And it’s usually something where my brain’s getting onboard and uh, you know, saying something that’s not true and, and this is really helpful to help you know, weed that out and get down to the core of what’s going on. So I really, really love that book. Just based on this conversation, if that’s the book you’re recommending, this one moved to the top of my list for sure. So it’s interesting how you’ve talked about, you know, like stopping and being conscious of your thoughts and stuff because I’m not good at. And
Kia: [35:38] so I’m, this book is going to get ordered this afternoon for sure. Awesome. Okay. So I know you have a free gift for our audience. Share that with the link and stuff like that. So what I love to do is kind of, you know, when you’re in the playground and you’re like, mom kind of pushed me on my stomach. I want to give you a really big push. So what I’d like to do is give you my top 10 ways to optimize your photography business for success. And you can find it at my website, which is book out studios.com, forward slash forward slash coach heather. That’s so exciting that you’re giving that gift to our listeners and we will also put a link into the show notes for it. And I will definitely, I will definitely be downloading it and checking that out. So, uh, thank you all for listening today and we hope you have a great day and that you take away some just some fantastic pieces of advice and some new ways of thinking from our interview with Heather bookout today on from nothing to profit.
Speaker 2: [36:35] Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaya. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create a profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.