Matt and Brianna originally met at Seniors Ignite and just reconnected at SYNC. Brianna is in Northern California and is most well known for her destination sessions with her high school seniors and her model program. Last year, Brianna brought on 3 associate photographers, to help her photograph her hundreds of clients and bridge the gap between tweens and seniors. Brianna’s favorite part of her photography business is running the business. Brianna decided what she wants her life to look like, then worked backwards from there to make sure her business could provide that. You’ll want to listen in to how Brianna runs her underclassmen program. Brianna’s team does a retreat every year to plan the year based on their mission statement and core values and also their financial goals so they know what to try and whether it’s working. This podcast is full of amazing tips and advice – this is one you’ll want to listen to again and again.
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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.
00:01 This is Briana Gamble and you are listening to from nothing to profit.
00:05 Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak. We’re 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.
00:21 Hey, welcome everybody. Another week, another podcast. I hope you really enjoying these this week we have my friend Brianna gamble from northern California and she sent me a bio but I don’t know if I really need to use it but because we have, we met years ago at seniors ignite and just, you know, had some conversations and I’ve always followed you on social media and your work is top, top notch in the senior world. And so yeah. And we reconnected. Where do, where do we reconnect? Just a few weeks.
00:50 Um, we were at the sink. At the same conference.
00:52 Yeah. Okay. Thank you. I’m sorry I’m been to so many conferences lately. I can’t even keep track. I’m like, why would I have seen you in Minnesota? But, um, yeah, so we saw each other at the sink and we talked and you told me what was going on and it sounded like you had, you know, your business is doing great and you’d have some associate photographers and so we can talk about any of that stuff that you want to talk about. But what I guess what our audience needs to know is that, you know, you have an awesome, fun, youthful style around senior portraits and you live in northern California. Um, and you’re probably best known, you know, for your model program and your destination session. So, um, go ahead, cover whatever I missed. Okay.
01:24 So, um, thank you for the intro. So yeah, my studio is in northern California, so we are kind of writing between Sacramento and San Francisco. So we do a lot of beach sessions and we are probably most locally known for our destination sessions where we take a group of girls and we go out on, um, some trips. You’ve gone to Palm Springs, Vegas, La. Last year we went to Disneyland and Portland, Oregon. Probably the most memorable trip was to Hawaii. And then this year we’re going back to palm springs cause it’s probably my favorite place to shoot. And our senior model team also is something we’ve been doing for the past seven years and people have been following our senior model team locally. And so now we kind of have girls who they’ve been following us maybe since freshman year. And so when they get invited into the CDO, they’re already really excited.
02:14 They’re already kind of pumped to be a part of it. And like you mentioned, we do have associate photographers. So that’s a little bit, a little bit new. Last year, every year I’ve been shooting around 300 sessions, not all seniors, seniors probably account for about 50% of our business. So 300 sessions a year. That was a, you know a lot for one person. Got It. Yeah. To, to photograph but also to be managing the business and the studio itself. So last year he started bringing on a team of associate photographers. So I have three amazing photographers on my team now and they, they also shoot senior sessions. We offered tween sessions and then we’ve been doing a lot of sessions recently for personal, and then also kind of a bridging the gap between the tween age and the high school seniors. So the underclassmen that actually we just kind of launched a new program specifically for them that’s modeled a little bit after our senior model program so we can kind of get them in as freshmen and sophomores and start working with them in their families.
03:19 And then when it’s time to sign up for the senior model program, it’s a no brainer. So yeah, we’ve been kind of working on that. And then we have also been revamping our studio to be a little bit more of like a rentable space for shoots and events. So, um, today’s actually our opening day. Um, so it’s a little crazy we have opening today and then a launch party on Sunday. And Yeah, we’ve, I just have had a lot of interest locally from other photographers for my studio space. So we’ve kind of, I don’t shoot a whole lot inside of my studio unless I’m doing blue Duar or personal branding. So, um, we’ve just kind of change things around and got it ready a little. It took a little bit of our personal, um, photography brand out of it so that others can bring their clients into tissue and do meetings and also people are using it for events.
04:10 So that’s kind of everything we have going on right now. So you’re definitely hitting on all cylinders right now. So, well it’s funny cause I was like, okay. I was looking online going, okay, what do we, what are we talking about here? So, so I had to have a couple of questions for you about your, the scope of your business. So 300 sessions, uh, and then you’ve hired on three more photographers. So how many employees do you have altogether? So, um, in total we have a team of eight. So we have the three associate photographers. Um, I have a studio manager and then we have a production girl who does all of our, so I like to keep my editing in house. Um, and so she does all the editing and all of our print orders and things like that. And we have a couple makeup artists on our team as well, so that we have, we always have a makeup artist available.
05:01 I don’t like to use too many makeup artists in locally just because like to keep our sal really, really specific and we have really high standards for our team and the experience we want to give to our clients. So I like to have those also kind of in house. So they’re just kind of standing makeup artists on our team. And so is everyone full time or are that some of them contract or how does that work? Yeah, so, um, two of them are full time, the studio manager and our production girl. And then the rest, the photographers and the makeup artists, they are all contracted. And so typically the makeup artists are working a handful of days a week because we do have so many clients that we offer here and make up for most of the sessions. And then the photographers, um, right now they’re each working maybe one to two days a week, just depending, um, how many sessions they have going on.
05:52 Uh, they associate photographers. We just kind of started having them last fall. So a little bit in a transition period where I’m trying to take, bring on a gamble as a person and turn and bring on a gamble in to more of a brand name for our studio so that people know when they come to us. It might not necessarily be Brianna doing your session, but you’ll still get the same experience no matter who you shoot with. That’s exciting. So how long have you been a photographer? Um, I’ve been a photographer for about eight years and really have just been in business for the past seven. So, um, it kind of started, um, when I was pregnant with my son, uh, just kind of, you know, how to camera documenting life and kind of started getting into it. Um, but really photography for me has always kind of been about the business aspect.
06:43 I do love photography, but I would say for me, my most favorite part about running my photography studio is the business side. And so that’s also part of why I started getting associate photographers and kind of started outsourcing even the shooting aspect of it so that I could work on building the brand and kind of expanding from there. Um, and then we’ve been in our current studio for three years. We just hit three years in January. So that’s been really exciting. And it sounds like you’ve got a lot of room for growth too as far as number of sessions and that type of thing. Absolutely. I feel like one piece of advice that I’ve heard before that was really great was to grow slowly and intentionally. So I’ve tried to not grow too quickly and adding team members or adding more sessions per year and just growing the business in general.
07:40 I’ve tried to do really intentionally because I don’t, I don’t want to lose the personal touch that we have with our clients and I don’t want to kind of expand too quickly and then lose everything that people loved about working with our business. But I am excited about the growth and I think we’ll be able to take on a lot more clients every year. And eventually I’m planning to open more studio spaces to kind of expand to other locations. Yeah. Well California is a great area and I feel like there you can develop the business anywhere. Absolutely. Like it did. The Midwest has been traditionally known for having senior photography whereas the coast Dee Dee, you know, don’t necessarily, but I feel like you can, if you go to an area you could just develop it because people want pretty pictures. Yeah. And we’re really lucky because we can shoot year round here.
08:32 We don’t really, we don’t have to worry about snow. So the only months we don’t, we aren’t really shooting seniors anyway is December and January, but 10 months out of the year where shooting senior session. So it’s really easy to keep that as a year round business. And then even over the winter months we have booed wire and branding sessions going on and um, some in studio tween sessions as well. So it keeps us busy year round, which is really awesome. So what does your like for you specifically, what is your ideal week work look like? I’m assuming when you were shooting 300 sessions, you were shooting a lot of the time. Yes. And so what will it look like now? I’m so now pretty much starting the beginning of this year. I’ve always had a work schedule and um, then really schedule oriented. But the beginning of this year, knowing that we were going into a year where we were going to have a lot of growth and we have some associate photographers on board to take over those clients sessions.
09:28 Um, I created a schedule where I’m only shooting one or two days per week. And for me that’s really ideal. I last year was shooting like five, five days a week and I usually on a lot of times I had multiple sessions per day and it’s just exhausting and you can’t stay creative and you can’t really give your client 100% of yourself when you’re exhausted. So I’m shooting one or two sessions a week is really great for me. Um, so I have it set up where may work week, looks like pretty much Monday through Thursday are may work days and I’m off Friday through Sunday to spend with my family and helping my son’s class at school. And usually I shoot in the middle of the weekly Tuesday or Tuesday and Wednesday. Um, Mondays we keep for marketing and team meetings and we do a lot of ongoing training with everyone on the team.
10:23 And then Thursdays I kind of, it’s a little bit of like a, like a flex day. So if we have, if it rains or something and we have to reschedule one of our seniors that can put them on Thursday and I don’t feel stressed out about kind of cutting into my family time over the weekend. But then I also do a lot of stuff just in the studio and kind of planning and things like that on, on Thursdays. So I’ve kind of changed my schedule to be less shooting and more, um, like working on, on the business instead of in the business, which is what I love. Yeah. That’s brave. Yeah, it’s been really awesome. I’m, I’ve, I’m kind of a, um, jump in with both feet kind of a person. So with the whole associate’s char for idea and even renting out our CDO, it was kind of like went from idea into just taking action right away.
11:12 And that’s probably been my biggest thing is just taking action on things that I really want to do. And I’m, I think Nate from sticky albums said one time, he said, if you take too much time to deliberate about things and go back and forth, you won’t, you won’t be taking action in your business. And I would rather take action quickly and I would rather fail quickly and be able to just recover and move on and bounce back. And so I’ve kind of taken that approach as well after hearing that from him and being like, yeah, let’s just do it. If it’s something we want to do, let’s kind of plan it out. But you don’t need to have everything planned out from a to z to kind of go straight into doing what you want to do. Yeah. Gotcha. Cool. So that leads into my question. Like you’re getting all stuff done, but
11:54 so, you know, do you have a business coach? Are you modeling after somebody or you know, like where’s your inspiration coming from or are you just figuring out as you go?
12:02 Um, I do feel like I take a little bit of inspiration from, from people in the industry. I honestly try to, um, I try not to pay too much attention to what other people are doing. Um, I know a lot of people try to kind of keep trying, keep almost like a little bit of tunnel vision on just like what my goals are. And My, my biggest thing is just deciding the kind of life that I want to have and then working backwards to create a plan with my business to be able to give that to myself and my team and my family. And so, I don’t know, I did take a class from Nancy Ray of Nancy Ray photography about team building and leadership and that was really awesome. And she, she’s kind of in the same boat. She is a wedding photographer though. And, um, she has a couple of associate char graphers and a small team. And that was kind of the starting point for me of really adding associate photographers and starting to build on my business without having to sacrifice any family time or any of the other things I wanted to do outside of my business.
13:10 Cool. Okay. So then my other question is, can you talk a little bit about your underclassmen program? I mean, whatever details you want to share, but yeah, kind of what you’re doing. I mean, I think the concept makes sense to me, right? You’re trying to get people in earlier and earlier, but you know, what are you offering them? What’s, what’s the pitch and stuff like that.
13:27 Yeah, absolutely. So, uh, we’ve been asked about doing an underclassmen program for a couple of years and I’ve just never really seen any way to go about it without it taking a lot of time and I just didn’t really know the value that we can offer to them. Um, and then David Beckham mentioned he was doing some kind of like a sophomore program and basically the, the girls, they pay a few hundred dollars and they get in and they do a shoe or two and it’s, it’s really a flexible program. It’s not kind of as structured as the senior model program and it just gives them an opportunity to kind of try you out. So for us with our senior model program, they’re committing to doing senior portraits with us up front and they’re paying for that upfront. And for the parents that’s a huge commitment time wise and financially and I wanted to kind of give them, take a step back and say, okay, well what if we just give a program before they even get to that point where they can try us out for a few months.
14:26 So the program is only six months long. It goes from the spring to the fall. And I did open it up to freshmen as well. Um, we were, I had a lot of parents inquiring about freshmen and so I’m letting the freshmen be involved in it too. And they’re just going to get a couple of photo shoots out of it. And they’re really, they’re really, um, casual shoes. So they’re not styled, we’re not sailing wardrobe. Um, we’re not offering and makeup for these shoots. It’s just a chance for them to get in front of the camera and have a lot of fun and see how, how much fun we can add to their junior and senior year. And I want to make it something where it’s a no brainer that they would come to us for senior portraits because they’ve already worked with us and it was such a small financial investment and time wise that um, it’s just like, well, it’s worth at least trying out.
15:16 And then what we’re gonna do is we’re, well, here’s another thing, we’re starting a magazine, which I got the idea and a lot of information from a few people at sync when I was there. So the local, it’s going to be a local teen magazine and it’s going to be written by teens for teens. And I’m really excited about that. It’s going to be really just to kind of promote teens in the area that are giving back to their community and reaching goals and doing really awesome things. And um, that kind of goes hand in hand with the program. We’re calling our junior influencer program for the underclassmen. And so they can be part of the editorial team for the magazine and submit articles and interview the people that are going to be in the magazine and things like that. So I don’t know, our, our program, we’re just starting it this year, so they’re going to start next month and we’re going to see how it goes. They’ll do a couple of shoots and then they can do the magazine and we’ll have some community service stuff going on. But I just wanted to keep it really easy going and just get them into the studio at least once a month to just kind of drive home our brand and what we’re all about so that they’re excited to sign up in the fall when they’re a junior.
16:29 That’s awesome. Okay, so here’s my hair. I think this is the question that this leads to. And if for the everyday listeners of the podcast, you can tell we’re completely off script, but that’s okay. This is, this is going really well. We’re not following our questions, but okay. So you’re tracking all this stuff and you’re trying to get as quick as you can to failure. So talk to me about how you think about something or how you give up something that’s just like not working or like, you know, like the opposite end of it. Trying stuff. I totally get. But when you, how do you just not keep adding stuff and how do you like let stuff go or just, you know, talk about that end of it.
17:06 Okay. So we have at our studio, um, we, you know, we have our mission statement and then we also have our set of core values. And so everything that we do at our CTO has to kind of fit in with what our core values are and our mission statement. And if it doesn’t, then it’s not even worth pursuing for us. Even though it might be good or decent idea. If it doesn’t fit in with our brand, then it just doesn’t make sense. Um, so in the beginning of the year, we take a couple of weeks off and we’d do a big team retreat and I take my team not super far. We go, I mean where we live. We live in the middle of a lot of really cool places so we can kind of just drive a couple hours. And so we stayed in an Airbnb for a week and we just map out the entire year and we start of going through all of these ideas that we have, you know, written down or putting her little notebooks.
17:56 I’m kind of made a list over the past year. And um, you start kind of creating plans from there and seeing what fits in with what our goals are. And then we have our financial goals for the year. And so if we can figure out how to make it work to where it matches up with what we’re wanting to do and it’s going to get us closer to those goals, then we’ll try it. And then every quarter we have a quarterly planning day where we sit down and we kind of review the whole past quarter, including any programs we’re doing, um, products that we’re offering, anything like that. And Go back to what we talked about at that initial team retreat in the beginning of the year. And if it’s something that we’re like, you know, it’s really not, if it’s not giving anything valuable either to us or to our clients, then we just kind of cut it and we just say, okay well, you know, we’ll ride out the rest of this program but we’re probably not going to do it again.
18:50 Or we’ll, we’ll kind of revisit and say, well what isn’t working about it and what is working? Like how can we maybe change it to work better for us or for the clients? Um, and then so sometimes we’ll just kind of revamp things and we’ve done it with their tweens probably every year. We, we change our tweens stuff every single year to work a little bit better cause it’s a little bit of a newer genre than seniors. So that’s Kinda how we go about it. That’s exciting. So have you ever done the strengths finder test? I have, yes. It was a while ago. So I’m assuming you’re an activator. I, yes. Um, um, well, and I, I was, when you were talking, I was like that she is an activator. She does it immediately. Like if I get the idea I need to do it or I’m going to go crazy.
19:36 Well, and I feel like the first couple of years on my business I wasn’t that way. Um, and I, I definitely am an overthinker. I will say that. And then that is probably, absolutely. And I second guess everything and I go back and forth about things and I’ve noticed I have, I will say that having a team and having employees there everyday who are counting on you to, um, they’re, they’re looking to you for like, what is the vision, what are we doing here? And they’re looking to you to be the decision maker. So I do like to keep my team as a very collaborative atmosphere, but at the end of the day, it’s, it’s my decisions that kind of, um, like I, I’d still take on all the responsibility of whatever decisions are made. And so I’ve noticed that it kind of forces you to make decisions a little bit quicker because if you’re really wishy washy about something, you’re second guessing things, then your team starts to feel that way as well.
20:36 And they’re not feeling as competent in what they’re doing. Um, and then it just kind of filters down from there. And so definitely having a team has made me be more decisive, even if I’m, even if I’m not totally sure, I still have to act like I’m totally sure. Um, and, and that’s just kind of how I’ve gone with it. And then like I said, after, after hearing that from Nate, I was like, you know, that’s so true because I’ll sit here and I’ll, I’ll stress out about something for two months. And it’s like I could’ve just done it. And if after 30 days it failed, I would have been done with it 30 days ago. So yeah.
21:14 Hey, on that note, let’s just take a quick break and we’ll be right back.
21:18 Hey everyone, tell me if this sounds familiar. You look at your calendar and notice you need clients now. So you do a little marketing and get some phone calls. You get busy helping those new clients. They scheduled sessions, they place orders and life is good, but once they’re done, your calendar is empty again. The reason is you didn’t have time to market while you were busy. Sometimes your business feels like a rollercoaster, and let me tell you something. It is, and believe me, you’re not alone. Photographers everywhere have the same problem, but I have some great news. Matt’s business, Allison Ragsdale, photography after years of trial and error has cracked the code. It works so well. He’s created a new class all about it. It’s called get clients now a dead simple approach to getting photography clients. Everyone at from nothing to profit is excited to share this info with you because this system helped Matt and Allison book hundreds of clients this year at their studio and the best part about this system is that it’s simple to set up and it works while you’re sleeping.
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22:47 That’s fun. It’s really fun to see what you’re doing because I mean, essentially you’re adding two new, completely different things to your business right now and you’ll, you’ll know whether the, whether you like having people in your studio and you know, whether the junior influencers come on go on and book or whether you like communicating with them at this time. So that’s really interesting. I’m going to be watching to see what happens. I’ll keep you updated.
23:15 Yeah, I think that just differences, like I put so much energy into starting a program that like I just never want it to end or fail and we’re out of transition point, like in our business where there’s some things I could probably let go and yeah, I think I just need to get better with breaking up with things.
23:32 Yeah. If it’s not working for you, it’s like, just let it go just because in you’re, all you’re doing is you’re opening up space for a bigger and better thing. And, um, they have this, I guess quote that heard, and I don’t know if I’m quoting it correctly, but, um, it was kind of like you need to be able to visualize the entire forest, not just the tree in front of you. And so that really kind of hit home for me because sometimes we do, we run into the tree in front of us. Um, we have these obstacles and it’s kind of like, and that’s all we can see right now. Is this one obstacle that’s kind of holding us back or like you said, it’s something that we’re like, I don’t know if I want to let go and, and being able to, to see the whole forest since y’all, there’s one tree is just, it’s just one tree so you can either cut it down and keep ongoing or figure out how to, you know, I don’t, I’m getting really weird with this metaphor, but like I just feel like that’s something that I kind of go back to like, okay, is this a tree thing or is this like, is this the whole forest?
24:36 Because Amanda, we act like it’s the whole forest and we act like this one thing is going to make such a big deal if we, if we drop it or cut it from your studio or if we add it and it fails when really everything that you’ve built up until this point, you know, cutting one program or adding one thing that doesn’t work is just one little portion. And that won’t affect necessarily everything else that you’ve built up in the air client to know about you.
25:00 Okay. So I don’t think that way. So that, which is good. Like this is literally like there’s a paradigm shift happening right now for me. So describe your forest then. I mean, I understand that the tree is like one thing, right? And it can just come and go, but so now describe, describe how you view your forest. Like,
25:20 okay, so I guess to me, um, what that means is the forest, I guess it’s kind of like your entire, your entire business as a whole. And so, um, as you’re adding things or as you’re like, you can, I don’t know, for me, like if I run into an issue that’s kind of like I just walked into a tree, like something just came up and it’s like, it’s this one huge thing that’s just standing in front of me that I just need to like decide if I’m going to, I’ll walk around it or if I’m gonna I don’t know, like I don’t the whole, it’s just I try to be more big picture person, which kind of makes all the other stuff seem really small. It makes everything else seem really insignificant, which is helpful when you get stressed about, about a specific things. Like maybe you have a client that didn’t really have a great experience or you have a really, um, a big problem with a client or with the program that you’re doing or something.
26:17 And, and you know, sometimes those things can seem all consuming. And it seems like this one thing is just such a huge deal when really it’s not like even if you have one, one bad client or when client who’s like maybe saying bad things about you or they, you have a bad review online and it seems like it’s such a huge deal, but you have all these other clients and you have all this other stuff going on at your studio, people know about you and what you’ve built so far. Your reputation will far surpass anything that like one little failure can, can bring.
26:52 Yeah. Okay. So let me give you an example. So like in our business right now, like I feel like we’re at a transition point, like with our model program. But it’s interesting when I think about it, like I think about our model program like is our business, you know what I mean? And it sounds like you can separate those things pretty well. And to me they’re so tightly wound. Like if I just dropped my momma program next week, it would just feel like a major part of my business would just go away. And you’re saying, no, no, no, no. The model programs, just a tree. It can come and go because your business is bigger than it.
27:24 Absolutely. I mean I kind of feel the same way that you do about my senior model program. I do think that because it’s something that so many people in my local area and know about me, that same thing, like if I were to just completely drop it, that it probably, it would hinder my senior business at least for that first year. But I think everything isn’t also sell black and white. Like I don’t know that it’s always a matter of continuing with something that isn’t working for you or dropping it completely. Um, sometimes just taking that idea and running in a totally different direction with it. It works. And something, I think we, when we were kind of thinking about our model program, cause it’s a lot of work to have a senior model program. And so I think a lot of photographers are in that boat where they’re like, well I just don’t know if we want to do this.
28:15 And like we just want to photograph clients. I don’t know if we want to run this program. Um, so sometimes it’s even helpful to just get a little, just a little sit down at your studio or at a coffee shop with some of your models or their parents or both and find out what they are most interested in or kind of get their feedback and they’ll give you a lot better feedback that way. Then if you send them a survey and ask them to fill it out, um, and anything that they, they tell you, you can kind of piggyback off of that and ask more questions and find out really like, maybe you’re offering x, y, andZ , but they’re really only interested in x. So it’s like, well, why are we killing ourselves doing y and z when they don’t even care about that? Um, and they might have some really good ideas that you haven’t thought of that might bring in more clients. So I think sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, how can we do this differently without, we don’t want to drop it, but like, how can we do it differently to work better for us? And still do you want it to still kind of give you joy and not something that you’re dreading doing?
29:22 Yeah, that’s, that’s uh, that’s interesting for me. I don’t know, like she’s hungry
29:28 Condo in her program.
29:37 Yeah. I don’t know. Like it’s just so hard. Like I self identify with so much of my that like I never want to let anything go and that’s probably why I’m in the position I am with my business where like, I don’t know, maybe I just need to cut. Interesting. Super interesting. Like one of the few conversations that literally has me on my heels right now, which is really, which is good. I mean, and I hear it, here we go. Now you can start asking me like deep questions and it’s going to be like therapy session. No, go ahead.
30:09 I mean you have to know that no matter what happens in, you’d be like, you’re a CDO can burn down tomorrow or your model program can just be a huge flop or whatever it, whatever your tree is at the time. But you have to know with as much success as you guys have had that you would be able to turn it around no matter what. Like you would be able to revamp yourselves and you know, like I feel like especially when people have been in business for a while, it doesn’t matter what happens, you’ll always figure a way out of it. So even though you might, maybe it’s just because you can’t see what the next step is. That’s where it’s scary. It’s like, okay, if we drop our model program, all you’re saying is the possible failures because you don’t really know another way to go about it, but I think you would figure it out because you figured out so many things up until this point, right?
31:00 Yeah, I know. Yeah, that’s it. But now we’re like, we’re entrenched. Right? We’re like, we do it this way. Even when it fails, we just keep doing it this way. Yeah. Thank you. Our Mat, I find you’re recognizing the time to change and you’re just getting up the gumption to do it because you’re not an activator. That’s true. Very true. Good. This is good. This is really great. I really enjoy him. I know we’re like, okay, we’re 30 minutes in the podcast and we haven’t even covered like one of the questions. Okay, sorry. So let’s go through the questions and just see where it takes us. But if we’ve already covered them, I think it’s totally fine for us to say it’s been covered. Okay. Okay. So when I ask you the question of like, what’s working now in your business, do you feel like you covered that or is there something specific you want to share with the audience about what you think is working really well?
31:47 Um, I think I have shared some of it. I think it like maybe two things that otherwise are just, um, like I said, we created that program for the underclassmen. So looking, I think one thing that’s working for us is to kind of like fill the gaps that we were missing. So we had a whole client base that had tween age girls from pretty much nine to 13. And then we also, we’re targeting our senior clients, but we didn’t have anything in between. So creating systems where clients can grow with you is a really good way to not lose them because if they come to you and let’s say they do a tween session and they don’t work with you for a few years until they’re a junior or senior, they might forget about you in that time. So trying to create systems where we can keep those touch points with our clients every year has really worked for us and not might be in the form of let’s say they do a tween session one year and then the next year, um, we are really proactive about inviting them back for another one because the girls have changed so much in a year.
32:52 Um, or even inviting them in to do a family session or anything else that you can offer them to continue working with you, um, has been really great for us. And the more we work with them, the more they are kind of like a brand evangelist and just telling everybody about us and now their house is filled with our photos. So that’s been great for creating loyal clients and realizing that you don’t always have to constantly be spinning your wheels marketing when you have these awesome clients right in front of you. It’s like, what else can I offer them? What else can we do with these existing clients? And so that’s where my question was like how do you launch all this stuff? Because obviously if you’re going to launch this much stuff, you’re not, it’s not these huge launches that are taken out months at a time.
33:40 Or are they personal invites like do you say this person needs this kind of session, this person needs this type of session. Well the, so the underclassmen program, I posted it on my Instagram and my story a few times and then I kind of utilize the clients already have. So my senior models, you know, at this time of year you’re kind of in between two groups, or at least we are. So we have our class of 2019 senior models who were still kind of working with, but they’re about to graduate. And then we have our class of 2020 girls who just started and have only done a shoot and a couple events with us. And so they’re really excited. So I reached out to both sets of models and I asked them to share it on their Instagram story and I created a little photo for them to share and then I ask them to post it and tag me in it.
34:26 And there they were super excited about it. They were like, I kind of told them what it was about and they, they were more than happy to help us spread the word. Um, and then I just sent out an email, utilize my email list of past clients and current clients. Um, and then I reached out to some girls who, um, we’ve worked at, like I know that we’ve done a tween session with them previously and I know that right now they’re freshmen or sophomore. So I called their parents and I just invited them to the studio and I didn’t do like this huge presentation or I just kind of sat there with my notes and just like told them what it was. And I’m like, this is our idea. What do you think? And I showed a couple videos from our youtube that have like a studio trailer and shows a little bit about our team.
35:10 And we signed up almost every single part. We only didn’t sign up to girls because they accidentally came without their parents. We, every single girl that came with the parents signed up on the spot. So, and it didn’t need to be this huge launch. It didn’t need it. Like I didn’t need to like, because like I said, you already have an existing reputation so people already know what you’re about and when you are really passionate about it and excited about it, it gets them really excited about it. And so they want to be a part of that.
35:42 And so then you, then you have it where they can sign up online too.
35:46 Um, I don’t, I kind of did it more like our senior model signups where they had to come in for that meeting and then they had this kind of sign up in person with me. Okay. So there are, they’re applying online then? Yeah, I will, I just had it online to where it gave a little bit of information so the parents can see a little bit of what it was about. And then, um, they, they just signed up on there to come to the meeting and then after the meeting sense. Yeah.
36:12 And so when you do like your family, like you said you have, you know, you do a tween session, then you do a family session. Are those things that you are specifically inviting them to do or are they those things that they just sign up for?
36:25 Um, so for the family I don’t, so I really only do family sessions for current and past clients and we don’t book family sessions really outside of that. So we do family sessions pretty much like once in the spring and then once in the fall. And so we’ll, I’ll get a couple of dates together for the spring or for the fall that are coming up. And I mostly do email and phone calls. Like I’ll just send an email to, I have, you know, my email list that’s all past clients. And so I send them that email and usually what I do is when they are in the studio, um, doing their, their tween session, I’ll talk to the parent about doing a family session and I’ll let them know like, Hey, in a couple months we’re going to have, um, these families session. So I know you guys have other kids and like, we should get in all your, your kids the other, and we should do a family session.
37:14 So kind of getting them excited about it at the tween session. So then when they get that email, they were already expecting it. Um, and then I’ll just hop on the phone. Like if I haven’t heard back from people, I’ll just start calling them and be like, hey, we have these healing sessions. I don’t know if you saw the email and a lot of people will be like, oh, I saw the email and I just totally forgot. You know, I didn’t sign up online. And because people just get busy and they forget or they looked at it when they were at the movies or so. So just calling or even shooting a text, I’ll send a text and say, hey, you want to talk to you about family sessions? I don’t know if you saw the email, do you have a few minutes to chat tomorrow? And then that way I’m not playing phone tag with them either.
37:54 And they’ll say, yeah, call me at 10 tomorrow. And so that’s kind of how we do it. And then we, we do kind of work it into our sessions. Like I don’t think that they know, we don’t really have a session fee. So when I am inviting them, I’m like, there’s no session fee for you. Just come on in and let’s create this experience. I mean, there’s no session fee at all. We just don’t do because it’s all for past clients. So, um, but it, it kind of makes them feel special that like, they know we don’t normally offer family sessions. So when we reach out to them about it, it’s like, yeah, we’ve already worked with you and we really want to work with your family again to get these photos that you really want. So, um, our senior models, we tell them, you know, they get, well basically a free session and then we’d give them a print credit towards the, the family session to kind of entice them. And um, you know, the seniors are doing sessions in the summer and fall, so he kind of tried to push the spring ones right before they graduate.
38:51 That’s great. That’s so exciting. It’s just fun to hear how like specific you are about it. Like you figure out when you want to do it, you plan it, you’ve got a time for, it’s not just like all over the place, all mixed up. And um, that makes so much more sense of how you do your business because you do spend a lot of time planning and you can,
39:13 yeah. But not necessarily. It doesn’t feel like she’s over planning. Like I know, right? Like just like planning and then doing, you know, not just like planning for planning and sake.
39:23 Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I can just like plan it out and then I am like, I have to force myself to just go. It’s like, okay, let’s just do it and I’ll just put it, put a little plan together and be like, let’s just go. You know, if it’s 80% of the way done, it’s ready. Like it doesn’t need to be 100% it doesn’t need to be perfect. Let’s just, let’s just go for it and see what happens.
39:41 That’s great. So is there anything when about the industry that you’re fired up about right now? Or did we kind of cover that or,
39:49 I mean the only thing that I really felt like right now with our industry than I’m, I’m just super excited about, and maybe this is just because I don’t pay that much attention. I feel like we’re kind of going away from these huge Elise stylized shoots with our senior models. I feel like people are still doing styled shoots and I still am too, but we’re starting to give them styled shoots that are more realistic and it’s not a huge reach like in terms of their hair and makeup or their outfits. It’s still the next level above what they would probably wear for senior portraits or anything like that. But it’s more realistic to what they look like and it’s more youthful. And that’s really, I’m excited about that cause I, I mean I don’t want to like, I just, I, I love to take pictures how many girls that are really fun but still like they still kind of look like kids.
40:42 Um, because they, I mean, they’re not kids, but they’re not really adults either. So doing a ton of makeup and a ton of over the top themes for me for at least for my brand, doesn’t really work. And I have kind of notice a lot of photographers going away from that. And I’m excited because I’m excited for the clients because I think it’s more of what they want. But I’m excited for us because it’s a lot less work and we don’t have to do so much all the time. I think even just just creating it, like just showing up, like giving them a fun experience and showing them that you really care and letting them have a say in it is what they really want. So I’m excited about that.
41:21 Yeah, that’s super good. All right. So yeah, let’s do the lightning round. Um, okay. And we kind of just do these fast. You want to take her?
41:28 Yeah. So Brianna, tell us how like how you became a photographer.
41:34 I guess. So I was in the air force at the time when I was like starting to do photography and it was Kinda, it was coming up to where I needed to decide if I was going to re enlist or get out. And I decided that I kind of just wanted to go that like I said, I wanted to just jump in and I’m obviously a lot of people thought that was probably not the smartest idea at the time, but I just, I just really believed in what I was doing. And I wanted to, to go for it. And, um, and then I kind of found myself in the middle of, I had my son who was a baby at the time and you know, a lot of, a lot of charters who are moms and dads who are stay at home parents. That’s something that kind of holds people back from being able to go full time.
42:19 And it was like, I just, I didn’t want this big unknown to kind of scare me away from my dream. So I was like, I’m going to figure this out. I did a little parenting co op with some friends, so a couple of friends I had, we, we worked out a deal where we each took one one day of the week and watched all three of the kids so that we had like two. So we like, I would watch their kids one day and then the other two days I would have free to work. And that really worked for me because I didn’t have to pay for daycare. And um, so that kind of like was the f like the starting point of everything. So I always feel like there’s a way to work around it, even if it feels like I can’t do it because of this or that, you can always kind of just get creative and figure it out.
43:00 That’s really cool. So what was, what was holding you back from becoming a full time photographer? You know, like when you were on that transition point from the air force out? Like what was holding me back? Um, so at the time I was actually in the middle of getting divorced as well. So it was, I have a lot going on and it was like, you know, I was moving into this huge new chapter of my life where there was so many things that I didn’t know and so I didn’t, it was like, okay, I need to either get a full time job once they get out of the air force or I need to like go 100% on this and really, and really make this something I do full time. And so I decided, I was like, I’m just going to go for it. And I had only been doing photography for about six months at the time.
43:47 Um, so it was a little, it was really new. And, um, I just Kinda, I had my monthly goals and I was like, okay, well if I don’t make you know, x amount of money this month, we’re not eating. So it was more like, um, I guess fear that kind of just pushed me to keep reaching and keep going for that. And it just, um, it just was something I really, really wanted to pursue and I knew it was like now or never for me. Yeah, it’s really good. And now you’re just taking over California wants to trying one new initiative at a time and you’ll have 10 done before I have one done. Okay. So me ask you a question. This
44:32 is kind of a fun money question. Okay. If you had $1,000 right now, what do you think you would buy that’s photo related? And this is kind of like, just advice for our audience. Like this is where I’d spend money. If I had extra money right now,
44:45 I would absolutely take that thousand dollars and invested in new level of course by Megan Dipiero. She was at sync and I’m in her Facebook group and she is amazing. Um, no matter what, if I had $1,000, I would always invest it first in education. That’s always my first, my first thought when I have any money to invest in my business, it’s always education. And so I would, I would go for that because she’s like God to me.
45:16 That’s awesome. Good work. Um, I thought I heard the presentation that Cinque was really good and um, I’ve done some of her work as well and she’s got some stuff figured out that’s for darn sure. Yeah. Okay. So then you take that a different thousand dollars, because you’ve already spent that now. What would your advice be for people not to buy?
45:35 So my always like the last thing on my mind to spend money on his gear. Actually, I never spend money on gear. It’s like my camera has to completely die before I’ll buy a new one. I just feel like it’s just that saying that like, you know, the camera doesn’t make the photo and obviously that our gear will, will help you in certain ways. But I, I’m always just looking for ways to invest in myself or my team or my clients before my gear because I feel like the knowledge that I have, I can do enough with my gear to, to get there. Yeah.
46:14 That’s really good. Okay. And then what is the best advice you’ve ever received? You’ve given us some great nuggets of different things, but is there anything specific that you have in mind for that? Well, I guess my forest was when I was going to give,
46:30 Yeah, we can just, yeah, we can just stay with [inaudible] on the fly, you know,
46:34 I love, Oh, you’ve got, you’ve had some great stuff, which is why we are going through these last questions so quickly. Um, so then what does one of your personal habits that you think contributes to your success?
46:45 Probably the one habit that contributes the most is, um, just scheduling out my days. So, like I said, I have a schedule for my work week and each day kind of has a plan of what I’m supposed to do. But most of the time over the weekend I’ll kind of go over what’s coming up, uh, that next week and then schedule out the days. And I, most weekdays I wake up at four and um, I tried to just force myself to get out of bed at four o’clock in the morning cause I read somewhere a couple of years ago that the most successful people in the world wake up at four o’clock in the morning and I was like, oh, I’m going to try it. And I will definitely say waking up at four in the morning gives you, adds a few hours to your day. So before it’s even time to head to a senior session or take my son to school, I’ve already probably gotten enough done in those first few hours of the day. Then a lot of people are able to get through during the whole day because during the, the normal hours people are awake, a lot of things come up and it gets in the way. And then you got emails to respond to and things kind of throw your schedule off. So getting up at four and knocking out the most important things first has been really helpful. And then having a routine just for the rest of the day to kind of stay on track.
48:00 So what do you do before everyone else gets up the, you know, those important things and what time do you go to bed?
48:08 So usually in the morning things I’m working on are things that I’ll need for later. So meaning like if we’re having a team meeting that day, I’ll be like creating the outline for the meeting cause I don’t want to go into a meeting. Um, I can only time meetings just for the sake of having meetings. And so go in and create an outline and start kind of going through all my to do list for the week and start creating like little delegation lists. So my team, they all have their lists that they do daily and weekly and monthly and stuff that they, that’s kind of ongoing. And then they have little project lists of things that I’m delegating to them depending on what’s going on at the CDO that week or that month. So in the morning they do that. I read usually in the mornings, um, have a few cups of coffee and do a lot of marketing stuff. I feel like I’m the most productive at that time of day, like between four and 7:00 AM I’m like, I have the most ideas and I have the most drive to get things done. And then the rest of the day I’m Kinda like, I just like to kind of go through my routine and not think too much about what I’m doing.
49:16 Yeah. And what time do you go to bed?
49:19 Oh, um, well I normally fall asleep on my couch at like nine o’clock. We’re like, uh, watching TV and I’m dozing off around nine but I usually go to bed between like nine and 10.
49:31 Depends on the day. And Allison started, my wife, Allison started getting up at five and she really likes it too. She feels way more productive, which is interesting. So yeah. And it’s like no one else is awake, so you can, I know. And that’s why I don’t feel like I should do it because I feel like if I start getting up at five, it’s counterproductive to both of us being up at five. You know what I mean? Totally. Just sleep in. Yeah. We’ll just give you a lot. It might make it easier for you, Matt, to make that decision. All right, so what does one, uh, what’s like an internet resource you’d want to share with our audience?
50:05 An Internet resource. So this is when I actually didn’t have, um, a whole, I don’t do a whole lot of stuff on the Internet, so I mostly, I would say like Megan dipiero his face, but I know she’s going to be like, thanks for promoting me. I’m a total fan girl, right. Am I saw her at same family. Can I take a photo? I’ve, I’ve had so many, I’ve learned so many things from her Facebook group. Um, it’s called rise to the top by Megan Dipiero and it’s amazing and she gives you so many actionable tips that it’s not like something super vague. She’s like, here’s a mentor post about how I make $3,000 in a day doing headshots and she’ll like break it down step by step and answer all your questions. So it’s really helpful. That’s cool. And is a, is it a free group? It is free, yes.
50:59 Okay. So what does a book that you recommend
51:02 for our audience? So probably two of my favorite books right now. So profit first has been one of my favorite books and I have started implementing profit first into my business the past six months and it’s been really helpful, um, for those who need help with kind of learning how to implement strategies to keep the profit in your business and make sure that you are creating profit, like your take home type of profit, but also setting aside money for taxes and things like that. And that kind of helps you to just trim the fat in Your Business and get rid of expenses that you don’t really need. And it’s a really, it’s, it’s been really helpful. And then entre leadership, Matt and I’s favorite book. I love it when we talk about it all the time. Yeah.
51:51 Yeah. And then just so you guys know, today is April 1st, which would be, we’re actually on a quarter. So now what you’re supposed to like reallocate your percentages?
52:00 Yeah, I’m, we’re supposed to put them on, well, I always put the money away that day too. And something fun that we did. Um, Chris, you know, like at the first of the year is we gave our kids, uh, you know, a percentage of a percentage of the profit. And so like, I don’t, you know, it was at Christmas, so we had a lot more money that came in. Yeah. And so they all got, I don’t know, a couple hundred dollars or something like that. And we were like, this is profit because you help make this business happen. And you know, sometimes I’m gone or, you know, and, and they were all like, their eyes got so big, they were super excited about it. So I’m, I’m like, I don’t think they realize, but you know, next week I’ll give them a percentage. It might not be as much as it was at Christmas, but that was really fun for me. That is really cool. I love that. Brianna, did Ari, have you done clockwork yet? Have you read that? They haven’t. It’s on my list. It’s his next one. Yeah. You, I thought you were doing it like listening to what you were saying. I feel like you are ready. Ready for that? I did
53:00 cause it’s like, it’s like the same exact system. It’s just based off of your time management still your financial management. Oh my gosh. Yeah, that’ll fit you perfectly. Um, okay, so let’s just wrap up. So share some parting guidance with our audience and, and then just tell them the best way to connect.
53:14 Um, so I guess I’m parting guidance would just be too, like I said, visualize the life that you want to have first and think about what you want in general, your your life to look like, and then create your business around that and kind of work backwards to create a schedule that works for you and make sure that everything you’re doing is getting you closer to your goals. So cutting out all the fluff and just saying, here are my goals. I’m gonna, I’m gonna create a plan of action to get there and then just go for it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Just try it out. And if you felt, then just move on to the next thing.
53:54 Easier said than done. Yeah, totally. That was great. No, no, no. It was great. But she’s like twisting the knife. It’s like, it’s like, I feel like we went to think together and she has some three years for me and then she’s like, I can’t wait to get on your podcast and just turn the knife on everything you’re struggling with. Matt, this has been so fun to hear. What you do. You’re very, very inspiring. Thank you for coming on today. I really appreciate being here and now I just have so much more work to do. You know, like I’m going to start. So what are the best ways to connect to you guys is ignoring that. She’s like, Matt, we’re not going to go down. This is not about you. This is about our listeners and what they can learn for Brianna. Yes, I go ahead. So best way, the best place to connect with you for our audience?
54:42 Um, probably the best place to connect with me. It would be on my Instagram. Um, Instagram handle is Briana gamble photo. Cool. And that’s where I do a lot of my story and we show a lot of our, uh, behind the scenes and our CTO and I do try to post himself or photographers on there. So I’m just like helpful tips and things like that. So Brown again, great photo.
55:04 Awesome. Well thanks so much for being on. Um, it was a pleasure seeing you at sync and, um, even though I didn’t remember where I saw you because I was in so many hotels and so many weeks, but, um, it was awesome connecting with you and we talked about how we need to get, stay in touch more and maybe we can set up like a standing phone call or something like that once a week just to visit and keep each other accountable and stuff. Cause you’re a huge inspiration to me and I think, you know, somebody I really look up to in the industry. So thank you for everything you do.
55:33 Well thank you. Thank you so much. I’m so excited to have been here and I really appreciate your guys’ time today.
55:39 Awesome. Cool. All right guys. Well we’re gonna wrap up right there, so we’ll see you guys next week.
55:45 Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaia. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create the profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.