When you know something has to change
It was the middle of the night and photographer Elise Campbell of Elise Campbell Photography was pouring her heart and soul into editing her client’s family photos. This particular client had begged Elise to lower her prices because she really wanted to hire her but couldn’t afford her rates. Elise had agreed.
Feeling like she needed a break from editing, Elise jumped on Facebook for a few minutes. She was shocked to see posts of her client, who claimed she couldn’t afford Elise’s photography rates, on a clearly expensive family vacation. In that moment, everything changed.
When Elise first started out as a photographer, she saw herself as a mom with a camera who could maybe turn her photography into a business. She would take photos and sell a bunch of digitals on a disc for a very low price to anyone who acted like they liked her. This unintentionally became her brand. Over time, she started to feel like she was over-giving, over-serving, and being taken advantage of.
Elise knew that something had to change. She started googling for help and she found The Pumpkin Plan book. As she read through the Pumpkin Plan, she had an “aha” moment. The clients who were hiring her, were hiring her for the wrong reasons. They were all looking for family photos as cheap as possible. They saw her as a commodity. The deciding factor had nothing to do with her skills and talents, her ability to beautifully capture the essence of her subjects, her ability to turn a photograph into a work of fine art. For those clients, it was all about her pricing. It was time to re-create her brand.
The Pumpkin Plan to the rescue
Elise decided in that moment that she would no longer compete on price. She knew how much of her love and attention she devoted to her clients’ photographs and producing art quality prints. She would only work with clients who valued her work enough to pay for it.
The first step in making this change to her brand was to find her special seed, her business Sweet Spot. Once Elise identified her Top Clients, those clients who truly appreciated her artistry, she was able to charge what she knew her services were worth. She could continue to devote her time, energy and love into creating truly special portraits for her clients without feeling resentful or having to reduce the quality of her work and the level of service to match their budgets. Elise wanted clients who wanted to work with HER, not clients who wanted cheap snapshots.
As she drilled down on who her Top Clients really were, she was able to determine what was truly important to them. Not surprisingly, they were not people who were looking for a bunch of digital photos that they could reproduce somewhere for a low price.
Create a brand that is aligned with your Top Clients
Elise’s Top Clients are busy women who want to be served well. They want a final piece hanging above the fireplace that features all the people they love, that is as beautiful as a painting. They don’t want to have to make decisions about what size the final piece should be or what kind of frame. They want Elise, the artist, to make those decisions for them.
Based on what she now knew about her very best clients, Elise developed a Unique Offering and put systems in place to deliver on that offering. She knew that her best clients didn’t want to have to make a million decisions or worry about how their children or grandchildren would behave during the photoshoot.
Elise’s solution: when she’s doing a shoot with toddlers, she brings in “child wranglers,” extra hands to help deal with the little ones. She takes care of all of the details, so the parents don’t have to stress.
Since Elise implemented The Pumpkin Plan into her business, her revenues have quadrupled. And even more importantly to her, she is known for what she does, for her artistry, for her level of service.
The impact on Elise personally has been huge. She has three children, and she is proud that they get to see their mom owning her worth. She now feels a strong sense of empowerment and freedom.
Through her own sense of empowerment, she has also started a project called “She is Love(d)™,” which is a combination of a photo shoot and words that help girls rely on their own inner knowing of themselves, as opposed to getting their self-worth from social media. According to Elise, “it’s like turning selfies into a soulful kind of thing.”
Today, after Pumpkin Planning her business, Elise Campbell has a business that she loves, that both rewards her financially and fulfills her artistic passion.
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