It recently became clear to me that I was learning all of my business lessons the hard way. If I had known, when I started my business, the things I know now, how much farther along would I be? By extension, what will I know in ten years that I wish I had known now? How invaluable would it be if I could somehow put that head on my shoulders today?
And so I began my search for a business coach.
I found Joy via a personal recommendation from Sarah Petty, so I knew even before I researched her that I had landed upon someone of the highest caliber.
Still, at this stage in my business, $1800 is not spent without some trepidation. I moved forward off the gut instinct that I was at a crossroads. In my case, a decision to NOT take advantage of Joy's wisdom would indicate that I personally was not invested in the future of my business. Bethany O Photography would never be more than a glorified hobby.
A very expensive glorified hobby.
At first glance, it might have appeared that purchasing one of Joy's lower-priced educational products would have been the “safer” route. But I have purchased plenty of educational PDF's and videos over the last couple of years. They have all helped a bit…probably in equal proportion to what I invested in them.
I was maxed out on information. I needed feedback. Wise eyes to show me what I personally couldn’t even see I was doing wrong.
I chose to hire Joy for two months of one-on-one mentoring. Before our two months were even finished, I had already recovered my investment through *additional* sales that came as a direct result of small tweaks Joy made to my sales process.
That was during my SLOW SEASON, and it was before I even implemented the new price list that Joy helped me create. I don’t know if those results are typical but I can say, with my hand on my heart, that if I were you, I’d be willing to take the chance.
For me, the financial return on my investment with Joy is already such a no-brainer, it’s almost laughable.
But I don't want to talk about the financials. I think the best way I can serve you is to share how this experience has impacted my LIFE. How it has led to a shift in my thinking.
I had originally designed my price list based on one of the popular photography pricing guides on the market, which was a not a terrible way to start out, because it had encouraged me to price my products higher than I thought they would need to be. (I was averaging $650 sales.)
But when Joy led me through an in-depth analysis of all the time and money I was investing into each client, it became clear that I could have made more money panhandling.
I had already sort of known this in my gut, but I didn’t want to take a close look at it.
It saddens me that both an unhealthy business model and also an unwillingness to examine and acknowledge it is probably rampant amongst photographers.
I know it’s rampant. I see what people charge.
The importance of this shift in my consciousness cannot be overstated. Joy's carefully-considered process, straight-forward guidance, and kind-hearted encouragement gave me the confidence that has been pivotal for me in stepping into the role of the confident business woman I am today and have always deserved to be.
I now have zero hesitation in asking for payment on $2500 orders because I have zero doubt that the service and products I offer my clients are worth far more than that.
I also know that when I discount my prices, I am stealing money from my own family and energy from myself.
Let's talk about energy. We need to talk about energy.
I did not start my business as a photography business. I initially launched my website with a single intention: to use my strengths and my challenges in a way that could bring more *light* – more optimism, encouragement, and happiness to the world. I was doing a lot of personal development work with some key spiritual leaders, and the concepts of dharma, of spiritual energy, and of *serving* were and ARE far more important to me than financial excess.
You're probably this way too. The reason you're a good photographer is *because* you feel things deeply. You care about people. And because of that, you “feel badly” charging people what you're worth.
I feel ya, Kind Soul.
The problem is, you think you’re being helpful by keeping your prices where they are.
You’re not being helpful. You’re wonderful, and you’re kind, but your playing small is not serving the world.
It’s hurting it.
This may sound like spiritual mumbo-jumbo pulled from a Marianne Williamson quote, but it’s a hard truth.
Let me show you how this has played out in my own life.
I was afraid that raising my prices would work against my original intention of being a source of goodness in this world. I was afraid that either I would turn people away or that they would pay me begrudgingly.
What has happened, after working with Joy, has been quite the opposite. I now see that before, I wasn't even clear on all the ways I could serve people through my business. Now that I AM clear, I can speak to those things, and I can HELP PEOPLE with those things.
One month ago, I significantly increased my prices. Since then, my booking rate has more than quadrupled what it was last year and my clients are purchasing MORE (not fewer) products. People are regularly paying me more than twice my average sale from last year, and they are EXCITED to do it because they are clear on the value they're receiving.
It's now clear to me that financial and spiritual energy are not mutually exclusive. When I was working like a dog and investing far more than I was making, I was becoming resentful. I felt like my clients did not value me, but it was ME – I – who did not value me. My spirit was being depleted, and the result was that it was becoming harder for me to share my light – my gifts – my energy with the world.
My fear of raising my prices was going to be the very thing that would sabotage my original intention of serving the world positively.
I cannot explain how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to work with Joy, and to now consider her to not only be an inspiring mentor, whose quality of customer service and level of business success I will continue to aspire towards, but also a friend. Her approachability, honesty, and “down-to-earth-ness” are a big part of why she's so helpful as a mentor and so likable as a person.
Let me be clear though: working with Joy is no slumber party. She is efficient with her time and will require you to do a great deal of “homework” in order to get the return on your investment on her. That's why she's so effective.
It's important to me that you know that Joy did not ask me to write this review for her and she did not compensate me for it.
I offered to write about my experience for the same reason I started my website: I believe it is my dharma – my personal spiritual duty – to share the lessons I have learned with the world so that I can hopefully help other people arrive at the same conclusions faster than I did.
Writing helps ME see everything more clearly, too.
I may have had to learn a lot of business lessons the hard way, but the confidence I gained and the business practices I learned through working with Joy were things I learned the *fun* way.
She has seriously impacted the trajectory of my business and my life.
If I could go back to the me I was three months ago, deliberating whether to move forward on hiring Joy, I would slap that me on the behind and tell me this would be my best business investment I've ever made…by a landslide.
Bethany O Photography