3 Keys for Photography Success: Brand • Business • Well-being

posted on: May 22, 2015

If you've been following my personal and business adventures on my blog the last 10 years, you've seen the ups and downs I've shared, but you've also seen how my last few years in business have been absolutely amazing.  I've solved so many of the big problems that used to hold me back from being successful and now my business continues to grow while also having more time to enjoy my life outside of my client obligations.  It wasn't always this way, and it took a lot of problem solving and overcoming failure to get here, but now that I'm here and I know what's possible on the other side of all that struggle, I absolutely want to help other photographers reach this point too!  I finally feel like business is easy, clients are perfectly aligned with my talents and what I love, and I have healthy working and life habits that keep my energy high and allow me to take time out for family and friends.

In order to help more photographers reach this point in their business, I'm collaborating on a Full Day Workshop, June 17th 2015 9:30am - 5:30pm, in New York City along with Editors-Edge and The Healthy Photographer to address the 3 Keys for Photography Success: Brand, Business, and Well-being.

Photography Brand, Photo Business, Photographer Well-being
Brand is all about knowing what makes your work unique and what work will attract your ideal clients.  Without knowing what makes you unique or who your ideal clients are, you're just throwing darts at a wall without having a target to focus on.  Once you solve that problem, your business becomes laser focused on the who and why of what you create and how you create your work.

Business is all about taking the brand you've established for yourself and applying it to the products and pricing that you offer.  Offering products or pricing that don't align with your ideal client or your unique work often creates frustration for you and your client because you're in different places about what you need to create good work together.  Once you've aligned these things with your brand, bookings become easier, negotiations are super smooth, and clients actually want to invest even more in what you have to offer.

Well-being is the capstone of success as a creative professional.  You can have a successful brand and a successful business, but still feel entirely unsuccessful in life because you haven't taken the time to establish healthy habits as a small business owner or freelancer.  In my business, I learned that no amount of six figure years in revenue made me happy until I had taken the time to work on my well-being as a creative business owner.  Once I solved those problems- I was really, truly, able to feel success in all areas of my life.

You may know that I've been doing private consultations for photographers now for several years.  I've helped hundreds of people privately and in group workshops with pricing, packaging, products, relocation, and workflow management as part of the Smarter Business Workshop as well as thousands of photographers by regularly sharing free tips, advice, and free webinars on PhotoLovecat over the years.  I've always wanted to be able to help more people than is possible privately in one-on-one consultations, but one thing that has frustrated me about traditional conferences and group workshops- is that the format often encourages attendees to be passive observers to a speaker rather than active participants in co-creating their future.  I've also been unimpressed with the rockstar mentality of "you should do it the way I do it" which is just not practical or applicable across the board, since everyone has unique life situations and different goals for being in business.  So, I wanted to create a full day experience where people can actually be actively engaged in applying information to their own businesses and lives, with regard to their unique situation and how it all fits in to what they need.

The Brand • Business • Well-being: A Photographers Workshop is designed to give you a ton of personalized feedback specifically on your brand, your business, and your wellbeing as a creative professional.  This isn't about doing things just like we do them, it's about identifying what makes you and your business unique and uniquely valuable to your clients.  It's about finding what pricing and products will actually make your life easier rather than harder.  And it's about figuring out how to implement healthy changes in small and measurable ways so that you can actually take action and not just take notes.

If you've been feeling stuck in your business and the path ahead seems unclear, it's most likely time that you got some outside perspective on what you've been doing and offering.  You could just hire one or all of us as coaches to help you discover the path ahead.  To work with each of us individually as consultants and coaches, you'd pay up to three times the cost of this workshop, but by creating a group environment on a set date, we can combine all of our services together in order to make it much more affordable for those who need our help.  If you think that this workshop is just what you need to move into a new realm of success as a photographer and creative business owner, head over to the eventbrite link below to register, and save $50 by registering before May 31st:

CLOSED POSITION: Part-Time Virtual & On-Site Office Assistant (Greenwich Village / SoHo / Manhattan)

posted on: May 11, 2015

****** Updated***** This post is no longer active.  Thank you to all who applied!

Looking for an awesome virtual assistant and occasional in-office assistant (Greenwich Village/SoHo) for 4 - 8hrs a week at $20/hr.  If you have design or photoshop skills, I may have even more work for you at an even better rate.  My primary concerns are that you love to take care of my clients and make sure they have everything they need when they need it, and you love to make life easier for me by doing things even better than I can do them on my own.  No photography experience needed, but if you have an eye for organization, design, and constantly strive toward greater efficiency, I will go above and beyond to keep you hired and working with me.  Here are the basics of what you'll do:
  • Be punctual, keep your word, and show up when needed or make arrangements for someone else to take your place.  I realize this seems basic, but you'd be amazed how many people can't do just this one simple thing with consistency.
  • Be able to work from my Greenwich Village / SoHo office a few times a month and on your own from a great internet connection otherwise
  • Use these programs (if you don't already know them- you should be a self-learner who is comfortable learning new software on your own and have confidence that you'll figure it out from tutorials and youtube videos online without my help): 17Hats, PayPal, Pictage, Dropbox, Gmail, MacMail, iCal, Mac Address Book, Mac Remote Desktop, Lightroom, Skype, Google Hangout, iChat, Eventbrite, Facebook Pages, Instagram, Twitter, Blogger
  • Create new contracts from established templates and occasionally draft a new contract
  • Have impeccable grammatical and spelling skillz (and be annoyed by the fact I used a z and be able to point out my other faux pas)
  • Talk to me on the phone to get quote or proposal details which you clearly and beautifully compose into an email or 17Hats proposal for clients
  • Handle email and phone communications on my behalf when I'm traveling or working intensively on location and can't be in touch with clients directly
  • Email clients with project updates, links to images, billing reminders if needed
  • Schedule appointments and shoots into my calendar using my super awesome system full of functional details I can access offline in the subway when needed
  • Organize client info online based on a system I already have and be innovative about finding ways to make it even better or more streamlined
  • Maintain digital asset organization (images, videos, contracts, proposals, PDFs, client info)
  • Learn easily, aren't afraid to take charge when needed, and like to finish every project you start even if it takes extra time or means asking for help
  • Have a sense of humor, not take things personally, be flexible, and roll with the craziness while still getting things taken care of when a huge project comes in at the last minute

If this isn't you, but someone you know, I thank you for sharing this post with them!  If this is you, please send an email to info@anneruthmann.com before June 1, 2015 with:
  1. 3 dates and times that you can do a Skype video interview online
  2. A link to one article I've written online and a paragraph sharing what you think about it
  3. Your resume 
  4. 3 References I can call

Photography Internship Review: Brian's Feedback

posted on: May 8, 2015

Whenever I have an intern, I give a LOT of feedback to them as we're working together about their approach, their skills, their zone of genius, their talents, and where I see them being most profitable as a photographer. I get to see how they work, where they struggle, what their walls are, what their hesitations are, and I also get to share resources that I think will help them improve. Because of all the support I provide, I also like to receive feedback on myself as a mentor, what I offered, and what I provided to make sure that the internships I offer are of the highest value.  


Brian and I had an interesting journey because when he started, my direction was aimed heavily at portraits and weddings, but shortly after taking stock of my own business as it was unfolding in NYC, I realized that my own opportunity for growth here was actually going to be in architectures & interiors, and part of the work that he was brought on to work on ended up being different than either of us had anticipated up front. He was good at going with the flow and I found ways to help him get the experiences he really needed with other people who were focusing more on Wedding work than I was. However, don't take my word for it, here's what Brian has to say about working with me as an intern:

1. What was it like to intern with Anne?
Brian: Working with Anne has been one of the most rewarding experiences during my years as a photographer.  Not only did I get to meet and be mentored by a fantastic photographer I also made a lifelong friendship and to me, that is priceless!  It was like working with my incredibly talented younger sister!  From the very start Anne was grateful for my help and made me feel like family, we joked, we teased, we cried, we laughed and most importantly ate delicious food all over Manhattan! =) 
(Anne says: I'm actually older than Brian, and being taken out for lunch around Manhattan is part of the intern "payment" plan.)

(Brian was awesome and never complained about how much gear I made him carry. ;-)

2.  How would you describe Anne as a mentor?
Brian: Her mentoring style can be summed up as Hands-on and very involved, I loved her style.  She created an expectation of "I know you can do it- so just do it!"  It was her expectations and mentoring style that made it so easy to not be afraid of beings pushed past my comfort zone.  She seemed to care about my success and photography as much as I did.  She would send me text messages at we hours of the morning telling me that I need to do this and to get this in order with my business.  I've never met anyone as involved and committed as Anne.


3. What do you feel you learned by working with Anne that you wouldn't have learned on your own?
Brian: Anne pushed me to think and go outside my comfort zone.  Within the first week she already knew where my comfort zone ended.  She made me cold call individuals and ask them specific questions about their business and to see if they could use any of my services knowing that cold calling and trying to sell my business scared the living crap out of me!  Anne pushing me to this has helped me immensely, I don't think I would have been able to push my self to do that if I was on my own.  

4.  What did you learn about yourself in the process of the internship?
Brian: I learned what I'm worth as a photographer which is key when you have to run your own business with a profit.  After each day I interned Anne would create a journal entry, in those entries she would write what we did, what we have planned with our next visit and what she observed in me as a photographer.  By the time the internship was over she had  broke it down for me through her observations and directed me in a more clear path of what I needed to do as a photographer.  Finding that worth was and is priceless for me!


5.  What do you wish you'd learned, but didn't?
Brian: I would have loved to see more of the wedding photography client interaction side of the business, meeting them, showing them the album options, etc.  I was however able to experience a lot of the back and forth email communication with clients which was fabulous.

6.  What do I think a intern should bring with them before they intern for Anne Ruthmann Photography?   
Brian: Have a business plan. If you go into the internship with a clear plan of where you want your business to go you will be able to implement all the information you will receive in a more efficient way.  Set goals, more specifically set goals of where you want to be in the next 6 months to a year with your photography, that will help Anne guide you to achieve those goals.  Lastly go into internship with a strong willingness to learn from such a gifted and talented photographer.


7.  Anything else you'd like to share?
Brian: This internship was so much more than I expected it to be.  Being with Anne for those 6 months was a great experience.  She gave me so much advice on what I need to know to have a healthy business as a photographer in NYC!  Its now up to me to take that advice and run with it to make my photography thrive!

Thank you Brian, for sharing your thoughts and allowing me to share them on my blog!! Follow Brian to see where he goes next!! http://www.allredstudios.com/

NOTE: I am not accepting any new interns at this time, but I'm always accepting new consulting clients over on the Smarter Business Workshop Facebook Page where you can sign up to be notified of free and paid upcoming workshops online or in your area, as well as getting regular tips, asking questions, and getting advice to help you tackle different aspects of your creative business life!  If you don't need one-on-one help, feel free to browse all of the free articles I've already written over at Photo Lovecat.

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