Tanya Smith has a degree in graphic design and worked as a designer for years.  While doing freelance work, she was often struck by the poor quality of the  photos that clients gave her to work with.  Even so, when she began to do photography, she did traditional portraits before circling back to her first love, working with small businesses.  Today, Tanya is is the owner of WorkStory.  Her business provides people and businesses with photographic branding services. While she does sometimes photograph products, her niche is much more specific, personal brands or people who want to be seen as the face of their brand and an expert in what they do.

On today’s show Tanya shares how she discovered the opportunities that exist with small businesses, how she began to focus on her niche and some great tips for networking and building a photography business.

The Opportunity

Images are used everywhere.  Big companies like Target, CocaCola and Apple are masters at photographic branding. When you see one of their photos, you recognize the brand instantly by the style of the photo.  There are ways that small businesses can do this same thing.  In the interview Tanya tells a great story about one of her first clients, her hairdresser.  It’s definitely worth hearing her tell the story in her own words but the gist of it is that her hairdresser is very experienced and talented but was using marketing tactics that were outdated and no longer effective (a print add in a local paper).  As a result her business was failing.  Tanya helped her get on social media, took pictures of some of her work to share, helped her figure out how to get people to “check in” and share testimonials and helped her update her website with a StickyApp.  Within two months, business was booming.

Sometimes, it’s not necessarily that a business is doing poorly, it could be that they are looking to expand their services and need images that focus on that.

The Importance of Networking & Personal Relationships

Tanya admits that the first time she went to a networking meeting she was terrified.  Once she realized that the focus of a network meeting is not to sell something but rather to meet people and find out about what they do, they became easier and something that she actually enjoys.  By being interested in other people’s businesses, the opportunity to talk about yourself will present itself naturally.  These kinds of conversations are fun and will help you connect with other small business owners on a much deeper level, which is the key to having people make referrals to you when they hear that someone is looking for a photographer.

Tanya doesn’t make cold calls.  Rather, if she identifies a business that she would like to work with, she checks Facebook to see if she has mutual friends with the business owner and asks that person to introduce them.  Another effective technique is to see which local events the business owner will be attending and attend it as well.

Offering Value Will Bring You New Clients

Just like it’s important to ask other people questions about their business, it’s important to offer value to both perspective clients and those you are already working with. In addition to attending networking meetings, Tanya also does a speaking series where she educates small business owners on the importance of photographic branding.  In addition to sharing what she does, her talks are full of useful information that the business owners can implement on their own.  People leave with strategies that they can use and also know what she can do for them when they are ready.

Another thing that Tanya has used to grow her business is a lead magnet.  Visitors to her site can get her free e-book, “Five Hallmarks of A Powerful Personal Brand” but submitting their email address.  The email addresses are then added to her email marketing list.

Be sure to listen to Tanya’s entire interview and download her free e-book.  There’s so much good information! Additionally, Tanya has a private Facebook group that’s all about personal branding, and she’d love to have you join.  Check it out HERE.