Happy Tuesday friends!
I sat down at the computer not entirely sure what I wanted to write about, but when I got to thinking, this topic seemed to pull at me!
Like many other vendors in the industry I am indeed young. When I first started my business, it was pretty apparent that most potential brides as well as established vendors didn't really take me seriously. Being that I shot my first wedding at only 18 fresh out of high school, it wasn't so hard to see why. It's not just that I was a baby faced teen (my face hasn't aged since then) but a lot of other factors played into it. In fact, I even recently had a lull in my bookings and had to reevaluate how people perceived me and my business. As I note with any educational post, I don't claim to know everything, but these are just some things I have learned along the way! Without further ado, here are a few tips to be taken more seriously as a business owner in your twenties.
#1: Your Social Media Feed - KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
This one is such a HUGE one, and in my opinion the most important one, which is why I place it at #1. When you decide to start a business it needs to be a priority to remind yourself that you are a business owner before anything else. You need to ask yourself, who is my target client? What would they think of my social media? This post is targeted towards wedding professionals so I will use that as an example. If you want people to forget you are young and entrust with you their special day, you need to impress them and ooze with maturity! Be careful about posting photos from college parties and events, especially if you are not of age. Do not post pictures of you spending your money on unwise things. As a rule of thumb, for the most part profanity gives off a very immature and distasteful vibe. This goes for other social media accounts too. Even if it wasn't posted to your business website or Instagram. As my good friends pointed out, ANYTHING that could be tied back to your business and make you sound immature in any way needs to be cut off completely. Since it was election year, things like reposting videos about controversial political topics that could potentially turn off a lot of your clients. Potential clients do not know you, all they have to go off of is the first things they see when they click on your social media. So, just remember that before you post!
A huge thing that adds a level of professionalism and maturity to your experience as a vendor is how you dress. It might seem self explanatory to some of you, but it is SO important. When I first started, I never dressed unprofessionally, but it was not the greatest. If it was summer, I would dress in boat shoes, and a untucked button down. I even had a beach wedding and shot in flip flops. DO NOT DO THIS. Every impression you have with each clients needs to be a stellar one, and flips flops do not in any way scream "I know what I'm doing". I dress now in about what you see in my headshots on my website. I wear a full suit, bow tie, belt, dress shoes, the whole nine yards. If it is a super hot July wedding I will wear a tucked in polo shirt with a belt, but regardless still professional. Ladies, wear a nice neutral colored dress, or a blazer with a skirt. As the saying goes "dress to impress!" It is a wedding after all and you need to look nice. If you don't shoot weddings still, still look presentable. Whether your shooting photos for a magazine, or speaking at a conference, "dress to impress!" I hate to say this, but I have shown up to numerous weddings with my team looking way more professional than any other vendor there, and many of the brides complimented how nice we looked. Dress comfortable enough for the occasion, but still dress professional.
#3. Keeping your cool! - Your overall demeanor
As a person with anxiety I know this is something I definitely struggled with for my first few weddings. If this is you too, I totally get it! Having the keys to someones wedding day is such a tremendous responsibility, but remember it is fun too! Something I had to work on early on was not letting my clients see my stress if something went wrong. Whether your shooting video or photos, you know that there is a lot of moving parts to a wedding day. Guess what? Most brides are thinking about all of those things too and the LAST thing they need is someone who she entrusted with her day to be acting anxious. When I first started it was nothing in particular that I said to the clients, in fact I was very professional when talking to them! However, what I did wrong was showing my anxiety with my demeanor. People can tell if your briskly running to your bag while swapping lenses with a drops of sweat on your face that you're not doing so hot. Again, it is your job, so smile, and make your client feel 100% at ease during the day. Just remember THINGS HAPPEN. Once I realized this I was able to tackle each shoot with such an uplifting attitude. This is not to say you should be reckless and carefree, but certain things are out of your control and sweating about them while making your client nervous is only making things worse. A sun patch might swing out of no where, over exposing the bride and groom on their kiss. Rain might start pouring down in the middle of their vows. One wedding I shot, the groom got into a car accident right outside the venue. We dropped our stuff, made sure everyone was okay, we made sure the bride was calm and happy, and continued to shoot! Life is crazy, and the beautiful madness of a wedding day certainly is too, but that is okay! Just roll with the tide as things happen, and give your 150% effort to give your client the BEST experience possible, and the best end product they have ever seen. In the end, THAT is what they are going to remember about you, and that will speak to your maturity ten fold.
It is all about how your present yourself.
Notice I didn't list a bunch of things about what website you use, how nice your equipment is, or what finish is on your business cards. Yes, that stuff is important, but the foundation of your business needs to be built first, and that my friends is all in how your present yourself. Ooze maturity, treat your clients like literal gold. There is a time and a place for everything, and finding that balance is what will ultimately launch your business from part time, to full time. Just remember that whether you have 10 followers or 10,000 people are watching. Whether you are at an elopement with 10 people, or a wedding with 400 people, people are watching. Present yourself as a true professional online, and dress and carry yourself like a business owner when you are interacting with clients. I promise people will forget your age, and focus on your work/business, but first your need to prove yourself.
Joshua Bryan Medlin
MY LAST BLOG POST: http://www.joshuabryancinema.com/blog/caroline-constantine