Ready to take the next step in your career and become an industry leader?
Take it from me, it can be a wild ride, but it’s so wonderful to pour into your industry. I started my photography career in 2009 after I had my son and by 2011, I was being asked to submit to industry blogs, teach workshops, and even speak at industry conferences. It all happened so fast and it almost feels like I stumbled into the role of industry leader instead of making a strategized path towards it. Before I knew it, I had one of the most sought after senior photography workshops and was selling 6 months’ worth of workshops out in 13 minutes. It was WILD! There were even a few years where I was either hosting a workshop or speaking at a conference almost every single month.
I’ve slowed down quite a bit since then and have traded in-person workshops for online photography courses and an incredible membership community as well as being more present at home with my family. I learned so much throughout those years of my career and am looking forward to learning even more in the future. This industry (especially the senior genre) is ever changing and learning to ride its waves has been hard but very rewarding.
Please know that becoming a photography industry leader won’t likely come naturally to you and will take hard work, but there’s actually a few tips and tricks that you can start doing TODAY that will fast track your industry presence as a leader.
Here’s 5 tips to becoming a photography industry leader:
1. Find your zone of genius:
Don’t attempt to teach all the things all at once. Just like you learn to niche down in your photography genre, the same goes for your educational position. Start small, with a very specific topic that will solve a major pinpoint for the industry. If IG marketing is your jam, get more precise… what specific knowledge can you provide that will help most of your industry’s audience? How about posing plus size models? Great – make that your initial educational pull. Having a pinpoint educational topic that will help solve other photographers’ needs and problems will make you synonymous with that need and you will be sought out as a solution for that issue.
2. Invest in your industry online communities:
If you’re scrolling your FB photog community group and see someone ask a question about your zone of genius, get in there and answer it! Share the information you know, your past experience about that topic, and anything else you can think of. Be consistent and transparent. This will start to build your position in the industry as someone who has valuable knowledge on that specific topic and is willing to be transparent about it. My favorite place to share my tips and tricks to navigating pricing and sales as well as client communication and session prep is the Senior Style Guide Facebook group.
3. Pitch articles & programs to publishers:
Write down a few ideas for magazine and blog articles on your zone of genius that you could pitch to publishers! Email a list of publishers with your ideas and show how you could be a great resource to their audience, while simultaneously leveraging their audience to build your leadership presence. When they feature you as a contributor on their social platforms, a lot of their followers will browse your account and follow you as well. This will help you gain an audience that is invested in your education and will look to you as someone who can provide valuable educational content. Again, my favorite industry magazine for publishing is Senior Style Guide.
4. Pitch speaking programs to conference leaders:
The same goes for conferences. Most expos and conferences open applications for speakers before they announce their line up, so that is your time to shine. Share with them your program titles and descriptions, how you can be of value to their conference, and how your specific topic will get butts in seats. If you’ve ever taught at a conference in the past, get a testimonial from the host about your presentation and presence – that will help sell you to other conference hosts. If you want to start small, opt for a local photographers’ association or small online speaking opportunities then build your way up to national and international conferences as you get more comfortable with you new role.
5. Start building your own education platform:
All of this work will be for nothing if you don’t find a way to seriously monetize your educational topic. I see it all the time… conference speakers who lose interest in speaking because it doesn’t pay well, or industry leaders who fade because they’re not making income. Guess what?!? Just like having thousands of followers doesn’t pay the bills, the same goes for being an industry leader. You MUST realize that steps #1 through #4 are a warmup to you busting your butt to create an educational platform to make income from. If you don’t, then what are you doing all the work for? A following? Likes? Accolades? None of those pay the bills, friends.
So who is going to get started TODAY!?! What steps are you going to take this week to get started on the path to become an photography industry leader? I want to challenge you to start steps #1 and #2 over the next 6 weeks then push to steps #3 and #4 over the next 6 months. You can do it!