I was recently asked the following question on an Instagram post I had done, following all of our 2013 moving:
“How did you get your wedding business started in your new area?”
First off, I have to say, that relocating back up to Oregon was not a brand new start for me. I had been living down in San Diego for about 7 years, but prior to that I lived in Oregon. Also, I kept shooting back up in Oregon even when I was living in SoCal…which was such a blessing. And NOW, I get the best of both worlds in that I get to live in this beautiful state, but I still travel to shoot all over…especially still in San Diego! [Somebody pinch me!] I have sooo many beautiful friends, clients, and memories down in SoCal…God-willing, I’ll be flying back and forth for years to come. 🙂
So “starting” my business back up in OR, wasn’t as difficult as it might have been otherwise. Also, I feel like a good portion of my work is still in CA and other areas, so I don’t feel the need to be quite so busy up here right now. All that being said, starting your business up, or back up in my case, in a new area can seem daunting. But to me, I think it’s an adventure…a chance to start fresh, open new doors of opportunity and meet amazing new peers in your area. I’m blown away by the new talent that has arisen all around me in the past few years…creative minds willing to search their hearts for their true calling, and make their business work fabulously around their talent.
The photography, and creative, industry has blown the doors off of traditional styles and concepts…and welcomed in a new era of imagination, creativity and support for those around them. The love I feel from vendors and peers now is so welcome. I love that people are willing to share “trade secrets” and help support each individuals journey to find their niche, all the while bringing clients joy with their art. It’s a whole new world from when I started shooting back in 2002! I absolutely LOVE the clients that come my way, the industry FRIENDS I have made and cherish, and the open learning environment in which we now live.
On that note, I believe the best way to get your business up and running in a new area is to know what your ideal client is (which is usually someone you’d totally dig hanging out with anyway), seek out and offer your services to those new “friends” you’re making, and let them speak for you. Nothing goes farther on the path to attracting your perfect client, than to have their friends refer them to you…nothing. No advertising, feature publications, branding…NOTHING. If I was looking for a photographer and I saw some beautiful images my BFF had up in her house, AND that good friend also gave her photographer mad props for being the bomb to work with…guess who I’m probably going to give a call? Or if I’m a bridesmaid and totally fall in love with the wedding photographer’s laugh, smile and skills at that wedding, guess who I’m probably going to remember to call when I get engaged? Word of mouth advertising, from your ideal client, is the bullseye to attract even more ideal clients.
Also, seek out other local vendors you love, in your area, and offer your services to them. Build relationships that are meaningful, with vendors you truly enjoy being around, and whose work you genuinely find inspirational. Once you build those bonds, you won’t hesitate to refer them to your clients…and I would imagine they might do the same for you. Best thing is?…now you’ll most likely be getting to work with those vendors, whose work you love. Double the fun!
Know your ideal client…be yourself…keep educating yourself on your trade…practice your trade OFTEN…be willing & ready to shoot for your ideal client and/or vendor in any situation…& be generous with the knowledge and gifts you possess. I pretty much guarantee your phone will start ringing… xo