It has been about a week since I got back from Inspire Photo Retreats. The experience of being there, with 250 other photographers, is still reverberating through my brain. It was a relaxed and yet very informative conference. I highly recommend you go next year. Other than the fact that you and I will get to finally meet, you'll truly be inspired. I guarantee it. If you are following me on Facebook, you likely saw a few images from the event in Portland, Maine.
Getting to Inspire was a bit of an adventure. My friend, and fellow photographer, David Apuzzo, set out at about 10 am on Sunday. We had heard about a looming snowstorm that was going to pile in a foot or more of snow in Connecticut, Massachusetts and yes, all the way up to our destination, Portland, Maine.
Given that my wife had to go to work the next day, I insisted that she take the four-wheel drive, Subaru Forrester. I chose to take the Toyota Sienna, a minivan (with terrible tires, mind you), to Maine. The four hour trek was mostly uneventful until we hit Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We managed to evade swaths of snow. Dave excitedly pointed to the space in between packed clouds on his phone's weather app that we were threading through. It was exciting to race Mother Nature.
But when we got to Portsmouth, we got hit with snow coming at us sideways. The wipers on my cars which were functioning just fine started to give me some trouble. As the snow came down, I kept using the wipers and the wiper liquid to clear the front of the car. My visibility was diminishing and it became somewhat uncomfortable to drive. I noticed that while the passenger side of the windshield was getting cleared up quickly, the driver's side was not. Dave and I both assumed that we had run out of windshield wiper fluid. My wife had foreseen this issue and insisted that we carry a bottle of wiper fluid with us. And boy did that come in handy. The temperature in New Hampshire was down to 7 degrees Fahrenheit and my fingers were quickly going numb, but Dave helped me pour some of that wiper fluid in. In fact, Dave stepped up and bought two big jugs of it at the gas station.
But that didn't help one bit. The nozzle on the driver's side was either frozen or clogged up. What were we to do? We had at least another hour of driving ahead of us. Then it was Dave's brilliant idea that got us through. He suggested that I simply drive behind some of the other cars and big rig trucks. His rationale was the snow and spray flying off of the cars ahead of us would land on my windshield and all I would have to do would be to use my worn wiper blades.
Guess, what? It worked! Like. A. Charm. I probably owe Dave a beer or two just for that. (Do collect, Dave!)
Now, imagine you at the helm of your photography business. You can go at it alone or you can have a trusted advisor, like Dave was for me on the perilous trip. Which will get you there safer and faster? For my photography business in Connecticut, I lean on a few people to coach me.
I've already mentioned Jeff Jochum. If you aren't clear about what it is that you are meant to do, he will help you get there. It's not an easy process but his video coaching is top class in my opinion.
Steve Saporito is the other business coach, I listen to. He is based in Australia, but let that not stop you from listening to our recent conversation about what he does for photographers, why he believes his approach is the most natural and how his teaching can benefit you.
Steve and his business partner, Kelly Vanyai moderate a lively Facebook group (open to only those who have signed up for their courses) where if anyone has a question, all you need to do is to ask and either they or an eager bunch of peers will jump in to help you. I've found it very helpful so far and I am already seeing results. What I personally love about Steve and Kelly's approach is that there is nothing “salesy” about how they want us to work with our own clients. Just as much as Steve and Kelly are our trusted advisors, we in turn become our client's trusted advisors and help them make the very best image selections for their life.
On February 20th, 21st and 22nd, Steve and Kelly will be hosting an intimate workshop in New Haven, Connecticut, for a few select studios. Yes, I am going. Did you have to ask? Find out more about this unique opportunity in Connecticut to learn from them face-to-face here. They will also be at WPPI offering a similar workshop there.
Clearly I am not the only one reaching out and working with business coaches. Maggie and Jason Henriques just wrote a post. Go read it! Also, Jasen Arias also posted about working with Jeff Jochum and Steve Saporito here.
Of course, there are other business coaches and mentors helping photographers, but from my exhaustive search and perspective Jeff and Steve make up the one-two-punch that I needed to restructure my business. If you have any questions about them, feel free to post them below or ask me directly.