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Sexy Business Workshop review

July 11th, 2012  |  Published in Featured, Shoot  |  8 Comments

by Andree Kehn

I have never dreaded going to a workshop more.

Numbers, money, identity. I would rather poke a stick in my eye than reveal my finances in front of six strangers. And then we were supposed to come up with “why” people should hire me? For real? I know who I want to work with, but absolutely no idea why they should hire me. I take good pictures, isn’t that enough?

Sexy Business Workshop: Business and Branding for Photographers, run by Todd and Jamie Reichman, was hosted at an adorable boutique hotel in Atlanta. I got in the night before and was smitten. But the next morning I woke to more dread. Could I, possibly, justify watching tv in my hotel room for three days?

But I put on my cute dress and crept down to the conference room.

The first day was as advertised. We looked hard at our finances to see what made sense and where there might be trouble. We didn’t try to solve anything; we just experimented with the numbers and saw how tiny changes could make massive differences. As a group, we were all over the map, some of us had spending problems, some of us had booking problems, one studio was right on target (cheaters) and one of us (me) was looking at her numbers critically for the first time.

After dinner, we went out to the courtyard and gathered around for a fireside chat. Todd asked, “Do any of you know what your clients are looking for?” I guess. Maybe he asked something else; it’s all a blur. Being the aspiring smarty-pants teachers-pet, my hand shot up and I answered the question. I figured we were having a nice friendly chat, and we would all pipe in with observations about our own markets and brands.

Ha. ha. ha. nope. I had volunteered for the hot seat. They asked me why people should hire me. No idea. They asked me what I thought weddings meant and if I wished I was married. I talked about my history, my values and my boyfriend, not all of which seemed appropriate or relevant. They pulled up my website, looked at my images and asked me more questions. Full-on interrogation. No secrets. It was kooky.

But we had all just put our money insecurities out on the table and I’m an over-sharer by nature, so I jumped right in. As a group, they told me the one thing I had been working so hard to keep under wraps, that I had spent years working at the fairs as a carny, was something I should consider an asset and use in my branding. Yeah-right. That was not going to happen.

My new best buddy stood up for me and told everyone to back off, that I obviously had issues with this. Listening to my position from someone else’s voice, weirdly made me realize I could get over it and consider using this “asset”.

That evening I went to bed feeling a little guilty. I had used up so much time! We had easily spent an hour and a half on my neurosis.

First thing the next morning, Todd turns the heat right back up under me. At this rate, we will never get to everyone else. But we do a little who-what-where-when-why on my business and blow another hour (or more) talking through who I am, what my work means and what I am doing for my client.

I have taken up so much time. Woe.

Inconceivably, we move through each studio at the same relentless pace. Although we work through lunch and work through dinner, we are up until the wee hours shining the harsh light of love on each participant, dragging out issues and digging into the “why” of their business.

It seems like we all shoot because we like taking photos or because we can’t think of what else to do, but there is something else we bring to the table that is central to who we are as individuals. This is our Unique Selling Position. This becomes the thing we compete on. We can define our competition, so we compete on our unique strengths!

Day three is about implementation. We had to figure out which changes have to happen to make our individual businesses financially profitable, while staying true to our unique values. We figured out each studio’s positioning in their market, we looked at our competitors websites (just a little bit) and talked about websites and logos, packages and strategies for each business. If a business had a particular pain point, we “unpacked it” and figured out how to make it work. We didn’t move on until the solution worked for that studio.

I don’t think all the crying was absolutely necessary, but we did all indulge. It was a good indication that we were brushing up against something meaningful. Something that needed to be figured out. These two, Todd and Jamie, are crazy-good at facilitating this process.

I’m not going to talk about the brand-identities, family issues or financial haps and mishaps of my fellow participants; that would be unthinkable. It’s such an honor to be trusted and to trust six strangers with the details of your personal life and business. So there’s a limit to what I can say to tell you how I saw this workshop change people’s brands. But I do believe that these three days changed my business identity radically, so that aligns more closely with my values, and I believe it did the same for my cohorts.

Any change in my business makes me worry that my business is going to tank, and this change is no exception. It feels much scarier to me than previous changes, because now the “real me” is now peering out from my About Me page. I’m giving it until Labor Day, this year, to decide if it is a success. Although, honestly, if this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

About Andree

Andree Kehn has written 38 post in this blog.

Andree is a fun Bethel Maine Wedding Photographer, who specializes in contemporary photojournalism. She eats shoots and leaves.

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Responses

  1. SEXY BUSINESS Photography Business Workshop - one slot open in DC! —Business and Branding for Photographers ...a Man to Fish... says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 9:22 am (#)

    [...] CHECK OUT THIS SEXY BUSINESS REVIEW ON THE SHOOTSTYLE BLOG. [...]

  2. Michael Howard says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 10:24 am (#)

    Andree,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about Todd and Jamie’s workshop. I’m a big fan of theirs and I’m so glad that you got a lot out of their process. I’m excited to have both of them at the Musea Gathering and such well written reviews, like this one, affirm how much value their workshop brings. Thanks again for sharing!

    Michael

  3. Andree says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 10:34 am (#)

    Thank you Michael! I adored the workshop and am now just crazy as can be about both of them. It’s been such an amazing adjustment to my business, I can’t wait to see how things unfold from here. :)

  4. Jon Fischer says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 11:02 am (#)

    Wow….
    Thanks Andree for sharing of yourself so honestly to us all. Its refreshing to get that kind of honesty in this “report” of a workshop and it seems like that was the exact same thing at the workshop itself. Thank you!. It seems clearly like its for me too. To uncover those (maybe embarrassing) things that make me unique and put them out to the world to see clearly and actually want to hire because of them. hmmm…I got a feeling that there are some things I equally won’t want to be so open about but it would be quite cool to come to a place of seeing them clearly as assets to my work (which I think I do now , but wouldn’t want to tell anyone about it) and shouting them to the word….hmmmm again…
    Jon

  5. Andree says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 11:06 am (#)

    LOL, Jon, I think you should run and grab a seat. :)

  6. Joel Conner says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 6:52 pm (#)

    Great review…as a graduate of the SB workshop, I could not have said it any better myself!

  7. Sandra says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 7:13 pm (#)

    Andree,

    This is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am signed up for the Mystic workshop and I can’t wait despite my anxiety about the process. At the same time I wish it were happening now. Wishing you great success as you move forward in your journey. Thanks again.

  8. Robyn says:

    August 27th, 2012 at 7:18 pm (#)

    I absolutely loved reading your review Andree… and would love the chance to discuss this more with you! Maybe it’s time we caught up?? It’s just about labour day… how has your new identity worked for you? I recently discovered A Man To Fish and am going to try to find myself on the way to a Sexy Business Workshop somewhere soon!

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