Are you ready to overcome your money mindset blocks and price your products and/or services for profit? Are you ready to create an offer that sells?
In today’s episode, I chat with Brooke Jefferson, a photographer, marketing strategist, and mentor, who thrives on helping photographers book more clients through marketing their businesses on social media and building relationships with their local communities. Her focus is helping others maximize their potential by creating a profitable, sustainable, and most importantly, a fulfilling photography business.
We chat about pricing, overcoming money mindset blocks, cost of doing business, time vs. value pricing and creating a stellar offer that sells!
Connect with Brooke on Instagram or visit her at http://www.brookejefferson.com
Full transcription available at the bottom of this blog post
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Today I’m very excited to share this episode with you. My friend, Brooke Jefferson is in the house. Get ready to take a deeper look at your services and your pricing. That’s right. Are you over pricing or under pricing your services and is your offer really going to sell? Brooke knows her stuff. She is a photographer, marketing strategist and mentor who thrives on helping photographers, book more clients through marketing their businesses on social media and building relationships with their local communities. Her focus is helping others maximize their potential by creating a profitable, sustainable, and most importantly, a fulfilling business buckle up sister. This episode is fire.
Welcome back ladies today. I have a special guest and friend, Brooke Jefferson. She is the host of the bookmark clients’ photography podcast. And yes, you can assume from that title, that Brooke is a very talented photographer and coach. Hey Brooke. Welcome to the show.
Hey Alison. Thank you for the sweet introduction.
Oh, you’re welcome. And I meant it because you are super, super talented. I’m always stocking your photos on Instagram. They’re so good.
Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
So today we’re chatting about pricing our services and creating stellar offers, but before we jump into the juicy stuff, tell us about you and your business.
For sure. So I obviously you’ve already said I am a photographer and I’m also a coach. Oh, I recently earlier this year went from just being a local photographer to starting to really educate photographers on how to run a purposeful and profitable business. And that came from my heart of teaching. So I actually have a bachelor’s degree in education and it was very short-lived. I was a teacher for literally the snap of your fingers. And then I left and went full-time in my photography business, which has been the biggest blessing ever. Um, but I also know that the topic we’re talking about today just relate so well into my story because there’s no way I would have been able to leave my job charging the small amounts that I used to when I first started. And I think that’s one of the hurdles just as an entrepreneur in general, that we all struggle with. And so, um, today I’m living my best life of getting to still photograph, which is what I’m really passionate about as well as, um, be able to teach and coach other people who truly are passionate and want to go full time doing the same thing.
That’s awesome. And I didn’t really know that you had a teaching background cause so do I, and like you said, snap of the finger. Yeah. My teaching career did not last long. I realized, yeah, this is now for me.
Yes. I will say, um, when I first started teaching, including student teaching years as well, I was mainly in the elementary aged group. I think the oldest I did at one given time was sixth grade. Well, when I went to apply for my teaching job at our local school, I was instead of driving 45 minutes to another school teaching kindergarten, which I actually really enjoyed more than I thought I was going to wasn’t technically what I wanted to do, but I still enjoyed it. So then when an opening came in my local town, I was applying for what I thought was a first grade position. And when they called me back to give me the job I got put in middle school. So needless to say, I was miserable the whole year through cried almost every single day. My husband was like, why don’t you just quit your job and just come home? Like he, I think he saw the potential in me before I ever really saw it in myself. But yeah, I eventually, uh, fulfilled my contract and left.
Yeah. You know, those middle schoolers can be rough on you. Right.
And especially when you’re young and pretty is what I keep getting told.
Oh my goodness. Well, I’m going to come out of the Gates with a loaded question because I know our listeners are probably just wondering where does someone start when it comes to pricing?
Okay. So I do, I love this question. I’m going to tell you probably what everyone’s doing. And then I’ll tell you what we should be doing. So I’m going to assume that most of us, whatever business we decided to start, we look around at everybody else and what they’re doing, what they’re charging. And a lot of times we go look at somebody that’s really well-known for that particular thing. And then we go ahead and we look at the pricing and we’ll do one of two things. Number one, we will press ourselves so low. We have zero confidence in what we’re doing. We don’t have any experience. And so we feel bad for charging anything at all. Or some people try to come out of the Gates all the way at the top notch dollar, and then wonder why no one is booking them. What we should be doing is evaluating number one, our own goals with our business.
So whether you are a, or you want to do this, full-time, it’s very important that we make goals. And we look at the data first, before we just throw a number out there. That just sounds good. So when I’m working, one-on-one with my photography clients, the ones that are getting coaching from me, this is the number one place we start at. And I asked them a series of questions. So if you were to go sit down and lay out, basically your life, your numbers, your plans, this is typically what I ask. So number one, I ask them, is this supplemental income or is it income that is truly needed to help you guys make ends meet? That’s the first thing, because that matters because it there’s a difference between me saying I need to be making $1,292 a month to cover bills in my home versus I want to make 10 grand.
Great. We all want to make 10 grand, but I need to know, is this supplemental or is this what you need to pay your bills with? So that’s the very first thing we look at. And then a couple other additional questions that I ask after that is cost of doing business, which we can get into here in just a little bit. Uh, so like what are the expenses? And then the other thing is what is your, what is that goal for you? What is the very first threshold of a goal that you want to be making? And then we break it down from the numbers at that point. So that’s where we start.
And those are really great questions because I think we don’t think about those questions going into business. I think a lot of mompreneurs start a side gig or you know, a side hustle and they just think to themselves, I need to start making money so I can contribute, but they’re not asking those fundamental questions and you know, and then how to set up their services or whatever they’re going to offer. Now let’s jump into cost of doing business because what does that really mean?
Absolutely. Okay. Before we jump in, I want to say one thing, cause you said something and it sparks something. I hear all the time. I’m, it’s just a side hustle. It’s just, it’s just something I’m doing on the side. And so again, it goes back to, well, I don’t have to charge a lot because it’s just extra income and I don’t think that’s really the case. And I’m not saying everybody, you know, needs to be charging premium prices. That’s not necessarily the case, but that’s definitely one mindset block that I see happen with my clients all the time. And a lot of us don’t have a business background. I do. And that’s what sets me apart. That’s why I get to coach on that portion of business. And because I’m just a nerd and I love numbers, but which is funny because math was my least favorite subject.
But when it comes to money, I’ll talk numbers all day long. And so I just want everyone to know you, weren’t born knowing these things. It’s not like, you know, that’s what pops into our head and we know how to run a business, but it’s really important for you right now in this moment to remember you are a CEO and an owner of your business, and that’s why it’s important to listen and then implement what we’re talking about today. So moving into cost of doing business, that’s a fancy way of saying, what do you have to pay every single month to run your business in the first place? I truly don’t even think there’s one out there, whether it’s network marketing or whether it’s some startup you did on your own or photography, nothing is really started for free. You, might’ve got, you know, skated by maybe you’re borrowing the camera.
Maybe someone paid a lot of it for you, but it really technically wasn’t free. So we really need to get past that. I’ve never met a single person that has ever said it cost me $0 a month to run my business. I don’t think so. Um, I know for one of my best friends, she handcrafts jewelry. And so she has the cost of supplies. And so that’s an example of something for, you know, like an Etsy type of business. I, and I’m pretty sure now that we all run our businesses and use social media to market with, there is a hidden cost somewhere, somewhere you are paying for something, whether it is, you know, an app, whether you’re paying for QuickBooks, for your financials, whatever the case may be. I want you to list out all the things that again, you have to pay for every month in order to run your business, that has to be factored into what you charged.
And could you also add, cause it just popped in my head. What about the cost of your time that be considered as well?
Okay. So I actually listened to a podcast probably three or four days ago and it really opened my eyes to something even I didn’t really think about. So we can, we can price for time or we can price for the value. And again, this is a toss that so between you and I, we have to think about this. What is the value that someone is going to get? If they hire you? For example, I’ll give you the example I heard on the podcast. And if I remember what podcast it was, I’ll tell you that too. Um, but it was a website designer and she said she used to charge services for her hourly time. Now she charges her service for the value her clients are going to get. So for instance, if she is going to reduce someone’s website, you know, install all the SEO, just to make sure that everything’s going to perform the way that it’s supposed to.
And for that particular client, it, you know, five, X’s their income. She charges a portion of that. So that’s why she’s like luxury premium because she knows if someone’s gonna make 10 grand, she’s going to charge a portion of that two or three grand to do the full website. Rehaul so I know that’s kind of like that, that really, um, that can make things tough. And so for me, I’m a photographer. So I’m going to go back more with, it’s not so much the value. Of course the value is priceless of images. I understand that I can’t really put a number on what that means to somebody, but I can relate more to the time piece of that. And so I am going to look into charging for my time at that point. Does that make sense? The two, the two types of,
Yeah, it totally makes sense. Cause I can see how our photographer me price based on time, because I know what it takes. I mean, it’s the, the time, not only at the session it’s prepping for the session, it’s the editing, it’s the delivery of the photos. So there’s a lot of time in there. But when you talked about value, that really made me think of my own business because I coach on Instagram. And even though my session is only one hour, but I go above and beyond and I spend time afterwards writing, you know, a summary just for their business. And then I decide to throw in all these extras and send it to them. So the value after the session is really more than the initial price. So I’m glad that you brought that up. It’s it’s time versus value and you have to decide, well, what fits, you know, I guess your business more.
Yeah. And so I actually, in fact, let me just make this parallel really quickly since I do have the photography side, but then I have the coaching side, the coaching side for me, I’m going to price on value. So my signature course that I have for photographers, that’s based on value. And that’s why that price will skyrocket in 2021. Why? Because my clients have three X their income just from taking my course. So for them it changes their business, their lifestyle. I mean it changes the game for them. So they’re making thousands of dollars for literally a quarter of what they invested for. Whereas again, my photography clients, like I said, their value is priceless and it’s way more of my time, my hard earned labor going into that session. So that’s a really good parallel of maybe, you know, if you’re someone that it truly is your time, again, my best friend who has that jewelry company, it’s her time, it’s her labor, it’s her supplies. She’s probably going to charge more for her time than she is the value of you getting a cool pair of earrings.
Yeah, no, I’m glad we talked about that. Cause I think that really clarified pricing for a lot of our listeners, but now let’s get into how can someone create an offer that sells, how do we know what’s the right offer?
Okay. So I think that what you create the offer itself is probably more important than just the price you slap on it. And again, I hope you slap any press on something, which I will give a golden tip here at the end of this, but, uh, for the offer, um, when I am crafting an offer for really either side of my business, the very first thing I’m thinking about is what is the pain point? What’s my solution to the pain point. Every single person that is listening to this, you are solving someone’s pain point somewhere. Maybe you are providing them joy when they are lacking it. And that could be a shopping retail purchase. Maybe you are solving a legitimate problem. So if you’re in the health and wellness industry, there are a ton of problems that you can directly pinpoint and solve for people.
So I want you to really pinpoint what does my product or service, um, what solution, you know, am I in my offering and what pain point am I solving? So that’s number one, because if you just craft something that sounds good, or you try to put an offer out there that nobody wants, it’s never going to sell. And I think that validating your idea is so important. And here’s my golden tip for you. One of my favorite things to do is survey, ask questions, go straight to the people. I want you to think of five people right now that either have your problem. And again, I’m going to put something in parentheses here. It is anything to do with something that could potentially be offensive to somebody, please pray about who you just walk up to and ask these questions. But if you have another problem that people would just like to fill out, then I, then what I do is I survey, I just did this like four weeks ago, I was revamping my own pricing, my own offers in photography with my local clients.
And I wanted to know, so I got very specific, got a Google form it’s free. And I made about 10 to 15 questions on it. And then I asked all of my past clients and then I went and I asked a few clients that I’m dying to work with if they would fill it out. And I asked specific questions like, uh, how many times a year does your family, um, get photos? Or what is your ideal amount of times a year that you would like to have your photos taken? What is your budget when it comes to, you know, having your pictures made, what is the adequate number of images that you are satisfied with at the end of your session? And I just dug, I just dug and I dug and I dug and I asked, you know, things about specifically what I’m going to offer.
I asked them what, um, was most important to them. And so if you’ll do that with your own business and really get to the root of the problem, figure out, you know, what’s their biggest objection going to be? Is it pricing? It’s going to be money? Is it going to be time? Is it going to be their husband? Does their husband have to weigh in and make a decision with them, nothing wrong with that. But if that’s the case, you’ve got to have a solution for that. So all of that together, my biggest golden tip is don’t be afraid to put together a survey and ask your people because they’re going to tell you exactly what you need to be including in your offer when they grab your thoughts on that. Alison.
Yeah, I like that. Especially doing the market research and I also have found that you can actually dig deeper. Well, we’re both coaches. I have found through the coaching calls, what I initially thought their main pain point was. And they signed up for that. After speaking with them and digging deeper, it actually turned to be something else. It was another roadblock. So even though you might initially come up with an offer and it’ll be selling, and then you may discover through what you’re doing, that it’s really attached to something else. You can just go back to that original offer in kind of adjust the way you know, that you’re marketing it on social media or in your email list and, you know, mess around with the copyright, you know, in the messaging. That’s what I have found that your initial offer may not remain static. It will evolve based on what you’re doing with your clients.
And that’s so true. And honestly it should, if you’re not evolving and your business is not growing one to two years down the road, then we’re missing something. And I think that’s very important to note is that, and I tell my clients this too, that when I offer pricing audits or mentorships or whatever the case may be, I always tell them, this is starting point. This is not, you’re not sitting here forever. So don’t get too comfortable because six months to 12 months down the road, I’m going to ask you to Uplevel. It’s time to change something. It’s time to look at it again and readjust and reevaluate. So that’s very important that you, that you say that.
Yeah, absolutely. Now what is the best piece of advice you can share with those who are still stuck in pricing?
Okay. So the biggest piece of advice I can give you is I feel like if you’re stuck 99% of the time, it’s, it’s goes back to confidence, the way you’re feeling about something. And it’s probably a mindset issue. And so it’s one of those things where, um, this sounds like a silly exercise, but believe me, it works and you will just continue to do it. So I want you to say, you know, why do I feel stuck about pricing? First thing that comes to your brain, write it down, ask yourself why again. And you’re going to go down that and ask yourself why until you figure out what it truly is. Are you not confident in what you’re doing? Do you not feel like your product or service is worth charging for, um, do you, are you stuck because you feel like you redid your pricing once you put it out there for a week, nobody bit.
And so you’re like, I’m a failure. Let’s throw in the towel guys. If I had a dollar, every photographer that has ever to me or messaged me and said, it’s not working even my own coaching clients, I am like, girlfriend, I love you. It’s been 12 days. It’s been 12 days. How many inquiries did you actually get that? Well, just to, well, that’s not enough to decide whether or not something works for you. So if you’re truly stuck try that exercise, but I know you’re like, Hey, but I want something tangible. Well, here you go. Set your pricing anyway, set it somewhere, charged something and, and move on. But again, it goes back to, you’ve got to make sure that you’re looking at your expenses. So what does it cost to run my business? Those you can write down. That’s not something you need to sit on.
It’s something you can go look at your bank account, figure it out. The second step is, make a goal for yourself. If you are trying to make $2,000, how many sales or how many clients do you need to make that happen? That’s the nitty-gritty, that’s how I, that’s how I do all this. And then account for taxes. If you are still or not. Yes. Self-employed or running your own business. And you know, we pay 15% plus we pay more than that too. Right? So, you know, just think about that. I’m not going to give you tax advice that legally cannot do that. But again, I want you to keep your taxes in mind and then I want you to do a formula. And I tell my clients that I want you to go. Like I said, expenses, what’s the goal. How many clients do I need? You’re going to craft pricing based on that. Then don’t stop there. You need to take it one step further. And that is make a plan for how you’re going to get there. If you need 10 sales this month, how are you going to do that? And a lot of you listening to this podcast, you’ve got someone who’s very good at the marketing and that’s Allison.
Ah, thank you. Now I just had a thought that popped in my head. How do you feel about entrepreneurs starting off with giving their services away for free or beta testing, something to give themselves confidence and the testimonials are the social proof and then they decide to charge. What are your thoughts on that?
I love this question. Um, first of all, I’m eight years into my local photography business. I still, every single year do shoots for free. That doesn’t mean all the time. That doesn’t mean, um, that I just do it because I’m not feeling confident. It’s just, when I feel burnt out, I still go do stuff for free. So I just want you guys to know you never fully arrive at what you’re doing. You’re never going to be perfect. You’re never going to hit the highest level and you can’t grow anymore. And when I started my business, I did do things for free where I see the problem is when you tell yourself, I’m just going to do it for free over and over and over again that you eventually get comfortable with exchanging things for free, and then you never are ready to get uncomfortable charge for something.
So I would say if you have to truly do something for free, I don’t think you need to do any more than five, some things for free. And I say something like don’t know what your business is, but maybe it’s five coaching sessions for free, great seal. It get used to it. Get testimonials. You’ll probably have three out of those five people leave you a testimonial. That’s just statistics. Um, if you’re a photographer like me, you get to do five shoots for free and then you’re done slap a price on it. Right? Um, so regardless of what you’re doing, you really shouldn’t do more than a handful of somethings for free. And by then, uh, and here’s the biggest thing. A lot of people are like, I’ll do that when I feel confident. Well, that’s the thing. You get your confidence by taking action day after day after day, if you all thought I was confident. The first two years of my photography business, I look back and pretty much throw up looking at what I was taking pictures of and the editing styles back in 2014. So I just want you guys to know that confidence is not something that you’re going to wake up and just feel one day, you’re going to do it by failing, making mistakes by doing it by, you know, that, that’s just the biggest thing that I, that I heard one day was it comes through taking actions. So take some dang action.
Yeah, I can totally agree. I mean, I still get nervous doing these coaching calls. And even though they’re, they’re fun and I love meeting these moms and we have a blast, but there there’s still nerves going on. And I don’t think that ever goes away in your business. And I think that actually tells you something. If you’re slightly nervous with what you’re doing, then that means you should be doing it. If you have no nerves and you’re like, whatever, I got this, and you kinda like let’s, let’s just get through the cycle and go on with my day. Then I think that needs, that tells you, you need to Uplevel, then you should never be totally comfortable.
Uh, I agree. And that literally reminds me of my post. I posted in my photographer community the other day, just about, you’re always going to have your bad days. I mean, there is, and this time of year is very easy for the photographer community. Really entrepreneurs let’s be real because you’ve got the holidays. Life gets busy, it gets fast. You’ve got all these things happening and you kind of reached burnout and you start comparing yourself. And so I remember telling my community that if you did not compare yourself, if you did not have days where you are just like crying and eating candy and all of that, that, uh, you, that you don’t care. Right? Because it means that you’re meant to be where you’re at. If you care, if you didn’t care, like you just said, then it wouldn’t matter. You wouldn’t deal with those things, but you do. And so that’s always a good sign that you are, that you’re in a good spot and you’re doing what you should be doing.
Yeah. I agree. Well, Brooke, this was an awesome conversation. I’m so excited for my community to connect with you.