Q: How do I get people to take me more serious?!
A: I wish I could take credit for this advice-- but I totally can't. Several years ago, while watching an episode of Oprah (not even joking you-- I am a die-hard Oprah fan) she had this lady on an episode centered around creating your own business. And I so wish I could remember this ladies name, because this piece of advice has stuck with me longer than any other advice I've been given. She said that when she first started her adventure as a photographer-- it was hard for her to have people take her serious. Everyone treated her as though her photography was just a hobby and they would say things like, "Why don't you just come over and snap some photos?" or, "You should bring your camera!" These people were friends of friends, or family of friends, and while she loved what she was doing-- compensation is a huge part of owning and operating a business... otherwise it really is just a hobby. And while she knew what she wanted to charge these people-- it was hard for her to communicate that to them, she was scared. And that is a feeling I know all too well. And then she had this brilliant idea-- she would leave those awkward conversations up to her assistant. Fancy huh? Except she was just starting out and couldn't afford to pay an assistant, so she became her own.
She would sign all of her emails as this factitious assistant, actually, as an executive assistant, for two reasons. Having an executive assistant, quickly changed her image from, "that lady with a camera," to a professional. And the other reason, and my favorite reason, was it took HER out of the equation. Katelyn has almost always handled all of our emails because we quickly learned that it was not my strongest skill-- but our business is not called Katelyn Photography, it's called Ace Fanning Photography. I don't talk money, I don't talk scheduling, I don't talk any of those things with clients (not to say I am not involved in them, because I am... A LOT) but those things take away from who I want to be to my clients. I am the fun and crazy guy who is going to make you laugh during pictures-- I am your friend. And I don't ever want to lose that connection with them. I am never the one saying, "No." Mind you, I am.... but I'm not. And by taking myself out of that equation-- I can do what I need to do, even easier.
Now, we can't all be as lucky as I am and have a Katelyn. And that's where your fake assistant comes in. If you are scared to talk pricing, or you're too scared to say, "No," to things you don't want to do, or you're a pushover like myself, or whatever the reason may be-- your assistant is now the one fielding those questions.