common sense business tools for portrait photographers

How do you do it all?!

Being a mom of 6 under the age of 11, homeschooling, running a full time business, training for a half marathon, and having a husband currently working out of state….yah, it looks like I have a lot on my plate. And many assume that there is a cape and magic involved.

Honestly, there isn’t. But I do accomplish a lot. And it’s done the exact same way that you can do it.

Here’s a behind the scene peek at how I “do it all.”

#1 – Everything that is on my plate is because I want it there.

My husband and I have defined the things that we value the most in our life and what we want for our family. It changes and evolves as we grow, but we adapt our lifestyle as our values and goals change. This helps us determine what we pile on our plates to get us to those goals. If it doesn’t serve the goals that we are working towards, we don’t take it on.

Everything that you put on your calendar and all the activities that you involve yourself in are there because you accept doing them. No one is forcing you to do anything. You aren’t under a dictatorship that tells you where to go and what to do.

YOU choose everything that you do.

So every time you are committing yourself to something — whether it’s a new business project, a birthday party or time in front of Facebook — you’re saying “Yes” to it. And when you say YES to something, you are also saying NO to another thing.

Sometimes, when we say YES to things we don’t need, don’t value or take us to our life goals, we are saying NO to the things that we do need.

Is it easy saying No? Absolutely. But only when you clearly know what you need. (Click to tweet that!)

If you find yourself piling things on to your calendar left and right, you might not have a clear picture of what you need in your life and which goals are most important. This takes some serious soul searching and mapping out.

#2 – I don’t do everything.

When I first started my business, I was everything. But as my business has grown, I have had to release areas of control and reach out for help with some of the things in my business and life. For my business to grow, I had to focus my talents on what I can do best to bring in the most amount of money so that I can pay others to help with the other things.

I now have an editor that helps me with everything that I put out into the world in written form. I have a virtual assistant that supports me in my business by taking care of all of my customer service. I have a designer that makes everything pretty so that I don’t have to spend hours in front of a computer tweaking things that can take her a few minutes. I have a bookkeeper that takes care of my business AND personal finances. I also hire others to do web/technical things for me, I hire business coaches to teach me so I don’t have to sift through a lot of information that takes up a lot of time — I can just get to the good stuff that applies to me most.

I am able to do the things that I am most gifted at because I surround myself with a very important support team. They make everything I put out in the world possible by maximizing every minute that I put into my business.

If you aren’t making a lot of money right now, look into hiring a friend who might be able to help you for just an hour or two a week.

There might be a stay at home mom that would be happy to help clean up your inbox, or package your orders and deliver them. There might be someone to help you categorize your outright.com account, which makes bookkeeping easy — you never know until you ask.

There are a million hidden talents on your Facebook friend list that might be more than happy to help you out for $20 an hour just once or twice a week.

And don’t forget — there are people who will happily be paid for folding laundry, cooking meals for your freezer, and maybe even doing your grocery shopping.

If you are struggling, please, reach out to someone for help. You aren’t going to get it until you acknowledge the need is there and express it. Otherwise, you’ll continue to struggle at it alone.

#3 — I maximize the time in my day by giving myself quality hours.

I have discovered that I am the most productive when I feel good, mentally, physically and spiritually. I schedule time into every day to care for myself. That means I get to bed early at night so I can have the best quality of sleep. When I have excellent sleep, I physically am capable of getting up early in the morning — before anyone else in my family.

I schedule time to exercise by running or doing a DVD workout every morning because it helps clear my head, and I feel amazing when I am done. I also schedule time to make sure that I have “me time” which I still can accomplish in the morning or evenings after my kids go to bed by book keeping, blog stalking, online shopping, etc…

When I have scheduled time in my day to meet my physical and mental needs, I can better focus on the things that require my energy throughout the day.

If you have been on schedule overwhelm, let’s take some stuff on your plate! In the comments, let us know the things you are struggling with and that you could use some help clearing off your plate.

If you would like some extra guidance helping you to determine what you need for your business to accomplish, you can download the free first chapter of my Happy Place Business Plan to get started.

I’m trying to use Facebook for my marketing, but I’m pretty sure it hates me. Why isn’t it working for me!?

When it comes to marketing, Facebook has been my biggest source of attracting my audience over the last few years. But over the last year, I saw a huge shift in connectivity. Less comments, less likes, less growth. What the heck!? Either my audience hates me or Facebook does. Maybe even a combination of both.

Here’s the thing. My Served Up Fresh audience is highly targeted and I don’t build just for the number. I don’t use Facebook ads or any other paid method to build my audience. It is 100% organic.

Everyone is blaming the algorithms for their recent plummet with Facebook connectivity. But here’s one very important thing that you need to understand about Facebook. It’s not as evil as many are declaring.

It truly is refining the way that it performs and it truly is in the best interest of the small business whether it seems like it or not. The more you physically put into your efforts, the more you get back.

It’s exactly like any form of relational marketing: there are no shortcuts to growing your business with the perfect clients.

Facebook is refining its ability to promote harder those who work harder at marketing and making the lazy ones pay for their service. Not evil — actually, it’s genius.

So how am I accomplishing increased Facebook reach? I connect. Pure and simple.
The more statuses I post that require engagement, the longer my status remains in the news feed. The more posts that I share that are share worthy, the more my name gets out there attracting new people. The more I engage, the more people want to join in on what I have. (Wanna connect on Facebook with me? Here you go!)

Yes, engagement is a lot of time and energy. But when you are in need of marketing and don’t have a huge budget just to throw into the wind, Facebook can help.

You can try out different questions, photos, comments, inspirational quotes, and see how they land on your audience.

Then learn from what works, scrap what doesn’t — and you’ll have a running record of what resonates with your crew.

If you want to understand the technicalities of how Facebook’s latest algorithms work, check out this awesome post by ProBlogger that explains it in more depth.

If that feels overwhelming, just start by asking your audience members a question you’d genuinely like to know the answer to, then responding as they respond. Just have a conversation on Facebook once a day with your business page. It’s a great start.

Want a free copy of one of my books?

I have something huge in the works. A month ago, I had no idea that I would be doing this and BAM, it’s happening.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk to Kristen Kalp of Brand Camp blog about her new project — Change the World, Dammit!

The call was awesome. You can listen in here if you’d like! Thank you for allowing us to share our hearts with you. (And thank you for the grace for hanging in there even after my phone hung up during the call twice — I might have thrown up a little each time!)

Since reading Change the World, Dammit! even more of my passion for helping women in business has been awakened.

As a result of reading the book, I’m actually changing EVERYTHING that I am currently doing in my business.

I’m talking big huge overhaul which I hadn’t planned to take place. I can’t wait to share everything that’s coming up over the next few months. I’m already on a path of seeing how I can use my life to make an even bigger difference in the world around me.

Am I terrified? Hell yah! It’s probably the scariest thing I have ever done.
Do I have objections? Every single day.

But, then I have to go and kick my inner mean girl that wants me to play it safe. My inner mean girl always wants to keep people happy, and she regularly freaks out about how changing my business will lead to my family living in a cardboard box. Even after achieving some pretty freaking amazing things in my own business and life, I still deal with crazy amounts of fear.

Will people like my idea? Will others think I’m out of my gourd? Will I get criticized? Will I get judged? Will I be skinny enough to complete the project (don’t lie –you go there, too!)? Will I lose money? My reputation? My faith in myself?

When something scares me the most, I know it is the thing I need to do.

Does participating in shark diving scare me? No, not really. I’m cool as a cucumber.

Now ask me about looking for a new CPA because my current one is moving on and I want to throw up. I get anxiety going through the process of finding yet another one. Regardless of that fear, I’m gonna go ahead and find a new person to help me with bookkeeping and taxes.

I want to help you achieve your dreams by giving you the tools that you need to help get you there. I believe in this project — and in you! — that much.

When you buy Change the World, Dammit! through this link, my ever so fabulous assistant will be emailing you by April 30th to see which copy of my products you would like for free.

No joke! Just for buying Change the World, Dammit! by April 15th, you can have a free copy of Keep Calm & Price On beginner’s pricing, Easy as Pie pricing, or Happy Place business plan.

If you choose to purchase the Change the World, Dammit! mini mastermind option, you’ll get your choice of even better stuff! Pick either the MegaPack (Happy Place AND Easy as Pie) or Piece of Cake Marketing as my vote of confidence in you.

I want you to have the tools to take those first steps to doing something amazing with your business. No more excuses or self-sabotage. No more telling yourself that you don’t don’t have anything to offer the world.

You might not know what it is or how you are even going to figure it out when you still are having a hard time changing the sheets or changing yourself. But it’s okay.

Today, I just want you to open yourself to the possibility that you can make a difference in just one person’s life.

Pick up your copy of Change the World, Dammit! here — and thank you for being you.

XOXO,
Alicia

How do you stop comparing yourself to competitors?

Lean in really close because I’m going to whisper this so no one can hear. Just between you and me, ok?

Just recently I went on a bender and gave myself a nasty comparison hangover. It involved Googling, obsessing, tears on the bathroom floor and then finishing up with a headache and feeling like a pile of poo.

I promptly swore I would never do that again. (We all know it will happen again.)

It can be exhausting to remember that there are a ton of people with the same job title as you. It’s easy to get caught up in obsessing on what your competitors are doing instead of focusing on you and what you should be doing.

Rather than playing stalker over just one individual, take a look at the whole industry. What are they doing that you don’t like? How can you improve it and offer that to clients? How can you stand out in your industry as a whole? What needs to be created or tweaked? What can you do better? Where do you really shine? What do you want your clients to love you for?

These are the questions that raise the board for the industry as a whole without putting anyone on a pedestal (and lowering yourself by comparison).

There are a ton of business books out there. I could sit and obsess over each and every one of them, but that’s totally unproductive and terrible for my mental health. It doesn’t make me better at what I do, and it does absolutely nothing to raise the industry standard for education.

There are plenty of customers to go around. We don’t need to be hoarders. There is a perfect fit for everyone. There are clients out there who want you for YOU, and who won’t look twice at the work of whomever it is you’re ogling at the moment. That artist, lovely as he or she is, is NOT you.

CELEBRATE the differences that we all have, and make this industry as amazing as humanly possible.

Get up off that floor, pop an aspirin, and go do something amazing, okay?

How do I stand out in a crowded market?

When I first wrote Easy as Pie a little over 5 years ago, it was the only pricing guide out there. It was easy to become the pricing expert quickly simply, because no one else was willing to talk about their pricing openly. But before I knew it, there were several other pricing guides being made available to the industry, and now they seem to be everywhere you look.

At some point in your business, some idea you have will be swiped by another business owner. Sometimes it’s a blatant copy where they didn’t even look like they spent an ounce of energy in changing anything. Other times they’ll massively improve the concept so that you are left with “Dangit! Why didn’t I think of that first?!”

No matter what, there are two things no one can take from you.

#1 – your unique personality and talents (beyond your photography!)
#2 – your relationships and how you interact with those around you.

When you integrate the things that are uniquely yours into your business, it keeps others from taking your ideas. No one can pull off being YOU better than you can!

Not only do you love photography, let’s say you love to sew and create handmade clothing. You infuse that into your business. All of your packages are delivered in the most adorable reusable bags that you make. Your love of fabric drives the feel of your website as well. You gift your clients by creating little outfits for your sessions because it comes easy to you to do this. This is one of the benefits that come with hiring you — you always provide at least one outfit per session that the client gets to keep (and it costs you only $15 in materials. Your clients freak out!). You promote a locally-owned fabric store because it’s where you buy all your material. You constantly look for ways that you can integrate your other passions into your business… and that continues to set you apart in the market.

Or, you are the queen of thrifting antiques and vintage wear. Or you happen to be a phenomenal artist and are obsessed with watercolors. Or you share your amazing recipes with your clients.

When you market yourself in a way that uses your passions and talents with your unique personality, no one can copy you. Period.

When the essence of being YOU is the strong voice that guides your marketing, you won’t get lost in the noise of every other “natural light photographer” that is out there. You’ll become memorable and maintain your unique position in the marketplace.

Just because there are 100 other photographers or 100 other pricing guides doesn’t mean a whole lot, in the end.

The way that you continue growing lies in refining the way you market yourself based on the things that make your heart sing. Sometimes it requires getting rid of things that everyone else does. There are no givens, no “must” do’s.

When you focus on the things that make your heart sing, you make your business easier to market because you freaking LOVE what you are doing. And no one else does it exactly the way you do!

Need help knowing how to integrate the awesomeness of you into your business and marketing? I’ve got a ton of ways to help you do that in the new Piece of Cake marketing guide.

Introductory pricing is still around, so check it out now.

How do I get more word-of-mouth marketing going on?

“Treat people well and they will do your marketing for you. For free. Be interesting or be invisible…… Advertising is the cost of being boring.” — Adam Sernovitz

One of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned about marketing came to me unknowingly at the start of Served Up Fresh – the importance of how I treat those around me. When I was just starting out in photography, I was a member of several forums. Every single thing that I was learning in my business, I would turn around and share with those that were on the boards with me.

I shared the good, the bad, and the (really really) ugly. I did this as a friend, wanting to help those around me improve their businesses.

Little did I know, my love for those around me and my superpower of handholding through complicated business lessons would turn into a consulting and teaching business full-time!

The more I shared what I knew, the more people would come to me and ask for help. I didn’t ever set out to be a consultant—I just taught what I knew as I was experiencing it to those around me. I was torn between wanting to continue to help and needing to focus my energy on my business and family. So a friend proposed a book idea and I trusted her judgement and put everything I knew about pricing into a book to refer anyone to if they contacted me for help.
From there, Easy as Pie took on a life of its own.

When I finished writing Easy as Pie, my hubby and I literally said to each other, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if this book sold 100 copies?” I threw up a cheesy website that I designed from a series of jpeg html splash pages. (No website engine could find me if they wanted to!)

I told my friends on the forum, “Sorry girls, I can no longer answer every e-mail asking for help with your pricing. I put together all I know in a pdf that you can download if you really need my help. Wish I could do more — but hopefully that will help.”

There was no fancy launch. I didn’t have a Facebook page or a blog. I didn’t have an e-mail list. I didn’t have a following with my photography biz (most probably don’t even remember what my work even looked like since I shared business information and rarely talked apertures and lenses). There was no marketing plan, no blog features, and no one recommending the book as an affiliate.

The day I put the site up and posted the message that it was live, I sold 114 copies.

What I didn’t realize was that everything I had been doing on those forums for a few years was relational marketing. I wasn’t pitching anything, I wasn’t trying to sell anything, I didn’t set myself up to be the authority trying to fix everyone.

I was coming alongside my peers and sharing. I was loving on those around me, encouraging them in their struggles and celebrating with them in their successes. I was focusing on them and their needs. I got nothing out of it during that time except the joy of being able to help however I could.

Not everything I did worked, not everything I taught was genius, I’m sure I gave terrible advice from time to time. But what was the most apparent to those around me was that I was genuine in how much I cared about them and for that they trusted me. And then they told their friends about me. And that silly little jpeg splash page website started getting more sales (although I could never know how much traffic for sure since I didn’t have Google Analytics), I was asked to be special guest blogger, to teach lessons on forums, and to do giveaways.

People kept talking about this little pricing guide that was changing businesses.

My business is proof that you can have a successfully growing business without a fancy crazy website and without a huge marketing budget (and actually- little to no marketing budget!). You just need a foundation of loving on those around you.

You can invest hundreds and thousands into a marketing budget which can attract a few clients. Or you can invest your energy and time and little to no money into continually looking for ways to benefit the lives and businesses of other people.

Instead of a $100 ad, go the extra mile.

How much word of mouth could you get from a $100 ad compared to how much could you get by giving 3 clients $35 rose bouquets or one client a gift certificate for $100 to a day spa after you deliver her maternity session images?
Offer a little lesson in the home of your clients after a session to show them how to better use their cameras to capture day to day in between session images.
Take your clients out to dessert after a session.
Show up to a session with presents.
Take a different small business owner out to lunch each week.

These gifts of your time and energy will cause rampant word of mouth marketing to happen.

There are endless ways to be authentically YOU, marketing yourself without once being pushy about what you’re selling. Whatever your budget currently is, make a list of out of the box things you can invest in and turn that investment into word of mouth marketing that will make you amazing.

You are far from boring — paying for advertisements is your last resort when you have some much to offer of YOU right at your fingertips!

For more ways to make the most of word-of-mouth marketing, check out Piece of Cake Marketing. It launches today!

Mr. Darcy and Dancing Shoes

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite movies. Oh, Mr.Darcy….I swoon.

One of the things that bothers me every time I watch this movie relates to the business and marketing mentality of our day. Wanna guess what that would be?

The dancing. Yep, I climb on a mental soapbox every single time I watch this movie during all the dancing scenes. I hope you will too the next time you see it.

The greatest (first world) tragedy that our nation has suffered from has been the complete lack of formal dancing. We have the clubs with techno raves, the pole dancers and the country line dancers, sure. But community dancing is something that has completely died. And with that has died the mentality that kept those types of events alive and active.

It wasn’t just dancing. Dancing was the excuse to bring a large group of people of all ages and social/financial ranks together. It helped to forge a sense of community. You could network, you could gossip, and you could make important connections.

You could have the fun the whole time you were doing — even better!

You didn’t have to have something in common to be able to join in the experience. Today, our dancing is limited to specific types of interests. It’s very narrow in the range of ages, social classes, and interests. We like to be exclusive.

With exclusivity, we focus more on what we want and what we get out of an experience than on the community, thinking beyond ourselves.

We outsource our printing because it’s cheaper to get prints from a huge company 5 states away. We don’t personally know the local printer who would probably be able to cut his prices more competitively if he had more local businesses working with him. If he was our friend, we would be doing everything we could to give him all of our business and send others his way.

We shop at the chain grocery stores instead of the locally owned co-ops because they are cheaper. Local stores continually have to raise their prices because they are losing customers who are focused on saving an extra $50 a month by shopping at the big boxes. We don’t know the business owners or their families, and so we are removed from seeing the impact of our removal of business on them.

So little of our money remains in our community — and yet we demand so much for our community to provide for our business. We’re bewildered when we aren’t getting hired left and right. We work harder on SEO, our blogs, our websites, and yet nothing seems to be delivering those desperately needed clients.

It’s time to use businesses to bring communities together (since Mr. Darcy isn’t coming to the rescue anytime soon).

Piece of Cake holds those romantic dances at the heart of its message. When you are marketing with a community mindset, you are dancing. Better yet, you’re going to love every minute of it as you attract marketing/dancing partners and gather people that will continue to expand your connections. Local business owners will ultimately grow your business as they refer others to you because they’ve danced with you, they’ve laughed with you, and they see how you interact with those around you. They KNOW you.

Marketing shouldn’t be painful, and it shouldn’t feel like being a salesman. It should feel like a dance, making the most of your community to sustain a profitable and growing business.

You may feel completely overwhelmed at the thought of marketing. You may feel like you don’t have the personality for it. You may feel that your community is too small to sustain your business. You may feel like all the good businesses are already taken. You may feel like your community is not progressive enough for your style. You might feel like there just is no hope and you might even feel like throwing in the towel because you are tired of struggling. I understand.

I want you to get a taste of the potential that your community has to offer. I promise you, even if you feel like you have done everything you can — you haven’t. That’s where Piece of Cake comes in.

Please, download this 25+ page sneak peek of Piece of Cake and allow yourself to imagine dancing more with your community. It’s free when you pop your e-mail into the cute little box below.

After you read and go through all the worksheets in it, I would love for you to send me an e-mail, let me know what this chapter helped you discover of the amazing things you have to offer your community. I want to hear about the awesome things that you have in yourself that you overlooked! (getcaredfor@served-up-fresh.com)

Download now. Give yourself an hour or two to go through the worksheets. And then, go dancing!

xoxo,
Alicia

When is the best time to raise my prices?

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there just ever a perfect time to raise prices. You can wait and wait for the perfect moment, but it’s never going to come.
Fortunately, there are signs that a price increase is due, so you’ll know when the time is ripe for an adjustment.

You aren’t paying yourself a paycheck because there isn’t money left over after expenses.
You seem to only be attracting the people who hire you but still balk at your pricing — right in front of you.
You want to work less but can’t afford to reduce the amount of money you are currently bringing in.
Wal-mart’s prices are higher than yours.
It’s been over two years since your last price increase.
It’s time for you to grow your business and hire an assistant to help reduce your workload.
All your photographer friends are telling you to raise your prices because you are worth more.
Your spouse is telling you to raise your prices because you are worth more.
Your children are asking for quilted toilet paper instead of single ply.
The IRS is telling you that your deductions exceed your income.

The thing is, you may never feel ready to raise your prices.

That wave of nausea may not pass until you get hired for the first time on that new pricing. You may constantly question yourself and doubt what you know you need to be doing.

It’s a terrifying thing to take a leap of faith and hope that you are making the right decision. But it’s never the right decision to do nothing, to settle for what you know you are choosing to do because it’s safe.

The only way to have longterm business success is to do what everyone else is afraid of doing.

THAT’S how to stand out. THAT is how you create an amazing business that is profitable, sustainable and one that your clients are thrilled to be apart of because they know that you are in it for the long haul.

Let me know how you know it’s time to raise prices in the comments — and if you need help figuring out profitable pricing for your business, take a look at my Easy as Pie pricing guide.

What’s keeping you from being successful?

I’m a mom to six ranging in age from 10 to 6 months. People often tell me, “I could never have that many kids”. What they really mean to say “I don’t want that many kids,” which is totally fine! I get that! I often say “I don’t want that many kids” but then, I get baby fever and something in me takes over. I CAN have that many as long as my ovaries and uterus are intact, right?

I also homeschool and I hear “I could never homeschool” diatribes all the time. Again, it is more of a matter between wanting and not wanting. If you were 3000% dying to homeschool your kids, you would find a way, because you’re incredibly smart and crafty like that.

I’m also the full-time breadwinner for our home. People always tell me, “I could never have a business to bring in money to support my family.” Again, I have never met someone who thought it would be absolutely impossible to take their talents and gifts and make a living with it. Difficult and with many struggles, absolutely. But impossible? Not at all.

When we refuse to say exactly what we mean, we start buying into our own lies that we tell ourselves. They seem like such little lies, harmless….but they grow and we begin to not be able to see what is truth.

Our attitude in any given situation is our biggest hurdle to getting the things we want and need in life.

I’m not writing this to get you defensive and fighting about why you aren’t doing something you know would be beneficial in your life.

I’m challenging you to break down that attitude you have with yourself. No one needs to know the battle you are currently having (unless of course you want to share it for encouragement) – we just want to get clear on why, EXACTLY, you aren’t doing something you would like to be doing.

Take me, for example. I used to skip showering every day. A few times a week was fine because I “didn’t have time” to take a shower.

“I can’t take a shower every day because I have no running water” is a valid reason for not taking a shower. In reality, I had water. I didn’t want to shower because I preferred to sleep in late, to spend time on Facebook, and to de-prioritize taking care of myself because I didn’t see the point.

After taking a hard look at my attitude toward something so basic, I started showering daily. I also started running.

I don’t run because I have no legs is not the same as “I don’t run because I hate feeling pain.” “I don’t like being sweaty” “I don’t want to take the time to do it.” “I have a million things I’d rather be doing.”

What are those things that are screaming at you for attention – those things that you know you need to be doing in your home, in your heart?

Are you being honest with yourself why you aren’t doing them? Are you making excuses or justifying something by creating untruths about the matter?

Of course I can take a shower every day. It just requires me getting up 20 minutes before the kids get up, which requires me getting to bed at a decent time and setting an alarm clock.

Of course I can feed my family healthier. It just requires me researching recipes with my budget and being intentional about choosing healthier options that are often less convenient from a pre-packaged, ready-made point of view.

Of course I can exercise every day. It just requires committing to putting loving energy toward my body. I can include my kids by letting them exercise alongside me with a video in the living room.

What are you currently resisting? What excuses are you making to justify the real reason which you are afraid or ashamed to speak aloud?

You can overcome those roadblocks, but you’ve got to see them for what they are first.
The hurdles and the roadblocks lose their power when you’re able to be completely honest with yourself. Each one can be scaled and torn down.

I’m not getting any business from Facebook — what am I doing wrong?

This one’s personal, folks. I once made the mistake of talking about another business owner — a completely vague reference, no names were mentioned — but it got back to her because I was one of my best clients who I had on my personal page also happened to be one of her loyal customers.

She immediately went to the other business owner telling her about what I had said. I was completely frustrated and felt like it was a safe environment to vent, but it turned into being the end of all our marketing collaborations. That’s how I learned a valuable lesson about Facebook professionalism and became far more aware of how the things I say on Facebook could be perceived by people who were my clients or potential clients.

Common Facebook turnoffs will keep you from earning to your full potential this year, and you might not even know you’re doing them.

#1 — Chatting about overwhelm.

Business owners like to be busy, but clients do not like to feel the effects of a business owner who is busy. When a business owner continually talks about how busy they are, the clients see themselves as being not important.

If you have so many clients, then I’m not a valued necessity. Or, they may also think of it as you being so busy that you are overextended and disorganized. This could undermine their confidence in your ability to handle them as clients.

Busyness comes with the territory of being an adult. You don’t even need to go there, we all understand how you feel.

#2 — Sharing the nightmare.

Facebook should never, ever be used as a place to handle customer service. If a client posts something customer service related on your Facebook, immediately refer them to the most appropriate means of contacting you.

Handle your situation quickly and privately. But most importantly, your customer service issues should never even be hinted at on Facebook.

When you talk about a client in a negative fashion — even if you feel like it is justifiable because you have a certified nutjob you are dealing with — your other clients do not know the issues, and shouldn’t!

Not only is this disrespectful to your client, it makes you look completely unprofessional.

If this is one way that you handle your business, your clients will assume that you have a disregard for professionalism entirely. It causes damage with your relationship to those who are silently observing.

#3 — Whining about editing.

Which is better: I’m so busy!!! I’ve got 126 sessions to edit this week! or OMG. I have 13 sessions to edit today and I haven’t showered :bangs head on desk:?

Answer: both are unprofessional status updates.

You may feel freaking amazing at how busy you are or you may be completely overwhelmed at the tasks lying ahead of you.

Either way, you are in business. Entrepreneurship means you word hard, and you don’t necessarily share it with the world. Editing is part of your job, it’s gotta be done, and there’s no need to whine about it. Ever.

Call a friend if you want encouragement or need to vent for two minutes, you’ll feel better!

#4 — Gossip.

Please, don’t talk about other photographers or business owners negatively.

This includes tagging them in posts, even if they’re a multi-billion dollar corporation.

If you are trying to bash a company, don’t be surprised if one of your clients does the same to you one day.

Golden rule applies here — speak of others the way that you would want them to speak about you. Even on Facebook.

When you are on other business pages, what are your favorite ways to have them engage you in conversation so that you know them and their business better? Share in the comments what keeps you coming back and maintains you as a page follower!