Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the Business Journey podcast. I'm Rebecca and I'm just so excited to be here with you today. Today, we are chatting about one of my absolute favorite topics, and that is how to book mini sessions with no client base. People hear that and they're like, wait, what? You can actually book mini sessions if you don't have a client base? Because I don't know, somewhere down the line, there was this huge misconception that you can only be successful with mini sessions if you have a massive client base. And that is a lie. It's not true. And so today I want to walk you through some really practical things that you can be doing now to help you book mini sessions, even if you have no client base. Now, before we get too far, I wanted to mention a freebie that I have designed just for you. A common question that I get from photographers is what kind of mini sessions? Actually, book well, like, what should I be planning for? You know, especially as we're heading into peak mini session season in the fall, people are like, what kind of money should I do that book? Well, in the fall or for Christmas? And so I put together a freebie with 12 proven mini session themes to help you book out your minis so you can grab that.  Rebeccaricephoto.com/12ideas. That's one. Two ideas. These are proven themes that I've done that other people have done that are profitable because here's the deal. If you pick the wrong theme for many sessions and it's something that's not desirable, then you're going to have a really hard time booking them. The theme is everything. So go check out that freebie. I walk you through reasons why maybe your mini sessions haven't booked in the past and then a big list of those 12 different theme ideas that you can do. I explain what they are when you should start advertising them and when you should be booking them. So go grab that freebie. It's yours to keep. Again, that's at Rebeccaricephoto.com/12ideas. One word, one two ideas. Now, let's dive in to today's topic of how to book mini sessions with no client base. Now, if you've been around for a while, you've probably heard me tell the story of my very first set of minutes. But in case you haven't, here is the Cliff Notes version. So I officially launched my business in January several years ago, and in March I did my very first set of mini sessions. At that point, I had never worked with somebody that I didn't know right. I had photographed plenty of family, friends and things like that, but I had never worked with a stranger. So that year when I made my business official, I'm like, I'm going to do this thing registered all the things I had zero clients, didn't have an email list, literally had nothing to work with. And I advertised this of Easter minis and I ended up booking sixteen spots again with no client base like those are the very first strangers I had ever worked with. And it's so fun because several of those families that I photographed in my very first set of minis are some of my most loyal clients. They come back every single year. I photograph sometimes multiple times a year, and it's so fun to watch their kids grow. And they know me. They've known me since they were babies because a lot of them were like, I don't know, 12, 18 months. Some of them is as young as six months. Whenever we did that first set of minis and now they're like big all big kids, I'm like, what is happening? I'm getting so old anyways. All that to say, I booked those sixteen families from zero client base. And so today I'm going to give you some super practical steps of things that you can be doing today if you have no existing client base and maybe you have a client base. But it's small, right? You haven't worked with over a hundred families like I photograph at least 100 hundred families every fall. So to do that, like we've grown our client base quite a bit. But when we first started again, we are working with zero or by the fall, I think we had worked with like twenty families. So it's like we did not have a huge client base. So if that's you get ready, take some notes. I have the outline here in the show notes for you to grab. But this is going to be really great for you to just dive in, take it and run with it. So the first thing that's really important, if you want to be able to book out minutes without a client base is to grow your portfolio. You need to have some sample images in your portfolio, especially if you're advertising on social media, because think of it as a consumer. If you were looking for a photographer for family sessions, you're going to want to go to somebody who has photographed families before. Right. That has. Examples on their website and on their Facebook page saying you have to have like 20 different families, but it's a good idea to have like three or four at least that way you have some variety in there. And they can see like, oh, this girls actually show our families before. So a really great way to do that is to host model calls. Maybe this is a whole separate episode for another day, but you can host model calls and actually make money for model calls. I like to do model calls where I'll, you know, post in a Facebook group or something and say, hey, I'm looking for a family on this date. At this time, at this location, I'll give you five images included. And I treat it like a mini session. So it's a full session. We do, you know, a whole 30 minutes to an hour at a location that I want to showcase on my website. And, you know, I make sure that they follow my style guide because if I'm going to be using it for my portfolio, I need them to be following my style guide. So we shoot the session and then I up sell the full gallery and typically people buy it because the session was free. And so I'll make, you know, 200 dollars on a free session, which is great. So it's a great idea to get those sample images for your portfolio so that when you start advertising minis, you have at least some kind of examples, not necessarily with that specific set up, but just in general of families that you've worked with. And it's a good idea to have different varieties of families, you know, large families, small families, you know, mix in races. You want to be inclusive so that whenever you're advertising, people can identify with people in your portfolio and feel comfortable having you as their photographer. So diversity is a big deal. Think about that when you're building your portfolio, when you actually go to advertise your minis, if you're doing a set up, you need to have photos with a real family with your setup. So, you know, getting those promo shots before you start advertising. And we'll talk about that here in a few weeks. When we talk about prepping for fall minutes, you want to get those promo shots and make sure that you have that so that people know exactly what kind of minis they're going to, you know, book. But having that general bulked up portfolio is a very, very good idea. Another thing that you should do to be able to book minutes with no client base is to have a home base for your clients to be able to go to. OK, so when I say a home base, I'm talking about a website, a Facebook page, a place for people to be able to land on and check you out a little bit truly if your home base should be your website. Because if all you have is an Instagram or a business Facebook page, like, that's OK. But there's a level of professionalism that you reach when you have a website, some place for people to land on to look around and be able to reach out to you from there and on that home base, that's where you're going to put those portfolio images, you know, about things like that. Now, this step tends to paralyze people because they're like, I'm not a website designer. I don't know how to do any website stuff like what am I supposed to do? The good news is most website platforms like website hosts have free templates that are a really, really great start. So my web host of choice is Showit. I started out with Wix. Wix is OK. It's not beautiful by any means, but it'll get you started. It's cheaper than show. It show. It is amazing and it's stunning. And their customer service is amazing. It's the best of the best in the industry right now. So if you're eventually, you know, if you're wanting to do this like long term, I suggest just doing show it because switching from Wix to Showit was a pain and redesigning and all the things. So either way, whatever Web host you decide to go with, most of them have free templates and that will get you started. You need a home page and about page, a contact page and a portfolio page. Simple, keep it simple and don't let that stuff paralyze you. K Don't let the step of creating a home base paralyze you. Get it up. I like to say done is better than perfect, so get it done that way. You know you can always tweak later but you want it done so that you have a place to send people. All right. The next thing that I suggested you, when you are wanting to book mini sessions with a small or no client base, is to advertise where your ideal clients are already all right now because so many people, you know, spend their marketing energies in all these places. Right. It seems like there's always a new platform. There's, you know, Facebook and Instagram and Instagram, Reel's and tik tok and clubhouse and all these places that it can get really overwhelming. And so I like to tell people, focus your energies on where your ideal client. Ah, OK, focus where your ideal clients are. So for me, we are our situation a little unique that most of our clients are not on Instagram. I don't know why I figured it out, because I have a questionnaire that I send all of my clients. And one of the questions asks for their Facebook page link or their Instagram handle so that whenever we post about them, we can tag them and over and over. I was seeing a trend that people would link their Facebook page to like, oh, I don't have Instagram. I'm like, wait, what, you don't have an Instagram? That was the weirdest thing to me. I did not understand it, but for whatever reason, the clients that I was attracting weren't on Instagram. I'm like, OK, that's kind of weird, but whatever. So that was really telling for me to not put so much of my emphasis on booking clients on Instagram and focus more of my energies on Facebook. So now that's where we spend the majority of our marketing. Energy is like local Facebook groups because that's where the majority of our clients come from. So I would ask yourself, where are your clients hanging out? Do they spend most of their time on Instagram or do they spend most of their time on Facebook? Whatever it is, put your energy there. Another really good thing that you can do to help advertise is, you know, you can partner with local businesses. So think about what your ideal client does in their spare time, OK? Do they like to go to crossfit, know are they in a barre class? Do they like to go to wine tastings? I don't know all these different things and advertise where they're located. OK, so you can go to these places and ask if you can post your flyer or whatever, hand out business cards or I don't know, find out a way to be mutually beneficial, but see if you can partner with them. I have a friend of mine that is super into crossfit, which I think is awesome. All power to her crossfit it's not my thing working out. It's not really my thing. But for her, she, it kills at crossfit and she would be like super pregnant and still lifting weights and doing crossfit like she has super powers I swear. And so her ideal client is somebody that's interesting because crossfit it's a whole like community of people. And so she's really successful booking clients whenever they can make that connection of crossfit. OK, so that's a really great way to think. Like, what are maybe what are you into? Or, you know, if you are not your ideal client, that's OK. What are they into and go hang out in those places. Another way you're able to advertise to your ideal client is, you know, and this is more advanced, I would say exhaust all your free options first. But when you need to expand your audience because like I said, we don't have a big client base, Facebook ads is a really great way to do that. Now, I will warn you, don't jump into Facebook ads without proper education, because that is a really great way to waste a lot of money. You don't want to do that. So don't jump into Facebook ads unless you know what you're doing and invest in some education. Take some time to truly understand how to do the Facebook ad thing. But Facebook ads can be very, very beneficial. They can get kind of creepy of like how specific you can target people you can target based on demographic location interests, like all kinds of stuff. So that's a really great way to build a client base when you don't already have one. A great example of us using this on my team is I have a team of associate photographers and they exist under a separate brand from me. We separated them from my brand back in March and it's been going great. The only reason we did that was to avoid confusion when people are seeing Rebecca Rice Photography. But then there's this whole team of 11 associate photographers shooting in, you know, three different areas. It can be a little confusing. So we separated them for me and they had zero client base. And so we took these strategies and implemented it with them. And they are thriving because they started with zero client base and they hung out where people were. We have implemented Facebook ads for them and it's going amazing. Why? Because we know our ideal client. We know where they're located. We know where they're hanging out. And so by implementing these strategies, you can absolutely build a client base from the ground up. I like to mention about my associate team because people may be like, OK, Rebecca, I like that's cool. But you did that years ago. Like, the landscape has changed. No, no. Like in March, just a few months ago, we started from scratch with my associate team not connected to my name at all. So they were not pulling from any of my resources. They were not pulling for my client base. They weren't able to use my name in advertising like it was literally them. And they are thriving. They are doing incredible and booking like crazy, and so, yeah, all that does, they advertise where your ideal clients are. Now, the last tip that I want to share with how to book many sessions with no client base is to make yourself look in high demand. This step is vital. And it was, I think, one of the turning points in my business when I went from, you know, struggling to find clients to all of a sudden booking like crazy. And I learned this tactic from the mentors of mine and it was game changing. So the whole concept is to make yourself look busy because people like to book with people that are busy. Think about it. It's just a little bit of buyer's psychology that you want to book with people that are busy and in high demand. Right. And so the goal here is to make yourself look like you are in high demand, even if you're not. So here's what this looks like practically for me. I would do, you know, model calls or ask friends and family to go out to sessions. And I would be posting about them like crazy, OK? Other people didn't have to know that it was a free session or a model call. Right. It looks like it's paid clients. And I would stretch out this exposure as much as I could. So, for example, I would post when we booked them, I would post about when I was location scouting for this session. I would post, you know, gear prep the day before the day of I would post behind the scenes of shooting the session. I would post about editing the session. I would post when I delivered the gallery and then I would post when they left a review. So that is a whole lot of things you can post about with one session. And odds are people are not going to connect the dots that you're always talking about that one session. Right? They think doing this girl is super busy, like she's always doing stuff. And so if you have, you know, three or four families that you're doing this with, then all of a sudden you look like you are packed, super busy. And I started having friends, like notice. They're like, wow, Rebecca, you're like doing great. Your business is like booming. They had no idea that I had never worked with somebody that I didn't know before. And so that's the goal. You want to make yourself look like you're busy and you're in high demand even if you're not. And then people will start reaching out. I guarantee if you give them the opportunity as you're posting about it, have a call to action. Hey, if you want to work with me, send me a message or fill out this contact form or shoot me an email. However you want them to contact you, it will go well, I promise. So that's a really big step to help you book those mini sessions, even if you're not in, you know, even if you don't have a client base. So I hope these were helpful for you. I know we covered a lot in a short amount of time. So if you ever need to, like, go back and re listen or, you know, check out the show notes, because I do have like this outlined in there for you to, like, go refer back to do that, do whatever you need, because if you will implement these steps, I'm telling you, you are going to get bookings. It's just how it goes. I've seen this done time after time after time with all of my students. They go from struggling to book to all of a sudden booking out like crazy. And then like Rebecca, it's working. And I look at them and say, yes, like that's the point. It's supposed to work. So this stuff works. I promise, if you will just take the time and the energy to apply it, you will see incredible results. So now is the time to start thinking about mini sessions, especially for the fall. I had mentioned that freebie. Don't forget to grab it, Rebeccarciephoto.com/12ideas. One word, snag that freebie. Apply it. Start planning now because if you wait until you know September, October you are too late. Start planning early. All right. Well we're going to go ahead and close out. We will see you at this time next week. Bye, guys.

Episode Transcript

20. How to book Mini Sessions with no client base