Press "Enter" to skip to content

Worth In Goldy’s Corner

Knowing you’re worth can be the key to success you are missing. One’s worth could be applied to many different categories. The first thing that comes to mind for many when I say “worth” is “self-love” which is important but not the worth I’m talking about here. Today I’d like to focus on how many independent contractors and sole proprietors don’t focus enough on their product or service’s worth.

The confidence to ask the price for your goods and services comes with experience. You usually attended the “School of Hard Knocks” to really develop that thick skin needed to look somebody dead in the eyes but with a smile and say, “this is what it costs baby.” It’s so easy to waiver in the wind or offer a “deal” because you think you may lose the opportunity. I see this fear in a lot of new business owners and even in some experienced ones.

I remember being a new photographer coming to Nashville Tennessee and not having a studio. I had to find makeshift “pop-up” places to shoot. I usually ended up finding some abandoned warehouse, traintrack, or an old barn that I either asked to use or used and asked forgiveness later.  I was always up for a new challenge and always hustling to secure some sort of photo gig or new client. I had a lot of experience shooting but what I lacked was the guts to nail down the price or get a non-refundable deposit. 

A wedding inside an old barn in Tennessee – The Factory Photography

A wedding post wedding shoot by an abandoned train in Nashville TN – The Factory Photography

Oh, those words! Non-refundable. They used to paralyze me just thinking of uttering them.

I had colleagues preaching to me for years saying “get the deposit, Goldy.” I was just too chicken to ever address it upfront and ask for a check to secure the date. I just wanted to get the job without any red tape or fuss. I figured if I bothered them they might be more apt to cancel or no show.

What I didn’t realize was by NOT asking for that deposit I was doing myself a terrible disservice. So many times I’d be waiting at a location for someone who would never show. Even without any money down, they would get spooked at the thought of shooting and having to pay for it. They didn’t really have any money. They just had a dream to be the “next big thing” but hadn’t given any real thought to what it takes to be that. Artists, bands, and performers all need promotional photos but few want to pay for them. They think they should be free and most people let alone artists don’t value your time. Your time, your consultation, wisdom, and advice are worth something. I’m not saying to be cruel or unwilling to give with your time, just factor it in.

I recently had a friend who teaches voice lessons say a new student reached out to her online. She had a weird feeling in her gut about their correspondence. A strange feeling should be your FIRST indication to get a deposit. If your lesson is $50.00 an hour, try using verbiage like this: Hi John I’m so looking forward to meeting you for our first lesson it’s going to be great! Because you are a new student and the calendar is filling up, please send a non-refundable deposit to one of the following payment apps so we can secure our lesson and get you on the books! Once I receive half of the first lesson I’ll put you down and collect the other half after we finish.

My friend didn’t use those words or ask for any deposit. she did what I used to do. Clear her day for a new student, wait for him only to not show, and then text an hour after the lesson saying he didn’t realize how far the drive was. My friend, desperate for a new student replied with, “how about next week then and I just come to your house?” Again, no deposit, and we can all guess how this story ends. The student flaked the next week and didn’t answer the door when my colleague knocked.

To many of you, this seems obvious or crazy that someone would pursue a client this hard, but it happens every day. Many of you raising an eyebrow at that story don’t realize what it’s like to be self-employed or an entrepreneur and depend on new clients so badly that you’d do anything to get one. The ironic thing is many of you reading rolling your eyes have done this EXACT thing with a potential partner. Calling, texting, stopping by unannounced hoping to catch them or engage in a conversation. We slip into DM’s all the while knowing someone is NOT interested in the least. All because we don’t know our “worth”. It always starts there.

Always remember a deposit establishes credibility. When a client agrees to pay a deposit they are expressing their confidence in you and showing respect. These are the people you want to work with. Anything less than this is going to result in someone being a flake, “no showing” or stiffing you in the end and not paying at all. Even when I’ve done the shoot, the clients have not paid. They didn’t get their photos, but it was a waste of my time. 

When you have long-time clients the rules can change. Once you’ve established a rapport and work history so the game changes. You can even offer a deal from time to time if it makes sense and is good for both parties. I do this with some clients who consistently book me at the holidays. Instead of giving a gift, I’ll factor in some price reduction as their holiday “happy.” Just always stand your ground and don’t let people take advantage. “As a one-time offer for this year Bill, I’m taking 25% off this photoshoot for you. Merry Christmas.”

My last point about deposits is not all of the portion given may be non-refundable. Therefore I usually put it ALL in an account and I don’t touch it till the shoot is completed or in our band’s case, the performance is complete. Things happen. People get sick or emergencies come up. I never want to be the one who needs to cancel or reschedule and have spent that dough. Protect it. 

The Golden Take home is knowing your worth and remembering the language: “Because you’re a new client I want to protect our time and get it on the calendar officially. Once I receive a non-refundable deposit I can get your date secured on the books and guarantee that time is yours.” Try it! Goldy Knows

I wanted to include some photos from previous photoshoots at the end of this article as inspiration. I never had a great place to shoot Golden Peeps. I just made my own. You don’t need fancy gear or an expensive studio starting out. No matter what your dream is, educate yourself the best you can with all of the online resources I never had. You can basically teach yourself anything these days. Find people to “experiment on!” Whatever business you need experience. Be bold. Ask friends and family if you can take their photo, detail their car, walk their dogs, or fix something small on their car. Whatever business you dream of starting, you have to start by actually DOING. Don’t paralyze yourself waiting for everything to be perfect. It never will be but the lessons you can learn from things not being perfect will make you an incredible professional AND a perfectionist.

Hootie & The Blowfish | A church door on the street – The Factory Photography
Steve Harwell | Smashmouth | An old barn – The Factory Photography
Jeff Carson | An old shed on the side of the road – The Factory Photography
A Country Wedding | a field – The Factory Photography
Please follow and like us:

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *