Promotional Films - A giant waste of your money (mostly)

*Walks into room full of people

"Heya Friendlies!  Tell me about the last promotional video you watched?"

*sound of crickets

"Er.....you know, a promotional video.....like, uh, a video where the person is being interviewed and talks about their business and there are, like, scenes of them doing business type stuff.....uh..showing what they do and smiling a lot........anyone??"

*sound of brains thinking really hard

Then...

"Uh, yeah, I've seen a few of those.  I don't remember what they were for exactly......"  *voice trails off in deep thought...

*puzzled looks are exchanged

"What about the promotional video for Bud Light?  With the puppy and the horses?  Anyone remember that?"

*80% of room nods in agreement.  Smiles appear everywhere

"Oh my gosh - YES," shouts someone from the far corner.  "That video made me cry like a baby!"  "So.Stinking.Sweet."

From the other corner of the room...

"OMG, do you guys remember that IKEA promo with the lamp?!"  "It was sooooo sad!  But then so funny!"  "One minute you were all...awwww poor lamp and the next you were like, wait....lol....it's just a lamp!" lololololololol

"The lamp doesn't have FEELINGS!", shouts a man in front of me. *"Bahahahahahaha".

*small conversations break out in the room.  Laughter, awww-ing and passionate remembrances are overheard.

"THAT, I say turning to my client next to me, is why promotional films are a giant waste of your money (mostly)."

Friends!  If the promotional video someone offers to make your business doesn't make you tear/awww/lol/nom nom nom/eeeek/weeeee/yaaaayyyy or make your face hurt from smiling, it will have basically NO IMPACT on your prospective clients.

Gals!  I'm not just telling you this because I want your business, I'm telling you this because I KNOW that there are many of you out there who want SO MUCH MORE than what is being offered by a lot of video producers and I do not want you to do what I have done many times with my previous businesses, and waste your incredibly precious time, energy and hope on something that is utterly forgettable.

There is only one reason to invest in an Emotive Brand Film, instead of a Promotional video:  CONNECTIONS + FEELINGS = MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKET.

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If that's not you - if your business isn't about profitability, sustainability, filling a market need, and providing a valuable service or product, and you are just doing this because you love it and you think maybe you're pretty good at it - then, my friend - THEN yeah, go ahead and make that promo video.  It won't matter.

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The Vital Few Versus the Useful Many - Building a Successful Creative Business without Hustling

The Vital Few Versus the Useful Many - Building a Successful Creative Business without Hustling

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to hide in my bed with a bowl of KD, a tub of dill pickle dip and a root beer float and just run away from the stress of "hustling" my business.

Many many times, my friend.

There is a reason so many creative entrepreneurs like you and me feel overwhelmed.

Why so many burn out before they ever get to reach their big goals.

Interview with Ottawa Business Coach Ashley Beaudin

Interview with Ottawa Business Coach Ashley Beaudin

Let me just say:  If you don't know Ashley Beaudin, you are missing out.

Ashley is a major heart encourager, business coach, content creator, movement maker and HUGE supporter of women breaking through the image of perfection and sharing their authentic and powerful stories to create a businesses with real impact.

The Problem with Online Courses

Raise your hand if you have ever purchased an online course.

Me too! (who hasn't?!)

Would it surprise you to learn that in this digital age of learning, where hundreds of thousands of courses are available online: 

less than 10% of people actually finish an online course they've paid for?

That's right, people left and right are plucking down hard earned money to take courses they don't actually complete.

Truthfully friends, I'm one of them.

Maybe you can relate....

Are you guilty of signing up for a course you didn't finish?  Is your hard drive full of courses you paid $50 for when it was offered as a special deal and you just KNEW it would help you understand that thing that everyone else seems to know but that you can't quite get?  Things like growing your email list, leveraging Instagram, building a community, how to get followers and likes or how to convert your followers into more bookings....

Every business owner I know has tried to learn something from buying an online course.

If you've been on Facebook in the past year you have, no doubt, seen a crazy amount of sponsored ads for online courses;  everybody (and possibly their dog) is offering an online course these days.

So many people, you have never heard of.....

When you consider it as an opportunity for a lucrative additional revenue stream, and you acknowledge the reality that most of our learning is now done on the internet, it's easy to see why so many people are making and selling online courses.  The demand is definitely there.

Even courses offered by renowned experts and Thought Leaders aren't immune to high dropout rates.  Business Marketing icon, Seth Godin, even revealed in 2016 that he experienced a dropout rate of 80% for his highly sought after online courses.

It turns out learning online isn't the easy solution we hoped it would be to take our businesses to the next level...

So if we, as consumers, want learning delivered to our fingertips, where is it all going wrong?

The truth is - Most entrepreneurs don't know what to focus on first to bring greater success faster.  They don't know what will make the most impact for their specific business so they try and learn a little of everything all at once.

Business owners often don't know what to focus on first;  they want to keep up with what everyone else is doing but constantly feel like they don't know enough.  As a result, they tend to make multiple small investments (both time and money) into many items on their to-do list in order to feel like they are making significant progress.

They are constantly trying to DO MORE instead of doing what MATTERS MOST.

Instead they are making incremental progress in an unclear direction.

They are overwhelmed by all.of.the.things. they need to do and, understandably, choose to minimize their financial and time management risk by investing a little into a lot of different things.

Subconsciously, they are seeking the emotional payoff that comes from accomplishing something without realizing that they aren't growing as far or as fast as they could if they were to invest in the foundations of creating a truly flourishing business.

Foundations that would eliminate unnecessary items from their to-do list and help them concentrate on learning that substantially grows their business in the right direction.

People love to buy crash courses on topics that seem too big and scary to tackle fully. And online course makers know how to sell you a shortcut to those happy feelings of accomplishment.

What they don't tell you is that most people get distracted, confused, bored, lazy or overwhelmed and never fully reach their well intentioned goals.

The Problem with Online courses is, there is no accountability

For Business owners, and Creatives particularly, there is always something else that grabs our attention.  Shiny Object Syndrome is real ya'll.

One minute you are updating your website and the next thing you know you are surfing the Net and you are lost down the vortex of the millions of things you realize you don't know or NEED to learn about like yesterday.

So you watch a few free podcasts until you realize, you REALLY NEED to learn about this critical thing and then decide to spend the money for a quick course that promises the systems and secrets not available anywhere else.

And the first few modules are great and helpful and you feel like you are finally GETTING SOMEWHERE and then your kiddo gets sick and you don't have time to do the next module.  And then you read an article about something else you REALLY REALLY need to be focusing on in your business and you start researching that and before you know it, that super helpful course of yours is just sitting there making you feel super guilty for not having enough time to complete it even though you REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED to know this stuff.

Online courses make us feel like we are accomplishing something just by signing up so we can pat ourselves on the back and feel like we are really tackling that thing.  

But after the feeling of accomplishment fades, most people lack the consistent internal motivation and discipline required to actually follow through with completing the self-driven work required in an online course.

The reality is that learning at your own pace without someone to keep you on track is extremely hard.  Life is busy, there are always reasons to delay the "non-urgent" items;  always more and more items on our to-do lists.  There are also way too many distractions;  our phones are beeping text messages at us, our email is alerting, our Instagram account is notifying and our sister is tagging us on a funny cat video, it's no wonder we can't get anything done!

Online courses have to fit in between our work and our life and most people are already struggling to find enough time for just those two things.

Have you ever paid for an online course and then found the exact same information being offered for free elsewhere?  Isn't that super annoying?

While good sales copywriting can make you feel like you NEED to buy a course to access the most valuable secret information, the reality is that a lot of helpful material is available already for free.  Courses are sold as a way to learn this valuable information faster.  A solution that would be welcomed if it addressed all of people's needs but...

People don't just need information fast, they need help applying that information in their own lives.

Online courses are meant to generalize.  They aren't specific to your business goals, struggles or needs.  Having general information about a topic doesn't actually help you understand how to best apply it to your individual business.  It doesn't help you sort through your thoughts and make decisions with clarity.  Online courses offer knowledge without application.

So what's a person to do, then, when they need help with some aspect of their business?  If online courses aren't an effective strategy for growing your business, then what works better?

Invest your time and money in Good PEOPLE.

Hiring a professional person, in the "Real World", who can either do that thing for you or who will work one-on-one with you to make sure you actually accomplish your goals, is a far more efficient use of your time and money.

Yes, you can DIY just about anything.  You are a creative - you ROCK DIY but........sometimes, you shouldn't.  Sometimes, you need to know what will take you where you want to go and what will keep you stuck where you are.  Sometimes you need to NOT do-it-yourself.

Spending your hard-earned money on online courses will keep you stuck at a crawl in your business, when you were always made to soar.

Online courses can't truly know your needs.  
They can't dig in with you and talk you through the hard stuff when you're unsure.  
They can't sit on your couch and drink root beer floats and hold you accountable for how and where you are spending your time that week.
Courses can't answer your stressed out email at 9:00 am on a Saturday, or remind you over and over again what makes you special when you are questioning yourself.  
Online courses can't cheer for you, celebrate your wins, leave you the best IG comments and tell all their friends about you.
Online courses can't invest in YOU.

The Problem with Online Courses is they are a poor substitute for the kind of life changing growth that happens when you invest in building your business right from the ground up.  The kind of growth that happens when you invest in people who will walk WITH you as you learn and grow.

If you are craving

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The Overwhelmed Mompreneur: How I stopped feeling like a failure.

It's 3 minutes past three o'clock and you are throwing your coat, boots and scarf on like a mad woman.  You are running late.  Again.

You make a mad dash to the kindergarten wing to pick up your little one, who promptly gives you the stink eye and demands to know, "Why you late Mommy?".  All the other kids are gone, having been picked up on time, bussed home, or kept inside for after school care.  Your kid isn't happy to have been kept waiting, he won't hold your hand walking home and you feel both super annoyed and super guilty.  You are, after all, trying your best but these are days when you wish there were two of you.

Sound familiar?  Yup, welcome to the club, Mompreneur Friend!

Being a Mom and an Entrepreneur is crazy hard.

Literally, it will make you crazy some days....

You will feel so guilty every time you have to say, "Sorry kiddo, I can't play trains, Mama's working right now."  You will second guess whether you should be pursuing your work at all.  You will wonder 100 times over if you are being selfish.  You will constantly feel like you are letting your kids down by not being with them as often as they want you (newsflash - that is 100% of the time).

It is no wonder that so many women don't fully pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.  It is no wonder that those who do, feel utterly overwhelmed trying to balance everyone's needs all at once.  It is no wonder that some of those Mama's give up on their dreams after struggling to make them a reality and just become exhausted by the battle to find balance.

If you are a creative trying to create a business that actually succeeds so you can justify all of the hours you've invested in it, all of the days you could have spent with your tiny people, all of the times you sacrificed your sleep, your free time or your sanity, friend you are not alone.

The Overwhelmed Mompreneur: How I stopped feeling like a failure.

Some of the best advice I've gotten trying to build up my business while raising my three kiddos over the past 12 years, without family here to help, has been to: 

Embrace Community

Many of us don't have the support or physical proximity of our families.  We are literally trying to do everything ourselves because childcare and babysitters are often out of the budget and, if we are on maternity leave or a stay-at-home parent, we feel like we can't justify spending money for someone else to watch our kids.  There is a very real societal pressure to be a SuperMom, because after all, we chose to have kids so they are our responsibility.  *insert eye roll here

While we did choose to have our kids and we wouldn't trade them in for all the business success in the world, the truth is - We Can't Do it Alone.  That's why embracing a community of like-minded folk who can mutually support each other in both raising our kidlets and achieving our business goals is so critical to our success as both Moms and Entrepreneurs.

It wasn't until I stopped apologizing for needing help from supportive friends in my community and started seeing this support as a vital part of every entrepreneur's journey that I could let go of the guilt of not being able to do it alone and the constant overwhelm of trying to.

Do you have people in your life that provide that community?  If not, put yourself out there and find some.  Your local Moms group or your church are great places to start developing those relationships that can sustain you in hard times and offer the kind of practical support that every.single.mom. needs to succeed at her goals.

We all need each other friends.  Please don't be an island.

Recognize that pursuing your dream makes you a BETTER Mom.

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There is an idea in our culture that women are at their best when they are focusing on only one thing.  That choosing to be both a Mom and an Entrepreneur means that you are taking away something from your children in order to pursue your business and conversely that you aren't able to run a fully capable Entrepreneurial business while you are also taking care of your children.  It's an idea that can make you feel selfish, as though your role as a Mom should be more than enough to fill you up and that any pursuits outside of that role are, not only, less worthy of your time but fueled by selfish desires.

Don't believe that nonsense for one minute!

You are not selfish for having life goals that utilize the gifts and talents you have been given.  You are not selfish for having a calling beyond your calling as a Mother.  You can be more than one thing at once, and you can be AMAZING at all of those things (this is still true even on days you are struggling, you'll note I said amazing and not PERFECT).

If you are lucky enough to feel called to your entrepreneurial work, trying to ignore that calling or to bury it deep within you will only lead to one thing - depression.  Not living the life that you were called to, is a soul crushing choice.  But when you choose to pursue your dreams, you are giving your kids permission to pursue theirs, too.  You are showing what it means to love yourself and the courage it takes to follow your dreams even when it is challenging.  Even when others seek to define what you should and shouldn't do, you are modeling the value of each person's individual journey and the work they are uniquely called to.

When I am working on my business, I don't see it as a distraction from being a Mom.  I see it as a source of LIFE to my soul.  Pursuing this calling helps me feel WHOLE.  Without it, I am not fully being who I am.  Without it, I am not living my very best life.

And if I'm not living my best life full of passion and courage and joy for my work, then I can't be my best Mom-self either.

By being both an Entrepreneur and a Mom, my kids are learning that the whole world does not revolve around them.  They are learning to value the time they spend with me and not to take that time for granted.  They are learning patience and respect for my time.  They are learning that Moms are people too (whaaaat, that's crazy talk, amiright?!).  They are learning to dream big for their own lives.  They are learning what it takes to be your own boss and someday they will have a much clearer idea of what Entrepreneurship requires of them and whether this is a choice they would want to make for themselves.

Did you know that juggling these two roles can actually be a gift to your family?

You are helping to teach them about living a life in pursuit of MORE.

So no, you aren't a failure because you are an Overwhelmed Mompreneur.  You are a great Mama and you are a great Entrepreneur doing your very best. 

I believe in you sister, keep going!

 

 

 

The Space you Take up

When my daughter was a toddler I started a blog.

Like many moms, I felt lonely and isolated and needed a place to put my feelings into words; a place to connect with others feeling the same way.

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My blog was a bit unique - it was a commentary about our life but written from my baby's perspective, rather than my own.

To protect our identity (as was standard practice back in 2008), I gave everyone pseudonyms.  My baby daughter, the "author" became "BlogBaby" and I was known as "BabyMama".

At first, it was an amazing experience.  I connected with some AMAZING mothers from all over the world and formed kindred friendships, some of whom I am still connected with today.

I found a lot of happiness being a part of the bigger blogger community and on days when things seemed too dark and overwhelming, these very real friendships pulled me through.

But I also learned something about myself through the experience.

I learned that I hide.

In fact, I had subconsciously set up my blog like a front (nothing to see in back officer...).

By writing from my baby daughter's perspective, I could let her be the focus.  Every beautiful inch of her chubby cheeked adorable baby perfection was out there to be celebrated, but I?  I was hiding behind those happy baby cheeks.  And I wasn't always happy.

There was, in fact, so much more to me than just being a "BabyMama" and by blogging from the perspective of my child, I felt like I couldn't honor those other parts of me.

It is so easy for us mothers to hide behind our kids.

  • We turn conversations right around to little Susie's successes at ballet whenever anyone asks us how we are doing.
  • We let the focus be on their accomplishments, their needs; all under the guise of "putting the kids first".
  • We post every.single.thing.our.kids.do.or.say on Facebook but carefully craft what we show of ourselves. 
  • We push them in front of us in photos to hide our never-quite-right bodies.

And why?  Why do we do this?

We do it because it is easier.

We let ourselves become just a little bit invisible because sometimes we feel invisible and some days it is just really really hard to fight those feelings.  

And some days, we want to be invisible because we don't feel like enough.

And other days, we are consumed by how much of us there actually is and invisibility seems preferable to people looking directly at every insecurity we have.  

Being a mother is hard.  It is a sacred gift that most of us don't feel qualified to be given.

But being brave isn't about not being afraid.

Brave is that positively-certain-you-are-not-enough voice in your mind being pushed back into the dark pit from whence it came.  Brave is in the battle.

It's stepping out from behind our kids and participating in our lives.

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It's saying, "I am enough exactly as I am."

Letting your children know that you value yourself is a life changing lesson for them.  It ensures that the children you raise will become adults with the confidence to put themselves out there, too.  They won't hide but will embrace their own imperfect beauty when those not-enough or way-too-much voices push themselves into their minds, one day.

When we, as women, make ourselves smaller (or more invisible) pushing the world's attention onto our kids, we diminish the world they live in.  We strip it of vital, whole and complicated female role models.  We allow mothers to become background props, caricatures and stereotypes. 

We also make it even harder for other mothers to come out of hiding.

We add to the collective shame and guilt mothers feel when they bravely declare themselves to be a whole human being even when they don't present the perfect picture of motherhood.  And we side-eye mothers who dare to show themselves as more than a mother - as someone who is part of but also exists apart from motherhood.

When we own the space we take up in the world, we add untold beauty and strength to the woven tapestry that is our family, our communities and our world.  

Do you want to raise Brave children?

Own the space you take up in the world.

Every beautiful inch of you.

3 Tips to Figure out what your Dream Clients ACTUALLY need from you

If you just read the title of this post, you are probably thinking...."Well, I'm a wedding photographer so my clients obviously need great wedding photos from me," or "I'm a graphic designer so my dream clients need balanced, clear brand design."  And you'd be right, both of you, except.........what your dream clients actually need is THE THING that is motivating them to specifically hire you to take those great images or make that gorgeous design.

It's your Brand Advantage.  The reason behind why they are drawn to you and your work.  The thing that makes you special.

In my, nearly, two decades as a photographer I have seen countless very skilled photographers who have had to close their businesses because they didn't invest in truly understanding their dream clients needs.  These professionals were counting on the quality of their work and the strength of their personality alone to sell their work to prospective clients.  They didn't know who they were meant to serve or how to authentically serve them.

And it cost them, big time.

Friendlies, I don't want that to happen to you.  That's why I'm giving you these:

3 tips to figure out what your dream clients actually need from you (so you can ensure your business beats the odds and is around for a LOOOONG time):

 

1.  Do the research.

Chances are you know people who are totally your tribe.  Why not use them as a case study?  Are you making assumptions about your clients?  How well do you truly know them?  If you had to paint a picture of their lives, their passions, their style, their values, their favourite activities or restaurants, could you?  

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During the coaching phase of my work, I ask my clients to identify 3 dreamies of their own and to ask questions that will help them to understand their needs and wants better.  Does knowing their favourite restaurant help you sell your services to them easier?  Maybe, maybe not, but the more information you know, the more points you can connect with them on, the more they see you as the right fit for them.

Not sure what to ask?

Subscribe to our Newsletter and get some of the specific questions I used with my kindred clients.

Not sure what your people want?  Dig in and start asking them!  Which takes me to my next point..... 

2.  Ask Better Questions (and ask them first)

This one seems obvious but most creatives I know ask the same general set of questions from prospective clients.  Have you considered what the things you ask actually SAY about you?  Your questions need to match with the type of clients you are seeking.  If they are boring and repetitive, your clients might think you are too. (the horror!)

If you want to attract clients who are madly in love romantics, why not ask them about the most romantic date they've had?  If adventurous hippy travellers are your jam, why not ask them which vegan shoes they find the most comfortable for walking around India?  Okay, I'm being a little cheeky with that last one :-) still........

Asking these types of more personalized questions let's your clients know exactly the type of person you are looking to work with.  It qualifies those who can identify with your questions and builds the type of trust that leads to a booking.  (woot woot!)

Sure, you should ask the basics like what, when and where but when you lead with questions like, "How would you describe your fiancee to a stranger?" or "What do you want people to know about your family?" You are acknowledging the deeper motivations that subconsciously determine the products they buy and the services they hire.

3.  Listen like a Boss

Doing client research and asking great questions is going to make a significant impact on your ability to connect with your target clients but if you don't have ears to hear, it's all worth nothing.

The most successful people know how to listen to what is said and what is unsaid.  They know when to dig deeper past someone's initial answer to get to the good stuff underneath.  That takes some serious listening skills to truly understand what people are telling you.  To get their WHY.

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So the next time a prospective client says, "I just want some family pictures done," take the time to ask what prompted them to feel like they need pictures done now?.  Ask them what they feel when they look at pictures of their family?  Ask them about their most treasured picture and why it means so much to them?  Ask them what their dream photoshoot would look like?  What would it feel like?  Why do they want to feel that way?

And when you do ask, listen well and I guarantee you will have a much richer understanding of what your dream clients actually need from you.

 

The Two Big Reasons you aren't attracting more clients

Let me ask you this:

What do you know about your ideal audience?

If I asked you to describe them to me, could you?  

What type of jobs do they have?  Where do they invest their money, energy and time?  What are they passionate about?  What frustrates them?  What do they like about you?  What do you give them that they aren't getting somewhere else?

If you are scratching your head at these questions, then friend you are not alone.

The number 1 reason you aren't attracting more clients is because you don't know what truly motivates them.

As creatives, so much of your time is spent either on actually doing the work or on seeking new clients/customers that you often get lost in the busyness of business.  It's this kind of day to day strategy, just trying to do the basics, that can keep you stuck.

But the most successful brands know that you have to dig deeper to develop a real understanding of your target clients/customers in order to build your business successes from the ground up.  They understand that investing in this foundational work is what will allow you to build a long term business strategy that will make you GROW.

Friends, it's exceptionally easy to follow the well worn path of your industry peers, and simply to do as they do in order to try and generate the same kinds of results you see others getting.  You see success all around you and you want a piece of that for yourself.  You might think, "I am as talented as he/she is; I can do that too."   You might be doing all.of.the.things everyone else is doing and wonder why you aren't booking enough clients, why you aren't getting the type of clients that you really want, or why you hear crickets when you post something up on your fan page or IG account.

In a competitive market, knowing your audience and speaking directly to their hearts is the single best way to effective content marketing.  It's the hard work that needs to be done FIRST before you spend your time creating products/services, doing trade shows or printing your business cards.  

As the kooky scientologists say, you have to "Begin at the Beginning."  And let your energy, time and investments be made with the confidence that comes from understanding who you serve and what they need from you.

After you have taken the time to know and understanding your ideal clients, you have to connect the dots between their values, needs and wants and WHAT YOU OFFER.  And you have to do this by connecting with their hearts not their minds.

The #2 reason you aren't attracting more clients is because you aren't connecting deep enough.

Statistics prove time and time again that the best way to motivate a sale is to generate an emotional connection.  This isn't new information but where most people go wrong is by only scratching the surface of that emotional connection.  

Have you read the "About me" page for your industry peers?  Photographers, in particular, all say pretty much the same things.  Yes, preserving memories is important to your clients, it's important to EVERYONE, yes, you want to give them a timeless keepsake they can enjoy forever......so do your competitors.  

But what do you want your kindred clients to FEEL about you?  What is your competitive edge?  What would make them jump up and down and call their partners to immediately demand they look at your website?  What will make them cry the best kind of tears?

If you aren't aiming to captivate your audience, you won't be able to motivate them to hire you either.  It's only in creating those deep heart connections, that you will be able to attract those dream clients.

Want to learn more tips on how to attract more clients?

Get our "How to stand out in a saturated market" free guide.

 

Why YOU need a Brand Film - The Stats don't lie

You've probably heard people say that video is the next BIG THING in marketing your business online, the reality is that video is NOT an up and coming strategy to reach your target clients;  video is already HERE.

Which begs the question - Why aren't you using it?

I posed this same question to a sample group of my creative peers.  This is what I heard back:

"I don't like being in front of the camera."
"It feels overwhelming to know what to do or say in a video."
"I can't afford a big production company to do it for me."
"I don't understand how I would use it in my business."

Do these reasons sound familiar to you?  

Chances are if you are reading this, you have an interest in creating a Brand Film but maybe you aren't sure how to overcome the reasons you aren't yet using video to set your business apart.  If you are stuck in that place, I so feel you.

Being in front of a camera is terrifying for most people, but great news friends - Your Brand Film doesn't necessarily need to have you in it!  (I know, I just blew your mind, right?)

The best Brand Films captivate their audience.  They make you feel things.  They touch the deeper parts of you causing you to ACT.  It isn't something you watch passively, successful Brand Films are about emotion and story.  They are about creating a connection that lasts, making you unforgettable to your ideal clients.  You do not HAVE to be in your own film for it to be about YOUR brand.  Your brand is basically the collective result of how people experience you and your business.  It's more about the values and feelings you represent - the intangibles, than it is about anything else.  So, if the idea of having to put yourself in your Brand Film is a major stumbling block to creating one, take heart friend.

Did you know, 80% of users recall a video ad they've seen in the last 30 days? 

---->This beautiful Emotive Campaign film for Flora Apothecary by Arizona filmmaker, Ale Vidal, has been stuck in my head for a year.

People who interact with video ads remember them long after they are done watching.  The best ones solidify your brand into the minds of your audience, building trust and connection with you that is far greater than your competition who aren't connecting to clients in this way.

According to statistics, if people enjoy your video ad it increases the likelihood of them buying from you by a staggering 97% AND it increases your brand recognition by 139% which means having a Brand Film can not only help people notice you, but also remember you and want to hire you specifically because of the connection they had with your Brand video.

"But Lisa", you'll say, "how do I even know where to start with video?  How do I know what it should look like or what to say?"

More great news, friends:  You don't have to figure it out alone!

Hiring a Filmmaker who specializes in Emotive Brand Films means you have someone who will guide you through the confusing stuff to help you find the clarity you need to create a brand film that feels so RIGHT for your specific brand.  It means you get someone who can help you discover the meaningful answers behind your brand so you can feel confident with your message and translate that into visuals that have just the right tone and feeling to reach your kindred clients.

While there are some amazing production studios out there with large teams of people ready to create a video for you, at Salt and Light studio I want to create a Brand Film WITH you.  Relationship, Intimacy and vulnerability are so key to crafting a Brand Film that actually connects.  For that reason, I keep my equipment simple and my team small so the focus is always on your story and you are comfortable enough to do the heart work required to get to the good stuff.  This means the final film feels more authentic to your Brand and not overly produced or sales-y.

Creating an Emotive Brand Film doesn't have to be a huge overwhelming production.  And you shouldn't need to sell your first born child to create a marketing piece that is worth it's weight in gold.

Once you've created a Brand Film, you will have a marketing resource that can be used on many different platforms to maximize it's impact and generate the most excitement for your brand.  

Most of my clients are excited to use their film on the homepage of their websites, which is a great start, of course, but a Brand Film can be used many different ways.  

Since we know that '5% of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% will stop after 2 minutes', creating a short film that is under 1 minute is ideal for use on Instagram and will retain the maximum amount of viewers.  Since people will engage with video 22% more than with any other content, it's worth posting video across all of your online social platforms to reach the most people in the most efficient way.  (We'll talk in a later post about the perfect length for your video)

Have you ever thought about including your Brand Film into your response emails with inquiring clients?  It's a perfect way to set yourself apart right from the start!  Clients might be sending out inquiries to several people in your field, but they will definitely remember the reply that included a beautiful video that "had them at hello".

"Dr. James McQuivey estimates that 1 minute of video is the equivalent of 1.8 million words."

Have you thought about producing a series of smaller Emotive Brand Films that tell a larger story?  Create buzz and excitement by showcasing a video series that creates a reason for your kindred clients to keep coming back to you so they can't stop talking about you to everyone they know even after your work with them is complete.  Stay fresh in their minds and boost your word of mouth by using short impactful videos to reinforce your messaging. 

Hate blogging?  Why not Vlog instead!  Let me help you clarify your messaging and articulate it into short films instead.

The bottom line is:  Brand Films are more than just a nice thing to have on your website.  They are the single best way to reach the most potential clients in the most impactful way.

The stats don't lie.

Why this is a safe place not to be safe

“I don't think anyone aims to be typical, really. Most people even vow to themselves some time in high school or college not to be typical. But still, they just kind of loop back to it somehow. Like the circular rails of a train at an amusement park, the scripts we know offer a brand of security, of predictability, of safety for us. But the problem is, they only take us where we've already been. They loop us back to places where everyone can easily go, not necessarily where we were made to go. Living a different kind of life takes some guts and grit and a new way of seeing things.” 
-Bob Goff



Last year I stumbled across a song called "Renegades" by X Ambassadors.  It has become my new anthem.

I put it on many mornings after Yoga and crank the volume.  (Since my husband has been working from home, I have learnt it is best to do this with my headphones ON.)  ;-)

The song is catchy with a great beat and driving emotional lyrics.  It is no surprise, then, to find it was crawling up the charts.  (I'd probably know that if I listened to the radio...)

The song itself is essentially about zigging when everyone else is zagging.  It's about finding your unique voice and not being afraid to destroy the box.

It's about living a life that is in contrast to what most people are doing.

It's about being a game changer.

When I started my photographic journey at 17, I had no idea where it would take me.  I only knew that this art form was a way of narrating the things happening around me.  It was my voice but I didn't know what I wanted to say with it yet.

Over the past 20 years, having photographed numerous weddings, families, kids and couples, I've done my very best to learn from the experts who have come before me and to "do what they do".  And what I've learned is this:

 I am a Renegade.

Let me get very real on you here, most people can't tell the difference between one photographers work and another.  Websites often look very similar and every.single.person is using a brush script logo these days....

There, I said it. (Let the controversy begin)

It's not that photographers want to be the same as everyone else, they are just stuck.

Stuck in trying to do what the experts say to do;  stuck playing it safe.  Stuck trying to make a living in an oversaturated market and following strategies that have worked for others.   Stuck following trends when they could be redefining them.

When your brand identity isn't distinct, potential clients don't feel the emotional connection they NEED to choose you above all others.

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A distinct brand identity starts with taking the time and energy required to truly dig deep into who you are at your core, who your ideal clients are at their core and what these kindred folk truly value most.  If your brain just answered, "having their memories preserved", then you aren't going deep enough yet...

One of the greatest mistakes new photographers make is to cast a wide net for potential clients with the mentality that any work is good work.

The truth is, without taking the time to truly understand your "Why" and who you authentically serve, you can't have a distinct voice in your work and the people you want to reach most can't see you.

It's like shouting the same words into the wind as 100 others;  no one can hear anything but noise.

My friends, don't let your work become noise.

You were created to be exceptional.

Focusing your brand visuals and messaging at a niche target audience means serving a smaller group of people. The right people;  people you connect with on a deeper level.  People who will become your greatest fans and influencers for other like-minded potential clients.

It means being specific about the "Who, What, Where, Why and How" of your work.

It means having some folks not "get it" while others are jumping up and down yelling, "Yes, yes, and double yes, I so hear you! Sign me up like yesterday!!"

I believe with my whole heart that there are a special group of you out there that yearn for something that is unique and deep and meaningful and different.

Some of you are longing to find a brand identity that will pull you out of the endless cycle of "doing what people do".  A brand that let you claim your own space;  your own voice.

And to you I say, "This is a safe place not to be safe."