I don’t recommend partnering with other businesses. Here’s why:
The thing about partnering with other businesses is that it’s a long game. When you partner with a business, you’re not just going to call them up and say “Hey, will you promote my business?” and get a response like “Yes! I would love to take time out of my day to promote your business for you. Let’s get that going tomorrow!” You won’t see a sudden increase of 300 clients by the end of the week. That’s not how it works.
What it really looks like is you calling and emailing and Facebooking and going to networking events. After weeks or months of establishing a relationship and exchanging the ins and outs of each business, you might finally be able to put together something that’s beneficial for both of you. Maybe that’s setting up an event or a free gift with purchase or a referral discount. You get that partnership up and running, but you might not get any amazing results for a long time.
It’s a lot of work and a lot of time before you see results (assuming you ever do!).
I’m not saying that you should never partner with a business, but I don’t recommend doing it when you’re starting out.
As photogs, we don’t really know marketing. It’s not where our passion is, otherwise we’d be working in marketing firms instead of behind a camera! We don’t know how to sell when we’re starting out, so we shrug and figure we’ll partner with someone else who maybe does know how to market and can pretty much do the job for us. But the reality is that partnership is a huge distraction and a waste of your time at the beginning of your business.
I think you should get to six figures in your photography business first, then partner with other businesses. Until you reach that point, you should be doing model calls, Facebook groups, Facebook lives, boosting posts and buying ads, having an email newsletter, and getting a working website. That’s the stuff to get first.
Partnering with businesses is a long game. But all those other things are the strategies that get you bookings fast, which is what you need when you’re starting out.
Here’s another thing: your business partnerships will be stronger and more successful if you’re already established and have something amazing to offer.
Consider this scenario: when I was first starting out, I reached out to all these other businesses, even though I wasn’t killing it yet in business. I didn’t really have any clients. I was just starting out and was trying to figure out how to lock in those bookings. I reached out to businesses, asking if someone wanted to have coffee and chat. Guess what? No one wanted to! Because I had nothing to offer them. There was no guarantee that I was going to still be in business next month because I essentially wasn’t even in business yet.
If you have a bunch of testimonials, some albums, tangible marketing, and everything looks great online, that’s when you’re in a good spot for a partnership. You can reach out to businesses with something to offer, and might actually end up being the business that other businesses reach out to!
When you’re just starting out, focus your energy in the fast marketing strategies, the ones that will get you results this month. Partnering with other businesses is a very long game and will take too much of your precious time in the beginning and will just slow you down.
If you want more info about my fast marketing strategies, you’re in luck! I teach them in my Boudoir Certified course and I give you special coaching and support to make sure that they work. My goal is to get photographers into that 6-figure income bracket because we’re worth it! When you’re ready to become a Boudie Babe and rock your photography business, send me a message or drop a comment below and I’ll get you hooked up.