Mark Rossetto Podcast Episode 13

Motivation, Marketing and Mindset - with Mark Rossetto

Mark Rossetto
Mark Rossetto

In this riveting 13th episode of the Focused Professional podcast, our host Joe Lenton interviews professional photography coach, Mark Rossetto. Get ready for a deep dive into marketing, the role of discipline, motivation and supportive community for building a successful photography business. Mark and Joe share their passion for nurturing the potential in photographers and helping them to run their business in a way that suits their personality. They highlight some of the essential structure we all need to have in place, while emphasising the flexibility with which we can work around that. 

Get insights into creating a unique and meaningful brand through consistent, active, and individualised marketing strategies. Mark & Joe offer advice for navigating common pitfalls and connecting with your target audience authentically. Great businesses don’t happen by accident. Photographers need to be willing to put in a lot of hard work to enjoy the benefits of a career in the industry and be wary of the temptation of apparent shortcuts.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to wrestle with what underpins a successful photography business and build your future in the photography industry.

All images © Mark Rossetto (used here with permission)

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Transcript of Mark Rossetto Interview

Joe Lenton: Welcome to the Focused Professional podcast. Today, we’ve got a special guest on who shares some of our passion for helping photographers to build solid businesses is somebody who is a photography coaching professional and somebody who runs a Professional Photography Business Network – all the way from Australia, it’s Mark Rossetto. Hi, Mark.

Mark Rossetto: Hey, Joe, how are you doing, Buddy? You good?

Joe Lenton: Yes, thanks, and yourself?

Mark Rossetto: Very well, very very well.

Joe Lenton: How are things down in Australia at the moment?

Mark Rossetto: Hot. It’s April, but it’s still hot. 30 degrees fine and sunny. Love living in Queensland. It’s definitely the place to be.

Joe Lenton: 30 degrees in April. Wow!

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, it’s awesome. And this is like, so it’s like in our spring at the moment. So it’s awesome. It’s all good.

Joe Lenton: Wow, okay. Well, I mean, I’ve read that you like doing triathlons, I mean, do you do that in a 30 degree heat?

Mark Rossetto: Well, it’s normally in summertime. So yeah, if you’re doing a race. I just did recently a 70.3 Ironman on the Sunshine Coast in November, when it was like 32 degrees.

Joe Lenton: Oh!

Mark Rossetto: So it was a I did it in 5 hours and 15 minutes, and let’s just say the asphalt felt like it was burning my feet. It was hot.

Joe Lenton: I bet. Goodness me! That’s that’s incredible. So I would imagine the the water bit is quite…

Mark Rossetto: Refreshing!

Joe Lenton: Yes, by contrast, quite appealing too!

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely, absolutely.

Joe Lenton: Well, yeah, that’s some commitment that you’re showing there, I think, doing that in that kind of heat. So I think, when it’s 30 degrees here, I’m doing well to go outdoors. I just sort of hide.

Mark Rossetto: Welcome to Australia, hey!

Joe Lenton: Absolutely. Yeah. So I mean some of those qualities that you that you need to actually keep doing that persisting with your running, I mean, surely you must be able to draw on some of that for your business, and as a coach?

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely. Look, I think it’s one of those things it’s like with your business like with your training, the motivation to start is easy. The motivation to kind of like, go, “Yes, I’m going to do this” or sign up for a race or start a business. It’s not the motivation that’s the hard part. It’s the discipline to keep going. It’s a discipline to carry on through the months, through the years. From a training point of view, it’s a discipline of waking up at 4 am and going for a 3 hour bike ride in the middle of the the wintertime. Where, from a business point of view, it’s you get the motivation to start a photography business and you’re all pumped and excited because it’s new, and it’s fresh and you’re creating, and there’s creativity, and you just love doing it. But then you get a few clients that, you know, throw some left hooks, the here and there, and some things don’t go your way, and then things cost more money, and your marketing has to be always up to date, and it’s a discipline to keep on going. It’s a discipline to keep on fighting. It’s a discipline to turn up when you don’t really want to, but then it’s also you reap the rewards when you are living your best life and creating your best business and reaping the rewards when you get to, you know, a great client with a great experience with the great sale, with great products, with a great review at the end. It’s like running across the finish line and you go, “and that’s why we do this!  Awesome! Let’s do it again.”

Joe Lenton: Excellent. Yeah. With it, with your running and that, and a little bit like with business, is it something that you – is it something that you tend to do a lot on your own? Because motivating yourself to keep training on your own and to keep going when it’s difficult, when you’re doing a race, there’s others around you. It can help you to keep going. I certainly find with business. If you get too used to just training on your own. It can become that much more difficult. If you’ve got others around you other photographers, rather than seeing them as competition, seeing them as others you can bounce ideas off. Do you find that helps you keep going, having others with you?

Mark Rossetto: Oh, absolutely! Training with other people, working with other people, going on the journey of business and life and photography with other people is the part that you know iron sharpens iron. It keeps the flames kinda going like, if you think of a fireplace right once you’ve got your hot coals in there you remove a piece of coal and put it on its own. It’s gonna go a lot cooler a lot faster than staying with the pack, staying with the group. So having connection, collaboration and inclusivity and community with photographers around you is what keeps you going. It’s what keeps that fire burning. You know you have good days and bad days, and you know, when you have a bad day you can call someone you can call up a mate and be like, “hey, I’m struggling with this.” Or, “what do you do with this?” And they just they just fuel the fire. They get you back on track, and you get up and motivated again. So definitely photography is an extremely solo business. It’s you can be extremely isolated. And you can kind of sit in your own kind of world, and for some people they really like that. But those people who are really carrying the business to new heights, you’ll find the one common denominator throughout all of them is that they are a part of a greater community, not just themselves.

Joe Lenton: Absolutely right. Yeah, I’m by nature I’m somebody who enjoys working on my own most of the time. You know, I’ll sit in the studio with products, and I’m absolutely fine with that. But at the same time to run a business completely in isolation. You start to think at times, if you’re not careful, “oh, the world is against me. This is totally new, it’s all. It’s all happening to me. Nobody else experiences this.” And it’s only when you step out into community that you start to realize everybody goes through struggles. You’re not the only person by a long shot. It’s totally normal, in fact, to struggle.

Mark Rossetto: Oh, absolutely, absolutely the ups and downs of business. And you know things are awesome. Things are crap. Why am I doing this? I wanna quit. I love this job. This is great. Clients love me. Look, I’m a rock star, you know, like. Your emotions go around in circles. And it’s the part of really being able to be disciplined and pick yourself up to keep on moving. But working with other people, I think, is gotta be the best er medicine you could say. I don’t know what word to use, but the best, the best thing to do.

Joe Lenton: It’s a great, it’s a great catalyst, isn’t it, really, for helping to spark things off and helping to re-energize you? You can get inspired by being with others. Is that perhaps one reason why you do the Photographer’s Business Network?

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, look, the Professional Photography Business Network is definitely created to create a vibrant community of photographers. And the whole point is is to have that connection, have that collaboration and innovate together. Be inclusive of people, and to learn from each other. Because if you learn from one you’re copycat. If you learn from many, it’s research.

Joe Lenton: Like it.

Mark Rossetto: So you’re all researching together all the time you’re researching together, and you’re taking, you know, you get a little bit of bits here, and a little bit of information here, and you love how that person said that, and that resonated with you. And as long as you can kind of identify with all the different little pieces of the puzzle and not kind of scatter brain it, but really like pull it together to make it your own you can create a wildly successful photography business by learning and collaborating with some of the best photographers in the world.

Joe Lenton: Yeah. What sort of – as a coach, then, and as somebody who runs a network like that – what motivates you to do this? What are the sort of – is it values-based? Do you have values that drive you to do this? Is there a particular source of motivation? You know, some people are very much motivated by helping others. Some want to build a community, and so on, and so on. There’s lots of different reasons for doing what we do. What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning to do these things?

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, I think for me, it’s like, seeing people’s potential and helping them reach it and achieve it. Like, you know, I had a wildly successful photography family and a wedding photography business that was based in Melbourne. You know, shock horror to everyone – I’m not the world’s greatest photographer, you know. I’m not a Kris Anderson or a Scott Johnson, or any of those guys. I’m a Master photographer with the WPPI and a Double Master with the AIPP, and if anyone’s gone in…

Joe Lenton: Well, you’re not too bad then, though really I mean not too rough around the edges if you can do that.

Mark Rossetto: What I’m trying to say. I’m a solid 80/81. I’m a solid 80 /81 for everything. Like, I know how to take a good photo. I know how to run a really good photography business, and I know that you don’t have to complicate it. And once you understand the principles of the photography business, the methods can be chosen to suit your personality. And helping people understand the right business model to suit the right products with the right price list, the right systems, processes. And really to help that individual succeed, to be able to go from being, you know, earning 50,000 to 100,000 and 100,000 to 200,000, and received a text, messages and emails saying, Oh, my gosh! “I just got a $10,000 sale!” Or even simpler going from a $200 photographer going, “Oh, my gosh! I just sold a thousand dollars worth.” Or in your case a thousand pounds worth of artwork like it’s just blown my mind. That’s awesome. That’s what I do it for. That’s the motivation behind it all.

Joe Lenton: Definitely. I don’t know about you, but I found when I’ve when I’ve been teaching that when you’ve been doing something yourself for many years, it’s easy for something to become kind of routine. Cause you use that method, you use that technique all the time. But when you see somebody else get it for the first time it refreshes you again. You kind of rediscover that joy for it, because they are enjoying what they can do from it. They can see the possibilities.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely, absolutely. And it changes the trajectory of a lifestyle as well, and a a lifestyle and a family and the group of kids the holidays that now they can have the new house that they needed moving into a new apartment, you know, like all these things, that is a residual the residual effects of everything is the part that kind of, you know, is why we do what we do. It’s one of those things that’s super important.

Joe Lenton: Yeah. So you used to do mainly portrait and weddings, you said. What prompted you to move out of that area of business? What prompted you to think you wanted to do more coaching instead?

Mark Rossetto: Well, it’s one of the things like I’ve always loved for some reason. I’ve always loved coaching and training. I’ve always loved, you know I’ll I was one that turned up to workshops and turned up to evenings, and if there’s a coffee catch up I would be there. We have – do you have the BNI Business Network International in the UK?

Joe Lenton: Yes, it is in the UK as well, yes.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. So we have the Business Network International, a BNI group that was based in Melbourne that I used to join after a year of pushing for it, I’m like, “I could do so much better!” So we started the wedding group. The Bayside Wedding group turned into the Melbourne wedding group which turned into a group of 80 to a hundred businesses in the wedding industry that we used to run our own expos, our own evenings, our own awards, nights, our own, everything. I had a group of photographers that I used to mastermind with. The 5 or 6 of us in Melbourne that we used to get together every 4 to 6 weeks. And then, like I did that whilst I had the photography business, and I just love that part of it. I love learning and exchanging and connecting with people, and I’m a real kind of networker connecting person anybody. So I just loved kind of doing that. And I’ve always I wanted to – look sounds really dorky – but it’s like, you know, I’ve always I’ve always been like a joyful, high-spirited person. You could say, you know, I don’t know what words you want to use.

Joe Lenton: Well that’s great. You couldn’t be a Brit then, really, I don’t think. There’s not very many of us that are regularly joyful, high-spirited people.

Mark Rossetto: That’s true! But in terms of like wanna make the most out of life. I wanna make the most out of things like there’s there’s the silver lining of everything, and it’s kinda like, “how do we be the best people that we can be?” And it’s kinda like, “how do I help people?” Like, if I can do it, someone else can do it as well.

Joe Lenton: Sure.

Mark Rossetto: And then we learn from people like, you know, when I started in the photography industry I actually started working in the UK for a photography studio in London, Wandsworth, where I was that sales appointment guy. I sold the artwork, and at that stage, back in 2005 we sold a million pounds worth of artwork in 12 months. And when I came back to Australia I worked with Nick and Jerry Ghionis. If you know those guys.

Joe Lenton: Yes, I’ve heard of them. Yeah.

Mark Rossetto: I worked with them at XSiGHT photographing weddings, and I guess it’s kind of like the long answer for all of this. They were in the industry, and they brought me into the industry in Australia and said, “hey, join the AIPP. Meet a whole group of photographers.” And from them kind of stepping up as industry experts and me as a newbie, they’ve kind of brought me up into the community. And I flourished from that because I was I was hanging out with some of the best photographers in Australia. Like I got the hand up. Not a handout. I didn’t get a handout. I got a hand up. I got a kind of like, “hey, we love this industry. I think you’ll love this industry, too. Why don’t you come and join us at this industry night that we’re going to and come and kind of meet some people?” And 20 years kind of later I feel like I’m now doing that kind of reaching all these new people and the builders and the boomers I call them. And I’m kind of going, “hey, come, join this awesome community!” And it’s not just my community, the Focused Professional community, The SWPP community, like whatever community is like, get around the professional industry bodies and networks and be a part of this awesome industry because it’s one of the coolest jobs that you can have.

Joe Lenton: Yeah. Absolutely.

Mark Rossetto: That was a long-winded. That was a long-winded answer. Did you get the general gist of that?

Joe Lenton: That’s a good one. It’s a good one!

Mark Rossetto: Feel that passion, can you.

Joe Lenton: I think it’s finding it’s finding your people, isn’t it, really? There are all sorts of professional organizations and it’s finding the right one that suits you. It’s finding your people that you can identify with, and the people that are willing to share with you, because, as you said, they they kind of encourage you to come in, and you’re now encouraging others in a similar way, sharing knowledge. And similarly, for me, I’ve been thinking about doing judges training at some point with the Societies, and Terrie the head of judging there at 1 point sort of said “there’s a space available on the next one. You are are booking it, aren’t you?!” And that that kind of mindset of I’ll do it at some point became are you going to do this now or not?

Mark Rossetto: Yeah.

Joe Lenton: But it was that they didn’t have to do much, and that’s the thing to encourage people to get people doing more you don’t have to do a lot. It can just simply be that little invitation.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. A wise man once said in his funny Australian accent with a really deep voice. It’s like, what was it? “Not everybody has to do everything, but everybody has to do something.”

Joe Lenton: Yeah.

Mark Rossetto: Just do something. Like, you don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be everything to everybody, but everyone can can contribute. Everybody can do something.

Joe Lenton: Totally! Absolutely right. I think so. Do you actually miss the photography side of things now, though? Because you’re gonna be spending most of your day delving deeper into the business side of things. Do you still get time to shoot?

Mark Rossetto: I don’t. I don’t shoot anything. Like, when I left Melbourne I left my entire studio space and everything. So no, I don’t shoot. To be honest, I don’t shoot anything at all. The only times that I shoot is when we travel overseas and the last awards I’ve won in the last 6 years are all travel, photography, and kind of documentary. So I still, I still see the image I still see stuff, and I’m still like, oh, that’s a great shot, and like I do miss that side of things. And I miss the family stuff. You know. I miss the joking around the kids and the families and the connection with everybody else. I miss that side of it. But at the same time it’s just a different season.

Joe Lenton: Sure absolutely life does does change. You go from one season to another, and and I’m sure being involved in in judging helps to keep your photography eye sharp as well, anyway.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, I love the judging side. Love the judging side. Been judging for many, many years now and all over the place, I’ve judged at SWPP back in whatever it was. I think 2019. Judged the WPPI, and I’m off to New Zealand this year for judging, and unfortunately, in Australia we don’t – the AIPP died. So there’s all of the States, and National judging is all finished. There is another Australian organization stepping up

Joe Lenton: So that’s why all the Australian photographers are coming over, winning the awards in the UK now instead, is it? That’s why.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. They have to win it somewhere. So they might as well take it from the English, just like the cricket, hey? But that’s another conversation.

Joe Lenton: Well, between the Australians and the Swedes. There’s not that many left for the Brits to win. There’s some pretty strong teams there.

Mark Rossetto: Exactly. Exactly. So. Yeah, like, you know, we do have a good presence of, you know, after I think, especially for WPPI, Australia did exceptionally well there for many, many years, and I know at the SWPP. There’s been plenty over there at the moment as well.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, yeah. And I, I think that’s one of the lovely things about the conventions, the competitions. Yeah, okay, you can win an award, and so on. But it’s this international community. It’s it goes far beyond your local neighbourhood or anything like that. And you’re connecting with people who have different cultures, different ways of looking at things. You see images that you wouldn’t have thought of, because someone comes from a totally different place, different background to you. That’s one of the things I really do love about it – that international family.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. And people just see things differently. Everyone sees something differently. You put the same camera and the same photographer in the same space, you’re gonna get a completely different shot, because people view the world in different ways. And it’s mind blowing just it’s like it’s like every year when we judge just when you think you’ve seen it all – next year something else comes out, and you’re like, “how did you even come up with that?” Like Kris Anderson and his in-camera capture shot that he did for this year was just phenomenal. And it’s like man, 0″how do we even think of that stuff?”

Joe Lenton: And the jigsaw one that he did previous year. You think. “Kris, this is just ridiculous. How do you keep doing it year after year coming up with something that just yeah is mind-blowing?” It really is.

Mark Rossetto: It’s crazy. It’s crazy, but they do, that’s what keeps it awesome. They push, pushing the boundaries time and time again.

Joe Lenton: And it’s it inspires you to want to to want to do better with whatever you do. I think it’s being around excellence being around talented people, I think, helps you as an individual, to raise your level. So joining a community again, just just helps you to achieve all that you’re capable of really.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, I like to put it in – let’s be the tide that raises all ships. If we can all rise as an industry in quality, in photography, in excellence, in service, in product, in systems, processes, prices, products, finished artwork, the way we communicate. If we’re all getting better and all doing well in this area we’re raising the standard of the photography industry. So why wouldn’t you want to be a part of it? Why would you want to be alone?

Joe Lenton: Totally totally get that. I’m very much passionate about the standard of the photography industry, not just because of the threats to it with AI and all these kind of things, but because it’s just, it’s something that I enjoy, its something that I’m passionate about. And it’s something you can see others fulfil themselves through. And you want people to be all that they can be. You want people to get the most out of something not just creep on by with the bare minimum. It’s it’s a case of developing themselves, seeing what they can do when they really push themselves.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely, absolutely. And one of the things that we loved about – and this is probably more of a in Australia we didn’t have it very often, which is the in-camera artistry. Like like, do you know how like, for some awards you have the the open award, and your creative award and and and no, your open and your in-capture. Wait, I don’t know can’t get the words right. What am I trying to say? One you can Photoshop the bejeebers out of. The other one straight out of camera. What am I trying to say? Anyway, what we what we love in Australia we didn’t have a lot of straight out of camera stuff like we didn’t show a lot of that. We didn’t do a lot of that because we just didn’t have that in the judging process. And therefore the photographers didn’t really we didn’t push the boundaries in that genre, specifically. But with WPPI every category has an open and an in-camera capture. That’s what I’m looking for. So, what that meant is that when we went to all the different the categories for WPPI in particular, that in-camera capture. When we’re judging stuff. You look at things that turn around on the screen and the print that comes up. And you’re like, “what the hell is that?” I’m like, how do you get that over there? And why is that in? And you just sit there just going, it just doesn’t make sense in my head. And I think that as a pushing the boundaries of photography, that is what really blew people’s minds is the in-camera capture.

Joe Lenton: Yeah. I think, having people that innovate and do these things is really important for the creative side of it. How about, then for the business side of it? Are there areas that you see commonly as a coach, that people are getting stuck in a rut? Where they need that little burst of inspiration to come out of it. Are there things that you see regularly, you think, “ah, yeah, they’ve got caught in that rut again”?

Mark Rossetto: Oh, absolutely. Like, there’s so many times that you would have people – that you would have people just.. Marketing! I could just talk all day about marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing. My goodness, people get stuck in the rut of marketing. They think they think that especially new photographers starting out, you know we go through this, “I wanna be a photographer. My mom thinks I’m awesome. My best friend thinks I’m awesome like I took a few photos and people think I’m awesome. I’m gonna be a photographer.” You get yourself a website and you go through this honeymoon period and this honeymoon period can last anywhere between 6 weeks and a year or 2, because all of your clients are friends of friends and friends that know you and people that know you and trust you and love you. And you could sell ice to Eskimos because it doesn’t really matter of what you’re doing. Because they’re like, “oh, Mark, you’re amazing. I love your work. Oh, of course, whatever you choose, mark whatever you, whatever images you want to take, that’s fine.” But gets to a stage where you run out of those people. I call it you get out of the friend zone. And when you’re out of the friend zone, and you are getting inquiries and conversations and emails and DMs and interest from people that don’t know you, Joe. I don’t know you, or your family, or your feelings, or your history, or your process. All I know is your website and your photography, and what you say the sunshine doesn’t shine out of it. And it’s kind of like you need to prove yourself. So once you’ve finished that honeymoon period kind of like a zone, then you get into this space where it’s kind of like I need to be professional. I need to go above and beyond. I need to be a tiger that earns it stripes. I need to prove that the photography and the experience that I’m giving these clients is worth that 1000 pounds 2000 pounds 3000 pounds, because it worked on all the people that we knew. But it’s not going to work on people that you don’t know.

Joe Lenton: Sure.

Mark Rossetto: So I guess it’s one of those things, and then you have to go to market. You have to continue these things. You have to push these things. People think like, once you got the website, once you take a few images, they’ll just sit back and they’ll just wait for their phone to ring, because the next client will call me in just a moment. And yeah, and they’ll be waiting for a very, very, very long time. So creating that active marketing strategy has got to be the key to really running that successful photography business.

Joe Lenton: I think I think so. And I think the way I see it is that especially when you’re running that kind of a photography business the brand is essentially you. So be yourself and tell your story. What I often see people trying to do is fit into a template that isn’t actually them, you know. Somebody who’s been very successful, perhaps in one particular area has said, “oh, you’ve got to do it like this steps, ABC.” And it fits certain types of business. It fits certain personalities.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely.

Joe Lenton: But there’s no such thing as a one size fits all 100% guarantee template for every single business to be successful.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely! Absolutely Joe, you you’re talking my language. You’re preaching to the converted. And this is the thing for all those people and coaches and all that type of stuff that is like, “buy this program! If you get this, you’re like, just do this one strategy. This one strategy is gonna change your life!” But the problem is, if you don’t have the rest of your business in motion, firing on all kind of pistons, doesn’t matter how good your photos are doesn’t matter how good the strategy is. Because if you’re not connecting with your people and your photos are crappy, it doesn’t matter how good that strategy is, they’re not gonna buy it. But at at the same time, like, you need to really make sure that the business suits you and the personality cause I can tell you now, Joe, I can’t see you, I’m sorry, but I can’t see you as like a TikTok person with the latest scene doing the dance moves, doing the dance moves and getting to a hundred thousand likes 

Joe Lenton: How did you know?!

Mark Rossetto: Because like cause you’re doing some funky moves, and you’re gonna increase your followers and your influence that way.

Joe Lenton: No, I’ the I’m the nerdy article type. If you if you want something that’s gonna make you think and that, then yeah, that’s that’s the kind of stuff that I’m more likely to do. Now, TikTok, I can proudly say I have never been on it.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, yeah.

Joe Lenton: It’s also people say about – you’ll often get people who are who are marketing experts outside of photography, but just who generally do marketing and that, and try and then get people – not all marketing agencies are like this, but there are some that will try and get everybody onto the kind of latest bandwagons. And it’s “oh, yes, Tiktok is growing, and oh, it’s got to be this. It’s got to be that, you’ve got to be on that particular platform. Otherwise you’re missing out.” And then you don’t really necessarily think about who is it that you’re trying to reach? Because I’ve had those kind of doubts at times when I’ve been doing certain things in my marketing, and somebody from like a marketing agency, or whatever has said, “oh, yeah. But you need to be doing Facebook lives. You need to be doing TikTok videos and that kind of thing” at a time when my target audience was marketing directors, art directors in business. I’m sorry, but I’ve asked them. They don’t sit and watch that stuff!

Mark Rossetto: No, you’ve gotta – your your message to market match has gotta be really strong. You gotta make sure that you’re identifying exactly who your who’s your ideal clients? Who you’re trying to reach? What are their problems? What are their desires? What platforms are, on, what age groups they have? And this is a really cool – ok – so, as a really cool example of exactly this, a part of the PPBN of what we do is we do the PPBN TV, which is podcast just like this. And you get to meet really cool people that you don’t normally meet. Hence I met you, Joe. But I met this amazing photographer, Paula, right? And she is a she’s 40 years old, and she started as a wedding photographer in Sydney in her twenties. So she was her target market, and then she went to family portraits in her 30s. Because she had kids. She was her target market, and now she is doing personal branding and headshots in her forties because she’s her target market. So it’s really interesting. She’s actually grown her business over 25 years been in her target market at every stage, but changing her genre to suit, because in her twenties she loves shooting weddings she loves the wedding industries. In her thirties, she’s family, she’s around families. In her forties she’s around business people. So really understanding your ideal market, and really being true to yourself and your own brand, and who you are and what you’re portraying to the world is gonna create successful photography businesses. Because people will build rapport and relate to you because they like you because you like the things that they like, and they like the things that you like. And all of a sudden you’re best friends.

Joe Lenton: She knows how to talk to those people, and as as she’s changed as her life has changed, then she’s realised that the market she can talk to, it can be slightly different. And that’s very astute. That’s a very good way of of adapting, really. There’s often this thing in marketing about, “it’s all about the customer. You’ve always got to understand the customer.” And whilst I think there’s an incredible amount of truth in that, it is extremely important. You’ve got to be speaking the right language. There’s also the other element which I think is you, and that’s what people sometimes forget about. So if you’re trying to go into a market which is totally different to you, it’s like suddenly going to French class or Chinese class or something. You’re learning. You’ve got to learn a foreign language. You might want to start with speaking what you already know. So like the example you just gave. She understands the language already. She knows who she can communicate with. She doesn’t have to start from scratch thinking, “I want to talk to them, but I’ve no idea how they speak.”

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, connect your own personality, connect with what you’ve already got, and then it’s so much easier to develop it that way.

Mark Rossetto: And also, too, your passion will shine through that. If you love families and you love photographing outdoors, then you’ll love it. If you want to photograph families indoors, you’d be like, “I suck at this. I hate this. I’m not enjoying it.” Same thing with pets. If you love pets, if you love like I’ve got, you know, Belinda Richards is a perfect example. Someone that’s taken all of your awards at SWPP.

Joe Lenton: Oh, yeah. She’s cleaned up several times. Yes.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. She she’s a lovely person to talk to, and she’s a great person, great friends. I coached with her many, many years ago. But she doesn’t like photographing people. She refuses. So if she brings her pets in and she does her pet photography or fine art photography, which we know and love she will refuse to take photos of anyone with their pets. It’s like, “no, I don’t do people. It’s just pets.” So you know it’s kind of niching down to what you love to do as well.

Joe Lenton: Hmm, yeah, that connects you with with your passion, as you say and it’s just it’s that much more – it creates your identity more clearly in people’s minds. It’s one of the things that people can struggle with is developing like a USP, a unique selling point, something about their business to differentiate them. Some people might think, well, I’ll differentiate on price, or I’ll differentiate on printing. I’ll always print in this sort of medium, for example, or they’ll try and find various different ways of differentiating. And you think, “well, hello! Look in the mirror!” Start there.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, you are your own brand, and there’s only one you. So you be the best you can be. Just like a Doctor Zeus book.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, I love it. Yeah. I think it’s it can take time to get to know yourself as well. When you start in business you don’t necessarily always realize right from the offset what you like and what you are like. So I think it can be helpful – that’s one of the the roles I see of coaches is spending a little bit more time with someone helping them to understand themselves as well as understanding what they’re trying to do. You know, cause you can – you’re kind of a neutral. You’re kind of outside of the situation. So you’re not threatening. It’s not that they’re trying to discuss something with someone that might judge them. You’re there to enable them to open up and to develop as an individual.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, we get to kind of, we kind of get to stand back and, you know, put the coaching eyes, the client eyes on where we can see the bigger perspective of everything. And you know one of the key questions that I always ask in particular, especially with a new photographer or a photographer changing direction, or a photographer changing their price list, or a genre or a different location and stuff. I just refer back to the Notebook. You know the movie – “what do you want? It’s not that easy. Yes, it is!” What do you want like, what do you want to achieve like, what do you actually want? And then we go through some life coaching, life questions of like, do you need to earn money from this like, is it a full time job? Is it a part time job? You know, we get to those parts. It’s like, how many days a week can you have? Is it 2 days a week? Can you do 5 shoots a week, or is it 5 shoots a month, or is it 10 shoots a week or 2 a month? Like what your needs are, and then it’s like, well, how much time do you have? Do you like editing. Do you like retouching? Is it lifestyle? Is it studio? Like all these factors come into play and until you can figure out all the different things. Then we develop the right business model to suit the right personality to suit the right price list to suit the right products. And then have the systems and processes around that kind of model to then automate that to simplify your business and make it easier. And this is where that one size fits all does not work, cause I can give you. I can give you. I can give you like 30 different price lists of to suit different personalities and different kind of levels of confidence and experience. But if, you know, I can’t just choose one, because one is – doesn’t suit everybody

Joe Lenton: No.

Mark Rossetto: Its really got to match who you are.

Joe Lenton: It’s like the it’s putting the the cart before the horse as the saying goes, really. I think if you, if you start with the template and think that, okay, if you do, your Facebook ads like this. And here’s a script that you could fill in and fill in the missing words, and so on. Hang on a minute. Let’s get, let’s get in place what the business is about first. Let’s discuss who your target audience are, what you’re actually trying to do with it. And then we’ll see whether a) Facebook is the right place for you to be advertising in the first place, and b) Whether this could be

Mark Rossetto: That’d be No! Which is “no!” I’m always, “no!” Is Facebook a good place to advertise? No! Its not! Don’t waste your money. But yeah, sorry.

Joe Lenton: That’s absolutely fine. No, it is so so common, though, is people started up in business, they’ve done what you said, they’ve exhausted the friends and family network, they say, “oh, I need some clients.” And then they see someone saying, “here, use these templates on Facebook, you know. You only need to spend so much on ads, and you’ll have an endless supply of customers!” And they go. “Oh, right easy! I’ll do that, then.” Guess what? Hacks and shortcuts don’t work most of the time.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, yeah, you need to get your [backside] off the chair and pound the pavement like we used to back in the early days. And I could go through 50 different marketing strategies that you could should, would do. But you gotta choose the right one to suit you. But the problem is, though, and I think this is why I’m so, not that I’m against Facebook ads. I’m definitely not against Facebook ads. But there is so many other options that you could choose. And I tell you, Joe, do you know the only reason why people do Facebook ads? Because it’s frickin easy, because all they do – now, there’s 2 different types of easy. It’s easy to spend a lot of money, because all you do is you sit here, you type in what you do in the Meta into Facebook, and you press a button, and they will gladly take hundreds and thousands of pounds off you over a period of time. But it’s easy to spend money, but to engage, convert, book quality clients that love what you do and spend money, that’s very hard. But most photographers think like you just, said Joe, “I need leads. I need leads. Where do I get leads from?” Where do I find leads? If I don’t have to leave my chair or my comfort zone of my house, where do I get leads? They’re gonna jump on Facebook because it’s the quickest, fastest, easiest, most expensive biggest waste of time that you can do. There’s so many other ways.

Joe Lenton: The thing is, it’s being willing to put in the effort. It’s being willing to to put in the time. And it’s having a longer term view to it. So for quite a lot of my product work was coming through SEO. So optimizing my website so that it would, it would be found on search engines for certain types of keywords. Is it found for everything? Well, no, of course not. You know you can search search for things, and I don’t come up. But it it was optimizing it for the things that I wanted to be found for at the time, which then that became a source of steady leads, and that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not something you can just press a button, and magically they start coming. It takes time like with networking. You show up at your first sort of in-person networking meeting. Guess what? Everybody’s not going to rush in to book you. That’s not how networking works. You’ve got to invest time. You’ve got to get to know people.

Mark Rossetto: And this is a part with marketing in general, though, if you know your target audience and you know who you’re trying to reach, you’re going to know where to spend your time, money, effort, energy, headspace, and everything else. You could spend a lot of time and a lot of money in kind of kind of digging in the wrong holes, type thing. And you just it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack, where, like, you said, with your time of work, Joe, you’re looking for art directors, for managing directors. Then those people aren’t gonna look on Facebook. They’re not gonna look on – they’re not even gonna look on Instagram. They gonna go – they’re gonna want the quickest, fastest answer. The quickest, fastest answer is to ask the network, or they’re gonna Google it. And then when they Google it, they wanna go to the website that is going to be a good quality high end proper website with good service, products, images, trust icons, reviews, businesses that you’ve worked with. And then they’re like a business commodity – quick, fast, effective. Don’t stuff around. Just tell me how it is. How much? When can you do it? When do we get the images? They’re not emotionally driven at all, which is all the complete opposite to the family portrait and domestic market.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, they’re very different.

Mark Rossetto: Lots of emotion.

Joe Lenton: Very different markets, aren’t they? There’d be B2B B2C, you know, business to business or business to consumer. It’s a very different thing, and sometimes people will try and sort of lump it all together and say, I’m a wedding, portrait product, event, wildlife, landscape photographer, you know. And you think, hmm, yeah, you might be. But you’re just sticking them all as tabs on the same format of website. You’re not really necessarily going to be talking to anybody if you’re not careful.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Hey, I can go through some of my, I’ve got 15 marketing strategies I can run through with here. It’s a lot more to do with the domestic market, which is your families, your portraits, your weddings and people, head shots, personal branding. Do you want me to quickly fire them off?

Joe Lenton: Yeah, let’s hear them, yeah.

Mark Rossetto: We’ll go there. So for starters, let’s just say, you know, to run a successful 6 figure photography business you do need to be implementing 5 to 15 marketing strategies at any one given time. Because if one falls over you’ve got something else to prop you up. So there’s lots of different things, and we break it down into 3 different categories. You’ve got your passive marketing. You’ve got your active marketing and your digital marketing. Now, for those people that don’t know about passive marketing, passive marketing is being like omni-present. Its where they look is where you are. Think of like the Apple store. Everyone’s got their billboard of the Apple products. You’re easily found. You’re in the moment you’re networking, your presence within the marketing space.

Joe Lenton: Brand recognition – that sort of thing. So people know who you are when they see it, because they’ve seen it so many times. Yeah.

Mark Rossetto: Exactly. But if they, if you only do passive marketing strategies, you’re going to wait for a very long time for those clients to actually come in because you’re just hoping that they’re gonna call you one day.

Then you’ve got your active marketing and active marketing is when you actively go out and you grab your clients, you bring them into your business. You are actively creating campaigns to go and get them. Whether it’s an offer, a special, a competition, a giveaway end of financial year, black Friday, or whatever. Now that’s a great way to bring clients in. But if you’re too active, then the problem with that is that you’re too aggressive. You’re always on sale. You’re always on a deal. You’re always doing something special. You’re always trying to grab someone, so therefore it makes you look cheap. It makes you look nasty. It makes you look like you’re on sale all the time –

Joe Lenton: You can look desperate if you’re not careful. You don’t want to look desperate.

Mark Rossetto: You look desperate. Exactly. Then your digital marketing strategies is when you amplify your passive and your active, and people can find you in the digital world. Now the 5 passive marking strategies that everyone should do is your social media. You must show up. Now, it might you – TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, depending on where you wanna be, is depending on your target audience. Community and your networking. There’s so many community networking groups around. Be a part of it. Your promotional branding is the third one. Your business name on your car, on your T-shirt, on your jackets. Giving out pens with your branding on it, whatever that looks like. But it’s like your promotional marketing strategies. Then you’ve got your website. That’s gotta be kick-[a**] in the first place. Is Instagram a website? No. Is Pixieset a website? No. Is gallery software system from another company a proper website? No, it’s gotta be a proper website. And then from your passive marketing, your last one is your SEO and the blogging. So all of those things are gonna help you be found.

Your 5 active marketing strategies is your calendar marketing. This world has given us the gift of calendar marketing. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Black Friday end of financial year, international dog day. Do you know that there’s a horse’s birthday on the first of August? Its horse’s birthday. It’s the same day for every horse.

Joe Lenton: Seriously?

Mark Rossetto: No [s***] You learn a lot. But all these calendar marketing events that you have; international Women’s Day, the nurses like there’s a day for everything, right? So your calendar marketing you’ve got constant events to promote with. Then you’ve got your major giveaway a collaboration or a solo giveaway. Family of the month, year, or season, the wedding of the year, pet of the season, breed of the month, whatever you want to call it. Lifetime story campaigns for past clients. Third party alliances. That strategic alliance is what you would work in a lot would be a big process. They are active like I’m going to go getcha.

And then your 5 digital ones are your Facebook evergreen campaigns, where you turn on and turn off because it’s kind of amplifying what you’re doing. You can do a price list, request a nurturing series, a lead nurturing series through a promo, email building list and regular email campaigns. I know it sounds like a lot that I’ve said there, but a lot of this is like, like, if you were new to photography and you heard those 15 things you’re probably your head has just gone “boom!” Like, “oh, my gosh! Where do I even start?” But if you’re a seasoned photographer, a lot of this is set and forget. Cause once you’ve done one calendar marketing you just do the same thing, but in a different packaging the next time. Once you’ve done one major giveaway, and you’ve set up the landing page and the form and the email sequence, then you want to do another one, it’s only going to take you an hour to set up. Like, all these different strategies, like, to set up might take time. But to implement and to rinse and repeat, it’s actually quite easy.

Joe Lenton: And when you start out, that’s the one thing that you generally do have is that time. You’re often cash poor time rich when you’re starting out. So, getting these structures in place when you’ve got the time to do so, rather than just keep chatting and liking on Facebook and all that kind of thing. Spend a little bit of time each day allocated to one aspect of this, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can actually get it all done.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely.

Joe Lenton: It sounds a lot, but it is achievable, perfectly achievable.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely, absolutely. And the hard part is like, where do you learn this stuff, though? And like it all, sounds good. But where do you learn all of this stuff? Now, I do have a solution for that answer. But it’s one of those things –

Joe Lenton: Funny that!

Mark Rossetto: Kind of like. It’s funny you mentioned that. Yeah. And I guess this is what the PPBN is all about. So we’ve got the masterclasses on all of these, because we know how important they are, and they’re not all taught by me, one person, because I have one – I kind of have like lots I could teach on all of this. But people want to learn from many people. But the reason why it’s called a Professional Photography Business Network – Professional – they’re all professional photographers, professional photographers. Business – they’re all business people. They’re not photographers in business. They’re business people in photographers. They love the business of photography. So when they when you learn when you need to learn about business stuff, learn from business people in the genre, not just people who are creatively amazing, that don’t understand the business behind of it. And then the Network is like, it’s just a collaborative effort. So there’s lots of places to learn this stuff.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, it’s mixing – it’s mixing with the people who are gonna help to inspire you and hold you accountable as well for doing these things. You don’t want to be held accountable by your friends saying, well, I haven’t seen you post pictures on Facebook recently. That’s not a measure of your marketing success you want to be – if you’re gonna give accountability to anybody, give it to others that have been there that know what this is about, and that can help you develop a business. Not people who are just gonna say, “oh, well, you only got 10 likes. Oh, well, you need to post a picture – you’re gonna have to do one with a cat in it next time.”

Mark Rossetto: Do a crazy cat video.

Joe Lenton: Then you’ll get 100 likes, and then the next one it’ll be yeah – and it’s it’s easy to spend your time on things that don’t actually get you anywhere. You can spend a lot of energy and potentially, if you’re not careful, a lot of money just treading water rather than making progress. And it’s that committing to doing little bits and pieces – and all of us can drift. And that’s where networks, even if a network is just you and 2 other photographers in your area that you know. That can be enough.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah.

Joe Lenton: That you get together once every month or whatever. And you just say, “okay, remember what we were talking about, what you said you were going to do in your business last month – how’s that going?” When you know someone’s going to ask you that, that builds in the accountability which helps to make it easier for you to actually get down to doing it.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, absolutely. And if that doesn’t give you any motivation, try having $0 in your bank account. That’s a good kit up the [a**] as well!

Joe Lenton: That could get you going, yes, absolutely.

Mark Rossetto: That’ll get you going.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, that that can that can, that can be be an incentive. So if you’ve – if we’ve got a lot of areas here we’ve been talking about. There is a lot of flexibility within business. Would you say that there are some things, then that are – and perhaps it’s the 3 areas you were talking about earlier, maybe – would you say that there are some things that are kind of non-negotiables? That, regardless of who you are, regardless of your personality, sorry, but you’re gonna have to do this.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely! Absolutely. I use this quote quite often. I love this saying, and I say this a lot: “as to methods, there may be a million, and then some, but principles, a few. The man that grasps the principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries the methods ignoring the principles is sure to have trouble.” Harrington Edmundson, early twentieth century efficiency engineer. So, this is the part, and this is what I’ll always teach on. And this is what I harp on about all the time: in photography – there’s very little principles. It’s actually really not that hard. I actually drew a little map here, right? What – this is a part of one of the courses I’ve got – but anyway, what happens is the top purple ones. You can’t really read it. But there’s business models, products and prices like we spoke about – the right business model with the right products and the right price. Then you’re going to go down the yellow line and shock, horror! I hate to say this, but in the domestic market it’s identical for everyone. You go to market. You generate a lead, you photograph them, you show them the photos. They buy some. You produce artwork, they pick it up. It’s the same every time. I know it’s crazy, I know, so crazy it’s always the same. But this is like the principles are the same. But the methods are totally, like, all the AI and all the technology and all the software and all the ways of shooting, and same day IPS and different day IPS and different using Fundy, or ProSelect or or Pic-Time. And you know, like a million, and then some different methods. But the principles are the same. But there’s definitely 8 key areas.

Joe Lenton: Right, okay.

Mark Rossetto: The environment – create a great environment for your clients. Your price and products – you gotta get that right because you need to make sure that suits your business model which we spoke about. Phone calls – like, if the phone is like kryptonite to superman, the phone is that to photographers – phone calls, you have to connect with your clients. Your business model not so much – lots of emails. But in the domestic market emotional space you need to connect. And you can’t connect over text messages and emails. You’ve got to talk to people and communicate. Your photography – it’s gotta be [s***] hot. It’s gotta be amazing. Your marketing needs to match your photography that matches your style, that matches your personality. The one percenters count are all the little things that make your clients go, “awww. That’s so nice. Thanks for the bow that you put around my artwork. Thanks for bringing water and a blanket and some snacks to our photography shoot. Thanks for bringing some umbrellas, cause we didn’t know it was gonna rain. But you’re so well prepared,” you know. Thanks for doing all those little things. It’s like. It’s like thanks for showing me our wedding album slideshow to our wedding song like who knew? Oh, you told me cause you wrote it in the questionnaire that you filled out, and I just made sure I looked up the song. Your systems and your workflow using Tave, Studio Ninja Dubsado, Light Blue, automations, AI technology, all that kind of stuff. And delivery – building rapport with people. All of those 8 components are the core components within any photography business, and you have to do them, and if you don’t do them you’re going to fall short because your business isn’t firing on on all pistons.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, you’ve got those you’ve got those areas and the great news is you can customize them in so many different ways. You just take like the delivering of prints to clients. Are you somebody who’s gonna deliver it in a nicely sort of personalized box with a bow on with a bottle of champagne and some flowers? Or are you gonna do it differently? It depends as well on the other thing that you touched on in there, which I think is very important, is the idea of a brand, the idea of being consistent when people meet you so that when they look at your website, when they when they meet you, when they see how you interact on social, it doesn’t feel like 5 or 6 different businesses. But it feels like one brand. It’s consistent. Because so much of what we respond to as consumers is on a subconscious level. And if there’s little things that don’t quite gel that sows that seed of doubt. It’s enough to make the brain start thinking, “hmm! I’m not so sure.”

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely. There’s nothing like – I meet a lot of photographers with the industry nights around Australia and all the different events and things, and I get 2 things all the time, actually get 3 different things. One thing is like, you just like, you know, I feel like I already know you like, cause they see me on Instagram, Facebook lives and all the courses I feel like they already know me. The second thing is, you’re a lot younger, and you’re shorter. For some reason, for no yeah. For some reason on the video, they think I’m really tall. But anyway, same as with showing up. And this is one of the 5 passive marketing strategies on social media showing up Facebook, Instagram, Instagram lives seos, blogging, blogging with videos using video in your business. You’re just creating connection points where people kind of look at you and straight away, do you know what shock horror? I know this might shock you, but people prejudge you before they even contact you, and they will look at you and they’re gonna go, “he seems alright, you know. He looks like a typical English lad type thing, he seems alright.” Or they’re gonna be like, “oh, he’s a bit showy. Look at his pink shirt like, who would wear that? Why would you wear that?” Like, you know, like you are your brand, and you need to make sure that’s consistent.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, you you know that it’s not gonna communicate to everybody. But that’s part of the point. It it’s consistent in in communicating with the people that you actually want to reach. So don’t try and be everything to everybody, because you can’t.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely absolutely. Do you want? You know what? They’re either gonna like you or they’re not gonna like you. And just like that movie, they just not that into you. And that’s okay. You gotta move on.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, absolutely. Don’t spend too much time trying to worry about why and trying to make someone who’s never gonna be your customer into your customer. Sometimes you gotta be a willing to walk away and try someone else. I wonder then – we spend an awful lot of time then trying to find ways of helping others to develop ways to develop their businesses and that. Its, I think, an important part of coaching as well is to keep an eye on yourself. Make sure that you aware of what you’re doing, and that you kind of practise what you preach if you like. So do you find areas of business, or areas of your practices as as a coach that you still find yourself researching or getting to know more about? Or, do you have coaching yourself? How do you carry on developing yourself?

Mark Rossetto: Always learning. There’s always learning. It’s like, there’s always learning. You’re always doing things. You’re always trying to keep up on trend and what’s happening. So I guess the biggest thing is just having a finger on the pulse on the industry. We get to talk to hundreds of photographers all the time. So we can see trends before it’s even a trend. And we’re connecting with people. And we can see what’s gonna work and what’s not gonna work before it even kinda happens. So I’ve definitely got myself a little posse group of people, around me that I work with all the time that are friends that I met on industry nights and events, years and years and years and years ago. And it’s one of those things where it’s kinda like like they keep in check of things, and they’ve got fingers on the pulse, and they’re the trendsetters as well. So that’s who I kind of hang out with. So therefore it’s one of those things where it’s like, I don’t have individual coaching. But even this afternoon I caught up with a mate of mine who’s in a different industry, and he looks after the marketing for this company that looks after Ted talks and people speaking and getting people on platforms and things. So we had a great conversation this afternoon about, you know, what’s happening in the industry and cross pollination. So it’s not just photography that we’re looking at. We’re looking at a lot of other industries as well.

Joe Lenton: Hmm, yeah, it’s having that that network of people who’ve got particular skill sets that can help to sharpen you and deepen your knowledge just by talking to them, isn’t it? You don’t always have to be doing a particular course or something like that. Or, you know, going through a particular program. It’s keeping yourself up to date with industry professionals.

Mark Rossetto: Absolutely. And it’s one of those things where it’s really kind of like where it’s like, you know, just staying connected is probably the best way to say it. Staying connected to the industry, staying connected to people who’s who, who’s saying what? What’s happening as well.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, I think if you get to a point where you’ve kind of assumed, you’ve learned everything, and you can just carry on and not pay attention to what’s going on, you’re in trouble.

Mark Rossetto: It’s what is it? “Can I” Constant And Never-ending improvement, or there’s another one. I forget the acronym. But it’s like it – it’s forever changing. It’s a growing – it’s like the website. It’s a living, breathing organism that’s constantly growing because it’s doing updates, you have to change images, you you can’t just set and forget and leave it. You need to. You need to feed it. You need to feed the beast. So it’s the same with your own business, like what worked 6 months ago. Or what worked 6 years ago doesn’t necessarily work 6 months ago. But I’ll go back to that, though, Joe. The principles are the same, the methods are different. There’s software now that we use that we couldn’t use because it wasn’t even invented. Hello, chat GPT. Oh, my goodness! That wasn’t invented a year ago. So that’s changed the dynamics of the entire photography marketing space by that one software and same as with like automations and online bookings and payments over the phone. And all this other stuff. We used to have to have the EFTPOS machines. I dunno know what you call them, and type in the numbers, and take payments over the phone and do contracts where you had to send a document, and they printed it, and then they signed it, and then they scanned it back. I’d like it was a nightmare. Now you can buy a house for a million pounds and just buy it on your iphone. It’s ridiculous.

Joe Lenton: Things constantly change, and, as Gary Hughes said when I was talking to him, you know it’s one of the only things in life which is absolutely guaranteed. Things change, and we’ve got to be able to be open to that. We’ve got to keep up with that, and not just sort of assume that we can do something once and for all, and we’re finished, whether that’s running a photography business or whatever it might be. So I wonder, then, for if there’s somebody out there who’s currently in business as a photographer. What sort of thing would you say might be a red flag that they need to start looking into finding themselves a community they need to start looking into, perhaps finding themselves someone to be accountable to maybe a coach or a friend, or whatever it is? Before things get too bad.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. So we have this – we had a new rules of business in 2,024 webinar we did. And one of the tiles that we spoke about was warning, warning, warning. Too late.

Joe Lenton: Yes.

Mark Rossetto: You’ve gotta read the warning signs. You have to connect with people you have to kind of look at your business and look at your numbers and look at your stats and look at your trajectory. Look at what clients are saying, or what they’re not saying. Look at your own energy levels and your head space. And whether you’re you’re kind of growing as a person and have a joyful spirit and enjoying what you’re doing, or you’re on a downward spiral, and it’s kinda like you need to ask for help because a lot of the things within the photography industry can be turned around depending on the industry. So portraits and families that’s got like a 6 to 8 week turnaround. What I do today is not gonna affect next week or the week after it’s gonna affect 6 to 8 weeks. The wedding industry is a bit different. What I do today is gonna affect my bookings for 6 months to 18 months, so your turnaround time can be quite quickly changed. But at the same time you’ve got to be self-aware as well, and I guess a red flag is just – have you fallen out of love with what you do? Have you lost the passion, you know? Do you wake up every day going, this is going to be awesome. Today’s going to be a great day, or do you wake up every day going hate this, why am I doing this for? Now, it could just be because it’s a Sunday, and you never work on a Sunday, and I shouldn’t have booked that wedding on a Sunday, and on Monday you’re fine. But, if you’re having that conversation over days and weeks and months, you really need to connect with friends within the industry. And just say, “hey, Joe, look mate, I’m struggling. I don’t know what’s happening. I’ve tried – the old, “I’ve tried everything!” And then I come along, and I’ll look at what everything looks like to you compared to what everything looks like to me and your everything is that you tried everything and that everything was, you just put £1,000 on Facebook, and it didn’t work. And you tried everything. It’s like, let’s try some different types of everything. Let’s look at the other 30 everythings that we could do. 

Joe Lenton: Yeah.

Mark Rossetto: So kind of having that external people, those external eyes have an holistic view of your business and go, mate, “you’re so far through the forest you can’t see the trees!” So like we need to pull you out of this hole.

Joe Lenton: There’s a real danger when you’re working on your own like that, that you just get those blind spots. And none of us is gonna see absolutely everything. So it’s having other people, other pairs of eyes on it who can point out to us when when we’re missing something, because we all do. It’s it’s inevitable. None of us is absolutely perfect. So none of us is going to be able to see every aspect of our business totally clearly. So it’s well worth finding someone you can trust to talk about with it.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. Well, I had someone today came over for a barbecue. Typical Australian thing had a barbecue for lunch with the kids. And I just said, “Hey, Dan, I said, mate, I said, mate, this isn’t going to plan. Like I’m trying to do this one particular thing. It’s not working for me.” And he’s like, “hey, why don’t you do this? This and this?” And I was like, “sounds like a plan that sounds awesome.” Let’s, you know what I let’s do that. Let’s look at it in a different way. So he’s just giving me today, you know, today, he’s just giving me a fresh perspective of the Professional Photography Business Network. I’m not saying anything wrong with it, but he’s looking at it from a whole different headspace. He’s like, because he was a he was a pastor of a church, and he was a pastor of a church for for 15 years, and he’s like, you realize you’re just doing pastoral care for 5,000 people. They’re just not part of a church. They’re part of the photography community. And I was like, yeah, relationships, relationships, connection, community, reaching out. You can’t set and forget. They’re all people, all 5,000 of those people are all, you know. They’re all a part of the big ecosystem of the photography industry. They all need to be cared for individually. And I was like, that’s a lot of phone calls! But he kind of put a fresh perspective on something that I hadn’t seen from that direction. And if we don’t have these conversations with people in our world, whether they’re photographers or not. You need to.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, it’s always worth getting that other perspective. And what I find is it’s good to question and good to look at something, even if perhaps at the end of it you come out deciding that where you are is fine. 

Mark Rossetto: Yeah.

Joe Lenton: Be brave enough to pull it to bits and have a good look at it. Yeah, you might, you might look at that and think, okay, there’s something I can do about that now. Or actually, I’ll work towards doing something about that over the next 2 years. It there are so many different ways responding to it. But the important thing is not to shut out the other person, other people’s point of view, and not to ignore what somebody says. You don’t have to agree with it. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to sort of every Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes along and makes a comment about your business. You don’t have to agree with them. But you have to have a reason. You have to understand what they’re saying and what you’re doing and think, “does it make sense?”

Mark Rossetto: And then absolutely. But then the main part. So if you want you asked a question before, what’s the red flag from a coaching point of view that you see all the time? That people will – how do I keep this clean? People will express that they need help. And then they will get the advice, whether it’s from Facebook or Instagram, or or or some, or from a coach, or someone who’s giving really good solid advice, and then do nothing about it. And then literally do nothing about it. Like, I posted the other day, you know, about this particular strategy that has worked significantly well, and I had about 40 people reach out saying they wanna find out more. And it was all completely free. And out of the 40 people they just had to do one thing, they just had to enter something, an email. So we can give them the content of these of this strategy to go. It’s completely free. It’s not gonna cost you anything. Like you have no risk in doing this. You said that you struggling with this, I’m going to give you a solution that I think is going to work for you specifically. Guess how many out of 40 people actually actioned and filled out that form to get that information?

Joe Lenton: Oh dear, yes. Well, as we know, it’s probably not very many. 

Mark Rossetto: Two!

Joe Lenton: 2. Yeah, I was gonna say, I was gonna say 2. But I thought no.

Mark Rossetto: Two People, 2 people out of 40. So all these people cry, “poor me!” all the time. Poor me! Poor me! I’m not getting enough work. I don’t have enough leads. I don’t have enough stuff. I don’t have enough work like my business is going backwards all these different things. And I’m like, “hey, how can we help? And how can I connect you. And who do we need to talk to? And what strategies have you gotten had like, I’ve got so much free resources. I’m like, what do you need just have a conversation. Just call me. I don’t want to like. Let’s just talk about this.” And… crickets… nothing, and you’re in the same position. And you’re not going anywhere. And you’re like, do you know what? Like, you can’t help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. You can’t draw a horse – what is it? You can’t lead a horse to water and make them drink it. It’s like, you’re literally you’re struggling. You’ve reached out saying I’m struggling. People are trying to help you, and you do nothing. And you just go, guys, what are you doing, like?

Joe Lenton: Sometimes I wonder how much of that is down to the the sort of the mindset that – you can often hear about someone having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. So some people kind of think, you know, you’re born with a certain ability to do something, and that’s it. Nothing changes, and whereas others who are a lot more open to will you give it a go? You train more, you experiment, and you can grow and do different things. So when you get into these kind of situations, the people with a fixed mindset are much more likely to think, well, “maybe I’ve reached my limit?” Or, worse still, “it’s well, it’s everything else’s fault. It’s the world out there that’s doing this. It’s I can’t do anything.” Its that kind of victim mentality. And you need to get out of that victim mentality and think you have choice. You can make a choice.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, I’ve done – I studied life coaching. So NLP practitioner and all that kind of you know all that kind of stuff. And we talk about below the – above the line and below the line thinking, victim, you know. What’s the word? Victim or what’s the other word? Victim or…

Joe Lenton: Oh, gosh! My brain’s gone blank.

Mark Rossetto: My brain’s gone, anyway. You know what I’m trying to say.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mark Rossetto: And it’s end of the day, it’s like, there’s a meme that’s going around. And it’s really really harsh, and it’s and it goes like this, “nobody cares. Try harder!” Nobody cares! Of course, business is hard – try harder! Of course you’re struggling for leads, everyone is – try harder! Of course you’re worried about your business failing just the same as every other business in the entire world – try harder! Nobody cares about your feelings – try harder! That’s a really harsh way of talking about it, but like there is a lot of nurturing processes as well. But it’s one of those things. It’s kinda like it’s a mindset of like, you know, be a problem-solver be an overcomer, be someone who who is not going to lay down and lay to just like roll over and play dead type of stuff. Like you need to fight for these things. You want a good life, you fight for it. If you want to run a marathon, you train for it. If you want a new car, you work for it. If you want a new house, you’ve got to work for it. Nothing comes on a silver platter.

Joe Lenton: No, don’t expect it to be easy. No.

Mark Rossetto: No. And this photography industry – I was gonna mention it before when you were talking earlier about the different marketing agencies coming into the photography space and telling you what we should do as well.

Joe Lenton: Yeah.

Mark Rossetto: One of the issues with photography like, especially the domestic market. Well, no, it’s probably all photography. We have a very unique business that it’s high service and high product. If you think of all the other businesses out there, right? Most of it is like apple computer, it’s a computer. IPhone – computer, a new swimming pool. It’s a product like product product product. If you’re a physio, a dentist, or whatever it’s a service that you’re giving. Photography, it’s a product and a service. You’ve got to give a great service with a great product which makes this photography industry the hardest, one of the hardest businesses that you can create. But where else can you do a family portrait? Spend 3 h with the client, and earn 2,000 pounds and only work Monday to Friday between 9 and 2 o’clock and do 2 shoots a week and earn a living? What business? Where can you do that? Type thing, you know what I mean? So it’s one of those. It’s one of those things where it’s where it’s like, it’s a unique – it’s a unique space where it’s one of those things where it’s like, it’s unique. But we have an amazing job with an amazing career. With the amazing opportunity. We can’t take this lightly, but also, too, it’s hard work. You’ve got to be an overcomer. Whatever words you said before about – I can’t remember what you said about your fixed mindset or the growth mind.

Joe Lenton: Growth mindset, yeah.

Mark Rossetto: If you’re a fixed mindset and you play the victim, you’re gonna struggle as a photographer, pretty much your entire career. You need to be a problem solver and a growth mindset, because photography is ever changing, always progressing. So it’s just it’s just the industry where it’s like you’ve got to move with the times, or get left behind.

Joe Lenton: Yeah, there’s there’s a lot of plates to keep spinning as well. People sometimes forget they can focus on one aspect of the business, to the detriment of the other. And and as well you know, it’s it’s an it’s an art form in itself, and selling art forms is always difficult. I was in the music industry before I came into photography and trying to trying to break through in the music industry…

Mark Rossetto: I can imagine.

Joe Lenton: People think, oh, yeah, you know, you just play a good gig. Someone spots you and gives you a record contract. Yeah, but how many people are playing in their in their garages together? How many people have got bands versus how many actually really make it, and really earn a living, and you might get some that earn a little and are on the bread line. But then there seems to be this huge gulf up towards those that earn more. And in the arts that is often the case. And if you don’t really really want it, if it’s not really at your heart of hearts, if it’s not your goal. If it’s just a nice to have, it’s going to be really difficult, because you you’ve got to make sure, when you’re pursuing goals, that they’re your goals. They’re things that really matter to you, and you really want to achieve. Otherwise you’ll quit.

Mark Rossetto: Oh, absolutely! If you go back to your first question originally like, why Triathlon? And why do running? And how does that get transferred to to your business? The motivation to start a photography business is really easy. Who wouldn’t want to work from 9 till 2 o’clock Monday to Friday? Have the weekends off, have school holidays off, earn as much as a doctor or any higher paying accountant or academic job of some description. Who wouldn’t want to do that? So motivation is super high. But do you have the discipline to back it up for a career of 10, 20, 30 plus years? Where you need to constantly grind. Like, think of an athlete, you know what I mean? Think of an athlete like their whole career can be gone with a busted knee or a shoulder type thing like, you know, that happens.

Joe Lenton: Happened to me as well for when – with the music that basically happened to me. I was building up a teaching business, so doing music and I developed MS. And I couldn’t actually even – I developed Multiple Sclerosis, MS, so I couldn’t actually use my left hand at all for several months.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, wow.

Joe Lenton: And if you’re a musician, that’s kind of limiting! So as of overnight overnight, my sort of musical business, my guitar teaching business just went down the toilet. That was, that was gone. It was just like that. And you’ve got to be able to adapt. And you – yeah, if there are, if you really want something, you can keep going towards it until something like that happens. There’s just nothing you could do. It’s just too big a hurdle to to necessarily overcome. But you know, with your photography you’ve got to be setting yourself in the right direction. You’ve got to be thinking a little bit like with an athlete. The Olympics are so many years away – I’m training for that. If he’s just thinking, what have I got by the end of the week. Okay, you need to have an eye on the short term. But you’ve also got to have those longer term goals that eye on the longer term. I think it’s it’s important that we’re working towards things.

Mark Rossetto: Oh, absolutely absolutely like it’s it’s one of those things, I think Usain Bolt said, his entire career is less than 4 min and 30 s. That’s that’s the most he’s run in his entire career of actually proper racing over a period of like 4, 8, 12 years is 4 min and 30 s, like, it’s crazy when you think about that.

Joe Lenton: Absolutely mad, isn’t it? Yeah. So people need the community. They need others around them to to encourage them. So they can do that through the Focused Professional community. They can do that by joining the Professional Photography Business Network. Where’s where’s the best place for them to find out more about the PPBN and to consider joining that if they’d like to?

Mark Rossetto: Best place is jump on Facebook first. That’s where we hang out. That’s where we play. That’s the quickest thing. Then the website for But Facebook is Facebook is where we play type thing. And it’s quite interesting. Cause you know, in Australia there’s not that many photographers. I know shock, horror. So our group’s only 5,000 people now, compared to America or the UK. You’ve got groups of 20, 30, 50, 60 thousand people of photographers. One good thing is that we limit the amount of people that is in the group because we want proper, solicited advice. And it’s a really dynamic group of business people, photographers in business. Not – so it’s it’s one of those things. It’s it’s a good quality group of people. And you’re learning from people who are walking the walk and talking to talk. So its good fun.

Joe Lenton: So if people are serious about what they want to do, and they really want to grow a business, that’s a good place for them to take a look at?

Mark Rossetto: Yeah. Or if you want to reach out to me, just jump on mark booking a 20 min. free coaching strategy session with me. Let’s just chat. Let’s just do a Zoom call is literally just chat. Now, I can tell you now, for the listeners that are listening in the UK. Which are probably the majority of the people that you reach. It will be your morning at 9 30 Am. And it’ll be my evening at 7 30 Pm. That we will catch up. And yes, the time zones are funny, but we will make it work and just have a chat like, you know. It might just be to say today, but it might be enough. So many times I’ve had conversations with photographers within 5, 10, 20 min. They’re like, “ah light bulb moment. Thank you very much. You’re a legend. Appreciate it. I’m on the way.” And for me that’s a win. That’s the motivation. Within 5-10 min. I’ve highlighted an issue that they didn’t see. They’ve picked up on it new brainthought, new process. And they like, “that’s what I was hoping for – you’re a legend.” And I’m like great on your way. See you later. Bye. 

Joe Lenton: It’s that that first step is just getting talking. If you’re feeling stuck, just reach out and talk to people, get going. And it’s finding the right community the right person for you. Different coaches are better for different types of people. So find the person that works for you. Someone you relate to, you know. Send them a message. Don’t suffer in silence, really. There is a community out there. There are people out there that really do want the photography industry to thrive. And it’s been great hearing some of your passion today Mark. It’s been really good having you on the podcast and you sharing some of your ideas and approaches. And hopefully, that’s enthusing people to really get stuck in.

Mark Rossetto: Yeah, no worries anytime. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. It’s always been nice to chat to someone on the other side of the world. It’s always good.

Joe Lenton: Oh, it certainly is. Yeah. It’s great to be able to talk to you today and thank you everybody for listening to the Focused Professional podcast.

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