As an entrepreneur, you have probably dealt with others doubting the legitimacy behind your business on more than one occasion. I know when I was starting my photography business, what I was doing for a living used to raise eyebrows and get questioned all the time:
Person: "What do you do?"
Me: "I'm a professional wedding and portrait photographer!"
Person: "Okay, but what do you doooOOOooooo?"
It's discouraging, right? Like, if I can't have a conversation with someone without them doubting my career, how in the world am I supposed to gain clients that take me and the business I'm building seriously? It was hard for me to work through the doubt and judgement, but I found ways to legitimize myself so that everyone I worked with (and those who I had simple conversations with) would know being an entrepreneur is serious business!
1. Have a Website & Business Cards
It seems really simple, but I learned the hard way how not having these things completely turns people off when they're asking about your profession. I used to think, "Well, I have a Facebook page and an Instagram! That should be enough." NOOOOOPE. Don't listen to younger me! People want a source with ALL of your information on it!
Social media should not be the main platform you're directing people to. It's a tool that should be navigating potential clients to your website!
Same idea with having business cards! Business cards give others a sense of how legitimate you are. So now, if I'm having that same conversation with someone it'll go more like:
Person: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a professional photographer based in Arizona that specializes in weddings, engagements and senior portraits!" *whips out business card*
Person: "DANG, GIRRRRL, YOU SO LEGIT!"
Okay maybe I'm exaggerating the ending a little bit, but having a business card with a website link can completely change their perspective of who you are and what you do! (Bonus: If you hand them something tangible that they can hold on to, they're more likely to refer you to someone else!)
2. Pricing guides, Contracts and Questionnaires - Oh My!
So, the next problem I ran into was having clients take me seriously. People would ask me to change my prices, they would want more photos than I delivered and would make certain requests that weren't included in the original package they signed up for. It can get frustrating, but the biggest change I made in my business that stopped clients from making various requests was implementing tools that changed my system!
When I first started my career, I didn't set myself up for success. I didn't have a system that told my clients, "This is exactly what you're paying and exactly what you're getting from working with me." The turning point in my business was when I began giving my clients pricing guides, contracts and questionnaires!
Pricing guides help clients understand why I charge the amount I do and know exactly what they receive for that price! It makes them feel more at ease with paying me because a pricing guide outlines what their money is going toward and discourages them from thinking I am asking for more than working with me is worth!
After choosing their package, they receive a contract that restates what they will be receiving that requires their signature AND a deposit. This ensures that your clients know this is a business transaction that's a part of your system - no if's, and's or but's about it!
Finally, after receiving their deposit and signature, I will send them a questionnaire that asks them questions about them, their preferences and any specific needs they have. This helps all my clients feel like their needs are being heard! Questionnaires also help reduce the chance of you not including something that's important to them when they're working with you!
Having a system in place that helps outline what clients are receiving, the legitimacy behind the transactions you're making and what their specific needs are creates an experience that is better for you as well as the people you're working with! They'll understand the seriousness of working with your professional service while also knowing their needs are being met along the way!
3. Do Not Negotiate Price
It seems simple, but I was horribly bad at this when I first started out! It's really easy for us to think it's better to drop our prices because it ultimately leads to more work and more connections. Right? Wellllllll, there are a few problems with lowering your prices:
1) It tells your clients that your willing to do whatever it takes to work with them instead of having a balanced relationship.
2) It may give you more work, but the clients they refer to you are going to expect the same treatment as the one with the discounted price.
3) It completely delegitimizes you as a business owner.
How many times have you walked into a McDonalds and asked for 50% off your Big Mac? Probably never, right? That's because you know McDonalds isn't going to give you that discount since they're an established business. Same thing with any other type of service!
Why should YOU feel the need to drop your business' prices because someone asked you to?
It's important for us to understand why our prices are they way they are and then stick with them. It may be hard to turn down clients, but it will feel better working for and marketing toward ONE person that will be happy to give you the full price your asking for than having to work harder for MULTIPLE people at a discounted rate just to make the same amount!
The most important thing you can do for your business is take it as seriously as you want others to! Once you create a system that keeps you organized and professional, no one will question you as an entrepreneur!
I want to leave you with something that will change the way you conduct your business! I know the struggle of being an entrepreneur and trying to stay on top of everything (like, I honestly used to be a total mess trying to keep up). BUT! I started using apps that have completely upped my business and the experience my clients have when working with me! Download the freebie below and you can also start implementing these three game changer apps in your daily business life and start living with a little less stress!
The link will appear on this page after you submit your e-mail!