I recently attended the Hustle and Flow Business Workshop in Seattle and wanted to write up a little blog post about my experience and key takeaways. I know before I signed up, I spent A LOT of time online checking it out. I read all of their reviews (most of which I felt were ludicrous), googled them, googled their workshop, read any other blog reviews, followed their IG very closely watching all of the stories- I wanted to make sure I was going to be getting a return on this investment. Because, it IS an investment. The workshop itself is $1500 for 1 day and you’re promised “A workshop focused on the nitty gritty business side of photography + also any wedding vendor. “
They come out right away and tell you that this workshop is NOT about ‘styled shoots, there will be no bonfires with creative inspiration talks. Nope, none of that.” VERY accurate. They are to the point kind of people- they swear, they don’t have fluff, they’re not there to make you feel better about yourself. They are trying to encourage you to get REAL with YOURSELF and stop giving excuses about why you are not where you want to be. Their website promises the following topics so I’ll touch on these (I’m not going to give away any secret sauces or information because this is their business and I respect that) but if you are considering the workshop, I hope this will help you determine if it’s a good fit for you with where you are at in business:
-Branding: If you aren’t sure what it is YOU are bringing to the table to offer your clients, or WHAT your BRAND is, or what branding is- they do a pretty good job at this. Don’t get me wrong, they are not going to hand you a golden platter with your brand on it- you’re going to have to do some thinking and some work on this, but they give you tools to work towards developing your own brand.
-How To Price Yourself - No Matter What Market: What I liked was how transparent they were with what they make annually. They are in a top tier luxury market so it’s cool to see how much they are actually able to charge and how they got to that point. HOWEVER, I’ve been to better pricing workshops. They are going to push and encourage you to charge what your worth (no more lowballing and underselling yourself) BUT in terms of crunching out some specific numbers for yourself, that’s on you.
-Marketing 101: This is exactly what it is, 101. If you took business courses in college, you probably covered these definitions in your first term. This is the basics and mostly understanding the difference between marketing and advertising. Again, useful for those who have no experience here.
-HOW To Properly Advertise: My biggest takeaway from this was identifying our next generation of clients. Where we are going to reach them, how we are going to reach them, etc.
-Break-down Access To Facebook Ads: This is a highlight. We didn’t have time to go over it in the workshop but were given more information afterward which is super helpful. I do feel like their knowledge about Facebook Ads / Social Media Ads is valuable. They teach some “stalking” techniques for getting to better know your clients and find clients at the end of the workshop as well that could also be useful for people not getting inquiries.
-WTF Is A Ideal Client? This part was good. I liked Jon’s exercise here really getting specific with our ideal clients. If you aren’t sure who you are attracting (or wanting to attract) this is good.
-How To Book Destination Weddings: MMM I don’t really remember them talking about this specifically but you can apply some of the above information about properly advertising (and targeting specific locations) probably here.
-Website Breakdown + Info: We skimmed through their website with them and they showed us some adjustments they have made to improve their website (which yes, does look great now) Highlights here were their booking form. For a 1 day workshop where time is limited, I was able to take away some things that I want to improve on my own website- which is why I go to workshops!
-What Making Money Really Means with Cost Of Doing Business: I don’t remember this being specifically talked about? I sat in the front row and took pretty rapid notes and I’m not sure.
-Mental Health Is Important For Your Business + Why: There’s a brief talk about this in the beginning. It’s refreshing, its somewhat common sense, but I’m sure there were some people in the room who needed this.
-Setting Goals + Making That "Fuck You" Kind Of Money! #BitchImRichas: There was no goal setting in the workshop, but if you didn’t leave the workshop without making some personal goals for yourself along the way- you weren’t listening. There are bits and pieces in every talk that made me think, made me evaluate my current business, and realize changes I wanted to make. I didn’t leave with any super specific goals, but did leave with a to-do list.
GUEST SPEAKERS: These were a highlight. We had Troy Williams a celebrity wedding planner at SimplyTroy, Bernadette Baillie from The Knot, and Sam Jacobson from IdeactionConsulting. I LOVED all 3 of these so much- they brought the fire, the info, the right attitudes, and their hour of talk was full of useful information. Troy Williams brought insight from working with the TOP WEDDINGS in Hollywood- I wasn’t sure how I was going to find this useful at first but I left with some surprising and great notes from him. I also just LOVED his overall vibe and energy about being KIND. Bernadette is a ball of energy and knowledge- she comes from the Knot.com and is full of information about our future clients. THIS right here I found to be some of the most useful information in the workshop. She is going to give you data and real numbers about HOW your future clients are going to find you. Sam Jacobson taught selling techniques. If you’ve never had formal sales training, he’s awesome. He comes from a background in sales, specifically working at a wedding venue, and I took away a lot about understanding our client’s process when it comes to selling your services. Overall, the guest speakers were AMAZING and AWESOME.
I had a great day, I always LOVE connecting with other photographers. I would HIGHLY recommend this for photographers who are not getting inquiries, not hearing back, getting ghosted, feeling a disconnect with landing sales. It’s also great for photographers who just need a kick in the gut reality check about stop making excuses, stop procrastinating and start hustling. It’s a marketing and sales workshop.
In terms of it being a “Business Workshop”- yes there information is going to help you market and therefore grow your business but it is not going to help you run it. But there is no breakdown of workflows or efficiency tips to allow you to improve your business processes, nothing about client or business management, they aren’t going to show you the programs they use to keep their business running and organized. They aren’t going to give you legal or tax advice to run your business or how to manage your accounting or finances, but they are going be real and tell you to get an expert in those fields to help you with that (agree). I was so excited to hear about HOW ON EARTH they have a life after shooting 60+ weddings a year, but nothing about that. They did give Benj Haisch a lot of credit with efficiency in processing weddings and workflows though (he was also on site doing some BTS social media for them and was an open book to all attendees during breaks) and his efficiency tips, so I’m feeling like that may be where I head next in my continued education ;)
MY OWN KEY TAKEAWAYS:
I am going to work on responding to emails faster
I am going to ask former clients for reviews
I received a lot of branding information and am going to take a look at my own branding and work on it
I have some website adjustments I want to make, BUT also just being MORE present on my own website- updating it FREQUENTLY, not neglecting it in the summer.
I have some new ways I am going to talk with couples who inquire, that are still very true to who I am and genuine but also encourage more sales.
MOSTLY that if something is not going well in my business, it’s on me. No, this is not the case (thank goodness) BUT if there ever comes a time when I feel this way, It’s good to know that it’s going to be either a reflection of an issue I’m dealing with outside of the business, OR a lack of me just stepping up, not procrastinating, and getting shit done. No excuses.