I get asked this question all the time! " How do you manage all these photographers and Weddings? I just shrug and say, " I'm not really sure other then that I know I am CRAZY"! LOL Just kidding. But seriously, how do I have an associate team of more then 30 photographers, servicing 5 different markets shooting more then 100 weddings a year, and still remain calm??
My secret has always been that I knew that I could do it. And I knew that I wanted to have a team of like minded creatives all working together for a bigger purpose and doing what we all love to do. Its so important to me that anyone in life is able to do a job that they are passionate about. And one that they truly LOVE doing. It has always made me so sad to see anyone in a job that they hated. I always think to myself, why stay in a job that you are so unhappy in? But the truth is, there are so many people that are in that exact situation. And for so many different reasons.
So I have set out to try and help as many entrepreneurs do what they LOVE and not necessarily have to run their own business to make it happen. That is my WHY behind my associate team. I know that I am making it possible for a lot of people to do something that lights them up and also making it possible for many of them to stay at home most days with their families and only work 1 day week. This very fact makes me want to continue to grow this team and have absolutely NO LIMITS on how big we can get. Because this means there are that many more photographers doing what they love because I am here creating an opportunity for them.
And then there is the client side of this, which is equally as amazing! We get to photograph so many weddings each year and be a part of so many amazing experiences. We provide an awesome service to our clients and are able to stay in a pretty competitive price point for them without lowering out brand becoming a "cheap" photographer. The clients are happy because they get an awesome value for the service we provide. My photographers are happy because they are working. And I am delighted to continue to make this dream of mine a reality! Its a win win for us all!
So you might be thinking about starting an associate team of your own? And you might be wondering a few things... Do I want to have an associate photography team? How do I build an associate photography team? Am I ready to have an associate photography Team?
If you are asking yourself these questions then you are defiantly in the right place because I have been doing this for the past 7 years and I have tons of knowledge and experience to share with you!
I am going to give you a few important things to consider when starting this journey of Building your Associate Wedding photography team.
1 - Are you a leader? Do you like to lead people and help them learn and grow? Are you good at being in charge and managing a team of people? Are you willing and ready to let go of some control?
These are some very important questions to ask yourself when considering creating a team. These are the very things that I asked myself as I went through the beginning of my journey. The reason you need to consider them is because if you aren't the leader type, or if you want to be in control of every aspect of everything, this might not be the right choice for you.
When I started my business in 2010, I was doing it all myself in the beginning. I wanted to take all the photos, edit them all, post them all myself, answer every email and phone call. But as I started to grow, I quickly realized how much I need to start to allow others to do these things for me. I needed to learn to ask for help and let others in to assist me. It was SOOOO hard at first because I didn't think anyone else could do it as good as I could. I thought that I was the only one that could do it RIGHT. But as time went on and I started to let go a little, I realized that people could also do what I do. And although it was not always as I did them, sometimes they did even better!
When you have an associate team working with you under your brand, you are going to have a lot of different people and styles. Not everyone is going to do things how you do them. And hopefully you are totally okay with that. I have always encouraged anyone working with me to be who they are. Let their light shine through. I think everyone has something unique and special to bring to the table. But within all of the differences there should also be similarities in your styles so that you have a cohesive brand. I believe I have been really good at picking the right photographers to shoot with us that matched our brand. My whole goal is to have all the images on the website and not be able to tell which associate took which photo. No matter who the photographer is, they will have the same final product. The feedback I have received from clients has bene exactly that!
2- Some other SUPER important skills to have in order to run an associate team is communication, patience, and perspective.
You MUST be able to communicate to your team in a way that they don't feel like you are attacking them or criticizing them. If they feel like you are criticizing them, they likely will not stay on board. The truth is, things will come up. Problems will come up and you have to take care if them. You are after all the "Boss" and you have to be able to manage all things that happen in your business. And you need to have the skills to listen, be patient, be kind, and problem solve. You also need to be able to step back in situations and consider things from different perspectives. Because I have these skills, I truly believe that it is a huge reason I have been so successful with my business.
3 - Do you have an overflow of leads or are you turning away a lot of business?
If you answered yes to these questions then you are likely in a good position to start considering an associate team. You want to be able to keep them busy and working. One of the big reasons I started building my team is that I was constantly turning away business because I was already booked. And I hated saying no to people. It bothered me more then you could ever imagine! So I started to wonder, how can I stop saying NO to clients. And the ideas started coming to me. And sure enough, in 2013 we officially had our first associate wedding!
I hope this info has helped answer some questions you have! I am so excited to share all about my journey in building my team! I would love to hear any questions you have and I will continue to post more about running an associate team!
Make sure to follow us on our Podcast.
Our wedding website is www.thompsonphotographygroup.com
And our wedding venue is www.stonewallestate.com - yes! We have a Venue too!!