Monday, 29 November 2010

Is Free Always Better?

Quick answer...No!

I've been having a bit of a dilemma recently about pricing.  There are a lot of photographers around and competition is quite fierce.  Especially around this time of year.  Many of them are offering free shoots and heavily discounted photo packages.  I wondered how I could compete with this and still make enough money to keep the lights on in my house.  Or even if I should.

I decided not to.  That might sound silly in the current economic climate.  Why would I not want to attract business from the opposition?  Well obviously I do.  So why not wade in with my own free offer?

I did a bit of research and asked a lot of people what their thoughts were on the subject.  It basically boils down to value and the old saying 'you get what you pay for'.  I provide a personal service giving all of my customers exactly what they want.  My sessions are good fun and all of the pictures I show are of a very high quality.  What the customer receives is always excellent and everyone goes away happy.  Including me.

If I went in with a free shoot and a £19.99 photo package, first of all I would never earn anything.  But also my customers and potential customers would expect a certain level of service.  I aim (and deliver) higher than that.  My prices are already very reasonable while still giving me the margins I need to live off.  Reducing the price also reduces the perceived value.

I have discounted Christmas shoots to £15, which still retains the level of expected value while at the same time giving people a bit of a break in difficult times.

In short - if you want something that's worth nothing, go get it for free.  If you want something that's worth its cost that you will love and keep forever, come to me!

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Inspiration comes from all sorts of places.  Since I started working for myself I've been to a lot of networking groups and seminars and listened to a lot of inspirational people.  The inspirational and motivational speakers are good but I get far more from people who aren't trying to inspire.  They just do.  And it has far more of an effect.

At the networking groups I attend, each week 1 member has the opportunity to speak for 10 minutes about their journey to where they are now.  There are obviously some who leave school, train in their field and work in that field for years.  That's great, but it's the ones who hate their job and accidentally fall into another profession that are really inspirational.  Or the ones who lose their jobs and start a business.  Or the ones who go through massive upheaval in their life and turn it around.  Or the ones who have a good idea and take a massive risk.

Some examples... A friend of mine had a very good job working for a frozen food manufacturer.  He moved around the country a bit and ended up in Grimsby.  A opportunity came up to buy a local driving school in Grimsby so he took the plunge!  Brilliant!

Another friend was in the army.  He got shot and blown up (his words) and left.  Instead of letting his head go down he started a first aid training business.  Brilliant!  He has also just started public speaking to share his story and motivate other people.  Double brilliant!

I could go on but I won't.  I'll leave you with a quote from an insurance broker in Lincolnshire who spoke at this morning's networking group.  It takes all of this and takes it that little step further.  "Don't look to others for inspiration... learn from your own experiences and do something inspirational"